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3rd Malaysia International Conference on Academic Strategies in English Language Teaching (MyCASELT, 2010) Cognitive Presence of In-Service English Language Teachers in Asynchronous Online Discussions Chuah Kee Man Joseph Ramanair Centre for Language Studies Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan www.cls.unimas.my
Background Computer –Mediated Communication (CMC) communication between two or more people via networked computers (Dede,1996; Johnson, 2006) asynchronous vs. synchronous asynchronous CMC are more widely used
Background Asynchronous CMC (AOD) Text-based Develop over time - participants separated in time and space can read and reply to existing message. Promote social collaboration (Biesenbach-Lucas, 2003 ; Cheung & Hew, 2010; Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin, & Chang, 2003) Enhance cognitive engagement (Meyer, 2003 ; Shea & Bidjerano, 2009; Son, 2002)
Questionnaire – participants’ perception on the use of asynchronous online discussion in terms of its usefulness. – frequency count using descriptive statistics
Semi-structured interviews – thematic analysis - interview transcripts were read several times in order to identify recurring themes.
Results Content Analysis From the discussions threads, a total number of 171 postings were used for the qualitative analysis The average length of individual postings was approximately 120 words, while the shortest contained only ten words and the longest contained 350 words
Results Cognitive Presence Triggering event occurred rather infrequently Usually used to switch to new topic “In this case, the CD Rom of Zack, I think we focused too much on the pronunciation part. How about other exercises? Can’t the teacher just use the traditional pen-and-paper and achieve the same objective? Or students must use the CD-Rom, complete the exercises there, and only then the learning objective can be achieved.”
Results Cognitive Presence Exploration – very dominant. engaged in unsubstantiated exchanges of ideas. “This grammar quiz activity is best used using computer because it employs behaviourist approach. The students have to answer all the questions. After all the questions are answered, all the wrong answered questions will be repeated until they can answer it correctly.
Results Cognitive Presence Integration – rather limited. occurred when the participants were commenting on each others’ recommendation “Based on the reading text that you assigned, the tasks (grammar) don’t seem to work because as I aid there are varieties of “grammatical structures” used in the web. If you plan to use this website, I suggest that you should select it as your post activity like what Andy suggested earlier.”
Results Cognitive Presence Resolution - limited efforts to proceed to this phase. One example - evaluating the solution provided by others. “Great! Students might like it. In fact, rather than doing it individually, why not in pairs. At least there an interaction among them. As Chitravelu mentioned “language learning is also a habit formation”. By interpreting the pictures, students are able to predict what is the correct answer because it reflect our routine expressions used in everyday situations.
Results Survey Results Perception on Cognitive Benefits A large majority of the participants have positive views on the cognitive benefits AOD. asynchronous online discussion allowed them to think carefully before responding (mean=3.37) they often tried their best to give their opinion (mean=3.14) referred to my peers’ response before constructing my own views (mean=3.08)
Results Perception on Cognitive Benefits P2– I’m quite new to this kind of online forum thing, but what I think of it is that it really helps me to reflect on certain topics raised especially when I don’t have ideas, I can read others’ messages first. P7 - In my opinion, the online discussions allow me to give my opinions and ideas and at the same time obtain others as well. I can learn from others’ comments too.
Results Survey Results Perception on the use of AOD online discussion was less tensed (mean=3.35) enjoyed participating in all discussion (mean=3.27) faced technological problems (mean=2.50) it was simply a waste of time (mean=1.43).
Results Perception on the use of AOD P24 - I need to go to cyber café as I don’t have internet at my house. That makes it a bit less convenient for me, and it’s quite costly, RM3 per hour. That’s why I cannot reply the postings every time; but I still think it is good. I mean I can discuss more openly and during my free time. P15– Frankly speaking, this is my first time using a forum. I never use it before. I needed help from friend to teach me but in the end I think I kind of enjoy the process. Especially when I can discuss with fellow friends.
Findings & Discussion Participants engaged primarily in sharing their views rather than challenging and questioning each others’ views (Arnold & Ducate , 2006; Pawan et al.,2003; Ling & White, 2010). The cognitive events noted in the online discourse branched off from various ways – not in a linear progression.
Findings & Discussion AOD is regarded as a useful tool for closing the gap between teachers (in terms of sharing of ideas) (Ling & White, 2010; Son, 2002). Factors such as difficulties in getting access to the forum or discussion board and time-constraint affected the type of discourse produced by the participants.
Conclusion This study highlights the potentials of AOD as a tool for teachers’ professional development. Permit teachers to collaborate in online settings without the need to gather at a meeting place. The lack of time pressure also provides the teachers with more time for reflection (Meyer, 2003) Provide teachers with practical experience of AOD for its eventual implementation in their teaching situations
Thank You Special thanks to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak for sponsoring this conference participation. Reference list is provided in the paper. Further discussion can be done via email@example.com