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Online Communication Culture: Netiquette Awareness in CALL Context

With the escalating popularity of digital technologies and CMC, various types of interactive communication technology are increasingly being integrated into foreign/second language learning environments. However, due to its nature, online communication is susceptible to misunderstandings and miscommunications, which would appear to necessitate online learners’ awareness of existing netiquette (i.e., Network etiquette) rules (Shetzer and Warschauer, 2000), notwithstanding a concern that such international rules have been formulated without consideration of the culture, beliefs and comfort of all stakeholders. This paper, therefore, reports on a comparative study on the degree to which EFL learners and their native counterparts were familiar with netiquette rules and perceived them as useful. A netiquette familiarity questionnaire consisting of ten questions and a netiquette attitude questionnaire consisting of 30 likert scale items were developed by the researchers based on Shea (1994), Hambridge (1995) and Gil (2009). The questionnaires were pilot tested, validated and administered to 75 English language learners and 53 native English-speaking students. Results indicated that familiarity was low among the EFL students and that they were not convinced of the necessity and usefulness of netiquette rules compared to the other group. The results suggest that despite the significance of the issue, scant attention is paid to preparing students for a 21st language learning environment and integrating ethics of CMC and netiquette into educating a digitally literate EFL learner. The findings of this study are relevant to language teacher education, materials development, and interlanguage pragmatics.


Sara Farshad Nia    
College of Education
University of Canterbury
New Zealand

Sara Farshad Nia did her Master’s degree in TEFL in Alzahra University-Tehran. She started her PhD in Education at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand in which she was awarded the University's Doctoral Scholarship. Her main interests include Computer Assisted Language Learning, Teacher Education, and computer mediated communication.

Susan Marandi    
Al-zahra University

Seyyedeh Susan Marandi is Assistant Professor of TEFL at Al-Zahra University, Iran. Her main research interests are Computer Assisted Language Learning/Teaching, Teaching English as a Second Language, English Literature, and Language Assessment.


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