Collaborative Learning in Virtual English Class: A Hong Kong Case Study

Lan Li (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), Dora Wong (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), Dean A. F. Gui (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), and Gigi Au Yeung (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 370
EISBN13: 9781466625938|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1933-3.ch016
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This chapter demonstrates how Second Life (SL) is used to enhance collaborative language learning on a virtual campus of a Hong Kong university. The case study reports on the learning experience of a number of undergraduate students as they navigated through a virtual task in an existing course: English for Technical and Web-Based Writing. Student avatars assessed each other’s work and shared learning experiences and comments via SL-enabled tools such as voting bars and note cards. To determine if this practice was more effective as a learning tool than a traditional classroom or two-dimensional discussion on the Internet, the students’ feedback on SL was collected through the university’s online survey system (i-Feedback), camera recorded focus group discussion and audio recorded tutor feedback. The findings suggest that different tasks in a virtual learning environment may stimulate students’ interest in their learning process, even though the technical complexities might frustrate them. The possibilities, shortcomings, and technical challenges of cultivating a community of collaborative language learning are also discussed.
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