Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
Mirella Gomes da Silva
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
May 3, 2019 at 11:00 AM in Patterson Building, Room 448
Advisor: Emily A Thrush
A Study on ESL Students' and Teachers' Perspectives and Attitudes Regarding Wiki-Based Collaborative Writing.
ABSTRACT: Computer-mediated collaborative writing has drawn attention from second language researchers and instructors for a few decades, and due to recent developments in Web 2.0 technologies, the possibilities of wikis for collaborative writing have increased enormously. However, few studies have explored the nature of wiki collaboration and interaction, especially with small group writing activities using wikis. This study investigated how intermediate-level international ESL students at an urban U.S. Mid-South university interacted within the wiki-based collaborative writing platform Pbworks.com. Students' and instructors' perspectives toward the integration of wikis in writing assignments addressed. Sixty-four students, grouped into twenty-five groups of three, were asked to collaboratively write different paragraphs on the wiki page. The data were collected over 16 weeks, and it was composed of a pre-survey questionnaire, wiki records, a post-survey questionnaire, and individual interviews. Pre- and post-survey questionnaires were administered using an online survey website to get the students' opinions, and individual interviews with volunteer students and instructors were conducted at the end of the study. A password-protected class wiki was set up to help students collaborate on the writing prompts. Upon consulting with each instructor, the researcher created the writing prompts and posted them online. The results revealed that the majority of students hold positive attitudes toward wiki-based collaborative writing, listing collaboration, typing practice, and flexibility as the main reasons for such opinion. Another interesting finding indicated that students construct written texts via wikis through three basic strategies: a) typing the assignment elsewhere, then copying and pasting it into the wiki page, b) writing it under the Comments section, thus preventing anyone else from editing content, and c) finally, working on the platform. Unlike any other study, this study addresses and discusses the frequent occurrences of the aforementioned anomalies created by more than half of the twenty-five groups, and possible solutions to such occurrences. This study bridged the gap in computer-mediated collaborative writing research, and also shed new light on the challenges of introducing networked writing pedagogy in the IEP context.