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TESOL EV Online 2002 and CALL-IS Academic Session

TESOL 2002: Language and the Human Spirit - April 9-13, 2002, Salt Lake City, Utah


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 4, No. 2, September 2000, pp. 59-77


Cameron Richards

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


This paper argues that the dominant hypermedia models of electronic literacy are too limited to do justice to new media and changing views of literacy in the electronic age, especially in terms of their recourse to postmodern theories of representation. Such models tend to interpret the use of digital media in relation to readers or users of information viewed as producers or constructors of their own meaning and identity (e.g., Bolter & Grusin, 1999; Landow, 1992; Poster, 1995). Such a perspective on the move from print to electronic literacy generally does not distinguish between the literal intention of an author or designer and a rhetorical strategy which frames and elicits responses by an audience or the "receivers" of communication, in short, a view of electronic media as ultimately a source of contingent or accidental meaning and discrete texts of information. A critique will be made of the limitations and contradictions of a general hypermedia perspective as a basis for engaging with and going beyond--not rejecting or denying--the often innovative and useful contributions of hypermedia theorists to seek a more integrated, relevant, and grounded theory of electronic literacy in terms of a communications approach. This article thus attempts to practice as well as reflect the kind of "dialogical" approach to knowledge and human interaction advocated by Ricoeur when, for instance, challenging Derrida's poststructuralist delineation of writing and speaking as separate systems of communication (Ricoeur, 1976, 1978)--Derrida being one of the key references for a general hypermedia perspective. On this basis, it suggests that a "rhetoric of design" is perhaps a missing link providing a convergent focus for developing further an inclusive framework of electronic literacy which incorporates Internet communication as well as hypertext and interactive multimedia.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 3, No. 2, January 2000, pp. 32-43


Jan H. Hulstijn

University of Amsterdam


This paper first gives a brief characterization of the ways in which second-language acquisition researchers use the computer to elicit L2 production data or to record how L2 learners process L2 input. Eight tasks and/or techniques are described; most of them borrowed from the experimental toolbox of psychologists. The paper then describes the use of computer technology in some ongoing investigations in which the author participates. These investigations pertain to the acquisition of automaticity in L2 reading, writing, and listening, and to the use of electronic bilingual dictionaries.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 5, No. 2, May 2001, pp. 99-105



Paginated PDF version

A Commentary on "Comparing Examinee Attitudes Toward Computer-Assisted and Other Oral Proficient Assessments" by Dorry Kenyon and Valerie Malabonga

John M. Norris

University of Hawai`i at Manoa

There is no doubt that computers and related technology have already acquired considerable importance in the development, administration, scoring, and evaluation of language tests, as this special issue of Language Learning & Technology demonstrates (see also Alderson, 2000; Brown, 1997; Chalhoub-Deville & Deville, 1999; Chapelle, 2001; Dunkel, 1999). Given the integral role computers play in our lives, and advances in technology which will make possible the measurement of an expanding array of constructs, it is clear that the use of computer-based tests (CBTs) for language assessment and other educational/occupational assessment purposes will become increasingly predominant in the immediate future (Bennett, 1999). However, what is unclear is the extent to which CBTs will offer the most appropriate means for (a) informing the interpretations that language educators want to make about the language skills, knowledge, or proficiencies of L2 learners and users; and (b) fulfilling the intended purposes and achieving the desired consequences of language test use (Norris, 2000).

Of particular concern for language testing is the extent to which CBTs may contribute to assessment of productive language performances, especially those involving speaking abilities (Alderson, 2000; Bernstein, 1997; Chalhoub-Deville & Deville, 1999). Of course, computerized tests of speaking have been developed which elicit production on constrained tasks and automatically score isolated features such as fluency and pronunciation (e.g., Ordinate Corporation, 1998), and seminal work is underway in developing an integrated speaking component for the CBT Test of English as a Foreign Language (Butler, Eignor, Jones, McNamara, & Suomi, 2000). However, despite such efforts, it is questionable whether the full range of individual and interactive speaking performances that language educators are interested in will be adequately elicited in computerized formats; likewise, it is doubtful that the complexities of such performances and the inferences that we make about them will be captured by automated scoring and speech recognition technology (Burstein, Kaplan, Rohen-Wolf, Zuckerman, & Lu, 1999). Furthermore, because it is unlikely that complex speaking performances will be automatically scoreable, the applicability of computerized adaptive testing (CAT) for assessing speaking, among other complex abilities, remains unclear (see related discussions in Wainer, 2000).

Recent research and development efforts at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) demonstrate one approach to combining available technology with advances in measurement theory (i.e., adaptive testing) in order to move beyond the testing of receptive language skills (e.g., Chalhoub-Deville, 1999) and towards a creative solution to the computerization of direct tests of complex speaking abilities. As such, the Computerized Oral Proficiency Instrument (COPI) presents the language testing community with a good opportunity to further consider just how CBT capabilities may best be matched with intended uses for language tests. In this brief commentary, I will address (a) what the COPI has to offer to language testing, (b) some of the key issues that should be addressed in future research on the COPI, and (c) several fundamental concerns associated with attempts to computerize L2 speaking assessment.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 2, No. 1, July 1998, pp. 35-45


Jan L. Plass

University of New Mexico


This paper is concerned with criteria for the design and evaluation of the user interface of foreign language multimedia software. A hybrid model is proposed that combines a cognitive and software engineering approaches. Based on this proposed contextualized model of interface design, domain-specific evaluation criteria are developed to describe how well the user interface is able to support the cognitive processes involved in the development of linguistic and pragmatic skills and competencies in SLA. The application of these criteria is demonstrated using the multimedia software CyberBuch/Ciberteca.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 135-165


Paginated PDF version

Sigrun Biesenbach-Lucas

American University

Donald Weasenforth

The George Washington University


Computer-based media place new demands on language which can promote variations in language use (cf. Halliday, 1990). Electronic mail has assumed functions and formal features associated with spoken language as well as formal writing (Davis & Brewer, 1997; Maynor, 1994; Murray, 1996). This has implications for language instructors: If electronic mail does engender features of both written and spoken language, it is questionable that electronic mail writing will improve academic writing abilities. The present study attempts to provide insights into this issue. Non-native students in an intermediate pre-academic ESL course responded to writing prompts using electronic mail and word processing. Their writing was examined for (1) differences in use of cohesive features (Halliday, 1967; Halliday & Hasan, 1976), (2) length of text produced in each medium, and (3) differences in text-initial contextualization. Results indicate no obvious differences between students' electronic mail and word-processed writing. However, the electronic mail texts were significantly shorter than the word-processed texts, and text-initial contextualization was more prominent in the word-processed than in the electronic mail texts. The findings raise the question of whether electronic mail benefits students in terms of academic writing development.


Distance Education at a Glance

Contact us at

You can contact Barry Willis directly at

In order to help teachers, administrators, facilitators, and students understand distance education, Barry Willis, the Associate Dean for Outreach and the Engineering Outreach staff present the following series of guides highlighting information detailed in Dr. Willis' books, Distance Education - Strategies and Tools and Distance Education - A Practical Guide. Further use of the guides as well as links to them may be approved by Engineering Outreach Administration.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 3, No. 1, July 1999, pp. 88-103


Debra Hoven

University of Queensland, Australia


This paper proposes an instructional design model appropriate for humanistic multimedia Computer-Enhanced Language Learning (CELL) in a self-access environment for second language learning through listening and viewing comprehension. The model is grounded in sociocultural theory, and set against a background of research into the complexities of listening and viewing, individual learner differences and learning styles, characteristics of self-directed and autonomous learning, and user-friendly instructional software design.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 2, No. 1, July 1998, pp. 45-60


Farzad Ehsani

Sehda, Inc.

Eva Knodt

Sehda, Inc.


We investigate the suitability of deploying speech technology in computer-based systems that can be used to teach foreign language skills. In reviewing the current state of speech recognition and speech processing technology and by examining a number of voice-interactive CALL applications, we suggest how to create robust interactive learning environments that exploit the strengths of speech technology while working around its limitations. In the conclusion, we draw on our review of these applications to identify directions of future research that might improve both the design and the overall performance of voice-interactive CALL systems.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 4, No. 2, September 2000, pp. 78-104


Claire Kramsch

University of California, Berkeley

Francine A'Ness

Dartmouth College

Wan Shun Eva Lam

University of California, Berkeley


This paper examines what becomes of the two tenets of communicative language teaching--authenticity of the input and authorship of the language user--in an electronic environment. After a brief review of relevant research in textually-mediated second language acquisition, we analyze two cases of computer-mediated language learning: a) the construction of a multimedia CD-ROM by American college learners of Spanish, and b) the use of Internet relay chat by a Chinese high school learner of English. We discuss what kind of L2 literacy the students acquire through the computer medium. We find that a communicative approach based on the use of authentic texts and on the desire to make the learners author their own words has been changed by the physical properties of the electronic medium and the students' engagement with it. Authenticity and authorship have given way to agency and identity and the presentation of self. Indeed, computer-mediated communication leads us to rethink the authentic, the authorial, and, ultimately, the communicative itself.


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 166-201


Paginated PDF version

Julie Wood

Harvard University


A number of software programs on the market claim to foster literacy development. However, we know little about the pedagogical underpinnings of such products, particularly the extent to which they are aligned with current research for both L1 and L2 learners. This study "lifts the lid off" 16 well-reviewed software products designed for elementary grade students -- those products that make explicit claims about developing students' lexical knowledge and those that do not. The study also examines the potential of technology (e.g., hypertext, animations) to enhance vocabulary learning.

The following guidelines, derived from research, were used to examine each product. Does instruction relate the new to the known? Does it promote active in-depth processing? Does it provide multiple exposures of new words? Does it teach students to be strategic readers? And does it promote additional reading? Findings indicated that many products that made no explicit claims about fostering vocabulary learning, in fact, incorporated more guidelines than many that made explicit claims. Those in the latter group often merely varied a drill and practice routine rather than helping students really know a word. Findings also indicated that the potential of technology to help students understand word meanings has yet to be fully exploited.


Democracy or Difference:

A Literature Review of Gender Differences in Online Communication

Jennifer Vaughn Trías

Department of Mass Media and Communication

Annenberg Hall

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122


Every day more and more people surf the web or log onto cyberspace. Commercials bombard us with web page addresses and encourage us to get on-line; there is a commercial proclaiming that cyberspace is a utopia where there is no gender, no age, no race, and no infirmities. People get on-line from many places: work, school, and home. Some people spend much of their free time surfing the web, writing e-mail, or talking in chat rooms. The internet has been around since the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Project Association Network) in 1969. (Reid 1991) Because of the original nature of the internet, the majority of users have been educated, middle or upper class men, particularly those with backgrounds in science and computing; they were the people who originally had access. (Reid)

Scholarly research in the area of computer-mediated communications is a fairly recent development; communication researchers and sociologists did not really begin studying the internet until 1978, when Hiltz and Turoff wrote the book The Network Nation. In the past decade or so, use of the internet has grown exponentially; research has also increased, but not to the same extent. The arrival of women onto the CMC scene has sparked interest in communication differences between men and women. Early studies suggested that CMC was democratic. (Hiltz & Turoff 1978, Kiesler, Siegel & McGuire 1984, Rice & Love 1987, Graddol & Swann 1989, and Connolly, Jessup & Valacich 1990) Later studies have shown that gender differences in communication, such as those described by Deborah Tannen (1990), persist in CMC (Matheson 1991, Herring 1992, Ebben, 1993, Kramarae & Taylor 1993, Herring 1993, We 1993, Truong 1993, Herring 1994, Cherny 1994, Collins-Jarvis 1995, Ferris 1996, Savicki, Lingenfelter & Kelley 1996, Witmer & Katzman 1997, and Smith & McLaughlin 1997)


Language Learning & Technology

Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 55-102


Paginated PDF version

Gilberte Furstenberg

Massachussetts Institute of Technology

Sabine Levet

Massachussetts Institute of Technology

Kathryn English

Université de Paris II, Panthéon-Assas

Katherine Maillet

Institut National des Télécommunications


This paper presents a Web-based, cross-cultural, curricular initiative entitled Cultura, designed to develop foreign language students' understanding of foreign cultural attitudes, concepts, beliefs, and ways of interacting and looking at the world. Our focus will be on the pedagogy of electronic media, with particular emphasis on the ways in which the Web can be used to reveal those invisible aspects of a foreign culture, thereby giving a voice to the elusive "silent language"1 and empowering students to construct their own approach to cross-cultural literacy. We examine these new areas of cultural knowledge which the Web now renders accessible and attempt to redefine the meaning of foreign language "teaching" in the new world of networked communication.

The above material was forwarded by Elizabeth Hanson-Smith as point of departure for the EV-Online 2002 sessions. LLT have granted permission for this material to be posted here, according to Elizabeth's email to me, Dec. 4, 2001

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