Teachers need to actively encourage students to enter into dialogue in a bid to help each other in constructing their written text. This can be achieved through the teacher being involved in a direct discussion with the student and modeling different dialogue forms with feedbacks for the students to adopt. Mobile technology has been extensively used for text-based communication in business and social contexts. The question now becomes whether this mobile technology can be used to enhance the writing skills of students in academic context through transforming the engagement into an online dialogue experience. The kind of dialogue initiated here is between student peers and their tutors (Kamler and Thomson, 2014).
This research will explore how the methods that could be used to encourage online dialogue or Computer-Mediated Communication to enable students communicate with their peers and teachers in a bid to co-construct a written text (Miyake, 2007 p: 249). In Dubai, developing academic writing skills is not easy for the EFL learners. This research reflects on Dubai English instructors and their writing classes concerning the incorporation wikis as a new pedagogy in studying English as a foreign language. Wiki-mediated writing can be incorporated in the current school syllabi for the sole purpose of teaching writing skills (Khateeb, 2013 p: 4).
Wikis can help Arabic students in Dubai institutions to acquire the second language like English as well as their ability to produce written text (Khateeb, 2013 p: 10). The research study will be a mixed method intervention study with data collected through tools like pre and post intervention surveys, Wiki CMC tool, through analyzing the writings of the students, focus group discussions and taking notes by the tutors to record insights and observations. Wikis as computer-mediated collaborative writing tool are helpful for students who want to fit in the next generation of digital natives in a world that is soon becoming a tiny global village with several cultural interaction (Chandra & Chalmers, 2010 p: 36).
- What is the difference between cooperation and collaborative writing?
- What are the tutors’ and students’ views on using wikis as collaborative writing too?
- What are the challenges facing the use of wikis as a tool for collaborative writing?
- How do wikis enhance collaborative writing among EFL learners?
- What are the outcomes of using wikis in enhancing collaborative writing?
The aim of the research is uncovering the experiences and reflections of instructors in regards to the adoption of technological collaborative writing tools and the adoption of wikis as a new pedagogy for enhancing the writing abilities and writing classes for EFL students. The study will focus on the thoughts of instructors on feelings of how wikis can enhance collaborative writing for foreign language writers.
The objectives of the wiki-mediated writing pedagogy application for English as foreign language learners are:
- Integrating collaborative writing into writing skills lessons.
- To enable EFL learners to understand their writing, developing it as well as elaborating the writing to raise the awareness of the student’s writing regarding accuracy, cohesion, and contents.
- To enable these students to apply the skills of collaborative writing and its strategies in real life scenarios.
- To provide the EFL learners with an opportunity for practicing drafting, get feedback as well as comments from their peers and their instructors.
- To allow the students to construct a group wiki to serve as a reference for all the members in the group to trace their writing pitfalls and also check the negotiations of their peers.
This research is based on two fundamental theoretical paradigms composed of theories, assumptions, and hypotheses. The social view of learning is the first theoretical view that explains the performance of people working in groups, reinforcing the role of collaboration for the sole purpose of boosting learning and acquisition of knowledge and the description of the skills needed for their success. This paradigm stresses that the person and environment are linked to influence on the tasks performed for construction of comprehensive knowledge. This paradigm also identified the means of working effectively in a group setting as well as reinforcing the unity among colleagues (Northen & Kurland, 2013).
The second theoretical paradigm is computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). This approach entails implementation and evaluation of technological tools and applications for building up active learning that generates knowledge (Miyake, 2007 p: 262). The learner’s capabilities on technology are reinforced to work socially pursuing a single personal interest and on professional development at the same time realizing mutual benefits. This paradigm also addresses the concepts of discussing conflicts with peers from distant learning to achieving asserted goals in a bid of building extra knowledge for the participants by adopting new collaborative tools of authoring. Thus this mode is perceived as facilitating collaboration through relying on recent innovations in technology and using them as a means of assistance (Andriessen et al., 2013).
The process of writing is complex, exploratory and generative where the writers discover and reformulate their ideas as they try to derive meaning from the text. It is dependent on first language writing as the instructors of the foreign language do not have the experience of dealing with composition skills. L2 writers when speaking and writing rely on the L1 strategies of writing process(Wolfersberger, 2003 p: 5). The proficiency of the writing process for L2 writers is as a result of L2 writing development. To make the L2 compositions more coherent, the excellent L2 writers apply the L1 writing process strategies implying that there is a link existing between competence and expertise in the second language writing. (Wolfersberger, 2003 p: 9)
It is vital to comprehend the differences between cooperation and collaboration as they are two different aspects (Beatty, 2013 p: 119). Cooperation happens when students are assigned to individual assignments to work on them and complete them solely to achieve a certain task. Collaboration on the other extreme is a concept of social interaction seeking the mutual support of people through the provision of scaffolding and exchanging of each other’s views to understand the delegated task. There are variations between cooperative and collaborative learning. Cooperative learning is intended to foster learner interdependence for the purpose of developing the social and cognitive capabilities of the learner. Collaborative learning, on the other hand, perceives learning as the construction of knowledge within a given social context. It, therefore, intended to encourage individual’s acculturation into a learning community (Beatty, 2013 p: 121). Collaborative learning hence enables the students to complete their assigned roles through intermingling with others which allow them to have greater opportunities to negotiate when working on a shared project. Without interaction, there is no effective collaboration (Fung, 2010 P: 26).
The process of collaborative learning allows the learners to work on different compositions relying on the feedback they get form their peers. This ensures that they get familiar with the audience concept, learn how to avoid ambiguity as well as act on the questions which have been proposed by the readership (Khateeb, 2013 p: 16). Peer response helps the other student improve on their draft versions through offering useful comments. Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) practice is sustained by collaborative feedback, a core aspect of the social constructivist theory. This dissertation will be conducted in Dubai, where the first language is Arabic, a more constructive feedback from peer response among learners will be of great significance for EFL learners.
There are benefits as well as challenges of adopting collaborative writing. Researchers have confirmed that the knowledge and the experience of writing, as well as the quality of the written pieces, improve when learners are engaged in collaborative classes (Dobao, 2012 p: 41). Collaborative writing promotes written language scientific accuracy and encourages collective knowledge exchange among the peers. The learners are motivated to redraft their work and lead to profound reflections by the learner in his/her written texts. The writer begins to anticipate his/her expectations and needs in reading as collaborative writing provides him with a chance of developing the writer-reader dialogue. The peer feedback from many diverse learners provides a better understanding of writing through the generated written texts (Khateeb, 2013 p: 20).
However, collaborative writing is beset with some few shortcomings and demands careful management. The most problematic problems facing the issue according to (Dobao, 2012 p: 46) are inexperience, resistance, friction and fairness in the distribution of the peers. The students’ perception of the role of the collaboration and constructive peer feedback may impact their willingness to exchange ideas. The online discussion should not be on personal stories related to the lives of the students but rather strictly on academic topics. The adoption of collaborative writing should be guided by a disciplined and careful practice observing a high degree of caution (Dobao, 2012 p: 54).
Wikis can be used for practicing writing through collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Wikis support new literacy mediums and new forms of knowledge through integrating teaching and learning digital environment (Kuteeva, 2011 p: 49). The style of achieving the purpose of writing is now a novel aspect and the emergence of new technologies to aid in collaborative writing has led to improved forms of writing among learners. Previous wiki-based collaborative research aimed at boosting the process of learning, skills in writing as well as the perceptions that regard this knowledge area. The use of internet has led to the rise of e-plagiarism problem due to the much information available. The editing of the documents in wikis could also destroy the original contents of the user works.
The emergence of the social networking tools has made it easy to share and track documents through an extensive range of possibilities (Mao, 2014 p: 216). Web 2.0 technologies that relate to writing has created new possibilities for teachers and L2 learners to expand their skills and knowledge in the area. It is very easy to examine the written language of the users, engage and interact with peers over the internet. This has made it easy to integrate wiki and writing skills as a collaborative writing tool that can be used in colleges and universities (Mao, 2014 p: 219). They are computer-mediated communication resource and social tools encouraging communication across many writers similar to how other social networking tools like blogs do (Chandra & Chalmers, 2010 p: 39). Wikis are a useful pedagogical tool that serves to enhance more collaboration among teachers and students through mitigating the fear of sharing drafts or facing substantial criticism (Kuteeva, 2011 p: 55). This is a sound pedagogy of triggering motivation and expanding the experiences of the writers, and it will be a useful tool for EFL learners in Dubai.
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