Visualizing Blogs: The "to-do-or-not-to do dilemma" in EAP Writing Online

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study examining the effects of visualizing online writing activities on student behaviors and learning outcomes. A design-based research approach was adopted to develop and integrate theory and practice in natural educational settings (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012). The study was conducted in an 18-week, semester-long undergraduate English for freshman engineering students course. The course was in a blended face-to-face/online format, using Moodle, and covering the four skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. A blog visualization tool, designed as a monitoring system visible to the instructor and all students, was implemented throughout the semester. Data from 28 students were analyzed, with the students' written consent. A mixed-method design was chosen for triangulation, using three data sources: pre-/post-course writing proficiency tests, an online post-course questionnaire, and online writings on Moodle. The research found that the self-regulatory mechanism supported a regular and high level of work performance of the entire class. The class average scores on writing tests showed gradual and steady progress. In addition, the phenomenon was observed in which students showed indecision about whether to work more or less relative to the performance of other students. Those students eventually deciding to work less showed certain regression in writing proficiency at the end, even if they started at a higher level than the class average. This situation, called the "to-do-or-not-to-do dilemma", is considered a potential negative effect of the monitoring system. A monitoring system for self and others can be a positive factor that improves the regular work performance of a learning community, leading to a higher outcome. However, the study suggests the need for appropriate counter-measures against possible demoralization in the individual and/or the entire class.

Keywords: information visualization, blog, forum, social dilemma, EAP writing, blended learning.

References

Anderson, T., & Shattuck, J. (2012). Design-based research: A decade of progress in education research? Educational Researcher, 41(1), 16-25. doi: 10.3102/0013189X11428813

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Miyazoe, T., & Anderson, T. (2011). Viewing and participating: Blog visualization and its learning outcomes in blended learning. IEEE International Professional Communication Conference: Communicating Sustainability, Cincinnati.

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Wolfe-Quintero, K., Inagaki, S., & Kim, H. (1998). Second language development in writing: Measurements of fluency, accuracy & complexity. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

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Miyazoe, Terumi; Anderson, Terry. (2012). Visualizing Blogs: The "to-do-or-not-to do dilemma" in EAP Writing Online. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 217-222). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2012.000055

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