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Academic Paper

Title: Web-based collaborative reading exercises for learners in remote locations: the effects of computer-mediated feedback and interaction via computer-mediated communication
Author: Philip Murphy
Institution: Kanda University of International Studies
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics
Abstract: Despite the fact that the benefits of pair and group work for those espousing an interactionist view of second language learning are well documented (Lightbown & Spada, ; Long, ; Pica, , ; Van Lier, ), learning environments exist in which students have no option but to study alone. Of particular interest for this research are learners who, despite studying in contexts supportive of collaborative interaction in the classroom, have little opportunity to interact with partners when trying to participate in collaborative reading comprehension exercises outside school. In an attempt to find a solution to this potentially inhibiting learning context, this research comprises an investigation into (a) whether the introduction of computer-mediated Elaborative feedback before Knowledge of Correct Response (KCR) feedback better promotes quality interaction and comprehension of a web-based reading text and (b) whether computer-mediated communication (CMC) offers a suitable means for generating quality interaction between peers in remote locations. While completing a web-based multiple-choice reading comprehension exercise, students worked in pairs and received either KCR feedback only, or Elaborative feedback before KCR feedback. In contrast to KCR feedback which simply comprises the correct answers, Elaborative feedback was produced in the form of hints to foster interaction and to support dyads in their attempts at self-correcting any incorrect answers. Using a multiple-try methodology, hints became increasingly specific for questions repeatedly answered incorrectly. Upon completing a follow-up comprehension exercise alone, all students were provided with KCR feedback only. Results from a quantitative analysis of the comprehension scores indicate that students who were provided with Elaborative feedback subsequently scored significantly higher on the follow-up exercise. Furthermore, results from a qualitative analysis of interactions suggest that CMC is a suitable way of generating quality interaction between students, particularly when Elaborative feedback is included.


This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 22, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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