Student performance on computer chats and in classroom discussions : same or different?
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This thesis explores the concept of learner interaction in the context of an advanced Business German language course at The University of Texas at Austin to evaluate classroom communication in an advanced level, content oriented foreign language course. The goal of this study was to investigate the quantitative differences between intermediate to advanced foreign language learner discourse in both face-to-face classroom and computer mediated communication (CMC) discussions by focusing on the percentages of turns and the length of student utterances in each environment. The questions addressed by this study stem from a growing body of research suggesting that the integration of CMC into the L2 classroom has pedagogical benefits that can be qualitatively and quantitatively measured. Studies focusing specifically on the use of synchronous CMC, which allows participants to communicate in real-time via networked computers, have recognized that learners interacting in a synchronous CMC environment are not bound to the same turn-taking conventions found in oral conversations. Some researchers and educators claim that synchronous CMC might be an environment that can allow for more equal exchanges than that found in comparable oral classroom conversations. Findings indicate that communication was far from equal in both of the oral environments, and that although the CMC environment produced more equal communication than the oral activities, it was still far from equally distributed. Furthermore, there were very few instances of negotiation in the CMC environment.