Make your own free website on Tripod.com

More Opinions on chats

 

         The first time I chatted was in November 2001, in  my first experience studying online. After that, I started to chat frequently with some of the people I met in that course. Then, I joined the WIA sessions and I got hooked. After observing all the interaction in our chats at TI, Yahoo, and MSN I decided to include chats as a very important aspect of the online course I was designing at the moment. After that experience, I cannot but be a believer of the advantages of chats in language learning, and my  students share that feeling too.

Negotiation of meaning is fundamental for language learning to take place and chats seem to be a natural space for that negotiation to take place, due to the immediacy of the feedback, and the feeling of being in front of the other person, with the help of emoticons.

I designed tasks to be performed through group chats. I observed how students engaged in their tasks for more than 1 hour, sometimes two, staying in task. They discussed and negotiated meaning about four different aspects: language, content, technology, and logistics, that is the way they would carry out their work in the group. Turn taking was unconsciously well distributed. They had strategies to keep on task, reminding each other about the work that needed to be completed. From time to time, they would ask the other members if they had already covered all the topics, or if there was something else they had overlooked.

 My participation was minimal, at the beginning, to make sure they knew what they had to do, or when they asked me for help, which rarely happened. They helped each other, and referred to the places where the needed information was to be found.

I went from group to group, in the same way I do in a f2f class when my students are doing group work, but this time students kept using English when I was not next to them, which is something difficult to achieve when you are f2f.

After the activity, the students and I had access to the whole discussion of each group (logs), since the students posted the log in a folder at the Yahoo Group. I will be analyzing those logs for my doctoral dissertation. These logs were the raw material for other assignments the students had to complete individually and in groups. So, these chats had a purpose, they were part of a process.

Individual chats were also included as part of the course. Originally they were designed to get to know the students’ level, learn a bit about them, and answer questions students might have about any aspect of the course. They needed to participate in 3 chats with the online moderator. Well, these chats ended up being social encounters that kept me 7 weeks sleeping only 4 or 5 hours each day (due to the time difference). They wanted to talk, they wanted to practice their English, they wanted to know about Spanish architecture, about Spanish life, about my work. I am still chatting with a good number of these students almost on a daily basis. Some like to be corrected, some do not mention the issue. I respect their choice.

I observed something very peculiar. All the instructions for the activities were posted on my web page and at the yahoo group. Well, many students used the chat to ask me about the instructions, about things they said they did not understand. Then, I used the same words (copy/paste) from my page, and to my surprise, the first time it happened, the student understood the instructions. I repeated this procedure, and in most cases, the result was the same. ???? 

Students’ final reflections about the aspect of the course they considered contributed more to their learning gains, pointed to the group chats. Reasons? Collaboration, interaction, engagement, autonomy, among others.

 If I was not completely convinced about the usefulness of chats for language learning, the students comments, and course results are enough to make me a believer.

Before starting the course, I had already used chats (and e-mail) to train the f2f teachers who were going to be working on the f2f component of the course. They had no previous experience with e-learning.

Sorry about such a long entry, but I have so many things to say about chats…. (and wait until I analyze all the data I gathered ;-)

One last comment, I think that public chat rooms are, in part, to blame for the bad reputation of chats.

Cheers,

Daf

 

Then, Teresa asked about experiences using Yahoo Messenger with students for a paper she is writing for a conference, and I posted this message:

 

Dear Tere,

Many of the students in my online course had dial-up connections and they had no problem chatting in pairs or in groups at Yahoo Messenger. Voice was not a problem either, the problem came if we wanted to use  webcams and voice at the same time because the sound comes and goes,
and at a point people start getting disconnected. Another advantage using yahoo messenger is that you can configure the setting so all chats are saved automatically, so after the class students and moderators can go back to the logs and save them to your personal files. Another feature that I like is that you can see the time next to each participation, so you can check the time spent from
one turn to the next and the length of the whole chat. With free Yahoo you can have up to 5 different conferences going on at the same time. I usually had one conference with the whole class
(20 students) where I gave instructions to the whole group, and, at the same time, 4 other conferences with 5 students each, doing group work, which I checked periodically, the same as when I go from group to group in a f2f class, with the advantage that at the end of the class, I had the logs of the 4 groups from beginning to end, which I cannot have in a f2f class.
At the same time that all this was going on (5 different conferences), I would also answer individual questions through the instant messenger.
I really enjoyed working with YM and the chats were considered by the students and myself the most valuable tool for interaction and collaboration.
Good luck with your paper! hugs, Daf

 

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Comentarios en WIA (Feb. 2003)

Tere asked for opinions on using synchronous CMC in ESL/EFL.
So, here's my line on chat:

Chat may be fun, motivating, involve cultural exchange and expand the
scope of the language classroom, BUT it is unlikely to promote language
acquisition, and it is even less likely to improve conversational or
writing skills.

And here's why I think this:

1. Chat is different. The pragmatics of chat do not correspond with
those of face-to-face communication -- turn taking, adjacency,
questioning and coherence do not operate in the same way. This is not to
say there's anything *wrong* with chat -- but it's certainly different.
Lapadat, in the paper Tere cited, acknowledged this, and observed that
"chatters" adapt to the medium. This may well be the case, but I wonder
why this is a useful skill for second language learners to acquire --
unless chat is going to be a primary mode of communication for them.
Learning the pragmatics of English conversation is hard enough - why
confuse them? The following paper by Susan Herring goes into the
pragmatics in more detail; I haven't had time to read it in detail, but
it's clearly about native speakers and not language learning:
http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol4/issue4/herring.html

2. Chat doesn't effectively promote negotiation. One of the features of
the pragmatics of chat that is most disturbing to me as a language
teacher is the number of questions that go unanswered, particularly
clarification requests and other "triggers" of negotiation for form and
meaning (which, in the interaction model, are hypothesized to lead to
language learning). A quick scan of the (French) chat logs on the Univ
of Leiden page that Tere quoted (URL below) confirms that there was
virtually no negotiation, and some of the transcripts offer little
evidence of even basic communication. My own (unpublished) research -
using Webheads TI transcripts! - found that around 25% of "talk-related
questions" went unanswered (in chats between English teachers, note),
and found no support for the claimed effectiveness of chat in promoting
negotiation.
http://www.levendetalen.nl/Tijdschriften/LTM/Themanummer/Chatten.htm

3. Chat doesn't push students. Merrill Swain has argued that SLA
requires "pushed output" -- that is the chance to modify your
interlanguage to approximate the target language. Chat as a medium does
not seem to push students to modify their output: typing skills,
informality, and chat conventions tend to lead to brevity and a lack of
complexity. The onus is on minimal communication, and not attention to
form. Although I concede that this may have a positive effect on
fluency, and it does provide some sort of practice, I would again doubt
whether there is a positive transfer to speaking or writing. I know some
people have suggested using printed transcripts for error correction,
but this misses the fundamental difference between chat and writing --
what exactly is an "error" in a chat log? And does it show evidence of
the students' interlanguage, or their typing/chatting skills, or even
the conventions of synchronous CMC?

4. Chat is not the magic bullet for equal participation. The evidence
for this idea is entirely anecodotal: the few empirical studies are
unconvincing. Certain speakers still dominate the conversation, and shy
students are not necessarily less shy online. The speed of chat can be
dizzying, and general computing skills are significant. The question of
access to computers and the internet raises important sociopolitical
questions, which Denise Murray has explored (see my bibliography:
www.geocities.com/nigelcaplan/Biblio.htm ).

5. Chat is not always motivating. It can also be frustrating, tedious
and - despite the speed with which the lines fly past - slow in terms of
the discussion.

OK, this is far too long, but I thought I'd set out my case a bit more
clearly than usual. I'd be interested as always to hear your opinions.

Phew. And it's stopped snowing now.

Nigel

:::::::::::::::::

As usual I have to disagree with Nigel regarding chats. I can say that 
my students while working in chats use English, which they do not do if 
they are F2F since they share the same L1, and I cannot be with all the 
groups at the same time, while in chats they know the chatlog will be 
there for me to know who did not use the language, and they do not know 
when I am observing their work from my computer. I have observed 
negotiation of meaning and form.
 
 
 
 
I have many times expressed that I, and my students, consider chats a 
good tool for collaborative learning.  I have, a couple of times, 
explained the kind of cooperative activities I have designed for 
collaborative chat work.  I think that what is crucial is this, the kind of task 
the students are to complete, the purpose for that task.  
 
In my case, and considering the fast pace of chats, learning spelling 
or syntax are not my goals. What I want students to do in chats is share 
their knowledge about a topic (for this to be relevant, I use jigsaw 
activities, that is each student has some information, unknown to the 
others, needed to complete the task, and then with all the information 
gathered they do another activity, individually or in groups. When they 
get to the individual task, they have to use all the information and 
write essays or paragraphs following the appropriate academic style, and 
then, they are evaluated following a rubric where all the assessing 
criteria is clearly explained. 
 
To my own surprise, negotiation of meaning took place in chats (I had 
15 group chat meetings). Students negotiated content meaning (that was 
expected), negotiated logistics (in terms or organization of work, and 
in terms of web tools use), and they also negotiated language meaning 
(spelling, meaning of words).
 
 
 
I have taken some parts of two of the chats (very short parts, because 
the shortest chat was 1 hour, because students engaged so much in the 
activity that they did not want to stop working until they had completed 
the task. Two of the groups met twice for a total of three hours of 
work). I have selected two chats with students that do not have a high 
level of English because otherwise, the discussions are too deep into the 
architectural content that it may be kind of difficult to observe the 
negotiation of meanings if you are not into the topic.
 
 
 
Some background: Architecture students with different English 
proficiency, and studying different levels in their career.  Students in 
Caracas, located in different places (university, home, cyber cafes, friend’s 
house) and online moderator in Spain. Meeting place: Yahoo Messenger. 
Each student had read a text with the description of a building (each 
one had a different building, with a photo). While in the chat session, 
they were looking at the photos. This chats took place during an online 
unit which was a complement of their f2f class.
 
It is worth mentioning that architecture students love to discuss about 
everything related to their field. They are studying architecture 
because they love it, so they are not taking a subject for obligation, and 
that’s why I use the content-based approach in my ESP teaching. This 
unit, for example, was about  Modernist Architecture in Valencia, Spain, 
which was unknown to the students, so the content was relevant and the 
audience authentic since they were using the language to communicate 
with each other about ideas and concepts (autentic audiences listen for 
content not for the form of it, that's why it is very difficult for 
teachers to be authentic audiences when we are only thinking in terms of 
evaluation.
 
 
 
I put the fragments of the chats on a web page (names have been 
changed)
 
 
 
http://dygonza.esmartweb.com/evonline2003/chats/examples.htm
 
 
 
Saved as Word web page, especially for Nigel
 
 
 
This is the final essay written by one of the students participating in 
the chats. I have not edited it. I will publish them all when I finish 
my diss. same with chats.
 
http://dygonza.esmartweb.com/evonline2003/chats/indessay-s.htm 
 
 
 
If you are interested, in another posting  I can supply some of the 
students’ comments about the chat sessions, how they evaluated them in 
terms of their learning gains.
 
 
 
Hugs,
 
Daf

::::::::::::::::

--- dafne Chavez  wrote:> I put the fragments of the chats on a web 
page> (names have been 
changed)http://dygonza.esmartweb.com/evonline2003/chats/examples.htm> Saved as 
Word web page, especially for Nigel> This is the final essay written by 
one of the> students participating in the chats. I have not> edited it. 
I will publish them all when I finish my> diss. same with 
chats.http://dygonza.esmartweb.com/evonline2003/chats/indessay-s.htm> If you 
are interested, in another posting  I can> supply some of the students’ 
comments about the chat> sessions, how they evaluated them in terms of 
their> learning gains.> Hugs,> DafDear Daf,I like and admire the way 
you are using the chat tool of yahoo messenger with your Eng. students. 
The chat activity looks effective, and your students seem excited and 
interested. I have been using MSN with my students as an elective one to 
one online activity, since Fall 2001.There were no topics assigned for 
discussion then, the students were told that the chat activity is to 
help them inquire and ask questions on homework’s assignments, certain 
grammatical items or any kind of difficulties with the course syllabus in 
general. They were told that objectives of the chat are to improve 
their typing, spelling, and writing skills, in a casual setting. In Fall 
2002, the students were encouraged to chat about any topic they like; I 
usually start a conversation by asking:(What are you doing?) To have the 
student feel relaxed, and then ask him/her (Did you read the paper 
today?), and send a link to a certain English paper. Most of them like it, 
at the beginning and show interest; but the problem is that most of 
them contact me using Arabic, and once I tell them my key board has no 
Arabic letters, most of them disappear. I tried to investigate this 
phenomenon with them, and their answers were various including a few very 
similar to the issue Vance faced in the UAE of related to a cultural 
concept on on-line chatting in general. On the other hand, many answers 
agreed on that it is faster and easier to type in Arabic. I emphasized that 
I don't mind slow typing. Some of them usually get encouraged and come 
back to chat with me, while others don’t. I have never tried the Group 
board or Yahoo or MSN messengers as a group chat tool, yet. Thanks Daf 
for the inspiration and illustration. Btw, how did you add the pop up 
boxes showing the notes on an error? Best regards,Buth
 
Buthaina Al-Othman

:::::::::

Replying to Nigel--I respond to my own question with a
resounding YES! for the reasons below (see ****):

>
>  Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2003 09:35:26 -0500
>  From: Nigel Caplan <nigel@dolphin.upenn.edu>
>  Subject: The problem with chat
>
>Tere asked for opinions on using synchronous CMC in
>ESL/EFL.
>So, here's my line on chat:
>
>Chat may be fun, motivating, involve cultural
>exchange and expand the
>scope of the language classroom,
*****Whoa! Just right there it's an SLA experience.
This would be almost enough for me.  After all,
practice is still a lot of what SLA is about.

>BUT it is unlikely to promote language
>acquisition, and it is even less likely to improve
>conversational or writing skills.
*****See below--is this the goal of chat, or should
one say, are these the goals of chat?  You demand a
lot!

>And here's why I think this:
>
>1. Chat is different. The pragmatics of chat do not
>correspond with
>those of face-to-face communication -- turn taking,
>adjacency,
>questioning and coherence do not operate in the same
>way. This is not to
>say there's anything *wrong* with chat -- but it's
>certainly different.
>Lapadat, in the paper Tere cited, acknowledged this,
>and observed that
>"chatters" adapt to the medium.
*****I would definitely agree--chat is its own medium,
and a new means of communicating.

> This may well be the case, but I wonder
>why this is a useful skill for second language
>learners to acquire --
>unless chat is going to be a primary mode of
>communication for them.
****Exactly--chat _is_ going to be a major
communication mode. Already many businesses, and for
example, the World Bank, use chat and
video-conferencing as a major means of connecting
their far-flung offices and global managers. (I think
video-conferencing presents almost the same
conventions as text chat--perhaps more so). So I think
chat conventions and chat pragmatics are very
important to learn/practice.

>Learning the pragmatics of English conversation is
>hard enough - why
>confuse them?
****I think the human mind is easily capable of
switching modes depending on what medium presents
itself. It's just a matter of practice.  Most users
feel chat is very confusing at first, yet after a very
few experiences, they catch on and really enjoy it.
[snip]

>2. Chat doesn't effectively promote negotiation. One
>of the features of
>the pragmatics of chat that is most disturbing to me
>as a language
>teacher is the number of questions that go
>unanswered, particularly
>clarification requests and other "triggers" of
>negotiation for form and
>meaning (which, in the interaction model, are
>hypothesized to lead to
>language learning).
[snip--I've cut the examples of how chat doesn't show
negotiation typical of f2f communication.]
*****This question gets into the medium--if one is
persistent, questions in chat are answered. However,
the "negotiation of meaning" to me doesn't necessarily
mean asking and answering questions. It is the
attainment of comprehension. In f2f, often questions
are unanswered also, esp. when there are more than two
interlocutors. Chat in TI also has the feature of
"whispering" and speaking directly to one individual,
so some answers to questions may be "sotto voce" and
not revealed in the transcripts. I get a feeling
(haven't done real research), that the more focused
the discussion, the more real negotiation and
interaction takes place. Obviously, this doesn't
happen with beginners in chat. (The more experienced
the chatters, the more the negotiation is relevant.)
Naturally, the medium itself creates the situation
where responses are not made quickly or directly.

>3. Chat doesn't push students. Merrill Swain has
>argued that SLA
>requires "pushed output" -- that is the chance to
>modify your
>interlanguage to approximate the target language.
>Chat as a medium does
>not seem to push students to modify their output:
>typing skills,
>informality, and chat conventions tend to lead to
>brevity and a lack of
>complexity. The onus is on minimal communication, and
>not attention to
>form. Although I concede that this may have a
>positive effect on
>fluency, and it does provide some sort of practice, I
>would again doubt
>whether there is a positive transfer to speaking or
>writing.
*****This conflates a couple of things--(1) input is
still as important as output in SLA; (2) I just read
that article in OneStop English where Taiwanese
municipalities have english corners in the parks where
children can practice English on tourists. That's
pretty minimal practice, but better than none at all.
(3) why does chat need to transfer to speaking or
writing, since they don't transfer to each other very
well?  Speaking uses about 50 common words, many of
which aren't used in writing at all (unless you are
into public lectures). How about reading? Doesn't chat
use that? Does reading transfer to speaking? Any use
of language is important, but I guess I'd maintain
that chat is of significance in itself, as a means to
motivation, more practice, cultural exchange, etc., in
ways that other media, and even asynchronous CMC
don't.  And chat is not the only thing you'd do with a
class anyone. It's like using jigsaw paragraphs as the
only way to teach reading.

>I know some
>people have suggested using printed transcripts for
>error correction,
>but this misses the fundamental difference between
>chat and writing --
>what exactly is an "error" in a chat log? And does it
>show evidence of
>the students' interlanguage, or their typing/chatting
>skills, or even
>the conventions of synchronous CMC?
****I think again this depends on how the topic of
chat is set. Writing/composition in an academic
setting is not something _anyone_ would do
voluntarily, so we can't compare it to oral
conversation or chat. However, I have witnessed small
group chats used as preparation for writing an
academic paper, and it was great--everyone was on task
and the level of conversation was very "high," that is
academic, high vocabulary, philsophical thought, et
al., and students scaffolded the language of the
assignment for each other. I don't think you can mix
medium and content here--chat will show evidence of
interlanguage if the topic is appropriate to that
purpose. However, if you can use transcripts of oral
conversation for the purposes of teaching grammar (and
this has been done), why not chat transcripts?

>4. Chat is not the magic bullet for equal
>participation. The evidence
>for this idea is entirely anecodotal: the few
>empirical studies are
>unconvincing. Certain speakers still dominate the
>conversation, and shy
>students are not necessarily less shy online. The
>speed of chat can be
>dizzying, and general computing skills are
>significant.
****Equal participation is not necessarily a goal of
SLA. In an academic setting in oral conversation or
chat, the teacher (or a good conversationalist) might
insert some prompts, such as "What do you think, Kim,"
to try to draw in the lurkers (boundary chatters,
bounders?) and to get more general participation. Or
you can do the stick--write 2 responses or else no
grade for participation. As I used to tell my students
in literature, the quality of discussion is your
responsibility, not mine. You don't like it, change it
(I just give the best prompt I can). This is true in
chat also, but then, that makes it comparable to oral
conversations in class, doesn't it?

>The question of
>access to computers and the internet raises important
>sociopolitical
>questions, which Denise Murray has explored (see my
>bibliography:
>www.geocities.com/nigelcaplan/Biblio.htm ).
*****Denise and I tend to disagree on this one, though
she has gotten a good deal of mileage out of it. (See
the urban myth that 90% of the world's population
haven't made a phone call yet--not!) Computers are in
the process of becoming ubiquitous, not the other way
around. Like food distribution, it's a political
question, not one of a lack of resources. But still,
this is not an SLA question, is it?

>5. Chat is not always motivating. It can also be
>frustrating, tedious
>and - despite the speed with which the lines fly past
>- slow in terms
>of the discussion.
*****You may not have had a Conversation class with a
roomful of Japanese students?!?  Talk about long
pauses! Just because oral f2f conversation is
frustrating and sometimes tedious, and not always
motivating for students, do we give it up?

>OK, this is far too long, but I thought I'd set out
>my case a bit more
>clearly than usual. I'd be interested as always to
>hear your opinions.
*****So to return to your first statements, maybe chat
can be a means to SLA, certainly not the only one, and
maybe it can be used to improve speaking,
conversation, and writing skills, but it is also an
important medium to master on its own.

****Nigel--thanks for putting your long message out
for discussion. As you can tell, I am biased.  Hope
you take this in the friendly-debate-style that it is
offered.  You know I always appreciate your thoughts
and comments!!
--Elizabeth
::::::::::::::::::

Hi Elizabeth, Nigel and Daf,

After having followed for the last year how friends like Venny, Rif, Daf
and Aiden have thrown their students out on the deep chat  sea in different
contexts,  I do feel sure that this is one important step towards a more
student centered peer learning. And  I agree with Elizabeth?s fine arguments
for considering chat and video conferences as important now and future
communication channels. We might also think of a world scenario where long
distance travels may become less frequent because of war risks, shortage of
petrol and other political and  environmental issues.

In chatting, thoughts may get more vivid, and less structured.  Sometimes,
in a good and deep chat among true friends, I feel that people (myself
included here) may say in open what they might have kept inside their heads
in a real life setting, or just remarked to the neighbour. Who cares,
really? If it is disrupting, then say so, or if you?ve typed a message or
question that seem to be  unanswered and you are really in need for a reply,
ask once more. I am sure that if you get to the transciption of a voice, f2f
chat in real presence, from a tape or video record,  don?t you think that
quite a lot of sentences are open unanswered questions? You cannot be sure
that each and every remark formed as a question, with a question mark in the
end, is meant to have an answer, it is also a conversational trick to keep
the kettle boiling, so to speak - am I right, or what?

Another aspect is that I might address a question to someone who will reply
in whisper or page mode, instead of shouting the reply out in the open
forum. The opposite would also happen, of course. A message may be a reply
to a hidden question, received in private mode. Just ask BJ, this is one
typical strategy of the helpdesk diplomacy. Also, it may be part of a silent
community gossip between people with some common understanding that they
have no intention to show in open just here and now.

This is a matter of different learning styles and strategies, as well as
interpersonal communication skills and styles. As you may know, I?m the kind
of person who, as a lifelong student in thepast few years has profited
immensely from the benefits of as well chat conferencing as the mail lists,
to build up a near fluent English language, especially in connection with
Webheads where I?ve found a good place to place my feet, stand up and say
whay I think, share what I know, adding my two cents and even including some
of my personal, private everyday  life experiences.  When reading English
chatlogs, homepages , papers and books, I get exposed to so many different
styles of the language, and the  language closest to the  spoken one -   is
certainly the chat multilog.   To be honest, I?ve not had very much
opportunity to voice speak with true American natives getting into deeper
levels of understanding in professional, educational matters  - and my level
of oral fluency still need to be polished. One more effect : reading the
published chatlkogs has been an inportant way for myself to improve my lazy,
typo-bewitched typing. By now, I think I?m much better at  text typing than
voice speaking  - so I willl look forward to the Wimba experiment, great
quick  page Daf!

Too late in the night to tell more ? and outdoor, we have snow, melting into
dirty little pits.

Sus
:::::::::::::::::

Thanks Daf, for the feedback and useful information.I
will try to follow your model of using chat next term,
and let you know how it comes out.

Best regards,
Buth
--- dafne Chavez <dygonza@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Dear Buth, Thanks for your nice comments.
>  I think that I have been successful with the use of
> chats because the students have felt the need to
> communicate in order to complete a task which is
> relevant for them. Maybe if I had left them to find
> a topic to chat about they would have done it for
> some minutes but would not have been so engaged, and
> for so long, in the activity. Another important
> aspect that can be observed in those fragments is
> turn taking. Students take the floor in a very well
> distributed and smooth way.

> " I usually start a conversation by asking:(What are
> you doing?) To have the student feel relaxed, and
> then ask him/her (Did you read the paper today?),
> and send a link to a certain English paper. Most of
> them like it, at the beginning and show interest"
>
> **I think this is very important because chats are
> social spaces, and people needs to get comfortable
> before getting engaged in the task. Don't we greet
> our colleagues in the morning when we get to our
> offices?
>
> "but the problem is that most of them contact me
> using Arabic, and once I tell them my key board has
> no Arabic letters, most of them disappear. I tried
> to investigate this phenomenon with them, and their
> answers were various including a few very similar to
> the issue Vance faced in the UAE of related to a
> cultural concept on on-line chatting in general."
>
> ** To get my students intro trying chats for
> learning purposes, and before the group chats, I
> told them they had to chat with me, at least three
> times during the online lesson (7 weeks), they would
> get certain grade for doing it, no matter the lenght
> of the chat. So, they felt compelled to do that for
> the grade, it was an easy way to get some points. At
> the end, most of them ended up chatting several
> times a week with me, some in daily basis. They
> still chat with me very frequently. During these
> chats I answered their questions, but we also talk
> about our families, our daily lifes, they asked me
> about Spain, we discussed architecture, politics,
> economics, etc. and ALL in English.2
>
> You know, I am so happy with the use of chats
> because I never expected the results I had. I had no
> preconception, I just wanted to give it a try, and
> used the kind of task I use in my F2F classes.
>
> "Btw, how did you add the pop up boxes showing the
> notes on an error?
>
> ** I used the Word "comment" feature.
>
> Hugs, Daf

::::::::::::::::

Don et al - see my comments below:

At 07:14 PM 9/02/2003 -0800, Don wrote:
>Buthaina (and others),
>
>Greetings from an ex-Kuwait expat -- I taught at the campus in Adeliyyah
>from 1984-1988.  Anyway, I found your reference to a comment by Vance on
>cultural attitudes towards chat interesting and was hoping be could pick up
>this topic for discussion.  I've found that Japanese students and even my
>Japanese colleague are often extremely reluctant to engage in "public"
>email forums.  Many consider email only a tool for communicating with a
>small group of "friends."  At my university, my attempts to create a
>departmental email list for the circulation of department notices (in a
>effort to shorten 4-6 hours meetings) was a total failure.  More than half
>the staff did not check email more than once a week.  Others felt it was
>inappropriate to discuss certain issues on email.

This may be a consequence of things cultural, but the same thing happens
around here in my workplace. To combat this reluctance to use online tools
some departments have simply taken the Draconian step and adopted the view
that if you want the information it will ONLY be accessible online. Much
information in my organisation is now only available via the Net (or
Intranet) and though people grumbled at the time, a year or so on everyone
now routinely goes to the Net for information and provide comment. Ends
justify the means?

>Now that I've started to explore the idea of using chat will students, I'm
>wondering in a I might fact similar negative cultural attitudes towards
>chat.  I think a lot of Japanese still see the internet as a somewhat
>risque and perhaps even dangerous place.

You might like to look at a couple of pages that contain the framework of a
workshop I run on the use of chat (and other tools). The pages at

http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/mfo/mod_wshop_ace.htm, and
http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/ed_chat_ace.htm

may give you some ideas about things you could try.

If anyone does give them a try, I'd like to know how it goes....

- Michael C.

::::::::::::::

Buthaina (and others),

Greetings from an ex-Kuwait expat -- I taught at the campus in Adeliyyah
from 1984-1988.  Anyway, I found your reference to a comment by Vance on
cultural attitudes towards chat interesting and was hoping be could pick up
this topic for discussion.  I've found that Japanese students and even my
Japanese colleague are often extremely reluctant to engage in "public"
email forums.  Many consider email only a tool for communicating with a
small group of "friends."  At my university, my attempts to create a
departmental email list for the circulation of department notices (in a
effort to shorten 4-6 hours meetings) was a total failure.  More than half
the staff did not check email more than once a week.  Others felt it was
inappropriate to discuss certain issues on email.

A similar fate awaited an elist I started called KAIWA which was to be a
forum for conversation analysts working with Japanese data.  It initially
attracted a very high-profile set of members including all the most
prominent Japanese CA researcher.  But despite a great deal of gentle (and
private) urging none of these Japanese list-members ever posted anything
and the list quickly died.

Now that I've started to explore the idea of using chat will students, I'm
wondering in a I might fact similar negative cultural attitudes towards
chat.  I think a lot of Japanese still see the internet as a somewhat
risque and perhaps even dangerous place.

--Don

:::::::::::::::::::

Michael--
  Thanks so much for the useful pages on how to do
chat. I esp. liked the pre-chat activity: what can I
do to make this chat unsuccessful? (freely remembered,
not quoted).  GOOD PAGES!!
   I've been feeling frustrated with my group's
non-participation in chat (not you WIA members, of
course!), so will give it a try again.
--Elizabeth  

:::::