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ERIC Number: EJ815713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: ISSN-1094-3501
Discourse and Participation in ESL Face-to-Face and Written Electronic Conferences
Fitze, Michael
Language Learning & Technology, v10 n1 p67-86 Jan 2006
This study was a comparative investigation of face-to-face and written electronic conferences. The participants were advanced English as a second language (hereafter: ESL) students. The two types of conferences were compared in terms of textual features and participation. There was no statistically significant difference in the total number of words that students produced in an equivalent amount of time in the two types of conferences. The discourse in written electronic conferences displayed greater lexical range, and students in these conferences produced more discourse demonstrating interactive competence. The statistically significant finding of increased lexical range in written electronic conferences persisted even when the interactive discourse was eliminated from the conference transcripts and the transcripts were reanalyzed. This finding suggests that, during written electronic conferences, students were better able to use and practice a wider range of vocabulary related to the topics. For one of the groups, participation in written electronic conferences was more balanced among students, while for the other group participation was about equally balanced regardless of the conference setting. This last finding came as a surprise and points to a need for further research into variables that might mediate balanced participation in face-to-face and written electronic conferences. (Contains 6 tables, 2 figures and 3 notes.)
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center. 1859 East-West Road #106, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: 808-956-9424; Fax: 808-956-5983; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A