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    Cep 822 final project technology  proposal Cep 822 final project technology proposal Document Transcript

    • Students’ attitudes towards incorporating blended learning in ESL grammar classroom and its effectivenessNevine KamalThe purpose of the study is to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of ESL college students atthe University of Sharjah about integrating technology in their grammar classes. It needs to beasserted that the success of integrating technology in a language classes depends heavily on theattitudes of teachers and students involved. Therefore, for this study a quantitative andqualitative data gathered by a questionnaire, interviews, pre-and post tests will be analyzed toreveal the students’ perceptions and attitudes towards using technology in their classroom and itseffectiveness. Literature ReviewComputers have been embedded in everyday life. Therefore, it is not surprising to find a similartrend in the academic context. The rapid growth of technology has received much emphasis ineducation. Although the notion of face to face traditional instruction is still prevalent in languageclasses, there seems to be an increasing enthusiasm for incorporating technology in educationalsettings (Kung and Chuo, 2002). Computer technology is regarded as an educational tool thatsupports teaching and learning. One of the recent educational technologies in the field oflanguage teaching and learning is Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Languageinstruction that combines technology has become popular and has had tremendous effect onlanguage education. Numerous ESL/ESL studies suggest that integration of technology canimprove academic performance, enhance motivation, and promote learning (Smart and Cappel,2006). In recent years, many countries including the UAE are using CALL to help learnersdevelop their language skills.The effect of using technology has been investigated by many researchers in different contextsand settings. Many of these studies concluded the positive effect of technology in education (Al-Jarf, 2005). Technology integrated learning gives students the opportunity to control theirlearning, and provides them with access to vast amount of information that suit different learningstyles and proficiency levels (Al-Jarf, 2005). The positive effect of integrating technology hasconvinced many countries including the United Arab Emirates to integrate technology into itseducation system. Al- Jarf asserts that technical advances in technology have a great impact onEnglish language learning. Furthermore, using technology boosts students’ motivation towardslanguage learning.E-learning has received much emphasis recently due to incorporating and integrating technologyin traditional face-to-face instruction. Smart and Cappel (2006) define e-learning as instructiondelivered electronically using internet, Intranet, and other multimedia platforms such as CD-Romor DVD. Since many learners today have access to the World Wide Web, e-learning is oftenrelated to web-based learning (Smart and Cappel, 2006). Many researchers in education often 1
    • use the terms e-learning, online learning, and web-based learning interchangeably and thisapproach will be adopted in this paper to refer to web-based learning.A number of studies that have been conducted were concerned about how the use of e-learningaffects the development of the language skills of the learners. It has been continually emphasizedthat the use of Internet, word processor, multimedia, hypermedia, and practice programs canengage students in the learning process as it becomes more individualized(Nutta, 1998). Nuttaargues that the teaching context often determines the role of e-learning in the ESL context. Shestresses that communicative computer based activities often supplement and augment traditionalclassroom instruction by providing games and word processing applications for compositions.In the last few years, many studies examined different approaches to teaching grammar. Thesestudies concluded that incorporating computer based grammar instruction offers many potentialbenefits for the learners in general. Nutta (1998) stresses that computer based instruction allowteachers to meet the needs of different backgrounds and learning styles in a language classroom.many studies. Many studies have examined different approaches to teaching ESL grammar. Suchstudies have asserted many different and effective means of teaching grammar to ESL/EFLlearners such as direct teaching, group work, and individual study with a course book. Yet, theuse of computers to teach grammar to ESL learners has not received much investigation. Resultsof studies on web-based instruction have been generally positive. Nutta (1998) emphasizes thatby using computers for the presentation of grammar points, explanation, and application ofgrammatical structures, more classroom time would be devoted to real communication thatfocuses on expressing meaning and using appropriate grammatical structures to express thatmeaning. In order to investigate this issue further, Nutta (1998) conducted a study to examine whethercomputer-based grammar instruction is as effective as teacher direct instruction for 53 postsecondary international students at multiple levels enrolled in an Intensive English Program in amajor university in Florida (24 females and 29 males).The primary research question in Nutta’sstudy was whether there was a difference in the acquisition of specific grammatical points forstudents taught in a traditional face-to face teacher directed classroom as opposed to those whoused blended learning.The students were divided into two groups, one was exposed to teacher direct instruction and theother was exposed to computer-based instruction. The purpose of dividing the participants intotwo groups was to examine the acquisition of certain structures at different levels of proficiencyto be able to generalize the results. In addition to conducting tests to examine the students’performance on specific grammatical contents, students were interviewed and surveyed to getmore insights about their views and experiences with computer based and teacher direct learning.The results of this study confirmed other similar studies and indicated that there was nosignificant difference in terms of students’ performance on the tests and acquisition of 2
    • grammatical points. The data emerged from the interviews and questionnaires revealed thatstudents were more satisfied with the computer-based instruction and expressed a desire to spendmore time per day using it. The students also indicated that the web-based activities allowedthem to review the tutorials as many times as they wished, to proceed at their own learning pace,and to get immediate feedback on the exercises.Nutta found that for all levels of English proficiency, the computer based students scored higheron open-ended questions than the direct-teacher instruction students. Yet, there was nosignificant difference between the two groups on multiple choice and fill in the blank tests. Inaddition, the results of the questionnaire showed that student were more satisfied when webbased activities were incorporated..In the line with the above mentioned study, Felix (2001) investigated students’ experience ofweb based learning as a medium of language instruction, both to complement face to faceteaching and as a standalone course. Felix ‘s study reported on a large scale study carried out infour setting- two universities in New York, and two universities in Melbourne. Data werecollected by questionnaires and observational procedures to determine students’ perceptions ofthe usefulness of web-based learning, their views on its advantages and disadvantages, theirpersonal comfort when working with the web, their preferred mode of delivery, their evaluationof the web-based resources and preferences. The results showed that students were in general positive to using web-based materials as add onto face to face instruction. Some of the advantages that were reported by the students were timeflexibility, reinforced learning, and wealth of information. On the other hand, the disadvantagesthat were mentioned included distraction, absence of teacher and personal interaction, and lackof speaking practice. On the whole, Felix concluded that the web is a practical environment forlanguage learning. He also pointed out that the results of the questionnaire and the interviewsshowed students preferred the option they are used to rather than considering other new options.Felix concluded that an integrated approach of web-based and face to face instruction is morepreferable in teaching L2 grammar. The results of this study correlated with other studies thatconcluded that students involved in web-based learning not only have high levels of enjoymentand comfort but these levels increase over time. In addition, the perceptions of advantagesoutnumber the drawback significantly. Finally, Felix stresses that even with the best web –basedlearning practices; it is unlikely to replace traditional face to face instruction. Felix reiterates thatthat further studies that examine the effect of using technology on students’ achievement levelsneed to be examined.To examine how technology supports teaching and learning, Al-Jarf (2005) conducted a study onthe effect of online grammar instruction on low proficiency Saudi college students. Al-Jarfwanted to investigate the effectiveness of blending online courses as a supplement to in-classinstruction on students’ achievement in grammar. The researcher tried to answer three questions:Is there a significant difference between EFL freshmen students registered in the online grammar 3
    • course as s supplement to face-to-face instruction and those using face-to-face instruction only intheir achievement level measured by the post test? Does the frequency of using the online coursecorrelate with the students’ achievement level? Does online and face-to-face (blended learning)have any positive effects on students/ attitudes?To answer these questions 238 female Arab Saudi freshmen students enrolled in their firstgrammar course. All the students were majoring in translation at the college of Languages andTranslations, King Saud University, KSA. The participants were divided into two groups. Theseresults suggested that achievement in the experimental group improved as a result of blendingonline and in-class instruction. Al-Jarj affirmed that the use of online instruction as a supplementto in-class instruction proved to have a strong effect on improving students’ mastery of Englishgrammar. This study also indicated that active participants made higher gains than passiveparticipants who made higher gains than unregistered students (control group). The findings ofAl-Jarf study are consistent with the findings of Nutta’s study (1998) who concluded thatcomputer based instruction can be an effective method of teaching L2 grammar. Al-Jarfreiterated that the findings of her study should not be generalized because of the special contextin which this study took place as King Saud University adopts a segregation policy wherestudents study in a segregated environment, where all of the teachers and students were femalesand hence the findings of the present study could be generalized to male freshmen student s. Al-Jarf recommended that blended learning should be extended to other course to achieve optimumeffect. She also stated that the effect of grammar instruction delivered fully online is still openfor further investigation.The above mentioned studies echoed similar conclusion and that is when web-based grammaractivities or instructions were incorporated, students had significantly better attitudes towardstheir instruction than the students in traditional grammar classroom. In addition, these studiesalso concluded that there were no significant difference in the test scores of the web-based groupand the direct teacher instruction group (Torlakovic and Duego, 2004).Realizing the potentials of computer technology, educators have become more interested in itsuse in L2 learning. As has been mentioned, studies that investigated students’ perceptions on theuse of technology have indicated positive outcomes as indicated by the students’ comments. Yet,we need to be aware of the fact that integrating web-based activities does not necessarily lead tobetter performance when compared with traditional instruction. It leads to improvement of thestudents’ perception of their learning environment.Some other researchers investigated how the use of technology might affect language learning.Along the same line, the results of Son’s study confirmed other similar studies about the positiveeffect of technology in the ESL learning and teaching context. Son (2008) examined ESLlearners’ perceptions and attitudes towards incorporating technology in teaching English. Son(2008)investigated ESL attitudes towards using pre-prepared web based activities as well as taskbased activities in an English language intensive course for overseas students. Twelve students 4
    • from different countries and from different levels participated in the study (lower intermediate,intermediate, and upper intermediate). Son used multiple data sources and triangulation of datacollection methodology to enrich the study and to cross check students’ responses. Theresearchers used pre-questionnaire, post -questionnaire, observation forms, and interviewsinstruments for this study.The pre-questionnaire asked students about their previous experience in language learning, age,first language, computer and internet usage and degree of confidence and comfort. The aim ofthe post questionnaire was to gauge students’ attitudes towards web-based activities such as levelof enjoyment, comfort in visiting the web for learning, and its usefulness and interest to them.The observation forms intended to record information on how students use their time during thelab session whether they were on task or off task during. Finally, interviews were conducted tocross check and examine students’ responses on the post questionnaire and to get more insightsabout their attitudes and perceptions.Son used two types of web based activities in his study: pre-prepared web based activities andtask-based activities. Students had to work individually, in pairs, or in groups to complete thetasks. The study was conducted over a period of four weeks (two- one hour lab sessions perweek). Students were introduced to a variety of English language activities such as grammar,vocabulary, reading, and writing.The results of the study were positive in general. The students’ responses to the postquestionnaire showed that they viewed the web as a tool to practice language skills. Studentsenjoyed the selected activities. Yet, one third of the students indicated that they did not enjoysuch experience. For this result, Son asserted other similar results and confirmed the abovereviewed articles and stressed that web material should be highly relative to the students’ coursecontent and in accordance with the students needs and interests.In terms of students’ behavior through observation, Son pointed out that very few off-task andoff-line actions were observed. This indicates that students’ engagement had been maintainedduring the sessions. The study reported that most students found that web-based activities ereuseful. Nevertheless, as many other studies indicated, the weakness of web-based learning waslack of interaction, lack of the ability to deal with individual differences. Therefore, Son stressesthe importance of the teacher presence to facilitate the learning process. The main limitation ofSon’s study was that he did not measure the effectiveness of using blended learning through preand post tests to provide an overall picture of the effectiveness of using technology in languageteaching and learning. Needless to say, Son was aware of the limitation of his study andsuggested that further studies need to be conducted to measure students’ performance after beingexposed to blended learning.In brief, grammar teaching in the area of second language learning has received a lot of attentionin the literature. Many studies have attempted to access the impact of integrating technology in 5
    • ESL context. These studies have either focused on the achievement of linguistic skills such asspeaking, writing, reading, and grammar or on motivation and enthusiasm. Concerning grammar,the results of studies are not conclusive and to some extent contradictory. The above mentionedstudies stressed the positive effect that technology brings to the learning experience. Yet, themajority of the studies did not find a considerable effect in terms of language acquisition whenusing blended learning, except for Nutta and Al-Jarf’s studies. As has been reported earlier,Nutta and Al-Jarf’s studies showed that blended learning helped student to achieved betterresults than teacher-based instruction. This result has lead the researchers to suggest thatcomputer based instruction is as effective as traditional teaching methods of L2 grammar. Otherstudies that have investigated students’ attitudes and perceptions towards integrating technology(blended learning) in their courses concluded that there were significant better attitudes andperceptions toward their learning experience than students who used text books only. Based onthe above mentioned studies as well as many others, Chenu et al. (2007) concluded the literaturedoes not provide significant difference in students’ achievement level between technology basedand conventional teaching methods. Yet, they argue that incorporating web-based material is anasset to the language classroom and the learning experience.This study focuses on students’ views and perceptions about incorporating web-based activitiesin their traditional grammar classes. In addition, the study examines the effectiveness ofincorporating web-based activities in teacher-directed classroom. The study is going to use bothqualitative and quantitative instruments to get a better understanding of how incorporatingtechnology is perceived among ESL college students and its effectiveness.In conclusion, a brief review of the above mentioned literature reveals that the issue ofintegrating technology into English language classes has been investigated in different contextsand at different levels. However, there are few studies based on consistent longitudinal datacollection that describe the efficiency and implementation of different grammar teaching andlearning using technology (Kung and Chuo, 2002). Furthermore, there are very few studies in thearea of integrating technology in L2 grammar classes in the United Arab Emirates, and theUniversity of Sharjah in particular.The present study replicates many other studies in the field of teaching grammar to ESL learners.The purpose of this research is to examine the effectiveness of incorporating technology totraditional grammar instruction. In addition, it will investigate students’ perceptions towardsusing particular web-based grammar activities. It is necessary to point out that this study isdifferent from the previously mentioned studies as it focuses on Arab students’ attitudes andperceptions towards incorporating technology in learning English grammar in the IntensiveEnglish Program at Sharjah University. Furthermore, it investigates the effectiveness of usingpre-prepared grammar web-based activities. The study is designed to use computer as a tool tointegrate teaching material through the use of pre-prepared web activities to motivate students tolearn English grammar more effectively. Based on the reviewed literature, it is hypothesized thatESL learners will show improvement in acquiring grammatical concepts as well as will lead to 6
    • positive attitude towards learning grammar in general. The sample of the study will consist of 50female lower intermediate students enrolled in level one in the Intensive English Program.Multiple instruments will be employed to collect data for this study: pre-test, post-test, postquestionnaire, and semi-structured interviews. The aim of using multiple sources to collect datais to cross check students’ responses and to compare the effectives of using blended learning totraditional classroom teaching to learn grammar and hence take necessary actions accordingly interms.Statement of the problemCommunication suffers a considerable breakdown in the absence of correct use of grammar.Teachers at the University of Sharjah are aware of the fact that ESL Arab students are heavilyexposed to grammar during their study in government schools but they face serious problem inusing grammar correctly for conducting different academic tasks at the college level. Therefore,one of the possible ways that have been thought of to help learners learn grammar moreeffectively is to incorporate technology into their grammar classes. Incorporating an ITcomponent in the teaching method of grammar and investigating students’ views might behelpful for teachers to offer necessary help for students to acquire and produce grammaticallycorrect texts. For that reason, it is crucial to investigate students’ perceptions and attitudestowards incorporating web-based activities in their grammar classes. In addition, as teachers weneed to examine the effectiveness of using blended learning in teaching ESL grammar.The importance of the studyThe use of CALL in the UAE needs more research, especially at the college level. Studies aboutincorporating technology in the UAE are very few if any. There are no studies about the effect ofincorporating CALL activities in the grammar classes to ESL Arab students at the college levelat the University of Sharjah. It is anticipated that this study will shed light on the benefits ofusing computes when teaching grammar to ESL learners if students’ attitudes and perception areto be taken into consideration. Therefore, the findings of this study may be beneficial forteachers, students, educational institutions, and curriculum developers. In addition, this studymay encourage other researchers to conduct further studies on the same topic which in turn willenrich the literature in this area. Furthermore, in the context of the UAE, studies involvingtechnology integration and teaching are minimal. This study aims to bridge the gap in literaturein this field and leads to better understanding and using technology in ESL college contexts.Research questionsEducational technology can increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning by providing self-paced speed, convenience, confidentiality, and a range of projects, activities for ESL learners(Smart and Cappel, 2006). Many Intensive English Programs in different universitiesincorporate technology in teaching different English language skills. The demand forincorporating technology based instructions and traditional teacher based instruction is growing 7
    • especially in the field of ESL teaching and learning (Son, 2008). Therefore, blended learning-courses that combine face to face instruction with online instructions- are increasing every yearbecause they create more effective learning experience than face to face instruction alone (Son,2008). Son (2008) emphasizes the necessity to consider the idea of blended learning andincorporate it with the notion web-based language learning activities to increase learners’motivation, and engage them in authentic and highly interactive language experiences. Web-based language learning (WBLL) is language learning that involves the use of the web and usesweb materials, resources, and tools. Research highlights the importance for teachers to use well-designed and well-thought of WBLL activities to maximize language learning opportunities.Considering the scale of benefits of incorporating technology in a language classroom that hasbeen briefly reviewed, it is hypothesized that using blended learning (web-based activities andtraditional teacher instruction) will be as effective as traditional instruction alone. In addition, itis vital to examine students’ perceptions towards using blended learning in the ESL classroom tobe able to make effective and sound educational decisions in the Intensive English Program atSharjah University.The present study links questions about integrating technology in ESL grammar classes tostudents’ perceptions and attitudes. To study this relationship, three specifically related researchquestions are addressed: 1- Are there any statistically significant differences between students’ achievement mean scores in the post tests due to method of instruction? 2- What are the students’ attitudes and perceived benefits of integrating web learning with traditional grammar classroom instruction? 3- Is there any change in attitudes and perceived benefits after one semester instruction? 4- Are there any relationships between attitudes and perceived benefits on the one hand and the linguistic outcomes on the other hand?Answers to these questions will be used to uncover a general research inquiry: Can pre-prepareweb based activities help ESL Arab learners master specific English grammar topics? To answerthese questions, two groups of ESL students will participate in the study: one group is taughtgrammar using traditional face to face instruction depending only on the course book, and theother group is taught using blended learning consisting of face to face instruction as well as pre-prepared web based activities. The impact of traditional instruction and traditional grammarinstruction on ESL Arab students will be based on the quantitative analysis of pre and post tests.The impact of blended learning will be based on the qualitative analysis of students’ responses topost questionnaire and interview questions. 8
    • MethodologySetting and ParticipantsThe study will take place in the Intensive English Program at the University of Sharjah. Theparticipants of this study are 90 female Arab students enrolled in the Intensive English Program(IEP) at Sharjah University- UAE. The subjects are Arab students and are all native speakers ofArabic. Their ages range from 17-20 years. All the students are enrolled in Level 1 Grammar andare studying the same text book. Students in the IEP have to attend and had face to faceinstruction for 25 hours a week. They have to study reading, listening, grammar, and TOEFL.The IEP program is structured into four levels. Students at each level have to take the TOEFLexam as an entry requirement to differentiate their proficiency level and place them inappropriate levels accordingly (general preparation, level 1, level 2, and level 3). The proficiencyof level 1 students correlates to TOEFL score 360-400 and they need 500 on TOEFL to exit theprogram and enroll in their majors. Students enrolled at the IEP are graduates of government schools and all had over 10 years ofEnglish instruction in schools prior to their admission at the IEP. They are studying in the IEP ina segregated context, but the instructions are both males and females from different nationalities.Therefore, the findings of the study could not be generalizedStudents who receive traditional face to face grammar instruction comprise the control group,and those who receive blended learning constitute the experimental group. Both groups areexposed to the same grammar text book and paper –based activities. In addition to face to faceinstruction, the experimental group is exposed to online instruction (blended learning). Theexperimental group has to do online grammar exercises in the computer lab at the universityonce a week. The web-based activities are interactive and offer immediate feedback.Course and Instructional materialThe study will be carried out in the classrooms and labs in the language center at the Universityof Sharjah. The classrooms are equipped with whiteboard, computers and projectors. The labsare equipped with twenty computers, a projector and a whiteboard. Students studying at thelanguage program at the university are mainly Arab students. The program offers TOEFLpreparation courses to enable students to join their majors (entry: any score and exit 500. Classesgenerally range in size from 15-20 students per class. A variety of specialized ESL texts are usedfor each level. The experimental and control group are exposed to the same traditional in classinstruction. The topics covered in class are: simple past, past simple, past progressive, used toand future tense. The control group and the experimental group study the same text book Focuson Grammar by Fuchs et. al. (3rd Edition), complete the same exercises and grammatical topicsin that book. The grammar course will be completed in the fall semester of 2011 and will take 16weeks. While doing the exercises the teacher will act as a facilitator and will monitor students’work and provide help and guidance when needed. 9
    • In addition to the traditional in-class teaching, every week, grammar pre-prepared web basedactivities related to the topics covered in class are introduced to students. The web activitiescontained explanations, examples, interactive exercises, quizzes, matching/ordering, crossword,and other fun interactive online grammar activities. Throughout the semester, during the labsession, the teacher will act as a facilitator. The teacher will provide technical support on usingdifferent activities and will respond to individual students’ needs, comments, and requests. Eachstudent is directed to complete her web-based activity either individually, in pairs or in groupsshuffled by the teacher with the intention of pairing or grouping students with different studentsin each session.The ESL websites that will be used are: Activities for ESL students (http://a4esl.org) Interesting Things for ESL Students (http://www.manythings.org) Dave’s ESL Café’ (http://www.eslcafe.com/) ESL Teacher Handouts, Grammar Worksheets & Printable: (http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/) English Club.Com: (http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/) English for you: (http://www.english-4u.de/grammar1.htm)ProcedureResearch instrumentA combination of qualitative and quantitative measures will be used in this study. Pre-post tests,a questionnaire, and focused group interviews will be used to collect the relevant data. The aimof employing these instruments is to triangulate the data and obtain validity.A pre-post test is used to measure the subjects’ knowledge of in the assigned grammar topics andto find out if there are any significant differences between the groups before and after theinstruction. The test is designed by the researcher/ teacher. The grammar test comprises of 40questions and has to be completed in thirty minutes under exam conditions in the regularclassrooms (see Appendix D). The test has two sections: section one has twenty multiple choicequestions with four alternatives, and section two has twenty questions in which students have toidentify the grammatical error. Each question is worth of one point.The students’ prior knowledge will be assessed by the pre-test that will be administered to bothgroups (control and experimental) before the study starts. The objective of the pre-test is toassess the students’ background knowledge of particular grammar topics. The same pre-test willbe used at the end of the study as a post-test to assess students’ achievement on certain grammartopics. The objective of the post test is to assess the effect of both methods of teaching(traditional and blended learning). 10
    • Students are familiar with the grammar points that are covered in the pre and post test as they aresame grammar topics that have been studied at schools. In addition, the same grammar topics aretaught in Level 1 grammar course with much more emphasis on the communicative aspect of thelanguage. This aspect is totally ignored in government schools and that is why students find ithard to develop correct texts- spoken or written. The test is administered to both groups:controlled and experimental. The pre-post tests of both groups will be blindly graded as studentswill write their ID. The teacher/researcher will grade the papers using an answer key.Students will be asked to complete pre- and post self report questionnaire (see Appendix A andC) together with a consent form (see Appendix E) before their first blended learning class starts.The questionnaire will be carried out anonymously to reduce uncomfortable feelings among theparticipants. The aim of the pre-questionnaire is to examine students’ computer skills and somepersonal information about their attitudes towards using computer in general. The students’ attitudes and perceptions towards integrating Web-based activities in theirtraditional grammar classes as well as their opinions on the usefulness of these sites areconducted by using a self-report post-questionnaire. The questionnaire includes items drivenfrom similar earlier studies. The questions mainly focus on the benefits and problems ofintegrating technology. Data collected from the post questionnaire including open-endedquestions will be transcribed and analyzed. The post questionnaire will use five point LikertScale ranging from 5 (strongly agree) to 1 (strongly disagree). The questionnaire is adapted fromother similar studies.For the purpose of attaining a mean response for each question, the responses will be toleratedand averaged. Standard deviation will be obtained for the purpose of examining statisticallysignificant differences between students’ perceptions. The questionnaire will also be analyzed tousing Spearman’s correlation to determine correlations between response and significant factorsunderlying their response. Students’ comments will be used to investigate their attitudes towardthe project.The third instrument that will be used in this study is the semi-structured interview (seeAppendix B). It has a conversational style that involves open-ended questions to encourage theparticipants to express their ideas about their Internet experience. The interviews are carried outat the teacher/ researcher’s office at time that suits the students. The interviews will be audiotaped and transcribed. After each interview, the participants will be given a transcript of theinterview through e-mail. The aim of the interview is to cross-check students’ responses to thepost questionnaire.Validity and Reliability The grammar test content will be validated by a team of experienced teachers at the IntensiveEnglish Program at the University of Sharjah. The team will be asked to validate the content ofthe test in terms of clarity of instructions, relevance of questions to the content, it suitability to 11
    • the research goals and objectives, the number and arrangement of questions, and the suitability ofthe time allocated to the test. The necessary changes will be made accordingly beforeadministering the test. The post test is believed to be content valid as it aims to assess students’achievement in grammar. The tasks in the post test are based on the topics that students have tocover during the course. In addition, the instructions are clear and students have received trainingon such tasks. The papers are scored using optical reading machine. The machine is run twice toensure the correctness of scores given.The content of the pre-prepared web based activities will be validated by the instructionaltechnologist and the academic and curriculum coordinator in the Intensive English Program. Thecommittee members will assess the websites in terms of appropriateness the students’proficiency level, clarity of instructions, interactivity, wealth and correctness of information, andease of use.To establish the validity of the questionnaire, it will be referred to a panel of universityprofessors of English and statistics. The questionnaire will be modified based on the panel’scomments and suggestions.The interview questions will be reviewed and refereed by a number of faculty members at theIntensive English Program to check that they matched the theme of the questionnaire andwhether they could produce supportive data. All questions will be reviewed and modified inaccordance with the referees’ comments and suggestions.Data Collection/ Data analysisAt the beginning of 2011-1012academic year, the students are randomly divided into twogroups- control group received tradition grammar instruction and experimental group- receivedtraditional instruction along with pre-prepared web-based grammar activities. Each group has 45students. The two groups are taught by the same teacher/researcher. Both groups receive onehour of grammar instruction for five days a week. The experimental group receives one hour oflab session instead of traditional in class grammar instruction every week. This lab session iscompensated with regular in class grammar practice for the control group every week.A systematic procedure will be used for collecting and administering the data. At the beginningof the fall semester (2011-2012), the experimental and control groups are given a pre-test. Thegroups take the same pre-test that consisted of questions covering the grammar topics that werecovered in school and will be emphasized during the course. At the end of the course, the twogroups will take the same test. At the end of the semester (two weeks before its end) thequestionnaire and the semi-structured interviews will be conducted with the experimental group.This study employs qualitative and quantitative analysis of data gathered. In this study, semi-structured interview method is used as a qualitative instrument. A set of structured and pre-prepared questions are to be used during the interviews. This method allows student to extend 12
    • their reaction towards using technology in the classroom. In addition, it allows the researcher akind of flexibility to cross check the results of the questionnaire and confirm them with theinterview results.For this study, the independent variables will be method of teaching (traditional or blendedlearning), whereas the dependent variable will be the achievement of the subjects in the grammartest. The SPSS program will be used to obtain different types of descriptive statistics. Meansscores and standard deviations of the students’ scores on the pre-and post tests will be calculated.One-way Anova analysis for the pre-test will be used to find differences between the controlgroup and the experimental group.To find out whether each group have made any progress as a result of instruction, a within grouppaired T-test will be computed for each group using the pre-post test mean scores for each group.A framework will be developed to categorize students’ responses to the interview questions tofacilitate the analysis process. The responses will be cumulatively analyzed for commonalities.Differences will also be highlighted and discussed. The interpretation of the qualitative Likertquestionnaire data will be supported by the qualitative data obtained during the semi-structuredinterview.To find out whether there is a significant difference in the ability between the experimental andthe control groups, the pre- and post tests raw scores are converted into percentages. The mean,standard deviation, standard error and range are calculated for both tests.Limitations of the studyThe primary limitation of the study is that the researcher is the only teacher who taught the twogroups and thus it is possible that the teacher might over report the effectiveness of usingblended learning in teaching grammar. Yet, the triangulation instrument that the researcherwould use could minimize subjectivity in reporting the data.Another limitation is the study is conducted over a short period of time with female participantsonly may limit the extent to which the results could be generalized. To overcome this situation, itis suggested that the data need to be drawn over a longer period of time and the study couldextent to male participants as well. In addition, it is necessary to include other teachers who areteaching different levels to be able to draw valid and reliable results.Furthermore, the study is restricted to one aspect of language skills- grammar. In order to getmore valid and reliable data, it is suggested that this study is extended to other language skillstaught in the IEP at Sharjah University. 13
    • Appendix A Sample of Pre-questionnaire QuestionsBasic informationPlease circle the appropriate choice. 1- What is the average number of times you go on line every week? o Less than 1 hour o 1-2 hours o 2-3 hours o More than 3 hours 2- Do you have a computer at home that can connect to the Internet? o Yes o No 3- Where do you most frequently go on line? o Home o Library o Computer center o Classroom 4- How would you describe your computer skills? o Excellent o Good o Not good o Poor 5- How important is grammar practice for you in language learning? o Of very great importance o Of great importance o Of some importance o Of no importance 6- Do you practice grammar independently? o Yes o No 7- Before the teacher introduce you to the pre-prepared web sites, have you ever visited such sites? o Yes o No(Adapted from Nutta, J. (1998)) 14
    • Appendix B Sample of Interview Questions1- Did you enjoy using the web for learning? If yes, what did you enjoy about it? If no, why did not you enjoy it?2- Out of all the web activities, which were the most useful? Why? Which were not useful? Why?3- Did you find group work, pair work or individual work helpful? Which type of work did you like? Why?4- Did you do anything related to the web-based activities outside the classroom during the course?5- Would you like web-based activities to be part of your regular grammar class (once or twice a week)? If yes, how often? If no, why do not you like them?6- In what way do you think web-based activities are good or bad?7- Do you have any other comment to make about your experience in blended learning?(Adapted from Kung, S., & Chuo, T. (2002) 15
    • Appendix C Sample of Post Questionnaire Questions 1- Please think about your experience in integrating technology in learning English grammar and tick (√) the answers that apply to you. Strongly Agree Uncertain Disagree StronglyStatements agree disagree 1 2 3 4 5 1. I am satisfied with the web-based activities. 2. I enjoyed the pre-created web activities. 3. I learned a lot from the web based activities. 4. Questions asked in the online activities were easy. 5. The experiences in web-based language learning mad this course more interesting. 6. The web activities were valuable for learning English. 7. The web based activities were an appropriate supplement to in-class instruction. 8. I gained confidence in my ability to use the web for learning purposes. 9. I was comfortable using the web during the web activities 10. I am now comfortable using the web for language learning. 11. I feel that the web is a useful learning tool. 12. I would like to access web activities myself outside class time. 16
    • 13. The web activities used had clear instructions to all the activities. 2- Did you experience any difficulties while using the online activities? If yes, specify. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ 3- Which of the materials did you find most useful for practicing grammar? o Grammar text book o The online websites and activities o Both 4- Give reasons for your choice. _____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________Thank you for finding the time to complete this survey.(Adapted from Felix, U. (2001)) Appendix D 17
    • Pre-post test University of Sharjah ELC: Intensive English Program Level: 1/ [Fall - 2011]Time: 30 minutesSkill: GrammarID Number: Section:TOTAL /40 18
    • Part AChoose the letter that best completes the sentence. 1. When he was younger, he _____ go to school in Al Ain. A. use to B. used to C. was using D. was used 2. What time _____ dinner tonight? A. are they going to have B. they are going to have C. they will have D. are having them 3. X: Who _____ you _____ last night? Y: Ismail called me. A. Ø …… called B. did …… called C. did …… call D. called …… Ø 4. Rashid is travelling _____ to Malaysia. A. himself B. by him C. with himself D. by himself 5. _____ you open the door for me, please? A. Are B. May C. Would D. Do 6. Where did he _____ to live before you moved here? A. use B. used 19
    • C. using D. uses7. X: What would you like to eat after the soup? Y: I’m not sure. I think I _____ pasta. A. have B. will have C. having D. had8. I didn’t _____ much, but I swim every week these days. A. used to swim B. use to swim C. use for swimming D. used for swimming9. What _____ next Thursday? Shall we go to the cinema? A. you doing B. you’re doing C. are you doing D. do you do10. Why _____ his uncle when he went to Abu Dhabi? A. visited him B. he visited C. he didn’t visit D. didn’t he visit11. When _____ this evening? A. will start the film B. starts the film C. does the film start D. is starting the film12. Lubna and Iman usually meet _____ every week. A. themselves B. herself C. ourselves D. each other 20
    • 13. How many people _____ the match last night? A. did you see B. saw C. did it see D. saw it14. _____ I switch on the AC, please? It’s hot here. A. Do B. Would C. May D. Am15. What _____ at the restaurant last night? A. did he eat B. does he eat C. he ate D. ate him16. We went to the shop and bought _____ some ice-cream. It was delicious! A. ourselves B. us C. myself D. our17. X: Could I sit next to you? Y: Yes, you _____. A. could B. can C. would D. might18. Leila’s brother is getting too angry. He should control _____. A. herself B. him C. himself D. them 21
    • 19. What time should Kamal _____ to your office? A. coming B. come C. came D. comes20. See you tomorrow. Take care of _____. A. ourselves B. myself C. himself D. yourselves21. _____ you please drive more carefully? A. Would B. Had better C. Ought D. Do you mind22. Do you mind if Jasmin _____ with us? A. coming B. comes C. come D. she comes Part BChoose the letter of the underlined error23. X: Do you think I should do it now or could I wait until next week? A B Y: I think you’d better do it now, or the boss will very angry! C D 22
    • 24. You look very tired. You ought to go to bed. In fact, I think you should to go to bed right now. A B C D25. X: May I use your computer, and do you mind if I keep it overnight? A B Y: OK, but look after itself. You’d better not damage it. C D26. X: I ought to finish this work now. I’m meeting the boss at 8:00 tomorrow. A B Y: You shouldn’t worry so much! Leave the work. Let’s go out and enjoy ourself. C D27. He’s going to finish the report. Then, he’ll send it to everyone. Tomorrow, we’ll having a meeting, A B C meeting, and we’ll discuss his report. D28. Where are you flying to tomorrow? Does the plane leave early? Who is driving you to the airport? A B C You know you ought get there two hours before the flight. D29. X: I’m getting some cold juice for myself. Would you like some? A Y: Yes, please, but may I have it without ice? I use to drink iced drinks, but not since my doctor B C 23
    • told me I shouldn’t. D30. X: Are you going out tonight? Who will do the work? A B Y: Would you mind do it for me this time? I’ll do it next time, I promise. C D31. Just look at yourself! You’re so dirty! I’ve told yourself before not to play football there. A B You’d better not do it again, or you’ll be in trouble! C D32. I heard the phone ring. Who called? Yahya? We’ve known ourselves for ages. If he calls again, A B could you take his number. I think I ought to call him back. C D33. X: We having presentations tomorrow. Will you finish preparing yours today? A B Y: I can’t do it by myself. Would you help me? C D34. X: I used to be very fat, but last year I lost 10 kilos. A Y: did you used to eat much junk food? How much did you eat before? B C X: A lot! However, I promised myself that I would be healthier. Now, I feel great! D35. X: May I to sit here? A Y: Yes, you can. B X: Do you mind if I smoke? C 24
    • Y: Yes, I do. I hate smoking. D36. X: I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you. Could you repeat that, please? A Y: Sorry. What did you say? B X: I think we didn’t hear each other well. I think we better speak more loudly. C D37. X: Dad, do you mind if I going out this evening? Will you give me some money for the cinema? A B Y: Who is going with you? What film are you going to see? C D38. When Sameera was a child, she used to play with dolls. She always played by herself. A B She didn’t use to play with her sister, Afra because they didn’t like themselves very much. C D39. Will you mind lending me fifty dirhams? Can I pay you back next week when I get my salary? A B C D40. The detective said, “I must ask you a few questions: Where did you go? Who saw you? A B What did you? What time did you return home?” C D 25
    • Answer Key1- B 11- C 21- A 31- B2- A 12- D 22- B 32- B3- D 13- B 23- D 33- A4- D 14- C 24- D 34- B5- C 15- A 25- C 35- A6- A 16- A 26- D 36- D7- B 17- B 27- C 37- A8- B 18- C 28- D 38- D9- C 19- B 29- C 39- A10- D 20- D 30- C 40- C 26
    • CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN A RESEARCH STUDY University of Sharjah Students’ attitudes towards incorporating blended learning in ESL grammar classroom and its effectivenessNeivne KamalOffice phone: 3249I have been asked to participate in a research study conducted by Nevine Kamal.Below is a description of the research procedures and an explanation of my rights as a researchparticipant. In accordance with the policies of University of Sharjah, I have been asked to read thisinformation carefully. If I agree to participate, I will sign in the space provided to indicate that I have readand understand the information furnished on this consent form, I am entitled to and will receive a signedcopy of the form.The purpose of this research study is to examine students’ attitudes towards integrating technology inteaching grammar to Arab students at the University of Shajah.My participation in this study will last for approximately a semester (Fall 2011) and will take place at ELClabs and in classroom.During this study, I will attend regular classes and lab sessions in the English Language Center atSharjah University. I understand that because I will not be providing any clues to my identity, the data Iprovide will be anonymous.Participation is voluntary and I may refuse to participate without penalty or loss of benefits. I maydiscontinue my participation at any time without penalty or loss of benefits.I AGREE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS RESEARCH PROJECT AND I WILL RECEIVE ACOPY OF THIS CONSENT FORM:PARTICIPANTS SIGNATURE__________ DATERESEARCHERS SIGNATURE__________ DATE 27
    • ReferencesAl-Jarf, R. (2005). The effects of online grammar instruction on low proficiency EFL collegestudents’ achievement. Asian EFL Journal, 7(4) Retrieved January3, 2011, fromhttp://www.asian-efl-journal.com/December_05_rsaj.phpChenu, F. et al. (2007). Is computer assisted language learning (CALL) efficient for grammarlearning? An experimental study in French as a second language. The JALT CALL Journal, 3 (3),85-93. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://jaltcall.org/journal/articles/3_3_Chenu.pdfFelix, U. (2001). A multivariate analysis of students’ experiences of web-based learning.Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 17 (1), 21-36. Retrieved February 9, 2011, fromhttp://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet17/felix.htmlKung, S., & Chuo, T. (2002). Students’ perceptions of English learning through ESL/EFLwebsites. TESL-EJ, 6(1). Retrieved January 10, 2011, from http://writing.berkeley.edu/TESL-EJ/ej21/a2.htmlNutta, J. (1998). Is computer-based grammar instruction as effective as teacher directed grammarinstruction for teaching L2 structures? CALICO Jouranl, 16(1), 49-62.Smart, K, & Cappel, J. (2006). Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning: A Comparative Study.Journal of Information Technology Education, 5, 202-219. Retrieved February 6, 2011, fromhttp://jite.org/documents/Vol5/v5p201-219Smart54.pdfSon, J. (2007). Learner experiences in web –based language learning. Computer AssistedLanguage Learning, 20 (1), 21-36. Retrieved January 28, 2011, fromhttp://eprints.usq.edu.au/2046/1/Son_2007.pdfSon, J. (2008). Using web-based language learning activities in the ESL classroom.International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4(4), 43-43. Retrieved January 28, 2011,from http://www.apacall.org/ijpl/v4n4/IJPLv4n4_article3.pdfTorlakovic, E, Duego, D. (2004). Application of a CALL system in the acquisition of adverbs inEnglish. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 17 (2), 203-225. 28
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