Alexandria Digital Research Library

Examining Online Forum Discussions as Practices of Digital Literacy in College-Level ESL Writing

Bauler, Clara Vaz
Degree Supervisor:
Jenny Cook-Gumperz and Jason Raley
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Higher, Education, English as a Second Language, and Education, Technology of.
Language teaching
Digital literacies
ESL writing
Online forum
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Ed.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

This research study examines the role of digital media, more specifically online forums, in the development of academic literacy and language learning in English as a Second Language (ESL) college writing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition suggest that participation in online forum discussions can potentially foster collaboration, self-expression, and active involvement, affording students with a learning environment that encourages critical thinking and problem-solving. Accordingly, online forum discussions used as educational environments can also become a powerful vehicle to support academic literacy development. In this context, this research study aims to provide a careful analysis of student participation in digital practices of literacy engaged through online forums in a college-level ESL class in order to understand what ESL students accomplish discursively when expressing and disputing opinions in an online forum discussion.

Analysis will include: 1) detailed descriptive analysis of online forum discussions as forms of engagement in practices of digital literacy, with particular attention to the differences between online forum discussions as "everyday practices," engaged outside of school settings, and online forum discussions as "pedagogical practice," engaged in a college-level ESL writing class; 2) careful examination of the discourse of the contributions ESL students wrote in online forums with particular attention to viewing ESL students as multilingual individuals, creating language through expressing and disputing opinions in online forum discussions; 3) thoughtful consideration of the relationship between writing in online forum discussions and writing academic persuasive essays.

As a consequence of this study, pedagogical uses and implications for teaching with digital literacies will also be investigated through critical examination of the design and application of online forum discussions in language learning and literacy educational practices.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (246 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Clara Bauler
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