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Academic Paper

Title: Multimodal student interaction online: an ecological perspective
Author: Therese Örnberg Berglund
Institution: Umeå University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: This article describes the influence of tool and task design on student interaction in language learning at a distance. Interaction in a multimodal desktop video conferencing environment, FlashMeeting, is analyzed from an ecological perspective with two main foci: participation rates and conversational feedback strategies. The quantitative analysis of participation rates shows that as far as verbal interaction is concerned, multimodality did not have an equalizing effect in this context, contradicting previous research on multimodal student interaction. Additionally, the qualitative analysis of conversational feedback strategies shows that whereas some multimodal strategies were employed, the students did not manage to fully act upon the communicative affordances of the tool, as the feedback ratio during and after the often long broadcasts was relatively low. These findings are related to task and tool design and the article discusses how design improvements in these areas might result in a more constructive language learning ecology.


This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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