EUROCALL 2014

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A quantitative and qualitative evaluation of student participants’ contribution to carrying out an online international collaborative project on education

This study evaluates an online international collaborative project which has been developed and practiced on the internet, making use of Web 2.0 technology as a form of SNS, focusing on how much university students from six countries worldwide could participate in the project, from the viewpoint of the participants’ contribution to the forum discussion of their own group topics on education.
A German university initiated the project, called "International Project (IPC)", in 2004 for the purpose of nurturing teacher-training course students’ competence in carrying out an international project in the English language. It has been expanded yearly to include so far eight universities beyond Europe in North America and Asia.
The presenters have compiled the participant students’ communication data uttered/posted in the general and group forums for the past two years. The evaluation in this study dealt with the data in the IPC 2012 project activities. The data were analyzed by both quantitative and qualitative methods. As for the quantitative method, corpus analyses were utilized. The 1076 messages posted by the 99 student participants who were divided into 9 groups by topic were complied as IPC 2012 Learner Corpus with approximately 76,500 running words. The corpus was analyzed using WordSmith Tools based on individual students, countries, and topics to obtain profiles of the characteristics of the participants’ English language use in terms of message volume, sentence length, and keywords. As for the qualitative method, KBDeX (Knowledge Building Discourse Explorer) software was used to analyze the communication data by focusing on keywords derived from the preceding corpus analysis, such as ‘propose/proposal’, ‘agree/disagree’, ‘opinion’, and ‘method’ to investigate which member uttered each keyword to which partner in which phase in each discourse of discussion, negotiation, or argument of each group.
The results from the quantitative analysis showed that the students were classified into certain types in their use of English as a common language among the international members in the project: 1) talkative, and 2) taciturn; furthermore, the talkative students fell into two subtypes: 1-a) those with frequent postings, and 1-b) those with comparatively many longer sentences. The qualitative analysis indicated that the talkative students tended to utter the keywords relatively more often than the others, except in a few exceptional cases. In addition, it was suggested these exceptional cases needed to be examined more carefully, especially by checking out their backgrounds such as their nationality, gender, or group partners, and any other possibly related factors.
In this presentation of reflective practice, all of the results gained from these quantitative and qualitative analyses are to be shown together with the graphic and animated expressions of the KBDeX results to demonstrate the process of the participants’ interactive communication. The presenters would like to invite any ideas for the final goal of discovering effective ways to facilitate the students’ ability to participate more comfortably and collaboratively in an international project.



Author(s):

Chizuko Suzuki    
Department of English and Information Science
Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University
Japan

Chizuko Suzuki, holding M.Ed. & Ph.D., has committed herself to research in education for more than forty years. Her recent interest is in the use of ICT including corpus linguistics for TEFL. She is a Professor of Faculty of Humanities at Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University in Japan and a committee member of JACET.

Kenichi Ishida    
Department of Child Education
Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University
Japan

Kenichi Ishida received B.E.degree in 1990 from Fukuoka University of Education and M.E. degree in 1993 from Hiroshima University, Japan. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Child Studies of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University. His research interests are comparative studies of education particularly focusing on secondary education in Asian countries.

Shota Yoshihara    
Department of English and Information Science
Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University
Japan

Shota Yoshihara received B.E., M.E. degree in 1997, 1999, respectively, from Kyushu Institute of Technology, Fukuoka, Japan. He is currently an associate Professor in the Department of English and Information Science of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University. His research interests are natural language processing, semantics modeling, and e-learning system development.

Klaudia Schultheis    
Department of Elementary Education
Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt
Germany

Prof. Dr. Klaudia Schultheis, Chair of Elementary Education, Catholic University Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany. Research topics: Qualitative research of the educational experience of children; body related aspects of learning and teaching; theory of education. Expertise: Teacher training, teacher professionalization, early childhood education. For details: http://www.klaudia-schultheis.de

Barbara Riedhammer    
Department of Elementary Education
Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt
Germany

Ms. Barbara Riedhammer received her Master Degree in Education and had an experience of internship in South Africa. She has been working as a research assistant and a network manager for several projects, including ICT projects, especially for teacher-training course students.

 

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