USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

Computer-mediated peer response in a level-IV ESL academic writing class

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Computer-mediated peer response in a level-IV ESL academic writing class a cultural historical activity theoretical perspective
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Jin, Li
Publisher:
University of South Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla.
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
English as a second language
Synchronous communication
Cultural historical activity theory
Motive
Goal
Social cultural context
Agency
Historicity
Dissertations, Academic -- Second Language Acquisition/Instructional Technology -- Doctoral -- USF   ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
ABSTRACT: Very few studies focus on how English as a second language (ESL) students' agency and their unique histories as an integral part of the social cultural environment influence his or her participation in computer-mediated peer response tasks, particularly in a multimedia-based synchronous communication environment. Considering each ESL student as an active agency with unique historical bearings, the dissertation investigated ESL students' participation in computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) tasks that used instant messenger (IM) as the communication technology between students from the cultural historical activity theoretical (CHAT) perspective, which views all human interaction as a dynamic developmental process. A case study approach was adopted to collect qualitative data from five ESL students enrolled in a level-4 academic writing class in summer, 2006. The entire study spanned from May to August.Each of the five participants participated in three CMPR tasks throughout the semester. Data were collected from multiple sources including a demographic survey, IM chat transcripts, the researcher's participative observations, participants' on-screen and off-screen behaviors, their first and second writing drafts, interviews, the researcher's reflective journals as well as documents collected in each instructional modules. Both within-case and cross-case analysis were used to identify emergent themes. Specific methods included constant comparison method, content analysis, revision analysis, and CHAT analysis. The findings showed that ESL students had multiple and heterogeneous motives and goals within and across CMPR tasks. Some motives were learning-oriented while others were non-learning-oriented or even entertainment-oriented.The use of IM not only triggered each student's motive and goal formation and shift, but also transformed his or her particular behaviors and the relationship established during each CMPR session. ESL students' online contributions were strongly influenced by the pair's IM communication styles and competences rather than the task types or their motives. Students also developed new perceptions about CMPR tasks, which shaped and were dialectically shaped by their participatory behaviors in each task. Conflicts and tensions existed within and between both contemporary and historical activity systems in which each student was involved. Those who actively sought solutions to the conflicts developed new knowledge and skills such as writing an exploratory essay and competences of conducting CMPR tasks. Those who ignored the conflicts experienced scarce expected development.
Thesis:
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Li Jin.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
General Note:
Document formatted into pages; contains 433 pages.
General Note:
Includes vita.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001919488
oclc - 184841040
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0002033
usfldc handle - e14.2033
System ID:
SFS0026351:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam Ka
controlfield tag 001 001919488
003 fts
005 20071218101830.0
006 m||||e|||d||||||||
007 cr mnu|||uuuuu
008 071218s2007 flu sbm 000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a E14-SFE0002033
035
(OCoLC)184841040
040
FHM
c FHM
049
FHMM
090
P118.2 (ONLINE)
1 100
Jin, Li.
0 245
Computer-mediated peer response in a level-IV ESL academic writing class :
b a cultural historical activity theoretical perspective
h [electronic resource] /
by Li Jin.
260
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
2007.
520
ABSTRACT: Very few studies focus on how English as a second language (ESL) students' agency and their unique histories as an integral part of the social cultural environment influence his or her participation in computer-mediated peer response tasks, particularly in a multimedia-based synchronous communication environment. Considering each ESL student as an active agency with unique historical bearings, the dissertation investigated ESL students' participation in computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) tasks that used instant messenger (IM) as the communication technology between students from the cultural historical activity theoretical (CHAT) perspective, which views all human interaction as a dynamic developmental process. A case study approach was adopted to collect qualitative data from five ESL students enrolled in a level-4 academic writing class in summer, 2006. The entire study spanned from May to August.Each of the five participants participated in three CMPR tasks throughout the semester. Data were collected from multiple sources including a demographic survey, IM chat transcripts, the researcher's participative observations, participants' on-screen and off-screen behaviors, their first and second writing drafts, interviews, the researcher's reflective journals as well as documents collected in each instructional modules. Both within-case and cross-case analysis were used to identify emergent themes. Specific methods included constant comparison method, content analysis, revision analysis, and CHAT analysis. The findings showed that ESL students had multiple and heterogeneous motives and goals within and across CMPR tasks. Some motives were learning-oriented while others were non-learning-oriented or even entertainment-oriented.The use of IM not only triggered each student's motive and goal formation and shift, but also transformed his or her particular behaviors and the relationship established during each CMPR session. ESL students' online contributions were strongly influenced by the pair's IM communication styles and competences rather than the task types or their motives. Students also developed new perceptions about CMPR tasks, which shaped and were dialectically shaped by their participatory behaviors in each task. Conflicts and tensions existed within and between both contemporary and historical activity systems in which each student was involved. Those who actively sought solutions to the conflicts developed new knowledge and skills such as writing an exploratory essay and competences of conducting CMPR tasks. Those who ignored the conflicts experienced scarce expected development.
502
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
504
Includes bibliographical references.
516
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
538
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
500
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 433 pages.
Includes vita.
590
Advisor: Wei Zhu, Ph.D.
653
English as a second language.
Synchronous communication.
Cultural historical activity theory.
Motive.
Goal.
Social cultural context.
Agency.
Historicity.
690
Dissertations, Academic
z USF
x Second Language Acquisition/Instructional Technology
Doctoral.
773
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?e14.2033



PAGE 1

Computer-Mediated Peer Response in a Le vel-IV ESL Academic Writing Class: A Cultural Historical Activity Theoretical Perspective by Li Jin A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of World Languages College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Secondary Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Wei Zhu, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Tony Erben, Ph.D. Linda Evans, Ph.D. Frank Breit, Ph.D. Date of Approval: May 15, 2007 Keywords: English as a second language, s ynchronous communication, cultural historical activity theory, motive, goal, social cultural context, agency, historicity Copyright 2007, Li Jin

PAGE 2

DEDICATION To my parents Yuanxue Jin and Bangzhi Wang, and to other family members w ho have supported me these years

PAGE 3

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to many people who have provided signifi cant support in various ways during the process of this dissertation study and throughout my Ph.D. years. First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Wei Zhu for her faith in me, her constant support and prompt responses to all my questions, and enlightening conve rsations. I sincerely apprec iate her attention to my study, respect for my ideas, and thoughtfu l feedback on my work. I admire her knowledge, her dedication to academic achievement, and her commitment to academic quality. I am very grateful to Dr. Tony Erbe n, for his enduring help, intelligent ideas, and encouraging conversations. I pa rticularly thank him for lead ing me into the field of sociocultural theory and igniti ng my interest in cultural hist orical activity theory. I am also thankful to Dr. Linda Evans, for her pa tience, high spirits, as well as her insightful and constructive feedback on my study. I apprec iate her support and her interest in my study. My appreciation also goes to Dr. Frank Breit, for his commitment to the academic field and his open-mindedness. I am sincerel y thankful to Dr. David Allsopp and Dr. William Young for their collaborative disposition. I thank my fellow students for their em otional support. I especially thank my cohort friends Ruth Ban and R obert Summers for sharing idea s, providing constructive feedback, and cheering me up in the past few years. My thanks to Zach Xu for helping me code the data. I am very thankful to Martha Castan da for her advice and our

PAGE 4

enjoyable conversations. I am grateful to Darunee Dujsik for her integrity and resourcefulness. I also would like to thank Dr. Tony Onwuegbuzie for his advice on my study design and data analysis, his belief in my ability, and his exemplary performance as a role model. I am very grateful to Drs. Carine Feyt en and Jeffra Flaitz for their faith in me and enduring support throughout my years as a docto ral student. My apprec iation goes to Drs. Neal Berger, David Allsopp, Jane Ad amson, and JoEllen Carlson for their considerateness and support. I am thankful to Ms. Debbi e Mitchell for her kindness and help. My special thanks go to my students in the Level-4 academic writing class in summer, 2006 who made the study possible. Last but not least, my appr eciation is to my family. I am indebted to my parents for forgiving me for being away from them for so many years and for their endless and unconditional love and support. They have my deepest love and admiration. My warmest thanks are to my other family members for their cares and understanding throughout these years.

PAGE 5

i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES vii LIST OF FIGURES ix ABSTRACT xi CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 Overview of the Field 1 Statement of the Problem 7 Purpose of the Study 8 Research Questions 14 Significance of the Study 15 Definitions of Related Terms 17 Conclusion 20 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW 22 Introduction 22 Theoretical Framework of the Study 24 Sociocultural Theory 24 Cultural Historical Activity Theory 30 Activity Engagement and Activity System 31 Three Developmental Phases of CHAT 33 Expansive Learning 41 Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) 44 Origin and Principles of DST 45 Development as a Dynamical System 46 Modeling Complex Dynamical Systems 48 Application of DST to the Study 48 Section Summary 50

PAGE 6

ii L2 Writing Theories and Peer Response 51 Writing Process Approaches 51 Four Stages of Writing Process Approaches 52 Second Language (L2) Writing and Writing Process Approaches 54 Peer Response 55 An Emergent View of L2 Writing and Peer Response 59 Section Summary 60 Computer-mediated Communica tion and Peer Response 61 CMC and Second Language Acquisition 61 CMC and Computer-mediated Peer Response (CMPR) 64 Section Summary 67 Peer Response Studies from a Sociocultural View 68 SCT and L2 Peer Response 68 CHAT and L2 Peer Response 69 CHAT-Guided L2 Peer Response in an Electric Environment 70 Section Summary 71 Conclusion 71 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY 73 Introduction 73 Research Questions 73 Academic Context: the ELI program and Academic Writing Level IV 78 Study Design: a Case Study Approach 82 Participants 85 Students 85 Sampling Technique 86 Ethical Considerations of the Participants 87 Researchers Role in the Study 87 Procedure of the Study 89 Data and Data Gathering Methods 97 Pre-Study Survey 97 Reflective Journals 98 Lab Observation 99 IM Chat Transcripts and On-S creen Behavior Recordings 101 Participants First and Second Drafts in Each Writing Task 101 In-Depth Interviews 102

PAGE 7

iii Document Review 105 Unit of Analysis and Data Analysis Methods 105 Unit of Analysis 105 Data Analysis Steps 110 Trustworthiness 130 Conclusion 135 CHAPTER IV RESULTS 136 The Profiles of the Participants 137 ESL Students Motives and Goals in CMPR Tasks 145 Motives 145 Antons Motives 147 Dianes Motives 155 Irons Motives 161 Nickys Motives 167 Rockys Motives 173 Goals 178 Goals in the CMPR Task for the Expository Essay 179 Goals in the CMPR Task for the Summary-Analysis Essay 181 Goals in the CMPR Task fo r the Argumentative Essay 184 Goals in the CMPR task for the Problem-Solution essay 186 Section Summery for ESL Partic ipants Motives and Goals 188 Mediation of the Use of Instant Messenger 190 Mediation of IM at the Activity Level 191 Mediation of IM in Motive Formation and Shift in CMPR Tasks 191 Mediation of IM in ESL Students Perceptions of CMPR Tasks 193 Mediation of IM at the Action Level 197 Mediation of IM at the Operation Level 199 E-Turns and E-TurnTaking 199 Language Functions and NonText Communicative Tool Use 211 Interpersonal Relationships in CMPR tasks 228 Mediation of the use of IM in Off-Screen behaviors 235 Section Summary for IM Mediation in ESL Students Participation in CMPR Tasks 236 Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts 238 Mediation of Social Cultural C ontext in Antons Participation 242

PAGE 8

iv Mediation of Social Cultural Cont exts in Dianes Participation 253 Mediation of Social Cultural C ontexts in Irons Participation 262 Mediation of Social Cultural Cont exts in Nickys Participation 271 Mediation of Social Cultural Contex ts in the Classs Participation 280 Mediation from the Mediational Tools 282 Mediation from the Community 285 Mediation from the Rules 286 Mediation from the Division of Labor 288 Section Summary for Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts in ESL Students Participation in CMPR Tasks 290 Mediation of ESL Students Prior Experience with Academic Writing Instruction and Computer Use in Their Engagement in CMPR Tasks 291 Mediation of Prior Academic Writing Instruction and Peer Response Activities 294 Mediation of Prior Experience w ith Instant Messenger(IM) Chat 300 An Emerging Online Discourse for CMPR 307 Section Summary 310 Conclusion 310 CHAPTER V A DYNAMIC VIEW OF ESL STUDENTS PARTICIPATION 311 Dynamic Social Settings in th e Academic Writing IV Class 312 Individuals Hierarch ical Development 312 Dynamics Within and Between ESL Students Activity Systems 319 Dynamics Within and Between Antons Activity Systems 321 Dynamics in the Use of IM 322 Dynamics in the Use of CMPR Worksheets 323 Dynamics in the Negotiation of the Rules 324 Dynamics in the Perception of Peer Response and Competences of a CMPR Partner. 324 Dynamics Within and Between Dianes Activity Systems 325 Dynamics in the Use of IM 326 Dynamics in the Perceptions of Peer Response and the Partners Roles 327 Dynamics Within and Between Irons Activity Systems 329 Dynamics Within and Between Nickys Activity Systems 332 Dynamics in the Role-Taking 333 Dynamics in the Perceptions of Peer Response 334 Dynamics in the Use of CMPR Worksheets 335 Dynamics Within and Between Rockys Activity Systems 335 Dynamics in the Roles Rocky played in the tasks 336 Dynamics in the Use of IM 337 ESL Participants Dynamic Developmen tal Trajectories in CMPR Tasks 339

PAGE 9

v Conclusion 345 CHAPTER VI SUMMARY, DISCU SSION, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS 347 Summary of Research Findings 347 Discussion 352 Dynamic Motive Shifts and Discursi ve Social Cultural Historical Contexts in CMPR Tasks 353 Tensions and Problems Emerging in CMPR Tasks 359 Learning and Development during ESL Participation in CMPR Tasks 362 Recommendations for Future Research 370 Implications for Pedagogical Implementation 373 REFERENCES 378 APPENDICES 393 Appendix A CELT 394 Appendix B MTELD 398 Appendix C Academic Writing IV Syllabus 403 Appendix D Sample Peer Response Instruction Sheet 406 Appendix E Peer Response Worksheets 407 Appendix F Informed Consent 411 Appendix G Pre-Study Survey 414 Appendix H Sample Interview Questi ons with Student Participants 417 Appendix I Observation Protocol 419 Appendix J Coding Scheme for Revision Analysis 420 Appendix K Coding Scheme for Language Function in Online Chat 422 Appendix L Beyond-screen Behavior Matrix 424

PAGE 10

vi Appendix M On-screen Behavior Matrix 427 Appendix N The Profiles of the Participants 431 Appendix O Scale for Quantifying ESL Participants Performances 433 ABOUT THE AUTHOR End Page

PAGE 11

vii LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Leontevs Hierarchy of Activity Theory 35 Table 2 Study Procedure 94 Table 3 Data Sources and Data Analysis Methods 96 Table 4 Revision Rubric 111 Table 5 Beyond-Screen Behavi ors during CMPR Session 1 114 Table 6 On-Screen Behaviors During CMPR Session 1 114 Table 7 Antons Revision in the Expository Essay 149 Table 8 Antons Revision in the Summary-Analysis Essay 151 Table 9 Antons Revisions in the Argumentative Essay 153 Table 10 Dianes Revisions in the Argumentative Essay 158 Table 11 Dianes Revisions in the Problem-Solution Essay 160 Table 12 Irons Revisions in the Exploratory Essay 162 Table 13 Nickys Revisions in the Summary-Analysis Essay 168 Table 14 Nickys Revisions in the Argumentative Essay 171 Table 15 Nickys Revisions in the Problem-Solution Essay 172 Table 16 Participants Goals in the CM PR Task for the Expository Essay 179

PAGE 12

viii Table 17 Participants Goals in the CMPR Task for the Summary-analysis essay: 181 Table 18 Participants Goals in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 184 Table 19 Participants Goals in the CMPR Task for the Problem-Solution essay 186 Table 20 E-Turns and E-Turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay 200 Table 21 E-Turns and E-Turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the SummaryAnalysis Essay 202 Table 22 E-Turns and E-Turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 205 Table 23 E-Turns and E-Turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the Problem-Solution Essay 209 Table 24 Language Functions and non-Text Tool use in the CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay 212 Table 25 Language Functions and non-Text Tool Use in the CMPR Task for the Summary-Analysis Essay 214 Table 26 Language Functions and non-Text Tool Use in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 219 Table 27 Language Functions and non-Text Tool in the CMPR Task for the Problem-Solution Essay 223 Table 28 ESL Participants Perfor mances in the CMPR Tasks 342

PAGE 13

ix LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Zone of Proximal Development 27 Figure 2 Vygotskys View of Mediated Actions 34 Figure 3 The Structure of a Human Activity System 38 Figure 4 A Knotworking Model of Interacting Activity Systems 39 Figure 5 Antons Motive Shift 154 Figure 6 Dianes Motive Shift 161 Figure 7 Iron's Motive Shift 167 Figure 8 Nicky's Motive Shift 173 Figure 9 Rocky's Motive Shift 178 Figure 10 Antons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay 243 Figure 11 Antons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 248 Figure 12 Dianes Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 254 Figure 13 Dianes Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the ProblemSolution Essay 258 Figure 14 Irons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay 263 Figure 15 Irons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the SummaryAnalysis Essay 267 Figure 16 Nickys Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the SummaryAnalysis Essay 272

PAGE 14

x Figure 17 Nickys Central Activity Sy stem in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay 276 Figure 18 Nickys Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the ProblemSolution Essay 279 Figure 19 The Class Activity System of Learning Conducting CMPR Tasks in Summer, 2006 282 Figure 20 Central Activity System and Neighbor Activities 293 Figure 21 Irons Activities, Actions, and Operations 314 Figure 22 Anton, Diane, and Nickys Ac tivities, Actions, and Operations 317 Figure 23 Antons Dynamic Activity Systems 321 Figure 24 Dianes Dynamic Activity Systems 326 Figure 25 Irons Dynamic Activity Systems 329 Figure 26 Nickys Dynamic Activity Systems 333 Figure 27 Rockys Dynamic Activity Systems 336 Figure 28 Anton and Irons Performance Dynamics in CMPR Tasks 343 Figure 29 Diane and Nickys Performance Dynamics in CMPR Tasks 343

PAGE 15

xi Computer-Mediated Peer Response in a Le vel-IV ESL Academic Writing Class: A Cultural Historical Activity Theoretical Perspective Li Jin ABSTRACT Very few studies focus on how English as a second language (ESL) students’ agency and their unique histories as an inte gral part of the social cultural environment influence his or her participation in compute r-mediated peer response tasks, particularly in a multimedia-based synchronous communication environment. Considering each ESL student as an active agency with unique histor ical bearings, the diss ertation investigated ESL students’ participation in computer-media ted peer response (CMPR) tasks that used instant messenger (IM) as the communicat ion technology between students from the cultural historical activity theoretical (C HAT) perspective, which views all human interaction as a dynamic developmental proce ss. A case study approach was adopted to collect qualitative data from five ESL st udents enrolled in a level-4 academic writing class in summer, 2006. The entire study spanned from May to August. Each of the five participants participated in three CMPR tasks throughout the semester. Data were collected from multiple sources including a demographic survey, IM chat transcripts, the researcher’s participative obser vations, participants’ on-screen and off-screen behaviors, their first and second writing dr afts, interviews, the researche r’s reflective journals as well as documents collected in each instru ctional modules. Both within-case and crosscase analysis were used to identify emergent themes. Specific methods included constant

PAGE 16

xii comparison method, content analysis, revision an alysis, and CHAT analysis. The findings showed that ESL students had multiple and he terogeneous motives and goals within and across CMPR tasks. Some motives were learning-oriented while others were nonlearning-oriented or even entertainment-orie nted. The use of IM not only triggered each student’s motive and goal formation and shift, but also transformed his or her particular behaviors and the relationship establis hed during each CMPR session. ESL students’ online contributions were strongly influenced by the pair’s IM co mmunication styles and competences rather than the task types or their motives. Students also developed new perceptions about CMPR tasks, which shaped and were dialectically shaped by their participatory behaviors in each task. Conflicts and tensions existed within and between both contemporary and historical activity sy stems in which each student was involved. Those who actively sought solutions to the conflicts developed new knowledge and skills such as writing an exploratory essay and competences of conducting CMPR tasks. Those who ignored the conflicts experience d scarce expected development.

PAGE 17

1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Overview of the Field Group and pair work has been pervasivel y used in education (Storch, 2002). For decades, peer response, a collaborative activity in which students exchange their writing drafts and provide feedback based on which re levant revisions are made, have been used in both first language (L1) (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996) and s econd language (L2) writing classrooms (Mittan, 1989; Liu & Hansen, 2002). In addition to teacher feedback, peer response provides an alternative venue of obtaining feedback. Writing researchers and educators believe that through peer response, a student can develop the proficiency with regard to linguistic forms (Storch, 1998), grammatical accuracy (Storch, 2001), meaning (Berg, 1999), content and organization (H edgcock & Lefkowitz, 1992; Nystrand & Brandt, 1989) as well as a sense of a udiences (Lockhart & Ng, 1995). As for the reviewers who are actively engaged in peer re sponse, they acquire critical writing skills, which benefit their later wr iting (Leki, 1990; Mittan, 1989). In both L1 and L2 writing, peer response has been used as an umbrella term that is used interchangeably with a myriad of terms, such as “p eer feedback”, “peer review”, “peer editing”, or “pee r revision” (de Guerrero & Villam il, 1994; Villamil & de Guerrero, 1996). To avoid confusion, from this point of ti me on, peer response will be used in this study to refer to this peer collaborative activ ity in writing classrooms, which is carefully defined by Liu and Hansen (2002) as follows:

PAGE 18

2 “The use of learners as sources of info rmation and interactants for each other in such a way that learners assume roles a nd responsibilities normally taken on by a formally trained teacher, tutor, or editor in commenting on and critiquing each other’s drafts in both written and oral form ats in the process of writing.” (p. 1) Peer collaboration is supported by multiple theoretical stances including general second language acquisition theories (SLA) (e.g. Long, 1983, 1985; Pica, 1994), writingas-a-process approaches (e.g. Emig, 1971), coll aborative learning th eory (Bruffee, 1993), and sociocultural theory (e.g. Donato, 1994; Lantolf & Apple, 1994; Lantolf, 2000; Vygotsky, 1978). The interactioni st view of SLA purports th at collaboration between peers provides more opportunities for comp rehensible input (e.g. Doughty & Pica, 1986; Pica, 1994; Long, 1985), negotiation of meaning (Long, 1983), focus on form (Long, 1985), and comprehensible output (Swain, Br ooks, & Tocalli-Beller, 2002), which are conducive to second language learning. Wr iting in a second language is not only a process of composing, but a process of ma king use of a second language. Hence, peer interaction is in turn conducive to learning second language writing. As a response to product-oriented writi ng theory, which considers writing is an individual cognitive activity aiming at a fina l product, L1 writing process approaches emphasize the indispensability of peer res ponse in the process of writing. Proponents of the approaches conceive writing as a comp lex, recursive and problem-solving process, which is comprised of brainstorming, ou tlining, drafting, and editing (Elbow, 1973; Grabe & Kaplan, 1996). Particular ly, students are encouraged to engage in multiple drafts and revision activities, which are assisted through receiving teacher and peer feedback (Faigley & Witte, 1981; Flower & Hayes, 1981) It is assumed that peers can help

PAGE 19

3 student writers realize the gap between what they have written and what they intend to express. It is also assumed that while providing feedback, st udents can notice and acquire new writing skills which can late r transfer to their own wr iting. Strongly influenced by L1 writing theory, many L2 writing resear chers (e.g. Mittan, 1989) agree that peer response bears similar importance in L2 writing process. The use of group or peer work in te aching and learning also is promoted by collaborative learning theory, which holds a social view of lear ning (Faigley, 1986). A central tenet of this theory is that knowledge is not transmitted from one person to another, but co-constructed by people in soci al interaction. Bruffee (1993), a prominent proponent of collaborative writing, defines coll aborative learning as a type of learning that takes place when students are involved in group interaction. He argues that some knowledge can be best acquired only in this way. L1 writing researchers (e.g. Bruffee, 1993; Gere, 1987) found that collaborative wr iting could benefit students by providing certain resources that are not accessible to students when they are working individually. In addition to this benefit, L2 writing rese archers (e.g. Hirvela, 1999) also found that L2 students had linguistic gains a nd they had more opportunities to reflect on what they had learned and how to effectively use them when engaged in collaborative writing tasks. Another line of this socially constructed writing is the notion of discourse community (Swales, 1990), which purposes that thr ough interaction and co llaboration, student writers are apprenticed into one or more academic discourse communities in which they learn the specific conventions and genr es shared by all discourse members. The fourth theoretical stance, whic h has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years, is sociocultural theory (V ygotsky, 1978). Vygotsky asserts that human mind

PAGE 20

4 is mediated by various psychological and phys ical tools among which language is a premium tool that not only facilitates co mmunication also manipulates higher mental functions such as planning and reflecting. In a sociocultural view, human cognitive development is originated in social interac tion in which an indivi dual learns to extend their competence with the help of a more experienced indi vidual. The space between the individual’s actual level of competence at which the individual can complete a task individually, and the potential level at wh ich the individual need s help from more experienced others to accomp lish a task is called the zone of proximal development (ZPD). In recent years, this notion has b een extended by SLA researchers (e.g. DiCamilla &Antn, 1997; Donato, 1994) to that help needed in the ZPD can be obtained from either an expert or any peer who is at the same level or even lowe r level of competence. In other words, learning is a dialectic process in whic h both interactants can learn from each other regardless of their pr oficiency gap. Drawing on the aforementioned theoretical underpinnings, peer re sponse has been widely accepted as a viable teaching strate gy in both L1 and L2 writing classrooms, which in turn has evoked increasing interest of writing research ers. Since the 1980s, a myriad of empirical studies have been conduc ted with an attempt to uncover the effect and students’ behaviors in peer response in L2 writing classrooms. Different aspects of peer response have been investigated with bot h quantitative and quali tative methods, such as, the process of peer response regarding in teractants’ stances, strategy use, language functions, role division and status (Carson & Nelson, 1994; de Guerrero & Villamil, 2000; Lockhart & Ng, 1995; Nelson & Mur phy, 1992; Zhu, 2001), the quality of peer response (Caulk, 1994), cultural effect on pe er response behaviors (e.g. Atkinson, 2001;

PAGE 21

5 Nelson, 1997), the impact of peer feedback on subsequent drafts (Connor & Asenavage, 1994; Mendona & Johnson, 1994; Nelson & Mu rphy, 1993; Tsui & Ng, 2000), affective advantages of peer response (Zhang, 1995), stud ents’ perceptions of the effectiveness of peer response (Nelson & Carson, 1998), and th e impact of training for peer response (McGroarty & Zhu, 1998; Zhu, 1995). These st udies have contributed to a better understanding of peer response in L2 writing classrooms. However, a closer review of these studies reveals that the cu rrent understanding is still incomprehensive. The majority of th e aforementioned studies (e.g. Carson & Nelson, 1994; Lockhart & Ng, 1995) have focused on th e isolated dyadic in teraction, which hold meager, if not none, interest in the macro-level social and po litical structures that may have significant impact on the micro-level actions of students in writing classrooms (Russell, 1997). In addition, although it is ac knowledged by an increasing number of L2 writing researchers (Carson & Nelso n, 1994. 1996; Ramanathan & Atkinson, 1999; Zhang, 1995), attention to the cultural and hi storical background born by each L2 student participating in peer response has been as tonishingly missing in the majority of L2 writing research. Another important aspect of peer interaction that has not been investigated thoroughly is student writers’ individual motives and goals of participating in peer response. It is overwhelmingly assume d in a great number of current studies that all students involved in a peer response task share the same goals with the teacher and with their group members. However, resear chers adopting a sociocultural perspective (Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Roebuc k, 2000) argue that to explai n students’ performance in a task requires a close look at each st udent’s own goals and intentions.

PAGE 22

6 In recent years, advanced computer tec hnologies have taken a penetrating role in everybody’s daily life. Particularly, they ha ve attracted abundant attention from educators. Technology claims a great potenti al in assisting la nguage teaching and learning as well (Chapelle, 2001; Warsch auer & Kern, 2000). Researchers (e.g. Salaberry, 2001) agree that it would be a grea t waste of resources if educators do not take advantage of information technologies. On e influential technology used in languagerelated learning is computer-mediated co mmunication (CMC), which enables language learners to communicate with each other th rough networked computers (Warshauer & Kern, 2000). Since early 1990s, a great numbe r of studies have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of CMC in SLA (e.g. Chun, 1994; Kelm, 1992; Kern, 1995). The findings show that in electronic discussi ons, language learners display lower levels of anxiety (Beauvois, 1992; Kelm, 1992), more active and equalized pa rticipation (Kelm, 1992; Kern, 1995; Sullivan & Pr att, 1996), more peer-to-pe er interaction (Erben, 1999; Kern, 1995), and greater amount of language production (Beauvois, 1992; Kelm, 1992; Kern, 1995). A multitude of research has been conducte d on application of CMC in L2 writing as well, for example, students’ development of target-like writing styles via CMC (David & Thiede, 2000), e-mail journaling on accuracy and fluency (Gonzlez-Bueno & P rez, 2000), comparison of computer-mediated and pen-and-pencil writing in terms of the social roles adopted by writers in group j ournaling (Abrams, 2001), and comparison of synchronous communication and face-to-face in teraction in a L2 peer response activity (Liu & Sadler, 2003). While some research ers (e.g. Nabors & Swar tley, 1999; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996) confirm the benefits br ought by networked tec hnologies, others (e.g.

PAGE 23

7 Braine, 2001) discover that the feedback pr ovided in a networked environment does not result in a better written text. It seems whet her and to what extent CMC can benefit L2 writing, particularly in a peer response task, ar e still subject to debate. The fact that CMC is omnipresent in today’s writing classrooms merits further studies on how the use of CMC influences peer response in L2 writing classrooms. Statement of the Problem An overview of the existing theories and studies in L2 peer response reveals that abundant attention in the field of L2 writing has been placed on either text-as-discourse or isolated dyadic interactive behaviors with regard to linguistic, cognitive, and affective aspects revealed in peer response. It has been generally overlooked that an individual student’s orientation to th e peer response activity is usually driven by their own perceptions of the task and intentions as well as is situated in complex social and material circumstances. Despite a surging number of st udies intended to inves tigate the effects of diverse elements such as teacher expectati ons and peer stances within the classroom environment on L2 students’ interactive be haviors, the findings are far from being exhaustive. The understanding of the complex so cial and cultural c ontext in which peer response, a multifaceted social practice, is situated remains nebulous. The historical influences, in other words, L2 students’ pr ior experience of writi ng instruction on peer interaction, have been surp risingly overlooked as well. Despite the fact that a seemly exhaustiv e number of studies have been conducted on L2 peer response, the majority of them me rely depict a descriptive picture of what occurs during peer response. How learning and development in terms of cognitive and social-cultural communication skills takes place remains untangled.

PAGE 24

8 Besides the remaining problems in L2 p eer response, the pervasive adoption of computer technologies, particularly CMC, in peer response ac tivities draws more complexity in peer interaction in L2 writing classrooms. Amo ng a variety of CMC technologies, synchronous technologies such as instant messaging, are attracting surging interest among language educators because of the similarities between synchronous communication and face-to-f ace communication in terms of communication discourse and messages delivered in a certain time peri od. Despite their great potential in assisting L2 learning, very few empirical studies have been conducted to i nvestigate th e potential and/or constrains of synchronous tec hnologies in L2 writing classrooms. Peer response, particularly in a comp uter-mediated environment, has been considered a viable learning task in L2 writing classrooms. Failure to consider the aforementioned factors that may severely affect students’ performances in peer response may result in an incomplete understandi ng of peer response theoretically and pedagogically, which in turn may cause a misunderstanding of the learning and development that occurs in this classroom learning task. Ultimately, the consequences will be reflected on students’ unsatisfying outcomes. Thus, more studies should be conducted to uncover the aspects of computer-m ediated peer response (CMPR) that have been incompletely explored in previous studies. Purpose of the Study Inspired by current theories and motivat ed by the gaps remaining untangled in previous studies in L2 peer response, th is study was intended to investigate how L2 students perform when participating in peer re sponse that is carried out in a computermediated communication environment through a cultural historical activity th eoretical

PAGE 25

9 (CHAT) perspective. CHAT was adopted as the primary guiding theoretical framework in the study because it lent the researcher a special lens to consider all human interaction as a learning and developmental process by attending to the influences from both the social cultural environment and historical background as well as individuals’ motives and goals. CHAT, which is extended from Vygotsky’ s (1978) sociocultural theory, is a social psychological approach to underst anding human mental functioning, social contexts, and processes surrounding the mental behavior, i.e. the process of peer response. Contrary to dualism, which perc eives human and the society as separate entities, CHAT as well as sociocultural theory assert that learning has its origin in social interaction (Engestrm, 1987; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). CHAT provides a cultural historical view of human beha viors that result from socially and historically constructed forms of mediation in human ac tivity (Lantolf, 2000). The activity that integrates various mediating artifacts including both physical a nd psychological tools is called a functional system (Luria, 1973, from Lantolf, 2000). Thus, th e unit of analysis in activity theory is the activity, rather than merely a single individual. Writing researchers, e.g. David Russell (1995, 1997) and Jeff Wiemelt (2001), argue that activity theory provides a broader view of writing, which enables wider levels of analysis than the dyad. CHAT, whose roots can be traced back to Vygot sky’s (1978) sociocu ltual theory, has experienced several generations of advancement (Engestrm, 1987, 1993, 2001; Leont’ev, 1981). The proposed study will mainly use some conceptual constructs proposed in the second generation, i.e. Leont’e v’s notion of hierarchical structure of activity, and the third generati on of activity theory, i.e. dyna mic human activity systems,

PAGE 26

10 mediation, contradictions and expansive learning, which provides a theoretical framework to explain L2 student writers’ performance in a computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) task. According to Leont’ev’s notions of activity theory, any situated event should be analyzed at three levels: activity, actions, and operations. Each level represents a different but complementary perspective of human behaviors (Wells, 1999). At the level of activity, any behavior is driven by a desire or a need, like hunger or the need to learn writing in a second language. Need s are not noticed until they turn into an individual’s goal-directed actions. In other words, a need becomes a motive once it is directed toward a goal. Whereas a motive is usually collectiv e and unconscious, a goal is the desired end of actions, thus is conscious. All goal-direct ed actions are operate d in the context of concrete material circumstances, for exampl e, in an online communication environment. The same motive might be realized in differe nt actions that are bounded in one activity. However, the same actions can be linked to different motives, thus constitute different activities. Goals cannot be a ppropriately understood without ta king into consideration the motives. As mentioned earlier, the unit of analysis in activity theory is the activity rather than merely an individual. Each activity is distinguished based on the underlying motive or an object. Lantolf and Thorne (2006) interpret that motives in one classroom setting may vary among students as well as cha nge within one student over time. Other researchers taking a sociocultural persp ective (Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Donato, 1988; Roebuck, 2000) differentiate a task from an ac tivity. Coughlan and Duff posit that a task, like peer response, is merely a “behavior blueprint” imposed by an outsider whereas

PAGE 27

11 activity is the behavior the subject(s) conducts when performing in a task. Roebuck further explains this distinction by saying that subjects as “individual agents” shape their activity “based on their own particular goals, mo tives, and sociocultural histories” (p. 94). The proposed study will look at what motives an d particular goals each L2 student as an individual agent involved in the compute r-mediated peer response task holds. The third generation of CHAT, namely, E ngestrm’s notions of activity systems, further expands Leont’ev’s view of activity and includes three more mediational factors of human social practice: the community, th e rules of community and division of labor (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Engestrm argues that a human activity system such as peer response is constituted by subject (s) under investigation, which can be either an individual or collective human (such as students participating in computer-mediated peer response), object that motivates the subject and is s ubsequently transformed into expected outcome (such as revised written texts), cu lturally and historically constructed artifacts including psychological and physic al tools that shape and are shaped by the activity (such as textbooks, computers), community that are constituted by people involved in the activity system (such as students and the teacher in a L2 writing class), rules that guide human interaction in the community, and division of labor All elements of an activity system are cons tantly constructed within themselves as well as influence and shape each other so th at the system is constantly adapting and transforming. According to Engestrm, what appears initially object may be transformed to the outcome then to an instrument, and may later turn into a rule. By using this model, each ESL student participating in the compute r-mediated peer response can be considered as a subject in a system of activity, which is constantly shifting and changing. After an

PAGE 28

12 individual’s object is tr ansformed to the outcome, it may turn into an instrument or even a rule that mediates his/her later actions, whic h leads to a new object, thus a new system of activity. The contradictions and conflicts wi thin the activity system and between the current activity system and other systems are th e driving force of these changes. In other words, these contradictions may exist in stude nts’ current social cultural context or in other activity systems, such as their prior ex perience of writing instru ction and of the use of computers and CMC. The process of solvi ng these contradictions and conflicts is the transformation process through which each stud ent orients toward their object-related activity. The primary interest of this study was how ESL students as individual agents performed in the CMPR tasks. Particular ly, the researcher in vestigated the dynamic developmental process involved in ESL students’ peer interaction that was driven by his or her own motive and concurrently mediated by various social cultural artifacts, particularly computer technol ogies, his or her relation with the community and the rules of the community, labor divisi on in the community as well as his or her diverse prior experience. To enhance a tran sparent depiction of this dyna mic developmental process, a secondary theory, dynamical systems theory (DST), was adapted in the study. Dynamists, such as van Gelder, Port (van Gelder & Port, 1995), Thelen and Smith (Thelen & Smith, 1994; Smith & Thelen, 2003), be lieve that all cognit ive activities, e.g. learning and development, are dynamic systems, which are composed of multiple variables interacting with each other. C onstant interactions among systems exist simultaneously. One change of one variable in one system affects the chances in other variables, which results in th e changes of the whole system as well as other systems. In

PAGE 29

13 addition, a change at very early stage may ha ve influence on changes at a late stage. Thus, all changes are histori cally related. Time is an important component in all dynamical systems. According to DST, all hum an events are chaotic. To depict the chaotic dynamic process, a twoor three-dime nsional diagram with time as a parameter is the best way to record changes over time. A dopting the construct of timescale in DST and the activity concept in CHAT, the resear cher represented the dynamic learning and developmental process involved in ESL stude nts’ participation in the CMPR tasks throughout the summer semester in 2007 in a two-dimensional diagram in which the time was a parameter on the X axis, while partic ipants’ engagement level during each CMPR task was the second parameter on the Y axis. In sum, drawing on CHAT, this study inve stigated the performance of five ESL students in the CMPR tasks throughout th e summer semester with a focus on these students’ individual motives and goals of pa rticipation in CMPR tasks as well as the dynamic nature of CMPR as a transforming process for each of them. To uncover the learning and developmental process involved in CMPR, the analysis was supplemented by the constructs of timescale and attractor s in DST. The CMC technology adopted in this study was a synchronous communication tool, MSN instant messenger. A case study approach was employed to analyze data co llected throughout CMPR sessions in a levelIV ESL academic writing class at a southeastern university in the U.S. Data were collected from multiple sources including participative observations (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003), video taping, online recording, intervie ws, document review, and the researcher’s reflective journals. Qualitative data analysis methods such as content analysis (e.g. Carley, 1993; Holsti, 1969), constant co mparison method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967;

PAGE 30

14 Lincoln & Guba, 1985), and CHAT analys is (e.g. Engestrm, 1987, 1999; Leont’ev, 1983) were used to analyze the data. Research Questions The overarching question of the propos ed study is how English as a second language (ESL) students as individual agen ts perform in computer-mediated peer response (CMPR). Sub-questions are as follows: I. What are the motives and goals of ESL students who participate in CMPR and how do the motives and goals maintain or change overtime? II. How do computer-mediated technologies, particularly synchronous chat, mediate ESL students’ interaction in peer response? III. How do the current social and cultural context influence ESL students’ peer interaction in CMPR? IV. How do students’ prior experience with wr iting instruction and with computers use, particularly computer-mediated communicati on (CMC), influence their participation in CMPR? V. What is the dynamic nature of CMPR? Question 1 looked at what the motives and goals of ESL students participating in CMPR held as well as whether and how th ese motives and goals shifted over time. Question 2 focused on the medational roles synchronous communicati on technologies, in the current study, instant messenger, played in CMPR. Question 3 and 4 inquired the influence of sociocultural and historical factors on `peer in teraction in CMPR. Question 5 aimed to depict a comprehensive picture of the constant transforming and developing process of the activity system of each ESL students involved in CMPR as well as the

PAGE 31

15 dynamic nature of the CMPR itself as a func tional system of activ ity. The answers to these questions represented the learning and developmental processes each ESL participant experienced in computer-mediated peer response, which were driven by their individual motives and particul ar goals as well as were mediated in a dynamic mode by the employed synchronous communication technology and by the synchronic and diachronic contexts. Significance of the Study The study differed from previous empiri cal studies in peer response in the following aspects. First, it considered each student as an individual agent who had particular motives and goals of conducting certain actions, rather than passively following the instructed steps imposed by the instructor. Thus, each student perceived the CMPR task in a heterogeneous way. Second, c ontrary to the dualism that predominantly guides the majority of previous studies on p eer response, the current study borrowed the cultural historical activ ity theoretical perspe ctive, which extends Vygotsky’s view that individuals’ thought structures are interlinked with social and material conditions of their social practices and claims that individual actions are mediated by both cultural artifacts and spatial and temporal social contexts. CHAT focuses on a functional activity system, which is constituted by subjects (such as ESL students), cultural artifacts (such as MSN instant message, the CMPR worksheets), and so cial interactions be tween subjects, the community and the commonly understood rules of the community (such as the norms students needed to follow in casual IM chat a nd in CMPR), and divisi on of labor in the community setting (such as the reader’s and writer’s roles each participant was expected to play during each CMPR task). All compone nts in this system constantly construct and

PAGE 32

16 shape themselves and each other. Thus, th e system is dynamic and ever-changing, which helps inform ESL students’ learning and deve lopment process in peer response. Through this lens, students’ history was also consid ered as an important attribute to their performance, thus was concerned in this st udy. In addition, by adopti ng the constructs of timescale and attractor from DST, the ever-changing dyna mic processes each participant went through during each CMPR task were de picted in two-dimensional diagrams, which has never been conducted in previous studies. The findings of this study contributed to the theory and practice of L2 peer response, computer-mediated communication, a nd potentially the theo retical refinement of CHAT. It provided a comprehensive examination of the L2 computer-mediated peer response task, which was perceived as a dyna mic and developmental process. Students’ behaviors in the peer response tasks were inte rpreted through a cultura l historical lens by interlinking dyadic interaction with the social and cultural context in which peer response tasks were conducted, which provided an alte rnative interpretation of the peer response tasks and filled in the gaps remained una ttended in previous studies. The study also offered significant implications for L2 writi ng practitioners. A clear er picture of online peer response depicted in this study provide d more support and guidance to teachers who intend to effectively implement computer technologies in pe er response activities in L2 writing classrooms. The study may also, in a lim ited fashion, contribute to general social science research on computer-mediate communi cation by calling for a cultural historical activity theoretical perspectiv e to analyze the roles computer technologies play in teaching and learning settings.

PAGE 33

17 As for the contribution to the theoreti cal refinement of CHAT, although CHAT has become a well-known psychological theory to assist the understanding of human learning and development, it is still a descript ive theory and there is still controversy over the definitions of cer tain terms, such as object and outcome. CHAT is by no means a clearly-articulate analytical methodology, such as the analysis of motive. In the current study, the researcher proposed a number of data analysis methods, which integrated both CHAT constructs as well as the constructs from DST. It is hoped that empirical data from the study help refine the CHAT by clarifyi ng the opaque and contr oversial understanding of some key terminologies and offering a more articulate way to analyze activity systems. Definitions of Related Terms The study took an activity th eoretical framework to in terpret L2 peer revision activity in a computer-mediated communicati on environment. The following terms were employed throughout the study: 1. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) one-to-one, or many-to-many communication through computer networks, wh ich can take place in synchronous (realtime, simultaneous), or asynchronous (time-de layed) mode. Thus, the proposed study will focus on the use of a synchronous communica tion tool--Yahoo! Me ssenger in a peer response activity in an English as a sec ond language (ESL) academic writing class. 2. Peer Response process that students provide co mments on each other’s writing. The writer will make revisions based on feedback obtained from the peer reviewer. This study will investigate the peer response activity taking place in a sync hronous commucniation environment.

PAGE 34

18 3. Cultural Historical Activity Theory – Extended from Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory, this theory was initiated by A. N. Leont’ev (1978), which focuses on the activity an individual (or subject) is doing in a soci al cultural setting. Leont ’ev’s activity theory was formulated with three units of anal ysis: activity, action, a nd operation. Expanding from Leont’ev’s conceptualization of activity theory, Engestrm ( 1987) developed a new generation of activity theory model that adde d three aspects, which further mediates an activity in a context: commun ity, rules of the community, a nd division of labor. This theory will serve as an overarching theoretical framework in the proposed study. 4. Motive/object – a construct of CHAT, which refers to a desire or need that motivates an individual to take certai n actions, for example, hunger, warmth and literacy (Leont’ev, 1981). The object is the true motive. All hum an activities are driv en by one or more motives. It is usually collective, recurrent, and beyond the conscious pl ane of a subject. 5. Goal – a construct of CHAT. A goal is the desired end of the actions, “a form of anticipatory reflection, as an intentional pl an or strategy”, or “what must be done” (Leont’ev, 1981, p.63). 6. Activity / activity system – a construct of CHAT, which means “doing in order to transform something” (Kuutti, 1996, p.25). It is the unit of analysis of CHAT, which is driven by the subject’s motive/ object and mediated by the soci al, cultural and historical context of the activity. It is not only a persistent form ation, but “a creative, noveltyproducing formation” (Engestrm, 1993, p.68). 7. Action – the goal-directed behaviors evoked by the motive. Actions instantiate motives in the form of goal-directed behaviors.

PAGE 35

19 8. Operation – the automatic or habituated actions in response to the immediate socialmaterial contexts. 9. Mediational means – psychological or physical tools human use to shape the activity as well as are shaped by the activity, such as language, computer, or peer response working sheet. 10. Division of labor – a construct of CHAT, “the c ontinuously negotiated distributions of tasks, powers, and responsibilities among pa rticipants in an ac tivity system” (Cole & Engerstrm, 1993, p.7). 11. Rules of community – the rules and regulations each member of a community have to follow in social practices. 12. Mediation –A premium construct of Vygotsky’s (1978) concept of how humans learn and develop higher order thinking skills. Vygotsky posited that all human mental activities are constructed thr ough the use of physical and psyc hological tools, particularly human languages. In addition, the use of th ese tools is managed through the use of language. Interaction through si gns and symbols interwines with our cultural and sociohistorical backgrounds to give rise to mental functions such as conscious attention, rational thinking, emotions, lear ning and development. 13. Practice – a construct developed by social sc ientists (Bourdie u, 1990; de Carteau, 1984; Ortner, 1984) and linguists (Hanks, 1996; Scollon, 2001) to describe social action in the world. In this study, this term, more associated with Bourdiew (1990), will refer to “everyday, often habitual action that is inform ed by socially structured resources and competencies” (Thorne, 2004).

PAGE 36

20 14. Internalization / appropriation – the process in which an individual internalizes information or artifacts through social inte raction and simultaneous ly externalizes and creates new artifacts and social practices. 15. Conflicts / contradictions – a construct of CHAT, “ problems, ruptures, breakdowns, clashes. Activity theory sees contradictions as sources of development; activities are virtually always in the process of work ing through contradictions” (Kuutti, 1996, p.34). 16. Knotworking – a term developed by Y. Engestrm, R. Engestrm, and Vahhaho (1999), which refers to the “construction of c onstantly changing combinations of people and artifacts over lengthy trajectories of tim e and widely distributed in space” (p.345). 17. Timescale – a construct of Dynamic Systems Theory (DST), which is used to describe the phase transitions or changes of a dynamical system during a certain period of timescale. 18. e-turns – a construct coined by Thorne (1999, 2000), refers to each message either in text or non-text icons posted by users in a synchronous communication discourse. 19. Language functions – The purposes of language use (Lockhardt & Ng, 1995), such as ask for opinion, apologize, compliment, etc. Conclusion This chapter has provided an overall desc ription of the study. It presented the problems remaining untangled in L2 peer re vision research, the purpose of the study, and research questions. It also justified the significance of the study. Definitions of key terms that were employed were provided as well. In the following five chapters, chapter 2 will address literature on theories and research pertinent to the pr oposed study. Chapter 3 provides detailed information about the st udy design, data collection and analysis

PAGE 37

21 methods of the study. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 report on the empirical findings. Chapter 6 concludes the study with a summary of findings to each research question, a discussion of the findings in the current study related with those in previous studies, recommendations for future research and pedagogical implications.

PAGE 38

22 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction Since its inception in the 1960s, seco nd language (L2) writing research and practice has been enormously influenced by first language (L1) composition and rhetoric theory and research that can trace the origin back to the early 20th century (Ferris & Hedgcook, 1998). Despite a handful of distinctiv e research directions e.g. contrastive rhetoric, until recently L2 writing theory and research has been overshadowed by L1 writing underpinnings. Theories of L1 writing ha ve expanded in the last 40 years from formalism to structural constructivism, a nd in the 1980s, to neostructuralist social constructionism (Nystrand, Greene, & Wieme lt, 1993). Social constructivism, which is derived from sociocultural theory (SCT) (Vygotsky, 1978), views wr iting along with its social context, thus attempts to account fo r the social dimensions of writing, such as rhetorical situations and communities, as well as textual (formalism) and cognitive psychological dimensions (constructivism) (R ussel, 1997). Under th e influence of L1 writing theories, L2 writing theo rists and researchers are gra dually turning their attention away from writing process approaches (cogni tive constructivism), which perceives writing as an abstract and inner discovery-t ype activity (Kent, 1999) and have proposed a new view of L2 writing: a post-process era in which writing is considered a cultural activity and writers position and reposition them selves according to the subjectivities and contexts (Atkinson, 2003). In recent years, cultural historical ac tivity theory (CHAT)

PAGE 39

23 (e.g. Engestrm, 1988, 1993; Leontev, 1978), which takes into account not only learners individual actions but the social cu ltural context and the communities of which they are members, has been adopted by a fe w researchers (e.g. Welmer, 2001) to provide a cultural historical view of L2 writing development. Although peer response, emphasizing on st udent collaboration, has gained its position in L2 writing pedagogy for over two d ecades, until recently it has not been systematically analyzed from a post-process vi ew, particularly from a cultural historical activity theoretical pers pective. With the advent and popul arity of computer technologies, the new millennium has seen enthusiastic implementation of computer-augmented tools in various language learning settings. Second language writing is no exception. Despite the consensus on the facilitative role of computer-mediated communication (CMC) in writing and writing instruction, computer-mediate d peer response is still far from being a well-recognized and thoroughly explored area. This chapter will start with a thorough revi ew of the theoretical framework of the proposed study--SCT and CHAT, current theo ries on L2 writing development and peer response, as well as contemporary views of application of comput er technologies to human interaction and learning. A synthetic re view of relevant empirical studies on L2 peer response, particularly those that have integrated CMC and been theoretically guided through CHAT, will follow up to conclude the ch apter. The chapter is composed of four sections. The first section overviews SCT (e.g. Lantolf, 1994, 2000; Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998) and CHAT (e.g. Engestr m, 1988, 1993; Leontev, 1978), which will provide a theoretical guide to interpret data to be collect ed in the proposed study. Main theoretical tenets of SCT will be briefly re viewed, which is followed by a comprehensive

PAGE 40

24 review of the historical evol ution of CHAT and its major at tributes with an emphasis on its application to L2 writing. To complement CHAT as a leading theoretical framework in the proposed study, one related theory, dynamical systems theory (DST) (de Bot, Verspoor, & Lowie, 2005; Larsen-Freeman, 1997; van Geert, 1998; van Gelder, 1995; van Gelder & Port, 1995), will be reviewed as well with the focus on the important constructs that are pe rtinent to the data analysis in the proposed study. In section two, major theories of L2 writing and writing inst ruction including writing process approaches (Flower & Hayes, 1981; Flower, 1989; Bereit er & Scardamaniar, 1987), which have been dominating the field of L2 writing research and pedagogy in the past two decades, and L2 writing in a post-process era, wh ich has emerged in recent year s, will be reviewed with a focus on the use of peer response in L2 writing pedagogy (e.g. Zamel, 1985, 1987; Connor & Asenavage, 1994). The third section contains a review of recent studies on computer-mediated communication (CMC), part icularly employed in L2 settings (e.g. Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996, 1999) and provides a synthesis on the advantages and disadvantages of CMC in various L2 settings discovered in the empirical studies. The last section focuses on empirical research on L2 writing peer response, particularly those embracing the use of CMC and taking a cultural historical activity theoretical framework. Theoretical Framework of the Study Sociocultural Theory Sociocultural theory (SCT) is a psychological framework of human development. It was developed by Lev S. Vygotsky ( 1978, 1986), a Russian psychologist, who had studied to become a literature teacher befo re turning his attention to psychology and investigated the development of thought a nd language in children. Vygotskys ideas

PAGE 41

25 remained unknown to the west until the 1960s. Over the last four decades, his works have been extolled and appropriated by scholars in a variety of fields to account for the processes of thinking, intera ction, and meaning construc tion through understanding the influences of history, cultur e, and context on human develo pment, both individually and collectively. The main tenets of SCT incl ude genetic analysis, social origin of development, semiotic mediation, and the zone of proximal development (ZPD). Vygotsky asserted that the only appro ach to analyze human higher mental functions such as planning and reflecting wa s historical because humans inherit cultural artifacts from their ancestors, who in turn in herit these artifacts from their ancestors. He proposed four generic domains for the an alysis of higher mental functions: phylogenetic domain focusing on how human mental processes are distinguished from those in other life forms over the course of evolution; sociocultural domain concerning how symbolic tools are created and manifest ed in different cultures; ontogenetic domain with concerns of how children appropriate me diational means, primarily la nguage, as they mature; and microgenetic domain analyzing humans behaviors moment by moment. Vygotskys works focused on the ontogenetic analysis. Like Piaget, Vygotsky assert ed that understanding huma n higher mental functions required an analysis of the process of huma n higher mental development. According to Vygotsky, higher order mental/cognitive func tions including intentional memory, planning, voluntary attention, in terpretive strategies, and fo rms of logic and rationality develop when humans participat e in social practices or inte ract with caregivers, or use culturally historically developed artifacts. T hus, learning, which precedes development, is mediated first on the interpsychological pl ane when humans are interacting with other

PAGE 42

26 people or using cultural artifacts, and then appropriated /internalized by individuals on the intrapsychological plane, in other words, into their inner cognitive worlds, which is more explicitly explained by Vygotsky as follows: Every function in the childs cultural development appears tw ice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people ( interpsychological ), then inside the child ( intrapsychological ) All the higher func tions originate as actual relations between human indi viduals. (Vygotsky, 1978, p.57, italics in original) Learning on the interpsychological plane usually involves mentoring provided by a more culturally knowledgeable person, usua lly elders, to the less knowledgeable or novice person through the process called scaffolding (Bruner, 1975). During the scaffolding process, knowledge is not simply transmitted from one to the other. Instead, the learning process is recipr ocal and mutually constructiv e. The novice is not a passive recipient of knowledge. Whereas cognitive chan ge continually occurs to the novice, it also favors the expert by provoking reflec tion and organization. Meaning is thus constructed through joint activity. Also fundamental to the pro cess of internalization is th e mediation of physical and psychological tools (Wertsch, 1991) or artifact s (Cole, 1996) such as computers, books, semiotic systems, mathematics, music, scien tific concepts, or cultu ral behavioral norms, which are constructed historically and cultu rally. Thus, individuals are connected to cultural history and its manifestation every day. This corresponds to the earlier notion that learning is inherently so cial, even when others are no t physically pr esent (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986; Smagorinsky, 1995). Vygotsky and his followers emphasize that language is

PAGE 43

27 the primary medium for learning, meaning construction, and cultu ral transmission and transformation (Lee & Smagorinsky, 2000, p.2). Another tenet of SCT is the zone of proxi mal development (ZPD). The concept of the ZPD was created to explain the relation betw een the interpersonal and the intrapersonal plane (Johnson, 2004). Vygotsky defined the ZP D as the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by inde pendent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers (1978, p.86), which is illustrated in the graphic below: Figure 1 Zone of Proximal Development (Source: Johnson, 2004) The actual developmental level shows the learner can solve cognitive problems independently. Thus, the mental functions associated with the cognitive activity have been stabilized in the learner. The potentia l development level indicates that the learner still needs intervention from ot hers, either a peer or a mo re knowledgeable expert, to Self-regulation zone of proximal development

PAGE 44

28 perform a cognitive activity. Thus, at this leve l, some mental functions have not been stabilized. Vygotsky was more in terested in children s potential development level. In his view, learning is infinite and unbounded. The poten tial, that is, the future development, rather than the actual development level, is the focus of human development. The potential of learning depends on what the cu ltural novice already knows, the nature of the problem or the task to be so lved, the activity structures in which learning occurs, and the quality of the persons interac tion with others. Two learners who are identified through their examination scores to be at the same le vel of actual development may be at different level of potential development, which depends on the different degree of assistance they obtain from an adult while solving the same problem. In the past several decades, the ZPD has become an increasingly appealing conc ept for people in a variety of educational settings. Acknowledging this concept, an e xpansive number of education stakeholders have realized that students pot ential level of development, rather than their actual level of development, should be the focus of education. Recent years have witnessed new interpretations of the zone of proximal development which depict a more illustrating picture of what happens during the language-mediated interaction: 1) modeling; and 2) text-mediation (Wertsch & Bivens, 1992). In the modeling interpretation, interact ion provides opportunities for learners to observe and intake the language, behavior and skills of their teachers or more experienced peers and gradually embrace these as their own. This is consistent with the internalization process claimed by Vygot sky (1981). Contrary to the modeling interpretation, the text-mediation interpre tation emphasizes the collaboration between learners to co-construct knowledge (Wer sch & Biven, 1992) and to generate new

PAGE 45

29 meanings (Lotman, 1988 in Warschauer & Healey, 1998). The text-mediation interpretation of the ZPD is supported a nd strengthened by Bakhtins (1986) dialogic theory. Rather than perceiving language as an abstract linguistic system or an individual form and activity, Bakhtin describes speech experience as a process of constant interaction between the write r (addresser) and the audi ence. Through this intense interaction, which contains re actions and responses, either resistance or support from the audience, the writer develops a high socially polished knowledge, i.e. higher forms of learning (Volosinov, 1973). Echoing the text-mediation interpretation in educa tion, Bayer (1990) builds a model of collaborative-apprenticeship lear ning that stresses expressive speech and writing, peer collaboration, and m eaningful problem-solving tasks. In this model, learners use their shared knowledge to scaffold their problem-solving. Wells and Chang-Wells (1992) describe learning as a semiotic appr enticeship through build ing a collaborative community of practice in which learners use speeches rather than modeling to develop thinking. In all, the new interpretations of the ZPD emphasize the effectiveness of collaborative communication between learners through various semiotic systems, e.g. speeches, or texts, in the development of highe r mental functions of all learners engaged in the interaction. In sum, Vygotskys SCT provides a primitiv e framework to explain the multilevel nature of human development with an em phasis on the crucial mediational role the language plays during the pro cess of learning and development. Within this socialcultural theoretical framework, learning originates in soci al interaction. Development occurs when humans internalize information gleaned on the social plane and

PAGE 46

30 consequently transform their understanding. V ygotsky asserted that discursive social interaction that is connected to concrete practice activities is the source of both individual and societal development. In turn, socio-historical struct ures provide affordances and constraints that result in the development of special forms of c onsciousness (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). This dialectic view of social structures and human forms the cornerstone of cultural historical activity th eory (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Cultural Historical Activity Theory Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT ) was developed by A. N. Leontev, who was Vygotshys colleague and pupil, in the 1930s in Russia. It is a psychological and cross-disciplinary framework for studying different kinds of human practices as development processes, with both individual and social leve ls interlinked at the same time (Kuutti, 1996, p.25). Although it was formul ated by A. N. Leontev (1978) and later expanded by Engestrm (1987, 1993, 2001), CHAT traces its origins to, but extends beyond Vygotskys ideas that knowledge is soci ohistorically mediat ed and development occurs first on the interpsyc hological/social plane during human interactions, and later on the intrapsychological plane th rough learners internaliza tion. Thus, peoples thinking and learning are shaped by and develop through the activities in which they participate, along with other sociohistori cal tools and contexts. CHAT has been the leading theoretical approach in ps ychology in Russia over the past several decades. The intellectual roots of cultural hist orical psychology can be traced back to the 18th and 19th century German ph ilosophy (particularly Kant to Hegel), Marx and Engels sociological and ec onomic writings (specifically Theses on Feuerbach and The German Ideology ), and most directly to the research of V ygotsky (1981) and his

PAGE 47

31 colleagues Luria and Leontev (1981). Recent years have seen an expansive application of activity theory in U.S. research in differe nt disciplines. It has been used in education (Engestrm, 1987; Thorne, 2004; Wells, 1994), human-computer interaction studies (Nardi, 1996), and developmental wor kplace research (Engestrm, 1987, 1993; Engestrm & Middleton, 1996, cited in Engstrm, 2001). To James Lantolfs credits, L2 researcher s have embarked on the integration of a sociocultural perspective sin ce the early 1990s. In contrast to the conduit metaphor used in a variety of SLA models (Gass & Se linker, 2001; Krashen, 1985; Long, 1983, 1985; Van Patten, 1996), which use terminologies such as input, output, inta ke, etc, to decode language processing in human brains, CHAT, though inclusive of divergent intellectual traditions, adopts a relational, historical, and non-dualist lens to reconceptualize learning and behaviors as development and practice. It has stimulated a shift of focus from brainlocal cognitive functions to human higher ment al functions, which accounts for learning as a development process contingent upon histori cal, cultural, institutional, and discursive contexts. The next few sections will address some key attributes of CHAT and the historical development of CHAT. How CHAT can shed lig ht on the proposed study will be explained as well. Activity Engagement and Activity System CHAT addresses humans developmental processes in a soci ohistorically bounded context. According to Lantolf and Thorne (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), CHAT is built upon the conceptualization that human conscious ness emerges as a result of constant interaction with the environment. Thus, social interaction is the source of both individual and cultural development. The cu ltural-societal structures in which the concrete practical

PAGE 48

32 activity is conducted provide affordances and constraints that shape the development of consciousness. The unifying element and the unit of analysis of activity theory is the activity Nardi notes that it is no t possible to fully understand how people learn and work if the unit of analysis is t he unaided individual with no access to other people or to artifacts for accomplishing the task at hand (Nardi, 1996, p.69). The word activity translated from the German deyatelnosti means doing in order to transform something (Kuutti, 1996, p.25). It implies a constant dialectic in contradictions, such as problems, ruptures, breakdowns, clashes. Activity theo ry sees contradictions as sources of development; activities are virtually alwa ys in the process of working through contradictions (Kuutti, 1996, p.34). The learners development occurs when he/she confronts these contradictions and undertakes a series of ac tions to change and solve the tensions. These changes in turn produ ce new contradictions. Thus, learning and development occur in an on-going contradiction-change circle. Since all activities are social in nature and constantly shaped by the sociohistorically developed symbolic-conceptu al and technical tools and environment, learning and development are bounded in particul ar contexts. From an activity theoretical lens, one can look at the activity at hand w ith an emphasis on human agency, which is mediated by mediational means including in struments such as computer technologies, books, the syllabus, and students conceptions of learning, the communities involved in the situation, the implicit and explicit co mmunity rules and divisions of labor among community members, and the collective obj ect of the activity system. To further understand CHAT as a conceptual framework, the term activity system used in CHAT is in need of a distinct definition.

PAGE 49

33 According to Engestrm, an activity system is not only a persistent formation; it is also a creative, novelty-producing form ation (Engestrm, 1993, p.68). Deriving from this definition, a particular educational context is a part of a cluster of activity systems in which students participate, which encompass their prior educational experience, prior experience of using tec hnology, the semester-long class, and other practices in which they are involved as a uni versity student. A simple activity system is constantly influenced by multiple other activity systems, which Engestrm calls knotworking (Engestrm, 2001). Following this definition, CMPR in a second language writing class can be considered a single ac tivity system that may be influenced by multiple surrounding activity systems such as students prior experience of writing instruction, peer response, and computer use, as well as the writing class, the institute and the university. Three Developmental Phases of CHAT Engestrm (2001) describes that CHAT has evolved over three generations since its inception. The first genera tion is rooted in Vygotskys cultural mediation theory. Vygotsky (1978) asserted that human practi ces are mediated by objects and cultural artifacts, such as rules, pens, and language th at is deemed as the primary mediational tool by socioculturalists. Objects are create d by human operation. However, human, the subject, cannot directly act on the object, but employs cognitive or material tools to manipulate the object. Objects then become cultural entities to shape human mind. The theory is illustrated in a ba sic triangle (see Figure 2). V ygotskys theory advances the understanding of human activities. He proposes a new vi ew of the relationship between objects, context, and human practices.

PAGE 50

34 Figure 2 Vygotskys view of Mediated Actions (source: Engestrm, 2001) The second generation evolves with a br oadened view of human higher mental development by A. V. Leontev (1981), V ygotskys disciple and colleague. Although Leontev shared Vygotskys view that highe r psychological development originates in socially meaningful activities as clarified by D. V. Leontev, A. V. Leontev shifts emphasis from tool mediation to the roles of communities, the rules that structure them, and the continuously negotiate d distributions of tasks, powers, and responsibilities among participants in an ac tivity system (Cole & Enge rstrm, 1993, p.7). In other words, Vygotsky emphasizes the role of soci al interaction, partic ularly the crucial mediational role of language, in the deve lopment of individuals higher psychological functions whereas Leontev stresses the contex t and the activity system in which learners are involved. In A. V. Leontevs work, activity is emphasized as the principal that dialectically relates the external-materials social activity and the individual development. Leontevs activity theory is presented in the form of a hierarchy that structures human activities into three levels: the activity level which is the mo tive that reflects some social or material desires and needs; 2) an acti on that is the goal-directed be havior evoked by the motive; and 3) operations that are the automatic or habituated actions in response to the Mediational Actifacts Object Subject

PAGE 51

35 immediate social-material contexts. Later researchers (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Wells, 1999) help clarify this hierarchy by elabor ating on the everyday description, the orientation, the person or persons to carry out the action, and the time frame needed at each level as presented in Table 1: Table 1 Leontevs Hierarchy of Activity Theory As elaborated in Lantolf and Thorne (2006), the activity level is the object/motive of a human activity, which is defined as a definite need of a subject and is extinguished as a result of its satisfaction, and is produced again, perhaps in other, altogether changed conditi ons (Leontev, 1978, p.62). All hu man activities have an object or motive. Activity does not exist w ithout a motive; nonmotivated activity is not activity without a motive but activity with a subjec tively and objectively hidden motive (p.62). In other words, all human ac tivities are motivated by a biological and/or social/societal need or desire. The object/mo tive gives meaning and directions to actions, which instantiates motive in the form of goal-directed behaviors. At the level of actions, goals are the desi red end of the actions. Thus, all actions are goal-directed and aut onomous. Whereas motive is usually collective and Everyday description CHAT unit of analysis Oriented toward Carried out by Time frame Why something is taking place? Activity Motive, transformation of object Community and/or society Recurrent, cyclic, iterative What is being done? Action Goal Individual or group Linear, finite The actual doing? Operation Condition Individual Present moment, process ontology

PAGE 52

36 subconscious, goals can be individual and self-conscious. According to Lantolf and Thorne (2006), a goal is a fo rm of anticipatory reflection, as an intentional plan or strategy, or what must be done(Leont v, 1981, p.63). The relationship between actions and activities are asymmetrical. An activity contains multiple goal-directed actions. However, same actions can serve a variety of activities. For example, one L2 student may actively participate in a peer response task in class but mere ly to socialize with other students whereas a classmate is wholeheartedly involved in the task to learn how to write by exchanging comments on each others writing. Although both students actively participate in the learning task, which are their actions, their beha viors are driven by a divergent motive (to socialize with peopl e vs. learning to write skillfully). An action is carried out th rough operations, which are defined as automatized or habituated actions that take place respons ively in the immedi ate social-material conditions. The observational inquiry occurs through concrete operations and their contingent relations to conditions. To illust rate the relationship between actions and operation, an example can be a student who is socializing with classmates by using an instant messenger (IM). Here, th e goal-directed action of soci alizing with classmates is instantiated in IM-mediated behaviors su ch as using emoticons, sending multi-modal messages, etc. Leontv summarizes the hierarchy of activity as follows: In the general flow of activity that ma kes up higher, psychologically mediated aspects of human life, our analysis dis tinguishes, first, se parate (particular) activities, using their energizing motives as the criterion. S econd, we distinguish actions the processes subordinated to c onscious goals. Finally, we distinguish the

PAGE 53

37 operations, which depend directly on the conditions under which a concrete goal is attained. (Leontv, 1981, p.64-65). Lompscher (2003) innovatively explains th e use of activity theory in education. He describes that through accommodation, human activity modifies the structure and features of its objects in accordance with its goal and conditions. Lompscher emphasizes that the human subject has the capacity to modify the actions and operation as the goals and conditions vary. In other words, th e process of adaptation and accommodation illustrates the human subjects progress in a given domain of activity, i.e. their development. A. N. Leontevs model is not without cr iticism. Criticizing that the hierarchy of activity focuses on culturally mediated indivi dual action at the expe nse of attention to collective practice, multiple perspectives in one activity, and interactions between multiple activity systems, Engestrm (since 1987) extends Vygotsky and Leontevs models and graphically represents a collec tive activity system (see figure 3 below). In this extended model, the subject usually a collective one, refers to the individual(s) whose perspective is under investigation and is working towards some tangible or intangible object in order to transform it into some outcome. At the same time, individuals actions occur within a collec tive activity system, which are influenced by three factors: mediational means including symbolic and material artifacts which shape the activity as well as are shaped by the activity, the community which is comprised of people (either as individuals or in groups) and its commonly understood rules which are historically and institutionally specific, and the division of labor which concerns how tasks are divided horizontally among community members and vertically with respect to

PAGE 54

38 power and status (Engestrm, 1996). What ties the elements together is a collective object and motive [that] is real ized in goal-oriented indivi dual and group actions (Hasu & Engestrm, 2000, p. 63). Activity systems are not static but dynamic. All of a systems elements reciprocally and dynamically infl uence each other so that the system is continually adjusting, adapting, and changing. Thus, the relations between each element of the activity system are unstable, and constantly negotiated and transformed. The contradictions within a system of activ ity produce the conditions for learning and development (Engestrm, 2001). Figure 3 The Structure of a Human Activity System (based on Engestrm, 1987, 1993, 1999, 2001) CHAT has been constantly evolving a nd developing. The current approach of activity theory, which is the so-called third generation of activity theory, focuses on the collective action, individuals, and goal-directed activity. From this perspective, Engestrm (1993) defines an activity system as not only a persistent formation, but also a creative, novelty-producing formation (p.68) To contemplate the dialogues, multiple perspectives, and interacting activity systems, Ritva Enge strm (1995) (in Engestrm,

PAGE 55

39 2001) further integrates Bakhtins dialogicality ideas, such as the existence of constant communication between an individual and him/he rself as well as the outside world and Leontevs concept of activity th eory and formulates a new no tion of activity. In this new notion, a single activity system is influen ced by multiple other events and communities, each of which may be features of other activity systems. Connecting activity theory and Latours ac tor-network theory, Y. Engestrm, R. Engestrm, and Vahhaho (1999) develop the term knotworking to describe the construction of constantly changing combin ations of people and artifacts over lengthy trajectories of time and widely distributed in space (1999, p.345). According to Lantolf and Thorne (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), the knotworking concept allows the analysis of an individuals movement throughout time and sp ace. Engestrm (2001) further suggests to expand the unit of analysis in CHAT to a ne twork of multiple activity systems, which is presented in a graphically depict ed model (Figure 4) below: Figure 4. A Knotworking Model of Interacting Activity Systems (source: Engestrm, 2001) In the above model, object 1 represents raw material or one individuals motive that guides the activity (e.g. an ESL st udent taking the academic writing class and Mediational Artifacts Subject Community Rule Di s t r ib u ti on of Labor Object1 Mediational Artifacts Subject Rule Object2 Community Object2Object3 Di s t r ib u ti on of Labor Object1

PAGE 56

40 participating in peer response). Object 2 is the collectively meaningf ul object constructed by the activity system (e.g. th e student constructed as a L2 writer having ability to participate in peer response to improve writ ing). And object 3 is th e shared or jointly constructed object (e.g. the shared understa nding of the L2 stud ents situation and learning plan). In other words, when two ac tivity systems encounter each other, a third place (cross-boundary) is created to account fo r events in the context, which forms a collectively constructed new m eaning or object for participan ts in both original activity systems. And the object of activity is dynami c, not reducible to conscious short-time goals (Engestrm, 2001). In the proposed study, the researcher intends to find out whether there is one activity system within each dyad during CMPR, which occurs when each dyad shares the same object, or two activ ity systems when each student in the dyad has heterogeneous objects in CMPR. If stude nts have divergent objects, or motives, the researcher is interested in exploring how the two objects diverge from each other and whether and how a third object emerge s during dyadic interaction. Engestrm (2001) further summarizes five principles of the current generation of CHAT. The first one is that the object-orien ted artifact-mediated activity system is the primary unit of analysis. The second principl e is multi-voicedness of activity systems. This principle indicates that every participant in an activity system, or every member in a community, may have different views because of their diverse histories and individual interests. In addition, networking between multiple activity systems accelerates this complexity, which consequently instig ates contradictions and conflicts. The third principle of CHAT is about th e historical bearings of and in each activity system. Each component of an activity system, e.g. one artifact or the subject,

PAGE 57

41 comes into being through a period of time and thus is shaped by the unique history. Hence, each activity system should not be understood without taki ng into account their histories. The fourth principl e explicates that the source of change and development lies in contradictions, which are thinking and doing, knowing and perfor ming, individual and society, idealism and materialism, use-valu e and exchange-value, internalization and externalization, etc. When a new component is introduced to an activity system, e.g. peer response is adopted in a writing class for the fi rst time, the old elements (e.g. the division of labor) collide with it, which usually trig gers conflicts and dist urbance (e.g. students disorientation about what they are expected to do). The fifth principle concerns transformation of activity systems. It proclaim s that contradictions of an activity system may stimulate participants to deviate from the norms and embrace a broader or even different motive/object. Sometimes this transformation is achieved collectively. All these five principles will be used to guide data analysis in the proposed study. Expansive Learning Activity theory not only explicates indi vidual practices in a social cultural historical context, but explai ns humans learning and development in an activity system or multiple systems of activity. Learning occu rs through reciprocal and unified processes of internalization and externalization Internalization also called appropriation (Engestrm, 1998, cited in Engestrm, 2001), a nd ultimately development, are triggered by the contradictions and tensions between individuals and socioc ultural influences, between two or more elements of an ac tivity system, and betw een various activity systems. Appropriation requires re flective analysis of the existent activity structure, i.e., existent internal contradictions within the activity system. To develop means to resolve or

PAGE 58

42 transform these contradictions (instead of merely shifting them elsewhere), which could result in a change in the activity system: the construction of a new object and motive(s). Such a change is a long-term cyclical a nd spiral process of internalization and externalization that Engestrm (1987) called learning by expanding : The essence of learning activity is the pr oduction of objectively and societally new activity structures (inclu ding new objects, instruments, etc.) out of actions manifesting the inner contradictions of th e preceding form of the activity in question. Learning activity is mastery of expansion from actions to a new activity While traditional school-going is essentially a s ubject-producing activity and traditional science is essentially an instrument-pr oducing activity, learni ng activity is an activityproducing activity ( Engestrm, 1987, pp. 124125, italics in original) According to this definition, learning is an activity system (e.g. using an alternative source of feedback to improve writing) in which th e subjects, such as students participating in CMPR, tend to create a br and new activity driven by a new object or motive such as developing computer literacy or social interaction competency. According to Engestrm (2001), expansive le arning differs from traditional learning in three aspects: 1) Contents and outcomes of learning emer ge as new forms of practical activity and artifacts constructed by both st udents and teachers in the pr ocess of tackling real life projects and during problem solving; 2). Lear ning is driven by genuine developmental needs in human practices and institutions, manifested by means of disturbances, breakdowns, problems, and episodes of que stioning the existing practice; and 3). Learning proceeds through complex cycles of learning actions in which new objects and

PAGE 59

43 motives are created and implemented, opening up wider possibilities for participants involved in that activity. CHAT was developed as a psychological th eory to understand human interactions and development situated in a social envi ronment. Recent years have witnessed its rapidly increasing application in a variety of fields (e.g. Kuttii, 1996; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Russell, 1997). Engestrm and other research ers efforts, i.e. development of new constructs and ideas such as knotworking, creation of a third object, and expansive learning, have amplified its explicitness and expanded its applicability in explaining learning situated in various soci al cultural environments. It is undeniable that this theory is particularly pertinent to research on p eer response activities in which L2 students bearing diverse cultural and inst ructional histories get involved in dyadic interactions in a writing classroom. Deviant from traditional western cognitism, CHAT shifts peoples attention from the inner mental behaviors to the more co mplex social cultural environment in which humans are situated. Understanding L2 students learning and development during computer-mediated peer response is no longer co nfined within the skin and skull of each student. The social cultural hi storical context, which has be en underexplored in other L2 writing models and empirical studies, may have significant impact on L2 students learning during the process of task-accomplishi ng. In addition, constructs in CHAT, such as motives/objects, which are subconscious needs driving humans actions (e.g. needs for development of writing skills), goals/actions, which are humans conscious intentions in an activity (e.g. reading/writing the first dr aft, providing/obtaining feedback), and operations, which are moment-bymoment behaviors that take place in a specific situation

PAGE 60

44 (e.g. exchange messages in an online environmen t), lead us to think more about students own purposes while participati ng in a teacher-led task. Most of time, students are not passive rule-followers who supposedly share th e same objects with their teacher. Their heterogeneous objects may be the source of diverse learning results in class. From a CHAT perspective, all activity systems (e.g. a collective computermediated peer response activity system with th e entire class as the subjects, or a simple activity system with each indi vidual student as the subjec t) within themselves and between each other contain contradictions (e .g. students knowledge of computer use and computer literacy required in the CMPR task). These contradictions are aggregated and projected as conflicts and te nsions (e.g. students feel frus trated while using instant messenger in CMPR) in constant interactions between components within an activity system and among interrelated activity systems. Through the process of seeking for solutions to the existing conflicts, new te nsions may be created and new objects may emerge. The dynamic model envisioned in CH AT sheds light on the complex nature of students behaviors in CMPR. It will be em ployed as the primary theoretical framework in the proposed study to guide the research ers uncovering and understanding of L2 students interactions and development invo lved in computer-mediated peer response. Particular attention will be placed on main constructs such as motives, goals, and expansive learning. Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) Dynamic systems theory (DST) is a theo ry that can be used to explain the behaviors in complex systems such as higher order thinking or development (van Gelder & Port, 1995; Thelen & Smith, 1994). It provides very useful constructs for describing

PAGE 61

45 and explaining the learning and development processes involved in human interaction situated in a particular social cultural cont ext. The following section provides a review of this theory with regard to its origin as well as main tenets and explains how it will supplement CHAT to provide the theoretical guidance in the proposed study, particularly in data analysis. Origin and Principles of DST Dynamical systems theory is originated from dynamism, which is an area of mathematics used to describe the be haviors of complex systems by employing differential equations. Van Geert (1994) defi nes a dynamic system as a set of variables that mutually affect each others changes over time (p.50). In recent years, DST has been expanded to describe human cogniti on. Dynamists, including van Gelder (1995), Port (van Gelder & Port, 1995), Thelen and Smith (Thelen & Smith, 1994; Smith & Thelen, 2003) think the path of an indivi duals complex cognitive behaviors under certain environmental and internal pressures can be best described with multidimensional equations used in DST. Mathematical ideas such as state space attractors trajectory and deterministic chaos are borrowed to describe the in ternal cognitive processing of interactions between an individua l agent and the environment. The state of a system is the position or state of each element and re lation at a particular point of time. The state space or phase space is the space defined by the set of a ll possible states that the system could path through, which is mapped as tw o or three-dimensional landscapes. A trajectory illustrates a particular succession of states through the state space and is usually an interchangeably used term as the behavior of the system. The topology of the state space is the attractive properties of all points of the state space. And an attractor

PAGE 62

46 is a point or path in the state space towa rd which the trajectory will tend. DST was created with an attempt to predict the behavi or of a cognitive syst em under a given set of governing equation and a st ate on the trajectory. Van Gelder (1995) formulates the dyna micist hypothesis, which assumes that some types of cognitive systems can be be st understood through dynamics. And they are state-determined systems whose behavior is governed by differential equations Dynamical systems in this strict sense always have variables that are evolving continuously and which at any point in tim e are mutually determining each others evolution (van Gelder & Port, 1995, p.5). D ynamicists have assigned several criteria for dynamicist descriptions of cognition: they must be deterministic, general complex, described with respect to the independent va riable of time, of low dimensionality, and intimately linked (van Gelder, 1995; van Ge lder & Port, 1995). Dynamicists think cognitive behaviors are complex and in some instances chaotic. These behaviors are described in a continuous temporal ma nner, which introduces the concept of timescale By using timescale, phase transitions of the dynamical system during a certain period of time are reflected as the trajectory Development as a Dynamical System One branch of dynamical systems is si mple nonlinear dynamical systems, also called chaos theory, which deals with longterm qualitative behaviors of dynamical systems. Deriving from nonlinear dynamics, an increasing number of dynamicists (e.g. Smith & Thelen, 2003; van Geert, 1994, 1998) view development as a dynamic system. Focusing on motor development, Smith and Thelen (2003) argue that human development entails self-organization and emergence. The development of a self-

PAGE 63

47 organized system, i.e. human learning, is cau sed by multiple interacting elements in a complex environment. No single element has causal priority because all complex systems are open and sensitive to the changes in the environment. In addition, behavioral change occurs across different timescales. Some developmental changes take place in hours, days and weeks while others occur over months, years or a much long period of time. Lewis (2000) provides more detailed explanation of the development of a self-organized system. He summarizes that a system develops by generating novelty th rough the activity. New forms appear with time when entraining the interactions of the elements within the system. The self-organized system becomes more complex by spontaneously adapting to and reorganizing more sophisticated a rrangements in the environment. The reorganization occurs at phase transitions, which are specific points of time where old patterns break and new ones emerge. These phase transitions can be general, abrupt, and influenced by various effects, thus may be discrete and unpredictable. The lens of development as a dynamical system draws increa sing attention from other fields, such as applied linguistics a nd second language acquisition (e.g. De Bot, Verspoor, & Lowie, 2005; Larsen-Freeman, 1997). These researchers synthesize the main features of DST that can sp ecifically address issues in SLA: complex systems are dynamic, nonlinear, open (constantly receiv ing input from the environment), selforganized, feedback sensitive, and adaptive to surrounding conditions. Changes in complex systems can be traced in space by using time as a parameter. Perceiving language as a complex system entailing al l these features, they advocate that DST provides a helpful tool to capture the dynami sm in evidence in the evolution of learner interlanguages (ILs)(Larsen-Freeman, 1997, p.151).

PAGE 64

48 Modeling Complex Dynamical Systems One significant contribution of cogni tive psychological dynamists (e.g. Van Geert, 1998; Van Gelder & Port, 1995; Thelen & Smith. 1994) is the creation of a variety of models to capture the dynamics of comp lex dynamical systems. These models are divided into three types bases on the extent of relatedness to rigorous mathematical modeling: quantitative mode ling, qualitative modeling, and dynamical description (Van Gelder & Port, 1995). The quantitative m odeling uses empirical data, which are expressed as direct mathematical equations, to describe behaviors of a system with the attempt to predict the future behaviors. Th e qualitative modeling uses empirical data to describe a simpler system, which resembles the system under investigation, rather than the actual system. In other words, models are used analogically to make qualitative predictions about human performances. Ex amples of qualitative modeling include language processing (e.g. Meara, 1999) a nd child development (Van Geert, 1998). Diverging from the aforementioned two types of modeling, which use mathematical equations to describe beha viors, exponents and pr oponents (e.g. Thelen & Smith, 1994) of dynamical descrip tion modeling recognize that it is not feasible to build a formal model of the phenomenon under investigation due to the lack of appropriate data and the complicated nature of the system. T hus, they use qualitative data, which depict the state spaces (or phase spaces) on a timescal e and are later converted to scale numbers, to provide an ad-hoc description and interpretation. Application of DST to the Study A comparison of DST and CHAT can reve al the consistency and discrepancy between these two psychology schools. Both th eories assume any organism, that is, a

PAGE 65

49 developmental and ever-changing entity, is a co mplex system composed of a variety of interacting variables, which constantly sh apes the changes and development of the system. Both theories stress the influence fr om the spatial and temporal environment, which stipulates the compatibility between the two theories. Both interpret human learning and development as a dynamic, co mplex, and iteratively progressing process, which is inseparable from the environment and marked by novelty creation. The difference lies in the variables of co mplex systems explicated in two theories. While dynamists hesitate to explicate specific variables entailed in the complex system, activity theorists have clearly defined the system and identified distinct components constituting the system, which brings more tran sparency and facilitation to the analysis of various developmental processes. It is al so the reason many writing researchers (e.g. Bazerman, 1997; Russell, 1997) adopt CHAT to explain students development in writing. CHAT, particularly the third gene ration (Engestrms, 1987, 1993, 2001), provides a well-organized and articulate theoretical framework to understand human learning and development. It claims that learning activity is a new-activ ity-producing activity. In other words, to learn and ultimately achieve develo pment, learners need to create new objects, thus, a brand new activity. However, Engest rm and other CHAT theorists (2000) have failed to provide a unobscure illustration of th is transforming process. In contrast, DST places abundant emphasis on the influence of time on development. It assumes time is a unified and inherent element of actions, lear ning, development, and evolution (Smith & Thelen, 2003). Mathematic equations and gra phical diagrams are pe rvasively used to represent the dynamics of a complex system in a certain timescale.

PAGE 66

50 Without diminishing the leadi ng status of CHAT as a th eoretical framework in the proposed study, the researcher argues that DST can be used to complement CHAT in the data analysis by [providing a graphic illust ration of the trajectory of learning and development, in other words, transforming from one object-oriented activity to a new activity, that may take place in a larger activity system such as computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) in a certain timescale. Th e timescale could be one writing cycle in which students focus on one writing task or th e whole semester in which CMPR is used in class. According to DST, time is always a parameter of the dynamical system. Other parameters can be chosen to describe the sy stems changes over time. By recording all these changes in a diagram, learners motives in each writing task can be represented in a low-dimensional development field, containing two or three parameters such as time, proficiency of computer use, and social environmental influences, depending on the complexity of CMPR the researcher intends to investigate. In this way, the dynamic movements within the CMPR as an activity system and those among CMPR and other peripheral but related activity system s can be captured transparently. Section Summary In the current study, CHAT served as the primary theoretical framework to understand learning and development that take place in CMPR in a L2 academic writing class. Major concepts such as activity/contex t as the unit of analysis, motives, goals, subjects, mediational artifacts, the communit y, community rules, and division of labor were adopted to describe observable events as well as to interp ret underlying mediation and transformation in CMPR. Pertinent constr ucts in dynamical systems theory, such as timescale and state, also were employed to complement the analysis of CMPR.

PAGE 67

51 Particularly, the concept of timescale in DST was used to illustrate the dynamics of L2 students learning and development in thei r participation in the CMPR tasks. The integration of CHAT and DST lent the researcher a social cultural historical lens to view CMPR as a developmental activity for L2 students in an academic writing class. The following section provides a thorough review of relevant L2 writing theories that explain in a conventional view why and how peer response tasks are undertaken, which is followed by a review of an evolving theory that calls for an alternative view of L2 peer response. L2 Writing Theories and Peer Response Writing Process Approaches Writing process approaches emerged in the 1970s out of untraditional students needs to gain access to higher education in th e United States. Contrary to the traditional writing theory, which considers writing as a final product, proponents of writing process approaches hold a different vi ew in terms of the nature of writing, the written medium, and the ways in which writing is taught and learned (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996). They perceive writing as a goal-or iented and contextualized activity, and a recursive rather than linear process. The writing process rather than the final product is the research focus. Regarding writing instruction, writing proce ss approaches allow more meaningful interactions between the teacher and stude nts. Multiple drafting with between-draft feedback from real audiences is encouraged. The process perspective of writing has been considered a wholly positive innovation as to its theoretical framework as well as pedagogical implications (Hairston, 1982, in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996).

PAGE 68

52 Four Stages of Writing Process Approaches The major development of writing process approaches consists of four important stages from 1960s to present. The four st ages represent three distinctive process approaches each of which embraces different understandings and views of writing theory and instruction. The latter stage doesnt necessarily replace the preceding one although the latter does explain the problems unsolved in the preceding stage. The four stages are: the expressive stages (the expressive a pproach), the cognitive stage (the cognitive approach), the social stage and the discour se community stage (the social-context approach). Among these approach es, the cognitive approach has more theoretical vigor with regard to how writers write, especial ly how revision is conducted during writing. The cognitive approach, emerging in th e early 1970s, was built upon research in cognitive psychology. The pioneer of this a pproach was Emig (1971) who opened up the use of case study approach and protocol anal ysis as well as other general ethnographical research methods in research on the writing pr ocess. Emig also initiated the view of writing as a recursive rather than linear proce ss, which consists of prewriting and editing in addition to the actual composing. At th is stage, researchers (e.g. Calkins, 1986; Graves, 1983, 1984; Perl, 1979; Sommers, 1980; Shaughnessy,1977, in Grabe & Kaplan. 1996) began to perceive writing as composing writer-based rather than reader-based text. Since early 1980s, writers cognitive deve lopment of writing skills became the focal point of many researchers. During this stage, several cognitive models of the writing process emerged. The first model wa s developed by Flower and Hayes based on protocol analysis methodology in the late 1970 s. And since then it dominated the writing field for 15 years. Flower and Hayes clai med that composing was a goal-oriented

PAGE 69

53 activity and composing proce sses were interactive, inte rmingling, and potentially simultaneous (Grabe & Kaplan, 1996, p.91) wh ich contained three major components: the composing processor, the task environmen t, and the writers long-term memory. In the following years, Flower and Hayes conti nued to refine the subcomponents of their model. One extension is of th e theory of revision (Hayes, Fl ower, Schriver, Stratman, and Carey, 1987), which explains how writers re vise, and how expert and novice writers differ in their revision processes. Following Fl ower and Hayes effort s, other researchers proposed different models among which Be reiter and Scardamalias (1987) model accepted more attention and was more powerfu l. Criticizing Flower and Hayes model that the use of protocol anal ysis didnt provide evidence fo r its theory and the one-singleprocessing model is not efficient, Bereit er and Scardamalia developed by using a descriptive methodology a two-process theory of writing, which asserted that skilled writers composed writing using different devi ces which less-skilled writers didnt use: skilled writers used both knowledge-tra nsforming and knowledge-telling process depending on the writing goals while less-sk illed writers were merely able to use knowledge-telling process. This model provid es an intriguing description of writing process, including revision processes both e xpert and novice writers go through. Because of the distinctive differences between the traditional writing theory, which perceived writing as a final product, and the innovative writing-as-a-process approaches, a proponent of writing process a pproaches, Hairston(1982) (cited in Grabe & Kaplan, 1996), claimed a paradigm shift in wr iting theory and inst ruction. Both Flower and Hayes and Bereiter and Scardamanias models have significant implications for school writing curriculum. Flower and Ha yess later research (1987, 1989, 1990) implied

PAGE 70

54 that students should be taught strategic knowle dge of how to perform a writing task as well as transform their knowledge rather than relying on simpler strate gies. Teachers also could teach students the ability of exploring and recognizing rhetoric problems in writing. Bereiter and Scardamania (1985) criticized the lack of writing challenge in school curricula and proposed an int entional learningstudents se t self-driven learning goals and go through active problem-s olving activities (Ber eiter & Scardamania, 1987). In their strategy-training approach, they recommende d to analyze and record the way expert writers process writing and set up a teachable routine to allow beginning students to learn it. They also proposed a similar training strate gy for revision. In all, these writing process approaches along with the later social-conte xt approach brought tremendous influence on school writing curriculum and elicited d eep pedagogical thoughts and changes. Second Language (L2) Writing and Writing Process Approaches Since the middle 1980s, L2 writing re search and pedagogy have gained accelerating popularity because of the growing number of L2 learners enrolled in English-speaking tertiary-level institutions. Due to the similarities L2 writing researchers identified between L1 unskilled writers a nd L2 writers (Raimes, 1985; Zamel, 1985), the L2 writing field was strongly influenced by L1 writing theories. The writing-as-aprocess theory especially c ontributes to L2 writing rese arch regarding L2 students composing processes and revision strategies Some researchers (E delsky, 1986; Jones & Tetroe, 1987) looked at the transferability of L1 writing process in L2 writing. The writing process paradigm places revisi on at the heart of the writing process because it assumes that it is through revisi on ideas merge and develop, and meanings are clarified (Lehr, 1995). Revision is viewed as a goal-oriented process that has both

PAGE 71

55 internal and external manipula tions, that is, it is both a th inking process writers have to go through to compare what is written and wh at should be expresse d, and what actually happens to the product (Beach & Eaton, 1984; Scardamania & Bereiter, 1986). This process is generally seen as having thr ee stages (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1987; van Gelderen, 1997): (1) detection/evaluation/co mparison in which writers compare what they have written and what they intend to e xpress; (2) diagnosis/identification in which writers decide what the problem is and/or how the text should be improved; and (3) operation/execution/correction in which writers have to evalua te alternatives and decide the best solution to the problem. Revision is not a simple activity. Both L1 and L2 researchers have found that inexperienced writers change words or sent ences rather than make modifications to rhetoric forms (Faigley & Witt, 1981; Wall ace, et al, 1996; Zhang, 2001) due to their inabilities to detect problem s or fix problems (Wallace & Hayes, 1991) or their inability to corroborate both sk ills simultaneously (Scardamania & Bereiter, 1987). The other reason is that writers sometimes do not see th e necessity of revision in certain types of texts. Researchers, however, have discovered that students would revise their texts when they receive support or indications (Leh r, 1995; Matsuhashi & Gordon, 1985; Wallace & Hayes, 1991). Over the last deca de, help from peers in detecting and identifying problems in the draft has attracted expansive attention from L2 writing researchers and educators (e.g. Connor & Asenavage, 1994; Tsui & N g, 2000; Villamil & de Guerrero, 1998) Peer Response From the writing-as-a-process perspective, revision contributes to writing and peer response helps revision. It is also a ssumed that the revision process varies in

PAGE 72

56 different contexts from writer to writer. It is influenced by multiple factors, e.g. feedback sources, feedback quality, inte raction time, interaction medium, students learning styles, cultural backgrounds (Tuzi, 2004; Williams, 2004). Peer response is the response students obtain from their peers thro ugh collaborative communication. Sometimes, students incorporate peer comments into their writing while other times they do not. Advocates of peer response base their ar guments on several related schools of thought. The first one is collaborative communication, wh ich is rooted in the interactive view of second language acquisition (Long, 1985; Pi ca, 1994; Swain, 1985), and the social constructive view of general learning, which is derived fr om Vygotskys sociocultural theory (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986; Vygotsky, 1978, 1981) The second support is aligned with the writing process approaches. Proponents of the writing process approaches consider writing as a process which is c onstituted with various phases: prewriting/discovery/invention, between-draft feedback, revisions, and edition. Peer response can take place at any of these phases. Research on L2 peer response has been conducted for over two decades. A variety of aspects of peer response as a classroom ta sk have been investigat ed: (a) the impact of peer response on subsequent drafts (e .g. Connor & Asenavage, 1994; Hedgcock & Lefkowitz, 1992; Lockhart & Ng, 1995; Mendona & Johnson, 1994; Nelson & Murphy, 1993; Paulus, 1999; Storch, 1998, 2001; Tsui & Ng, 2000; Villamil & de Guerrero, 1998); (b) the quality of peer response (Caulk, 1994); (c) st udents ability to identify areas in needs of revision (Nelson & Murphy, 1992); (d) students stances toward peers texts (Mangelsdorf & Schlumberger, 1992); (e) the effect of traini ng on peer response (Berg, 1999; Stanley, 1992; Z hu, 1995); (f) interaction proc ess during peer response

PAGE 73

57 (Carson & Nelson, 1994; de Guerrero & Vi llamil, 1994, 2000; Lockhart & Ng, 1995; Storch, 2002, 2004; Villamil & de Guerrero, 1996 ); (g) students pe rceptions about the effectiveness and the process of peer response (Carson & Nelson, 1996; McCarthey & Garca, 2005; Nelson & Carson, 1998); (h) affect ive effect of peer feedback (Liu & Sadler, 2003; Zhang, 1995); (i) othe r variables that may influen ce peer interaction in peer response, such as L2 students cultural norms in written and oral communication (Nelson, 1997), students expertise (T in, 2003), mixed NES/ESL group format (Zhu, 2001), and students personal goals (Storch, 2004; Z hu & Mitchell, 2005). In addition, two books have been published, offering an overview of issues in L2 peer response (Ferris, 2003; Liu & Hansen, 2002). In terms of effectiveness of peer response in L2 students development of writing proficiency, studies have found positive in fluence on linguistic forms (Storch, 1998), grammatical accuracy (Storch, 2001), vocabular y, content, and organization (Hedgcock & Lefkowitz, 1992) as well as sense of audi ences (Lockhart & Ng, 1995). Storch (1998) discovers that students who have worked toge ther in writing activities make statistically significant progress in certain t ypes of grammatical forms when they later write alone and there is more grammatical accuracy in their writing (Storch, 2001). Hedgcock and Lefkowitzs (1992) study discovers that st udents who collaborate produce writing with higher quality in terms of vocabulary, conten t, and organization. Lockhard and Ng (1995) find that when students collabora te, the writers reflect on thei r intentions, the effects of their texts on readers, and their writing pro cesses. Research also shows that students holding a collaborative stance are more willing to incorporate peer feedback into their revision (Nelson & Murphy, 1993), and to pr ovide more feedback (Stanley, 1992).

PAGE 74

58 Furthermore, students who actively provide feed back acquire critical writing skills, which benefit their later writing (Leki, 1990; Mitten, 1989). Despite its strong theoretical support and positive findings in empirical studies, L2 peer response faces both effective and aff ective challenges in its application. Research has found that students sometimes dont have sufficient proficiency to provide quality feedback and some feedback only focus on sentential errors (Connor & Asenavage, 1994). Particularly, during oral peer response, L2 student s may feel it difficult to understand peers pronunciations or to express their ideas in th e target language (Ferris & Hedgcock, 1998). On the other hand, many L2 stud ents hesitate to re ceive peer response because they doubt peer responses qualit y. Students are overwhelmingly willing to receive feedback from their teacher rather than peers (Carson & Nelson, 1996; Zhang, 1995). Because of the controversial findings rega rding effectiveness of L2 peer response in empirical studies, researchers interest has been drawn to investigating possible variables that may have an impact on p eer interaction during peer response. Many researchers focus on the influence from L2 students language proficiency and knowledge (e.g. Tin, 2003) and personality di fferences (e.g. Villamil & de Guerrero, 1996). With an attempt to enhance L2 students cognitive knowledge and abilities to participate in peer response, some researcher s focus on the impact of pre-task training on peer response (e.g. Berg, 1999; Stanley, 1992; Zhu, 1995). Researchers (Storch, 2004; Zhu & Mitchell, 2005) also look at L2 students orientation toward peer response and the impact their goals have on peer response interactions. Zhu and Mitchells study (2005), from a sociocognitive perspective, shows th at ESL students have different goals, which

PAGE 75

59 corresponds with their stances taken duri ng peer response. Adopting an activity theoretical perspective, Storch (2004) discove rs that ESL students have divergent goals, which affects their role-taking and attitu des toward accomplishing the tasks. Other researchers have shifted atte ntion from individual differe nces to the environmental variables that may have impact on peer respon se, such as different peers with whom L2 students interact (Zhu, 2001) and cultural norms each L2 student brings into dyadic interaction (Nelson, 1997). An Emergent View of L2 Writing and Peer Response The writing-as-a-process perspective has been a dominant view of writing and writing instruction for both L1 and L2 stude nts over the past three decades. Writing has long been considered an indi vidual event. The introduction of sociocultural theory (e.g. Bakhtin, 1981; Vygotsky, 1978) and social c onstructivism inspire many scholars and researchers (e.g. Russell, 1997; Swales, 1990; Wi emelt, 2001) to reinterpret writing and learning of writing embracing a so cial cultural perspective. An increasing number of L2 writing theorists and practiti oners (e.g. Atkinson, 2001; At kinson & Ramanathan, 1995; Prior, 2001) have realized the indispensabl e influence L2 studen ts diverse cultural backgrounds and special social situations in which they are surrounded bring to their development of L2 writing proficiency. Ca lling for concerns about the connection between an individual and society, the cogniti ve and social, Atkins on (2003) proposes a post-process approach for L2 writing. Echoing this view, Casanave (2003) proclaims that the social, political, and cultural issues i nvolved in L2 writing demand more attention from L2 writing researchers and practitioners.

PAGE 76

60 Peer response has been adopted as a writing task in a multitude of L2 settings. Acknowledging peer response as a collaborati ve classroom activity, many researchers have taken expansive efforts in investigating and providing explanations for variations in peer response, with an emphasis on both i ndividual differences and environmental influences. However, the majority of current researchers on L2 p eer response, deeply influenced by thoughts from cognitivism, still subconsciously lean upon a cognitive view to understand the underlying developmental pr ocess in the task. One example is the tendency to disconnect individua l differences from the cultura l historical environments. Answering the call for a new post-process era of L2 writing, it seems to the researcher that there is a need for a dopting an alternative perspect ive which views learning as a social event and interactions as a devel opmental process and which attends to the complex social cultural historical si tuations in L2 peer response. Section Summary L2 writing has been deeply influenced by L1 theories and pedagogy. In the past three decades, writing process approaches have been pervasively employed in various L2 educational settings. One appli cation is the use of peer resp onse. Rooted in a writing-asa-process perspective, L2 peer response ha s been overwhelmingly investigated from a cognitive view. The current evolvement of L2 research and teaching practices make alarmingly salient various cultural backgrounds L2 students bear and special social political environments in which L2 peer response takes place. A more comprehensive view that attends to both L2 students individual motives a nd the complex context should be adopted to understand L2 peer response. Cu ltural historical activity theory discussed

PAGE 77

61 in section one provides a powerfu l theoretical framework to e xplore the complexity of L2 peer response. Bringing more complexity to peer re sponse, the development of computer technologies has made networked technologi es an indispensable tool in writing classrooms. Peer response is no exempti on. The following section will present the application of computer-mediated communi cation technologies in peer response. A review of empirical studies on computer-m ediated communication in a variety of L2 learning settings will be provided. Computer-mediated Communi cation and Peer Response Since its inception in the early 1960s, co mputer technologies have claimed a great potential in assisting unconventional human interactions, particularly for language learners. Recent years have seen pervasive application of comput er technologies in second language teaching and learning. In L2 writing instruction, networked technologies (computer-mediated communication or CMC) have been widely used to build alternative communication between the te acher and students as well as between students and students. CMC and Second Language Acquisition CMC has existed since the 1960s. But until the late 1980s it has not been widely used by the public. In the 1990s, language pr actitioners started to realize the great potential of CMC in language learning and teaching. According to Warschauer and Kern (2000), CMC allows learners with network acce ss to communicate with other learners or native speakers of the target language in s ynchronous (through instant messenger, Chat room, MOOs, etc) or asynchronous (through ema il, discussion board, or listserv, etc.)

PAGE 78

62 modes. Synchronous mode refers to the way in which learners can talk in a real time, simultaneously with their partner, while asynchronous mode means that there is temporal delay between message transmission. Synchronous mode allows one-to-one, one-tomany, or many-to-many communication. Depending on the interface, students using synchronous communication tools can share e ither brief messages or lengthy documents. Researchers (Chun, 1994; Kern, 1995; Smith, 2003; Sotillo, 2000) discover that synchronous discussion discourse is similar to face-to-face conversations. Erben (1999) points out that synchronous discussion disc ourse can be placed on a continuum between oral and written discourse or speak-writing. Asynchronous communication, on the other ha nd, allows more time for learners to plan and draft messages, which supports re flection. It is believed that CMC provides learners with the components associated with second language ac quisition by supporting various types of interaction in cluding learner-learner, lear ner-teacher, and learner-native speakers of the target language. In these dive rse interaction settings, teachers can create authentic environment for discussion becau se students participate in a communicative activity with a goal and real audience (Warschauer, 1995). In response to the enthusiastic implementation of computer-based technologies in practice, theorists and scholar s have predicted the advantag es and disadvantages of CMC use in various educational settings. Wars chaer (1997) argues that text-based and computer-mediated interaction can serve as a cognitive amplifier for language learners because it encourages interaction and reflecti on and stimulates critical thinking. CMC is also believed to solicit mean ingful discourses by allowi ng authentic communication and foster the sense of personal engagement a nd discovery essential to successful language

PAGE 79

63 learning (Peterson, 1997). These theoretical statements are confirmed by the findings of various research studies, part icularly in the L2 field. Since the inception of network-based la nguage teaching and learning, there have been numerous studies examining the effectiv eness of CMC. Research has showed that CMC is linked with numerous benefits with language learners, e.g. quantity and quality of language production, equality of particip ation, and fostering ne gotiation of meaning and focus on form. Comparing CMC and face-to -face discussion, research shows that in the computer-mediated environment, language learners have lowe r anxiety (Beauvois, 1992; Kelm, 1992), there is greater particip ation (Kelm, 1992; Kern, 1995; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996) and more peer-to-peer intera ction (Erben, 1999; Ke rn, 1995), and students produce more language (Beauvois, 1992; Kelm, 1992; Kern, 1995). Research also indicates that there is more equalized part icipation among students (Kelm, 1992; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Warschauer, 1996). Chun (1994) discovers that the shyer and quieter students are more prolific in the electronic discussion. Research also shows that students produce more types of sentence structures and more discourse functions (Chun, 1994; Kern, 1995), lexically and synt actically more complex language and more discourse strategy use (Warschauer, 1996). Other advantages of CMC include greater cultural awareness (Cubillos, 1998; Jin, 2005; Warschauer, 1997), and more sense of errors (Gonglewski, 1999; Salaberry, 1996). Embracing an interactive perspe ctive of language learning, res earchers also identify more benefits of CMC including access to comprehe nsible input (Ortega, 1997; Warschauer & Healey, 1998), opportunities for learners to produce output (Blake, 2000; Erben, 1999; Ortega, 1997; Warshauer & Healey, 1998), and opportunities to negotiate meaning

PAGE 80

64 (Blake, 2000; Lee, 2002; Pell etieri, 2000). Another line of interactive CMC research (Blake, 2000; Pelletieri, 2000; Sotillo, 2000) fo cuses on the corrective feedback in online environment. It is discovered that in electronic di scourse, teachers focus on content rather than grammar and students tend to self-corr ect their errors. Interaction where students focus on form and receive corrective feedback tends to be effective for promoting second language acquisition (Long & Porter, 1995). CMC and Computer-mediated Peer Response (CMPR) The application of CMC in writing in struction has been focused on extending communication between the te acher and students as well as between students and students to facilitate documents and opinions sharing. L1 writing researchers (e.g. Cooper & Selfe, 1990; Kozma, 1991) have discusse d its advantages in terms of social and pedagogical dynamics CMC promotes in peer response activities. For example, in a networked communication environment, teach ers power is usually yielded when delivering feedback through elec tronic venues, which enhanc es students empowerment, and ultimately their autonomy of writing a nd sense of authorship (Spitzer, 1990). In addition, the social context cr eated in networked communicati on helps to eliminate some limitations of face-to-face fee dback. Researchers (Barker, 1990; Spitzer, 1990) find out that student reviewers are more concerned with the content delivered in the writing rather than surface mechanics, which promotes a sens e of authentic audiences for the writer and consequently leads the writer to attend the n eeds of a real audience instead of surface issues of writing. Another advantage of computer-media ted peer response activities discussed by L1 researchers (C ooper & Selfe, 1990) is that student writers generalize the strategies they acquire throughout the peer response process. By participating in

PAGE 81

65 computer-mediated peer response, students are exposed to multiple opinions and ideas and they develop critical thinking skills as to what information they should accept and discard. They learn how knowledge develops through reading, re-reading, comparing, and contrasting diverse opi nions they receive. In recent years, increasing attention has been placed to the use of CMC in L2 peer response activities. In their study of compar ing pre-college ESL students peer review activities using CMC technologies provided in the university netw orked system with those in traditional classrooms, Digiovanni and Nagasvami (2001) indicate that online peer response activities enable teachers to monitor peer feedback conversations, thus yield more on-task interactions. They also discover that onlin e communications allow students to respond simultaneously while re flecting on their ideas rehearse their responses, and respond at their own pace, whic h is lacking in oral feedback. Liu and Sadler (2003) investigate the effect and affect of peer review activities undertaken in electronic versus traditional in teraction environment. The elec tronic peer review activities include students making comments on com puters using Microsoft Word and later discussing synchronously via a multi-user domains object-oriented (MOO). The traditional peer review activities contai n students making comments with pen on the writers paper and then holding a face-to-face discussion. While agreeing that computermediated peer interaction is affectively more appealing, Liu and Sadler discover that face-to-face peer response is more effective in terms of its effect on subsequent revisions undertaken by the writer because synchronous in teractions in MOO tend to generate more superficial rather than subs tantive comments. In addition, synchronous peer interaction environment lacks nonverbal clues for interloc utors, which constrains reviewers from

PAGE 82

66 discussing about global issues of writing. Hence, the authors suggest no use of MOO interactions in peer review activities unless a communication protocol is set up for each student to abide by. Sharing with aforementioned L2 writing rese archers an interest in the influence of electronic feedback on student writers subs equent revisions, Tuzi (2004) compares ESL students revisions after receiving asynchr onous feedback obtained from a databasedriven web site specificall y designed for writing and re sponding, those after receiving oral feedback from peers and the teacher, and those with feedback from face-to-face meeting with university writing center tutors. In contrast to Liu and Sadlers findings, Tuzi discovers that students prefer oral feedback, but fee dback from the website has a greater impact on students revisions in term s of the amount and types of changes. The research findings also show that online f eedback expands the audience for L2 writers, which brings benefits to both the instructor and student writers regarding the access to and diversity of feedback. Most of the CMC technologies examined in the above studies are traditional textbased communication tools. Recent years ha ve seen a steadily increasing use of multimedia-enhanced communication technologies, particularly in synchronous technologies. Among the myriad of synchr onous technologies, instant messenger, an Internet-based multimode communication tool, mostly free of charge, e.g. MSN messenger, Yahoo! messenger, and AOL me ssenger, is gaining more popularity in various educational settings. Instant messenger allows both one-to-one conversation and group conferencing through text, audio, even video exchange (Cziko & Park, 2003). L2 researchers (e.g. Kramsch & Thorne, 2002; Ji n, 2005) have discovered the value of

PAGE 83

67 instant messenger in L2 learning and teaching. Many L2 educators have realized the great potential of instant messenger in learning and teaching tasks, which otherwise are impossible to undertake successfully, such as building direct yet unobtrusive connection between the teacher and an individual ESL st udent in mainstream classrooms (Ban, Jin, Summers, & Eisenhower, 2006) and promo ting intercultural communication and understanding between L2 learners and na tive speakers of the target language, particularly less commonly taught languages (Jin, 2005). L2 students also express their enthusiasm for the use of instant messenger for educational purposes (Jin & Erben, in press). Despite its great potential in L2 teaching and learning and its popularity among students, very few studies have been conducte d to investigate the a pplication of instant messenger in L2 peer response regarding the influences and how the use of synchronous technologies influence students in teraction in a learning task. Section Summary The section provides an overview of th e application of CMC in various L2 educational settings. Empirical studies on a dvantages and disadvantages of CMC for L2 educational purposes are reviewed. The review of L2 studies on computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) displays a contradictory pi cture regarding the e ffectiveness of using CMC in peer response. The review also shows th at there is a lack of studies on the use of multimedia-enhanced communication technologies, particularly instant messenger, a popular synchronous communication tool, in peer response. In addition, most existing studies merely provided descri ptive accounts of st udents interactive behaviors in a CMC environment. Very few studies addresse d the underlying learning and development embedded in the social interaction process. The next section will provide a synthetic

PAGE 84

68 review of empirical studies on peer response from a cultural hi storical activity theoretical perspective, particularly those conducted in an electronic environment. Peer Response Studies from a Sociocultural View In section two, a comprehensive review of empirical studies on L2 peer response shows that the view of many researchers is still deeply rooted in conventional cognitivism. Until the introduction of SCT to the SLA field in the early 1990s, L2 peer response was still considered merely an alte rnative way of obtaini ng external input to augment students cognitive ability in writing. Only a handful of studies (e.g. de Guerrero & Villamil, 2000; Villamil & de Guerrero, 1996; Storch, 2002, 2004; Thorne, 2004) adopt a sociocultural or act ivity theoretical lens to i nvestigate peer interaction. SCT and L2 Peer Response In Villamil and de Guerreros (1996) study, they use SCT constructs such as language as a mediational tool, private speech and scaffolding to interpret students social-cognitive activit ies during peer interaction. In their study in 2000, Guerrero and Villamil undertake a further analysis of mutual scaffolding in L2 peer revision through the lens of the ZPD. They use a microgeneri c approach to observe how strategies of revision took shape and developed in the in terpsychological space. The authors look at not only the writers development during peer re sponse, that is, the revision process with the help from his/her peers, but his/her indepe ndent revision in the final draft. In other words, the movement in the ZPD is the focu s. A moment-by-moment analysis of peer interaction reveals several scaffolding mechanis m in L2 peer response: readers role as a moderator, their regulating behaviors, which is reflected in intenti onality, task regulation, meaning, and contingent responsivity, conti ngent use of L1, the establishment and

PAGE 85

69 maintenance of intersubjectivity between the reader and writer, and the emergence of the writers self-regulation and hi s/her growth as an indepe ndent writer and reviser. Adopting Vygotskys theory of cognitive development, Storch (2002) interprets the collaborative and the expert/novice dyadic interactions during a classroom-based peer response task. She agrees on the crucial role language plays in knowledge coconstruction, which is subsequently appropr iated and internalized by members of the dyad. That is, language is used to facilita te the lengthy and complex negotiations over language choice during collaborative a nd expert/novice dyadic interaction. CHAT and L2 Peer Response Having developed interest in the nature of students goals in dyadic interactions, Storch (2004) furthers the anal ysis of dyadic interaction from an activity theoretical lens, using the same data set and analysis met hodology as those in he r study in 2002. In this latest study, Storch focuses on participants motives and goals in dyadic interactions. Adopting a cultural historical activity theore tical view, Storch perceives that human purposeful activity is driven by needs, which can be biological or cultural constructed. Needs turn into motives when they are directed toward a particular goal. While motives are usually subconscious, goals are conscious with direct intentions. Employing the important concepts of motives and goals, Stor ch discovers that lear ners perceived goals and roles they should play, rather than the task type, determine how a task is carried out. In addition, students preexisting at titudes and beliefs as well as their actual experience of working in pairs shape and reshape thei r goals. Each member of the dyad holds heterogeneous goals. But working in the same pair over time might lead to a shared mutual goal or deteriorated competing goals. This shows that goals and motives of each

PAGE 86

70 member participating in dyadic interactions are dynamic and fluid, not predetermined nor static. CHAT-guided L2 Peer Response in an Electric Environment In her study, Storch foregrounds each dya dic interaction without attending to the larger context in which each dyadic inter action takes place (Engestrm, 1997). Taking into the whole context into consideration, Thorn (Thorn, 2004) adopts the concept of activity systems in CHAT to explain a peer response task through email exchange in a Spanish foreign language program. According to CHAT, an activity system is comprised of subjects, mediating artifacts, objects, outcome, community, rules of community, and division of labor, With an attempt to expl ain how innovations emerge, Thorne identifies key features of a peer response activity: the subjects that are Spanish foreign language students, mediating artifacts that include peer response tasks and guides, email, L1 & L2, etc, object that is essay writing and reviewing, inter-class collabo ration, and student solidarity, community which is the lower intermediate students and advanced students, rules of the community for dialogic interaction via email, division of labor such as the writers writing essay, the reviewers revi ewing essay, negotiati on and communication between both the writer and the reviewer, and outcome which includes identity shifts for reviewers, demonstrated progr ess in L2, construction of ZPD, sense of progress for reviewers, etc. Although Thornes initial attempt in this study is not to uncover the underlying processes of computer-mediated (via email) pe er response, he demonstrates that CHAT is a helpful theoretical tool to an alyze a given activity system, su ch as L2 peer response that is undertaken through electronic venues. He also points out that CHAT helps to diagnose

PAGE 87

71 potential problems in an activity system su ch as classroom-based learning tasks and the same learning task taking place in different classroom contexts, such as in an electronic discourse, with distinctive pa rticipants may create totally disparate activity systems. Section Summary Section 4 provides a review of peer res ponse studies that take a social cultural historical view of social inte raction. It shows that the cultur al historical perspective has not been widely adopted in research on L2 p eer response, both in face-to-face and online modes. CHAT has been acknowledged and embr aced in other social science fields as a powerful theoretical tool to e xplain social interactions and human development. Every L2 classroom is a very complex environment, gi ven the diversity of cultural, educational, and historical backgrounds of each L2 stude nt. Nowadays, the omnipresence of computer technologies has aggregated the complexity of learning settings. Although an increasing number of L2 researchers have turned to CHAT for help to understand L2 teaching and learning, greater efforts are in need to unp ack computer-mediated teaching and learning processes. CMPR is one of the fields that demand more thorough and profound reinvestigation and reinterpretation. Conclusion This chapter provided a comprehensive revi ew of relevant theo ries and empirical research on L2 peer response. The review reveals that cultura l historical activity theory provides an appealing view of human interaction and development. Through an activity theory lens, all human activities are closely c onnected and constantly interacting with the social cultural environments including mediationa l artifacts, the local community, and the history of each subject. Vari ous human interactions afford both individual and cultural

PAGE 88

72 development. Although many aspects of L2 peer response have been investigated, very few researchers perceive peer response as a dynamic learning and development process rather than a cognition-augmenting strate gy. And a great number of current studies segregate peer response part icipants behaviors from the so cial cultural environments. The roles computer technologi es, particularly synchronous communication tools, as an omnipresent instrument in various educationa l practices, are playi ng have not attracted plenty of research attention they deserve. Aimed at addressing th ese research gaps and providing practical implications, the current study was intended to thoroughly explore computer-mediated L2 peer response from an alternative view of human interaction, theoretically guided by a combin ation of cultural historical activity theory, and dynamical systems theory. The following chapter will provide a detailed description of the study design and the important strate gies that were employed for data collection and analysis.

PAGE 89

73 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Introduction This chapter provides information about the study design, th e participants, the academic contexts in which the participants were selected, and the data collection and analysis processes of this study. In chapter 1, it is stated that one of the purposes of the proposed study was to uncover English as a S econd Language (ESL) students individual agency in computer-mediated peer response (CMPR), in othe r words, their motives and goals of participating in CMPR as a cl assroom task. Another focus was on how ESL students learning and development unfolded unde r the influence of a variety of social and cultural factors as well as their prior experience with academic writing instruction and with the use of computers and comput er-mediated communication (CMC) in CMPR tasks. In the following sections, the overarch ing research question and five sub-questions were provided and followed by a detailed descri ption of the procedures the researcher undertook to collect and analyze data to answer each sub-question. Research Questions The overarching research question of this study is: How do ESL students, as individual agents, perform in computer me diated peer response (CMPR)? The five subquestions are presented as follows: I. What are the motives and goals of ES L students participating in CMPR and how do these motives and goals maintain or change over time?

PAGE 90

74 Question 1 looked at what were the mo tives and goals of ESL students who participated in CMPR and whether and how hi s/her motives shifted throughout his or her participation in CMPR throughout the academ ic semester. According to cultural historical activity theory (CHAT), motive is th e biological or sociocu ltural desire or need, such as hunger and learning to write, that drives people to participate in an activity, which is usually collective and subconscious. Mo tive can only be noticed in goal-directed actions. In contrast, goals are conscious inten tions that direct peopl es actions. Goals are usually depicted as intentional plans or strategies. Drawing on CHAT, the researcher perceives each person involved in a social pr actice as an individual agent who has his/her own motive, which is realized in specific goal-directed actions. In this case, although ESL students in the writing class participat es in the same CMPR task and seemingly follow similar steps required in the task in struction, each of them may have different underlying objects or needs that motivate his or her actions in CMPR. These heterogeneous motives may, in turn, lead to di verse behaviors, in other words, particular goal-oriented actions. Overtime, upon the at tainment of the obj ects and goals, each student may have new motives and goals. The an swer to this research question will reveal each ESL students motives and goals that dr ive his/her actions in CMPR as well as a trajectory of the motivational changes, if th ere are changes, of each ESL student writer who participates in CMPR during the period of one academic semester, which will help explain why ESL student writers have the same or diverse behaviors when participating in CMPR. II. How do computer-mediated technologi es, particularly synchronous chat, mediate ESL students intera ction in peer response?

PAGE 91

75 Question 2 focused on the mediation of computer-mediated technologies in ESL student writers peer interac tion in CMPR. Akin to socioc ultural theory (SCT), CHAT views all humans social practices as mediat ed by psychological a nd physical tools such as language, signs, textbooks and computers. In the past decade, computer technologies have become a pervasive tool in writing cl assrooms. Particularly, it has been widely employed in second language (L2) peer res ponse activities because of the specific benefits it bears for L2 learners (e.g. Chun, 1994; Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996). To investigate computer technologi es mediation in human-com puter interaction, computer scientists (e.g. Kaptelini n, 1995; Kuuti, 1995) advocate a look at how computer technologies transform human behaviors from the three levels of activity, namely activity, actions and operations. In the pr oposed study, the use of a synchronous chat tool--MSN messenger in CMPR was of interest to the researcher. Me diation at the level of activity, such as the relationship between th e use of IM and motive change, at the level of actions, such as the influence of the use of IM on students cons cious goal-setting, as well as at the level of operations, such as how ESL students in CMPR tasks took different e-turns, what language functions they em ployed, and what kind of interpersonal relationship they establis hed were investigated. III. How do current social and cultural contexts influence ESL students participation in CMPR? This question explored the influence of va rious factors in the contemporary social environment such as the institution regulati ons, expectations and intervention from the instructor, behaviors of othe r students who were involved in the same CMPR task, the rules to be followed, and the roles each member was expected to play on each ESL

PAGE 92

76 students performances in CMPR tasks. Exte nding the Vygotskian view that language is the primary mediational tool of human higher mental functioning in social interaction, CHAT foregrounds the mediation from th e community of which the subject under investigation is a member, such as peopl e who are involved in the same activity, commonly understood rules of the community, and division of labor, which refers to both a horizontal division of the ta sks between members of the co mmunity such as the division between all students and a vertical division of power and status such as the division between the teacher and the students (Enge strm, 2001). Given the assumption of the existence of mediation from the social a nd cultural contexts, the question aimed to uncover from each participants perspective how each of them negotiated his or her motives and goals with the othe r components in the social cu ltural contexts comprised of the subject, the object, the mediational tools, the rules, the community, and the division of labor. IV. How do ESL students prior experience with writing instruction and with computer use, particularly synchr onous communciation, influence their participation in CMPR? ESL students prior experience of writi ng instruction and of computer use, particularly using CMC as a new mode of peer communication, have not caught sufficient research attention in the field of L2 writing despite its omnipresence in writing classrooms. The third generation of CHAT clai ms that an activity system does not exist in a vacuum. It constantly interacts with ot her systems of activity cross time and space, one of which is the historical activities of the subject under inves tigation. The history can explain how the subject comes into being. At the same time, it has constant influence on

PAGE 93

77 the current activity system by creating cont radictions and conflicts, which spawns changes and transformation (Cole & Engest rm, 1993). Thus, an understanding of the current situation of human practices require s an understanding of the history of the subject. Drawing on CHAT, the researcher e xplored what were each ESL students prior experience with English academic writing inst ruction, particularly peer response, and with computer use and investigated what c ontradictions and conflic ts were generated by the interaction between student s central learning activity systems and the historical activity systems they had invol ved in. How ESL students rec onciled the conflicts were also accounted for. V. What is the dynamic nature of CMPR? According to CHAT, there are constant and incessant movements between each components of a system of activity. Simultane ously, constant interactions also exist between multiple interconnected activity syst ems. Because of these incessant movements and interactions, all activity systems are dynamic, which may cause conflicts and contradictions. By seeking for solutions to th e conflicts and tensions the subject within a particular system of activity transforms th e activity and is dialectically transformed, which is named development in CHAT. In ot her words, development is a new-activitycreating activity. The answer to the fifth subquestion is a synthesis of all findings in the previous four questions. The intent was to present in a comprehensive way how each component of the activity syst em of each ESL student partic ipating in CMPR constantly shaped and was shaped by each other within the activity system, how one activity system was influenced and transformed both synchroni cally and diachronically by other activity systems that existed on a spatiotemporal le vel (Gutirrez & Stone, 2000), and eventually

PAGE 94

78 how ESL students developed or were transfor med in the process of constantly solving emergent conflicts existing in intra-and in ter-activity systems. Constructs such as attractors, basin of attraction, developmental time and trajectory from Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) (e.g. Thelen & Smith, 1994; va n Gelder & Port, 1995) were borrowed to graphically illustrate how each participan t went through the dynamic and fluctuating processes of learning and development in CMPR tasks. The current study was conducted in a le vel-4 ESL academic writing class in which computer-mediated peer response had been adopted as a regular class task for several semesters. Detailed information about the study contex t, the study design, participants, study process, da ta collection and analysis te chniques are presented in the following sections. Academic Context: the ELI program and Academic Writing Level IV Participants of this study came from the English Language Institute (ELI) housed in the Department of World Languages E ducation (WLE) at a metropolitan, public, research-oriented university in southeastern U.S. The unive rsity offers over 200 programs at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels to more than 40, 000 students. This English language program aims at prepari ng English language learners to enter U.S. higher education institutions and to adju st to the academic environment in the institutions. As outlined in its mission statemen t, the ELI also serves the university as a language and teaching laboratory to develop and experiment research-based instruction in English to speakers of other languages. Instru ctors in the institute either have, or are completing Masters degrees in language te aching. Some instruct ors are pursuing their Ph.D. degrees in related fields. The admini strators provide instructors and curriculum

PAGE 95

79 designers with various professional de velopment opportunities such as teaching discussion forums and workshops, and en courage participation in professional conventions as well as active partnership with gr aduate programs in the university. The administrators also advocate innovative technology applicati on to the teaching practices in the institute. Teachers are encouraged to use innovative compute r-assisted media in language teaching, resear ch, and communication. Students enrolled in this program are fr om a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. A high school diploma and some prior English lear ning experience are prerequisites for applying to this program. Upon enrollment, new students must take a placement exam, which combines sections in two placement tests: the Listening and Grammar sections of the Comprehensive E nglish Language Test (CELT) (Canadian Test Centre Inc., 2003) and the Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension sections of the Michigan Test of English La nguage Proficiency (MTELP) (The University of Michigan, English Language Institute, Te sting Certification Division, 2 003). The results of the exam decide at which level each student should be placed in the upcoming semester (for more information about CELT and MTELP, see Appendix A and B). There are a total of five levels of courses offered in the ELI, each of which contains one or two sections depending on the enrollment situation. Student s are required to enroll on a full-time basis and receive 25-hour weekly instruction during a span of 15 weeks in the spring and fall semester respectively, and 13 weeks in the summer semester. The participants of this study were interm ediate-level ESL learners enrolled in one level IV academic writing class, one of four level-4 academic writing sessions offered in the summer, 2006. Level IV st udents in the program usually have high

PAGE 96

80 intermediate to low advanced English language proficiency. In other words, they had the ability to converse with native speakers of English or other ESL people, and to comprehend and produce a high intermediate to low advanced level of written forms. Classes offered to students at level IV included Listening/Sp eaking and Pronunciation, Academic Writing, Grammar, Cultural Contac ts with a focus on reading, and Test Preparation Electives: TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT. The syllabi and teaching materials used at this level were co nsistent among all sessions. E ach class had 7-12 students who usually came from diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds. On average, 60% of students in this program came from South Am erica, and the rest came primarily from Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In terms of educational backgr ound, most students did not experience communicative language ap proach and student-centered learning prior to enrollment in the ELI. The average age of Level IV students was between 19-25 years old. The level IV academic writing class wher e the data were collected aimed for preparing ESL students for writing academic e ssays demanded in most U.S. universities or colleges. In this class, students learned how to write academic essays with accurate grammar, appropriate rhetoric strategies, and well-organized st ructures with the help of accessible resources such as the university library and the Internet. Upon completion of the course, students were e xpected to know how to write fourto five-paragraph academic essays in a variety of rhetorical m odes such as exposition, cause and effect, and argumentation. The topics used for the writi ng projects in this course included those discussed in the Culture IV cl ass that were expected to se rve as a springboard from which

PAGE 97

81 students could generate more id eas in their writing as well as those directly from the Level-4 academic writing textbook students used in this class. The instructor of the Level IV academic writing class was also the researcher. The instructor / researcher is a doctoral candi date in a Ph.D. program with a focus on computer-assisted second / foreign langua ge learning and teaching. She has been involved in ESL-related pedagogy and research for over 4 years. She has been teaching ESOL strategies in a pre-service teacher e ducation program in the same university over the past two years. Although she worked as a re search assistant for the former director of the ELI five years ago and participated in planning and teaching of the Level IV academic writing class along with the instructor in the summer, 2005, it was her first time to independently teach the class. As a novice teacher in the institute, the researcher/instructor adopted the teaching philosophy and the cla ss textbook provided by the institute. The syllabus used in this class was attached in Appendix C. In this course, the instructor adopted a writing process approach in which writing is considered a recursive problem-solving pr ocess rather than a one-time product. Apart from paragraph-composing at the beginning of th e course, there were a total of five essay writing tasks: compare-and-contrast essay, expository essay, summary-analysis essay, argumentative essays and problem-solution e ssays. These five tasks were assigned in a sequence of the perceived complexity. Students did not start the next writing task until they submitted the final draft of the previous essay. At the ou tset of each writing task, the instructor did mini lectures on the general st ructures as well as the relevant writing strategies that could be empl oyed to write an essay in th e respective rhetorical mode.

PAGE 98

82 Students were also provided an example essay of each type of rhetorical modes. Then, they were required to compos e one draft either in the co mputer lab or at home. As an important component of the writing process approach, peer response as a learning task was integrated in this class. Af ter students finished their first draft of each writing task, they were paired with a partner with a similar level of writing proficiency. The dyads then exchanged their writing and revi ewed each others draft. In the following class session, a peer response session was offe red in which the partners discussed each others essay and provided comments and sugge stions. A peer respons e instruction sheet (see Appendix D) and a peer response worksh eet (see Appendix E) were provided at the beginning of each peer response task to gui de students performances. Based on their partners comments, students revised their writing after class and submitted the second draft to the instructor. The instructor th en provided comprehensive feedback on the mechanics, the content, and organization in their essays. Students, then, revised their 2nd draft based on the instructors feedback and submitted a third draft which was graded as the final draft. All essay writing tasks followed the same process. This writing class also placed a strong emphasis on students computer literacy. Two out of five class sessions per week were given in the computer laboratory of the ELI in which students used the work processor to compose paragraphs and essays and to use web browsers to search for relevant onlin e resources. In this study, students were required to conduct four out of five p eer response tasks online in the lab. Study Design: a Case Study Approach This study adopted a case study approach. Distinguishing case studies from other research strategies such as experiment, surv ey, history and archival analysis, Yin (2003)

PAGE 99

83 defines a case study as an empirical study th at investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident (p.13). He claims that the purpose of a case study is to help our understanding of individual, group, or ganizational, social, political, and related phenomena (p.1). Since the phenomenon and cont ext are oftentimes not distinguishable, the inquiry should also cover the contextual c onditions as well as the histories. Whereas Yin considers case studies as a research st rategy, Stake (2003), another prominent case study researcher defines case st udies as a choice of object to be studied (p.443). Stake emphasizes that the object must be functi oning specific (p.135), a bounded system that could be an individual or an organization. And the case should be purposive, and an integrated system with certain features as well as prominen t coherence and sequence. The boundary and specific features inhe rent in the case helps the researcher specify the case (Stake, 2003). Despite these discrepant views of cas e studies, the study was designed on the basis of an integrative view of case studies as both a choice of object that is functioning specific and a research strategy. This view wa s chosen because the focus of the current study was on both each ESL student as a pa rticipant agent who had unique personal histories and took actions in a particular social cultural co ntext and the en tire level IV academic writing class as a functioning subject. This view was also consistent with the theoretical framework under wh ich data in this study were analyzed and interpreted. By taking this view, each ESL student had specifi c functions, and simultaneously he or she was inseparable from complex social cultura l contexts including the class community,

PAGE 100

84 which constantly mediated human deve lopment by providing both affordances and constraints. This complex phenomenon de manded a special process of inquiry. In terms of case studies as an inqui ry methodology, Yin (2003) further explains that a case study is both a process of inquiry about the case and the product of that inquiry. Thus, a case study inquiry is a compre hensive research stra tegy that contains a whole set of technical charac teristics (Yin, 2003, p.13) en compassing the logical study design, the process of data collection relyi ng on multiple sources of evidence, and the process of data analysis. For a long time, a case study approach as a research strategy has been criticized for its lack of generalizab ility of the findings. However, Yin (2003) stresses the value of case studies by arguing that case st udies are generalizable to theoretical propositions rather than populations, which contribut es to theory expanding. Since Emig introduced the case study approach into writing research in early 1970s, case studies have been widely used by both L1 and L2 researchers to investigate the writing processes. In the study, ther e exist three underlying reasons for the researchers adoption of a case study met hodology. First, this study mainly focused on the process of peer response. The researcher had specific interest in how peers interacted during the CMPR tasks. For a better illustra tion of the processes of CMPR, the complex context in which peer interaction occurre d should be accounted for. The case study methodology does not neglect the diversity and co mplexity of the contexts where certain events or phenomena take place. The sec ond reason was the researchers focus on the relationship between the history and th e contemporary events. Using a case study methodology helped the researcher place attention to all contextual factors including historical contexts that might influence the object and the current event. The third reason

PAGE 101

85 was related to the researchers control over the events. The writing process is a complex process and the writing classroom is a comp lex context. Case studies, rather than isolating and manipulating the variables in th e context, allows an unobtrusive observation of the behaviors and other va riables existing in the writi ng classroom. In this study, the researcher worked as a participatory observe r of the entire events occurring in the classroom. Based on these three reasons, th e case study methodology seems to be most appropriate for this study. According to Yin (2003), there are two ma in types of designs for case studies: singleand multiple-case designs. In a singl e-case design, the focus is on one single unique or critical case while the multiple-case design takes into account more than one case. The study to be conducted can be considered as a multiple-case study. There were two underlying reasons for selecting this design in the current study. First, the researcher investigated the motives and goals of multiple numbers of students who were involved in dyadic interactions. Second, ESL students pe rformances in the CMPR tasks were of specific interest to the researcher. One single case might not help the researcher understand the complex situations in a CMC environment. Collectively, findings from each student could inform and benefit readers understanding of computer-mediated peer response in a larger context. Participants Students Student participants of this study were comprised of 5 ESL students who were enrolled as full-time students in the academ ic writing level IV class in the English Language Institute at a southeastern public research university in the U.S. All

PAGE 102

86 participants had intermediateor advanced -level English language proficiency. The information about each participants age, ge nder, cultural or ethnical backgrounds, prior educational experience, self -assessed English language proficiency and prior experience of using computer, particular ly, the use of CMC, were obtained through an ethnographic survey administered at the beginning of the semester. Sampling Technique This study adopted a case study approach that follows a collective case study design. There is a consensus among case study researchers (e.g. Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003) that case study research doe s not claim specific sampling t echniques. According to Yin, the case(s) to be investigated is/are purpos ely chosen by the researcher, depending on the researchers interest and the purposes of the study. Stake sugg ests that a case should be selected according to its pot ential to maximize the resear chers understanding of the phenomenon and to its accessibility to the researcher. All students enrolled in the academic writing level IV class in the ELI in the summer semester, 2006 were invited to participate in the because ESL students at th is level started to produce academic writing at the essay level. In addition, the diversit y of cultural backgr ounds of ESL students enrolled in this institute and the program s encouragement to students for using various computer technologies premised the uniquene ss of the cases. Apart from this, the ELI serves as a laboratory for language teaching a nd research for graduate programs of the university, which provided the ac cessibility of the participants enrolled in this program. Therefore, all students enrolled in the academ ic writing level IV class in the ELI in the summer semester, 2006 were purposely selected based on the researchers interest, the

PAGE 103

87 research design and questions, and access to the participants. Participant selection was conducted in the first class of the summer semester. Ethical Considerations of the Participants At the outset of the study, the approval from the Institutional Review Board in the university was pursued. Students in the target class volunteered to participate in this study. All participants signed an informed consent form (Appendix F) in which information about the goal and the procedur es of the study was pr ovided. Students were notified that they might discontinue their pa rticipation at any poi nt of time during the study; that, however, would not exempt them fr om participating in all other interactive writing tasks required in the regu lar class. Students also were informed that their names would not be identified during the data colle ction, data analysis, and later dissemination of results. Individual information collected during the study would not be accessible to unauthorized people without the participan ts permission. The IRB approval was also obtained to conduct the pilot study in the summer semester, 2005. Permission for conducting the study also was obtained from the Department of World Language Education (WLE) and the English Language Institute (ELI). The researcher/instructor contacted the department chair and the director of the ELI for the permission prior to starting the class. Researchers Role in the Study Contrary to quantitative researchers in tention to contaminate the data as little as possible when collecting data, researchers conducting a qualitative inquiry usually serve as the instrument to collect data (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). With specific focus on case study researchers roles during the processes of study design,

PAGE 104

88 data collection and analysis, the report wri ting as well as information distribution, Stake (1995) postulates that a case study researcher s hould take multiple roles such as teacher, advocate, evaluator, biog rapher and interpreter. In the current study, the data were collected from the class the researcher taught. Thus, the researcher played dual roles in the field, both the researcher and instructor. The researcher collected and analyzed data fr om her students during and after delivering instruction and organizing the class. The adva ntages of being a researcher/instructor in the study include: 1) the researcher had a d eeper understanding of the environment, the participants, and what occurred during the process of CMPR while teaching the class, which benefited the later data analysis and interpretation; 2) the data collection was less obtrusive; and 3) logistically, it simplified the data collection process in terms of setting up time and place or using special equipments, i.e. video camera, in class to collect data. During the data analysis, the researcher/instr uctor played a crucial role in terms of collecting and analyzing data. Particularly, besides particip ants reflections about their intentions and perceptions during each CMPR ta sk, the researchers interpretations of the phenomena were weighed heavily because of tw o reasons. First, the instructors role helped the researcher gain valuable insight s about the students and the dynamics. Second, some students such as Diane, Iron, and Nicky, sometimes failed to explicitly describe his or her intentions and actions due to the lim ited oral language proficiency. To guarantee the credibility of the informati on, all interpretations were veri fied with participants. However, the dual roles the researcher took also caused special disadvantages, such as the researcher did not have sufficient time to take field notes due to her duties of being the instructor, e.g. walk ing around to provide necessar y language or technical aids,

PAGE 105

89 during the CMPR sessions. In addition, as cau tioned by many qualitative researchers (e.g. Denzon & Lincoln, 2003; Lincoln & Guba, 1 985), conducting research while actively participating in the event unde r investigation for a prolonged period of time may obscure the researchers view of important issues emerging in the field or even produce potential biases (Yin, 2003). In other words, being the instructor simultaneously might prevent the researcher from identifying some significant th emes or patterns in students behaviors, which could have been avoided if an alyzed by an external observer. In addition, due to the reserachers dua l role in the field, some participants hesitated to comment on the class and their pa rtners. Some of them explained that they did not want to complain about ev erything. Rocky tended to please the researcher/instructor constant ly by providing all positive and sometimes false information about what he and his part ner did during the CMPR task s. Thus, some information collected him had to be verified with his partner and the video clips. Procedure of the Study The study was conducted in the summer semester, 2006, which spanned for 13 weeks. The complete data collection proce ss lasted for the entire academic semester. The IRB approval for the proposed study was obtaine d prior to data colle ction. Prior to the beginning of the summer semester, the research er/ instructor prepared the course syllabus (see Appendix C), particularly the computer-mediated peer response tasks. Based on the results from the pilot study in summer, 2005, the researcher developed a special instruction sheet (see Appendix D) and CMPR readers worksheet and writers worksheet (see Appendix E) for each CMPR task.

PAGE 106

90 In the first session of the first week of the semester, which was a Thursday, students were informed of the study. The goal and the procedures of the study also were explained to all students. St udents, then, were given the following weekends to think whether they would participate in this st udy. In the first class of the second week, students interested in particip ating in this study signed the informed consent form (see Appendix F). On the same day, the ethnogra phic survey (see Appendix G), which was piloted in the ELI in the summer semester, 2005 for its validity, was distributed during the class break to the participants who returned them in the last class session of the week. The survey was used to collect informati on about participants age, gender, prior educational experience, their self-assessed English proficiency as well as their prior experience with computer use. Since the ELI encourages computer use in the process of writi ng, all students at all levels in the ELI are required to ha ve two lab sessions each week which were scheduled on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the summer semest er, 2006. During the lab sessions, students were allowed to use word processor to compose writing or use the Internet to search for cla ss-related information. During the lab time of week 3, all students received CMC training in the computer lab of the ELI, which is located very close to other regular classroom s. The researcher / instructor first demonstrated how to create a username in a MSN instant messenger that was already installed in all computers in the ELI lab, add friends user name in their messenger contact list, and try a conversation in the messenger. For those who participated in the study, they also were informed how to save their instant messe nger conversations duri ng each CMPR session into a folder set up by the instructor in a pub lic server of the ELI. In the first week, a

PAGE 107

91 screen-capturing computer so ftware program called WINK, which could capture all onscreen movements such as clicking, highlig hting, and typing, was installed in the computers that were designated for data collection during each CMPR task. During CMPR, only the student particip ants were asked to use th e computers installed with WINK. According to the syllabus (see Appendix C) there were a total of five writing modules. The first one focused on writing thr ee paragraphs to compare and contrast two objects. The second, third, fourth, and fifth ones were writing an expository essay, a summary-analysis essay, an argumentative essay, and a problem-solution essay respectively. Each module spanned two weeks. Starting from week 3, all students learne d how to write three paragraphs to compare and contrast two objects. In the fi rst and second sessions of the third week, students received instruction on how to write compare-andcontrast paragraphs. Then, they practiced paragraph-level writing. At the end of the second session, students were assigned a writing task to describe the similarities and differences between two advertisements. They could either pick the advertisements provided by the instructor or chose any two they found in a magazine. On e week including th e following two class sessions of week 3 was allowed for everyone to finish the first draft. In the first and second sessions of week 4, st udents learned a writing strate gy: use punctuati ons through a mini-lecture and an in-class exercise. To he lp students gain acquaintance with peer response, the first peer response task was conduc ted in a face-to-face format in the lab. In the task, as shown in Table 8, three groups were formed. In the following day, students were asked to revise their first draft based on the feedback obtained during the peer

PAGE 108

92 response task and submitted the second draft to the instructor. In the middle of the following week, students received the second draf ts with the instructors feedback based on which they revised the second draft and subm itted the third draft by the end of week 5. Throughout the semester, the instructor only gave in-class feedback when there were common and extensive mistakes in all student s essays in a certain module. If the mistakes or problems were not alarmi ng, no in-class feedback was given. The module of writing an expository essa y lasted from week 5 to week 6. Following the routine, in week 5, all student s attended mini-lectures and did exercises on how to write an expository essay. They were required to write an expository essay on learning styles over the weeke nds of week 5 and swapped the essay on Monday in week 6 with a partner who was assigned based on stude nts writing proficiency demonstrated in the first writing task. Students also were gi ven a CMPR readers worksheet to help them take notes during the reading and a writers worksheet to write down the questions they wanted to ask their partner. In the sec ond session of week 6, st udents conducted the computer-mediated peer response task with th eir partner via the MSN IM in the computer lab. Prior to the CMPR session, the researcher / instructor turned on the WINK software program in the computers with the installation. During the CM PR session, the researcher / instructor first distributed the instruction sheet (see Appendix D) for the CMPR task and informed students of the required steps. Then she walked around the lab to ensure all students could successfully log on to the me ssenger, add their partner onto the buddy list, and set up the conversation. Stude nts were advised to use the readers worksheet to offer opinions and suggestions and to use the writer s worksheet to ask for and take notes of opinions and suggestions from his or her pa rtner. Students who were still not familiar

PAGE 109

93 with the MSN IM such as Iron were instructed individually to operate an IM. During this session, two video cameras were placed in the lab, one in the front and the other at the back of the lab, to record participants beyond-screen behaviors during the CMPR session, such as their physical movements a nd special facial expr essions while chatting with their partners online. When none of the students asked questions, the researcher/instructor took field notes by following a pre-designed observation protocol, which will be described in details later. Upon the completion of this CMPR sessi on, all students were required to start revising his or her draft ba sed on comments or suggestions obtained during the peer response, which were undertaken at home or in the computer lab. The lab session in the following day also was assigned for essay re vision. Students were required to submit their second drafts at the end of the lab session. In the last session of week 6, the new module of writing a summary-analysis essay st arted. The participants of the study also were required to save their IM chat recordings in the folder set up by the instructor in the public server that could be accessible from every computer in the computer lab. Then, each participant received a semi-struc tured informal interview with the researcher/instructor, which was scheduled at a convenient time and place for both the researcher/instructor and the interviewee. The interview was used here to solicit information on what occurred during CMPR, wh y certain behaviors were performed, and how participants perceived th eir involvement in the session (for a sample of interview questions, see Appendix H). The interview que stions varied slightly according to the specific situation of each indivi dual participant. For example, the researcher asked why Anton only commented on Irons essay organi zation not on his grammar, and what and

PAGE 110

94 how contextual factors influenced her particip ation in the session. As soon as the data were collected, the researcher started data analysis. During week 7 and 8, students underwent the module of writing a summaryanalysis essay. As for the study, the resear cher and the participants repeated the procedures as those in the model of writi ng an expository essay. The same procedures were repeated during the modul e of writing an argumentative essay in weeks 9 and 10 and the module of writing a problem-solution essay in weeks 11 and 12. The last round of interviews on the CMPR task for the probl em-solution essay was conducted during weeks 12 and 13. Member checks were conducted in both face-to-face meetings throughout the semester and IM conversations afte r week 13. Throughout the semester, the researcher/instructor kept a reflective jour nal after each class se ssion to record the important events that have taken place in the class as well as the reflections. The study procedure is illustrated in Table 2. In addition to collecting and analyzin g evidence from the ethnographic survey, field notes, video tapes, inte rviews, IM chat transcript s, and WINK recordings, and relevant documents such as in struction sheets and the syllabus the researcher also created a case study database recording the time and s ources from which data were collected as well as maintained a chain of eviden ce (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p.260) to provide explicit link between the questions asked, the data collected, and the findings and implications concluded during data analysis. The data collection and analysis strategies that were used to answer each research questions are displayed in Table 3.

PAGE 111

95 Table 2 Study Procedure Time Procedure Notes Week 1 Advertised the study Week 2 Informed consent form Ethnographic survey CMPR training Week 3 Instruction and Exercises on Writing three paragraphs to compare and contrast Week 4 Face-to-face peer response Teacher’s feedback Week 5 Exploratory essay instruction & composing Week 6 CMPR Interviews Reflective journal Teacher feedback Week 7 Interviews Summary-analysis essay instruction & composing Week 8 CMPR Interviews Reflective journal Teacher feedback Week 9 Interviews Argumentative essay instruction & composing Week 10 CMPR Interviews Reflective journal Teacher feedback Week 11 Interviews Problem-solution essay instruction & composing Week 12 CMPR Interviews Reflective journal Teacher feedback Week 13 Final week: Member checking

PAGE 112

96 Table 3 Data Sources and Data Analysis Methods Research Questions Data Sources Data Analysis Methods Interview transcripts Content analysis Constant comparison method CHAT Field notes Video clips Reflective Journals IM Chat transcripts On-screen recordings Constant comparison method CHAT Subquestion 1 1st and 2nd writing draft Revision Analysis Subquestion 2 Interview transcripts Field notes Video clips Reflective Journals IM Chat transcripts On-screen recordings Constant comparison method Content analysis Subquestion 3 Interview transcripts IM chat transcripts Field notes Video clips Reflective journals On-screen recordings Documents Constant comparison method CHAT Subquestion 4 Pre-study survey Interview transcripts Field notes Video clips Reflective Journals IM Chat transcripts On-screen recordings Constant comparison method CHAT Overarching question: Subquestion 5: All data sources CHAT

PAGE 113

97 Detailed information about data collection and data analysis methods is described in the following section. Data and Data Gathering Methods Many case study researchers (e.g. Patt on, 2002; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003) argue that case studies should use multiple rather th an single sources of evidence. The use of a combination of multiple sources can avoid the potential weaknesses inherent in any single source of evidence, which enhances the credibility and trustworthiness of collected data. Sources of evidence for case studies can come from docum entation, interview, direct observations, participatory observations and physical artifacts. In the current study, the researcher collected data through a pre-st udy ethnographic survey, student participants’ first and second writing drafts in each writing module, participants’ IM chat transcripts and on-screen behavi or recordings in WINK, video clips, the researcher’s field notes through participatory observations, reflec tive journals, in-depth interviews with student participants, and documen ts collected from the field. Pre-study Survey The pre-study survey (see Appendix G) was administered at the outset of the study to obtain participants’ ethnographi c background information and their prior experience with writing instru ction and the use of CMC. Th is survey was developed by the researcher, which was field-tested in the summer semester, 2005. Students did not show difficulties understanding questions in th e survey and the questions help collect necessary information for the proposed study. Questions in the survey included participants’ age, gender, country of birt h, country(ies) of citizenship, L1 and L2 proficiency, prior educational e xperience, prior L2 learning expe rience, particularly in L2

PAGE 114

98 writing instruction, and their prior experience of using computers and CMC for social interaction. All questions were field-test ed in the pilot study. Information obtained through this survey provided a fuller picture of each participant’ s past experience of writing education and computer use, which he lped explain how each student participant’s historical activity systems (p rior writing instruction and pr ior experience of computer use) interacted with their current activity system (CMPR). The survey was distributed and collected by the researcher/instructor in the first session of week 2 in the summer semester, 2006. Reflective Journals The researcher/instructor ke pt a reflective journal at the end of each CMPR session and periodically at the end of each w eek. In the reflective journal, the focus was placed on: 1) the classroom atmosphere, partic ularly, the rapport be tween the instructor and students; 2) the salient issues that occurred in the class, such as problems or conflicts each student encountered, i.e. students’ frus tration of interacting with peers and the instructor as well as of opera ting computers; and 3) reflecti on as an instructor regarding students’ performances in class as well as their development. Data collected through reflective journals helped the researcher to recollect what took place in each CMPR session, what were the salient issues that occurred in each week, and how students developed academically, which contributed to the later data analysis in terms of discovering how participants’ behaviors in CM PR were driven by their motives and how the context had influence on participants’ participation in CMPR as well.

PAGE 115

99 Lab Observation The researcher/instructor conducted more focused observation of CMPR in the computer lab. Stake (1995) purports that obs ervations provide the researcher with a greater understanding of the case, and through observation, the researcher can keep “a good record of events to provide a relatively in contestable description for further analysis and ultimate reporting” (p.62). Since the researcher intended to discover each student participant’s motive of participating in CM PR, which could only be observed in their actions (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), as we ll as the influence the contexts cast on participants’ actions, the researcher’s focus during the observation wa s placed on: 1) the atmosphere and environment during the co mputer-mediated communication period; 2) interaction among ESL students during CMPR; 3) the interaction between ESL students and the instructor during CMPR; and 4) students’ physical movements and facial expressions while operating a computer. One sample observation protocol provid ed in Reed and Bergemann (2001) was used in the pilot study during the summer semester, 2005. Based on the observation during the pilot study, the rese archer made modifications in the protocol to more accurately address the research focus in the proposed study (see Appendix I for the revised observation protocol). The observati on protocol was slightly modified during the data collection process to capture emergent i ssues such as particip ants’ certain behaviors at certain point of time. Two modes of observation were conducted including the researcher’s field notes-taking and video taping. When there was no one student asking questions, the researcher/instr uctor take field notes by us ing the observation protocol. Due to the equipment arrangement in the co mputer lab, it was not feasible for the

PAGE 116

100 researcher to observe all participants at one site. In order to capture as much information as possible during CMPR sessions, the resear cher spent equal time in observing each participant from the area that provided a clea rer view of each participant’s performances. However, due to the fact that students as ked questions during the lab time and the instructor did not have plenty of time taki ng field notes, two video cameras were used during each CMPR session to record participants’ beyond-sc reen behaviors. One video camera was placed in the front of the computer lab and the other one in the back area. After each observation, the researcher imme diately reviewed the video recordings in order to fill the information that was cap tured in the video tapes but missing in the field notes, into the observati on protocol. Once the protocol was updated, all observation information were be synthesized, which allo wed the capturing of accurate information from the field. In summary, the use of two modes of obser vation were beneficial to the research in the following three aspects: 1) collecting data through both video taping and field notes taking allowed for the collecti on of thick data for the study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985); 2) the researcher’s presence in the classroom since the start of the semester made less intrusive the later data collection process; a nd 3) the researcher’s prolonged presence in the classroom and her role as technology trainer and facilitator in the computer lab helped build trust between the participants and the researcher, which benef its the collection of credible data (Lincoln & Cuba, 1985). Information obtained through lab observations were used to supplement the IM chat transcripts and the res earcher’s reflective journals, which not only helped triangulate findings, but portrayed a fuller picture of what ESL students underwent during CMPR.

PAGE 117

101 IM Chat Transcripts and On-screen Behavior Recordings At the beginning of each CMPR session, the researcher/instructor reminded the participants to save the IM chat transcripts in to the folder in the public server at the end of the session. To further reveal what part icipants were doing in IM chat sessions, a software program named WINK 2.0 (DebugM ode, 2005), which can capture users’ onscreen movements such as clicking, highlightin g, and typing as well as the time spent in browsing one page, was adopted to record students’ on-screen behaviors, such as switching between windows, or choosing diffe rent communication features provided in MSN IM. The IM chat transcripts and on-screen behavior recordings were used to inform the researcher how the sync hronous communication technolo gy mediated pa rticipants’ interaction in CMPR tasks, particularly how and what messages they exchanged as well as what kind of relationship each pair established in the CMC environment. Participants’ First and Second Drafts in Each Writing Task Student participants’ firs t and second drafts were considered as “physical artifacts” (Yin, 2003). The re searcher collected the firs t two drafts upon students’ completion of the assignment. The first and second drafts were compared to identify revisions students made after they excha nged feedback during the CMPR sessions. The purposes of obtaining the revision results were two-fold: 1) the researcher tracked each L2 student participant’s learning and devel opment process by analyz ing to what extend and in what aspects they gained improvement in terms of writing skills or competences in conducting CMPR tasks throughout the seme ster, which helped reveal student participants’ subconscious motives of involveme nt in CMPR; and 2) the results also were used to form some interview questions to di scover participants’ goa ls of taking part in

PAGE 118

102 CMPR tasks and to recollect what they ha d done during CMPR sessions as well as how they perceived CMPR as a task in an academic writing class. In-Depth Interviews There is a consensus among case study researchers (e.g. Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003) that interviews are one of th e important techniques to gath er information in a case study. Seidman (1998) points out that the purpose of in-depth interviewing is to understand “the experience of other people and the meani ng they make of the experience” (p.3). Interviews can be used to collect informati on, which is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain through the observations. For example, in terviews can seek to obtain participants’ personal views of a phenomenon or an event. In this study, the interviews were used mainly to help students recollect their performances in the CMPR sessions, i.e., reflecting on what they did and why they performed in certain ways in each CMPR task, and the goals they had when taking certain actions. Particularly, the interview quest ions were divided into five sections: 1) information about key online events; 2) in formation about the goals each student participant held when conducting certain onlin e behaviors, such as delivering certain messages and using certain graphic symbols during online chat; 3) students’ sense of relationship establishment in a CMC environmen t; 4) students’ perception of influence on their behaviors from the institut e, the researcher / instructor other students in the class, and particularly, their respect ive interlocutor during CMPR; and 5) students’ perception of the influence of their pr ior experience of writing instru ction and of computer use on their participation in the CMPR tasks. Apart from these, based on the findings from the revision analysis of their writing drafts, each st udent participant also was asked to reflect

PAGE 119

103 on what stimulated certain revisions he or she made in the second draft. The data collected through the interv iews helped unpack the CMPR process and students’ perceptions of CMPR, and tria ngulated student participants’ behaviors identified in IM chat transcripts as well as the on-sc reen behavior recordings in WINK. Each participant received one semi-s tructured open-ended interview (see Appendix H for sample questions) after he/she submitted the second draft for each writing task. Although there were four CMPR ta sks, Anton and Iron only participated in the first three tasks and Diane, Nicky, and Ro cky participated in the last three tasks. Thus, each participant receive d a total of three interv iews throughout the study. All interviews were conducted by th e researcher in the research er/instructor’s office at a convenient time for participants or in a cl assroom during the break. The atmosphere in all interviews was informal and casual. The language used in the interview was English due to the fact that English was the only language with which the researcher and the participants were able to communicate. Interviews followed the interview protoc ol (see Appendix H), based on the five sets of questions mentione d earlier. All interview ques tions were developed by the researcher and had been fiel d-tested in the pilot study, which showed no comprehension difficulty on the part of participants. Ques tions for each interviewee varied slightly according to their respective behaviors during the previous CMPR session. All interviews were audio-taped and later transcribe d for subsequent data analysis. To enhance the credibility and transferab ility of interview data (Lincoln & Cuba, 1985), the researcher took three steps in the pilot study. First, all in terview questions had been discussed with the researcher’s di ssertation committee that was comprised of

PAGE 120

104 research experts in the fields of applied li nguistics, second language writing, English as a second language (ESL) and foreign language education, socio-cultural theory, and computer-mediated communication. Content that was not clear or irrelevant was deleted or revised. Second, the intervie w questions were also discus sed with the instructor who was teaching in the pilot class of Academic Writing Level IV in the summer semester, 2005, to ensure that the language used in the in terview is appropriate to the participants’ proficiency level. The third step was the pilot study conducted in the summer semester, 2005. The goal of the pilot study was to assure the clarity and comprehensibility of the interview questions as well as credibility of the questions for the proposed study. The academic writing Level IV class in the ELI was chosen as the pilot class. After students submitted their drafts, each of them received an interview based on the interview protocol and specific situations in each student’s draf ts. The researcher analyzed the transcripts and interpreted the data. Based on the interpretations, the researcher revised the interview protocol to foster its appl icability in the target popul ation of the proposed study. In addition to the formal interview ques tions during discrete interview time, the researcher also conducted informal IM intervie ws with participants such as Anton, Diane, and Nicky who agreed to add the researcher in to their IM list. Whenever the researcher needed to ask additional information and c onfirm some information from the formal interviews, the researcher could chat with the participants if they also were online. Other informal interviews were conducted during cl ass break time, partic ularly with Iron and Rocky since Iron did not use IM and Rocky wa s seldom online. The information gleaned from the informal interviews was recorded in the researcher’s reflective journals, which facilitated the data interpretation.

PAGE 121

105 Document Review Relevant documents were collected through the Internet as well as directly from the institute secretary. The documents incl uded the mission statement of the institute, background records of the student participan ts, the writing class syllabus and materials used in the Level-4 academic writing class including instructions for each writing task and CMPR. These documents were used to analyze how the contemporary social and cultural context mediated students’ participation in the CMPR tasks. Unit of Analysis and Data Analysis Methods The researcher started data analysis as soon as the first set of data were collected,. Data in this study included informati on obtained from the pre-study survey, the researcher’s field notes fro m observation in the comput er lab, video clips, the researcher’s reflective journals, participants’ IM chat transcripts as well as their on-screen behaviors recorded in WINK, the first and second drafts for each writing module, interviews, as well as documents collected from the institute and in the class. Data from these multiple sources supplemented and tria ngulated each other to answer the five research questions ra ised in the study. Unit of Analysis Researchers adherent to sociocutlural th eory (e.g. Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Siegal, 1996) argue that human’s learning and de velopment involve complex actions and procedures, and thus may require multiple leve ls of analysis. Activity theorists (e.g. Cole & Engestrm, 1993; Engestrm, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2001) think that the unit of analysis to uncover this complexity should be “activity systems, historically conditioned systems of relations among individuals and their proximal, culturally organized environments” Cole

PAGE 122

106 & Engestrm, p.9). The same activity system may look different if the researcher takes different members in the community as the subject of investigation. Akin to both sociocultural theory and CHAT, this study employed two units of analysis: 1) the activity system of each individual student participati ng in CMPR in which his or her actions were driven by his/her own motive and constantly mediated by the instruments employed, the partner who was part of the community in which each participant was a member, the community rules, division of labor, as we ll as his or her own history of writing instruction and of computer us e; and 2) the CMPR activity system with the entire class as the subject of the activity system, wh ich was driven by the collective objects: knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR ta sks and knowledge and skills of writing academic essays. The purpose of employing tw o units of analysis was to uncover each English as a second language (ESL) stude nts’ individual motives and goals of participating in CMPR as well as to unpack the complex CMPR context in which ESL students were situated and mediated, which ultimately helped explain how ESL students learned and developed during their particip ation in the CMPR tasks in an academic writing class. Given the aforementioned two units of anal ysis, the data analysis of this study involved two parallel but interwoven stages The first stage took each participant’s activity system as the unit of analysis, in other words, a within-case analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994) of each student participant as the subjec t under investigation, which uncovered what motives and goals each particip ant held in his/her involvement in CMPR, how they used the synchronous communication technology in his/her peer interaction, how the current social and cultural context influenced his/her p eer interaction and

PAGE 123

107 thinking involved in CMPR, and how his/her prior experience of writing instruction and computer use, particularly synchronous co mmunication, influenced his/her participation in the CMPR tasks. Thus, at stage 1, focus was placed on answering subquestion 1, 2, 3, and 4 with an emphasis on each individual. The second stage focused on the larger CMPR activity systems with the entire class involved in CMPR as the subject of the activity systems, in other word s, a cross-case analysis (Mil es & Huberman, 1994). At this stage, data from each individual participan t were analyzed collectively to identify recurring themes or patterns across all participants. A t horough picture of the class dynamic was described and interpreted in terms of the mediation of synchronous technology in the class flow as well as c onflicts-emerging and solution-seeking among community members, which eventually led to students’ development. Findings obtained at this stage yielded answer s to subquestion 2, 3, 4, a nd 5 at the class level. For a long time, qualitative research has been criticized for the lack of systematic and transparent methods and procedures of da ta analysis. Aiming to systematize the data management and analysis of qualitative resear ch, Miles and Huberman (1994) define that qualitative data analysis cons ists of three subprocesses: da ta reduction, data display, and conclusion drawing and verifi cation. Data reduction, which is also emphasized by other qualitative researchers such as Creswell ( 1998), refers to the process of condensing obtained data through summarizi ng, coding, finding themes and clustering. Data display means a compressed organization of informa tion for further conclusion drawing, which can be achieved through writing structured su mmaries, synopsis, vignettes, or drawing matrices or diagrams (Miles & Huberman, 199 4). The third process, conclusion drawing and verification involve the researcher’s in terpreting and building connections between

PAGE 124

108 the condensed and well-organized data as well as testing and confirming the findings. Techniques in this process include cl ustering, counting, compare and contrast, triangulation, negative cases, and member checking (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Miles and Huberman also emphasize that these three subprocesses unfold throughout the study de sign, data collection and analysis. In addition, data reduction, data display, and conclusion drawi ng and verification ar e undertaken in an iterative mode rather than a linear sequence during data collection a nd data analysis. In other words, unlike in a quantitative study, the boundary between data collection and analysis in a case study is blurre d so that data can be condens ed, displayed in matrices or networks, and then, interpreted in a way to draw conclusions any time during the study. For the data analysis of the curren t study, the researcher went through the aforementioned three processes. According to Miles and Huberman (1994), data reduction was an ongoing process throughout the study design, data collection and analysis in which the researcher decided wh ich data chunk to code and / or discard. In this study, data reduction started with in itial selection and su mmery of important information, which is called initial coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994). During the initial coding, the researcher took an overa ll review of all data and te ntatively clustered data that were relevant to certain cons tructs, which varied in differe nt questions, into distinct groups. Then, a higher level of coding called pattern coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994) were conducted to identify themes, configur ations and initial explanation based on the first-level coding. To name th e coded patterns, the researcher used both existing themes that came from literature, a deductive coding technique, and labels or categories emerging from the field data, an inductive coding technique, to further condense and

PAGE 125

109 summarize the loosely clustered data. Thus, the sources for naming of categories were both literature and investigative (Constas, 1992). In other wo rds, during pattern coding, the categories were created it eratively, which were drawn fr om preexisting literature as well as from the researcher’s i nvestigation of the field data. Particularly, during the inductive coding, the constant comparison method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln & Guba, 1985) was used. Although constant comparison method was coined by Glaser and Strauss (1967) as a primary data analysis method for the purpose of building a grounded theory, Me rriam (1998) argues that “the constant comparison method is widely used in qualitative studies, whether or not the researcher is building a grounded theory” (p.18) Since this study was guided by theories, no attempt was taken to establish a theo ry. According to Lincoln and Guba (1985), the constant comparison method allows categories to emer ge from the data, rather than imposing preconceived categories on the data. This method also allows the resear cher to refine and identify properties of each category by consta ntly comparing the identified instances with other instances in one category as well as w ith those identified in other categories. The software program QSR NVIVO (v ersion 2.0; QSR International Pty Ltd., 2002) was used to facilitate this data anal ysis process. For research s ubquestion 2, 3, and 4, within case analysis was followed by cross-case analysis. Data for each student participant were be analyzed. Then these data were collectively analyzed to depict a thorough picture of the entire class. A peer researcher also was involved during the induc ting process in which the peer researcher reviewed the clustered code s and patterns identified by the research to verify the identified patterns and categories were representati ve and accurate. Discussions were held and data were reanalyzed to achie ve conformation when discrepancy occurred.

PAGE 126

110 After all patterns and categories were iden tified, they were displayed along with pertinent supportive data in di agrams or matrices, depending on particular research focus in each research subquestion. The final pr ocess, namely, conclusion drawing and verification, was conducted by the researcher with help from both a peer researcher and the committee members. Based on diagrams or matrices containing the obtained themes and categories as well as thei r supportive data, the research er drew conclusions about how ESL students’ CMPR was driven by their motives and mediated by the contemporary and historical contexts. The findings were verified through triangulating findings from multiple data sources and unde rgoing member checking (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) with all participants. Detailed analysis steps that were employed for each research subquestion are described as follows: Data Analysis Steps Prior to conducting any sp ecific data analysis, a desc riptive revision analysis by comparing each student’s first draft with the second one after each writing task was conducted to identify what revisions each partic ipant made in the second draft. A revision rubric (Table 3) and coding scheme (Appendix J) was used to facilitate the analysis. Based on the findings in the revision analysis and those from the IM chat transcripts, the researcher formed emergent interview questions to help each student participant recollect what they had done during each CMPR task. For example, the researcher asked Anton what she did during the first CMPR task and why she revised some phrases and sentences since her partner Iron did not offer any s uggestion on her grammar in the first CMPR task.

PAGE 127

111 To conduct the revision analysis, revisions each participant made in his/her second draft were identified and counted by us ing an adapted version of Chris Halls (1990) revision analysis rubr ic, which has been used by other researchers (e.g. Tuzi, 2004). In his rubric, Hall attempted to categori ze revisions based on the time, level, type, and purpose of revision. These four characteri stics were created based on literature as well as emergent changes in students writi ng. The time of revision refers to when the writer makes the revision. Under the category of level, there are eight characteristics from wordto essay-level changes. The category of type encompasses eight characteristics and the purpose has seven. Based on the findings in th e pilot study and the research interest in the proposed study, a revised version of the rubr ic (see Table 4) was used in the current study (see Appendix J for the coding scheme). In the revised rubric, one more category, stimuli, was added because the researcher was interested in discovering how ESL participants made certain revision decisions. Table 4 Revision Rubric Level Type Purpose Stimuli Discourse Paragraph Clause Sentence Phrase Word Punctuation No change Add Combine Delete Move Replace Rewrite Split No change Clarify intended meaning Grammar Impact New information Structure Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) Unnecessary Partner Instructor Self Others Research Subquestion 1: What are the motives and goals of ESL st udents who participate in CMPR and how do the motives and goals maintain or change overtime?

PAGE 128

112 To answer subquestion 1, data from in terview transcripts, observations, the researcher’s reflective journals, participan ts’ first and second writing drafts for each writing task, their IM chat transcripts as we ll as on-screen behavior recordings were analyzed. Prior to data analysis for this subque stion, due to the ambiguous distinctions between goals and motives, the researcher set explicit criteria to differentiate the concepts of goals and motives. According to CHAT, goa ls such as being able to compose a 300word essay, are usually linear, tangible, a nd time-bounded while motives such as being educated, or learning to read and write, ar e recurrent and iterativ e, which are usually abstract and may not be realized by human until they are instantiated in actions (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Leont’ev, 1981). Thus, two crite ria were used to distinguish motives from goals. First, goals can be attained in a finite or relatively short time while motives are not time-bounded. Second, goals can be verba lly expressed while motives are usually below the plane of conscious attention and may not be verbally explicated. By using these criteria, the researcher carefully dis tinguished participants’ long-run motives from the goals that could be achieved within each CMPR session. Two major phrases of data analysis were undertaken to answer subquestion 1. The first phrase was to infer each participant’s motive(s) of his or her involvement in each CMPR task throughout the semester. Contrary to goals that can be verbally expressed, motives can only be obs erved by tracking goal-driven actions over a relatively long time period (Leont’ev, 1987). Thus to identify participants’ motives of participating in the CMPR sessions, the resear cher focused on the data from field notes, video clips, reflective journals, participants ’ first and second draft for each writing task,

PAGE 129

113 their IM chat transcripts and on-screen be havior captured by WINK. Data from the formal interviews at the end of each CMPR session as well as informal interviews during the class break and in IM chat between the par ticipants and the researcher also were used to help the researcher unders tand each participant and his or her backgrounds in order to infer his or her genuine mo tives in a CMPR task. To find out each participant’s motive(s) the researcher undertook three main steps. First, the researcher’s field notes taken in the obser vation protocol were compared with the video tapes recorded in each CM PR session. Important information that was recorded in the video tapes, but excluded in the field notes were added into the observation protocol. Then, each participan t’s beyond-screen behaviors, i.e. what participants did when they we re not using the computer, wh ich were synthesized in the observation protocol and recorded in the researcher’s reflective journals, as well as onscreen behaviors, i.e. what participants did on the computers, which were recorded in IM chat transcripts and on-screen behavior r ecordings in WINK, during each CMPR session, were compiled in a primarily partially or dered matrix (Miles & Huberman, 1994) (see Table 5 and Table 6 for a template). The them es used in Table 5 were created based on the researcher’s obser vation in the pilot study in the summer semester, 2005. The first theme in Table 6 referred to the turn-taki ng behaviors during online chat, which was first used in Thorne’s (2000) study. On-task e-turns were the messa ges in which participants were engaged in the learning task. Off-task e-turns were those in which participants chatted on topics that are unrelated to the learning task. Each e-turn was one message participants posted in the IM chat wi ndow. Language functions were the purposes participants used the language to achieve during IM chat. Here a coding scheme for

PAGE 130

114 language functions (see Appe ndix K) during online chat, which was adapted from Lockhart and Ng (1995), was used to identi fy various language f unctions participants employed during online chat session. Other onl ine behaviors include using the browser to check other online information, such as a we bsite, or even opening another MSN IM window to chat with other friends, which we re observed in the pilot study. Emergent behaviors that were observed in the proposed study were a dded into these matrices as well. Table 5 Beyond-screen Behaviors during CMPR Session 1 Participant IWI BM FE VIWP AB 1 2 3 4 Note IWI =: Interaction with the instructor; BM = B ody movement; FE = Facial expression; VIWP = Verbal inte raction with peers in the la b; AB = Additional behaviors Table 6 On-screen Behaviors during CMPR Session 1 Participant OnTET OffTET LF OOB 1 2 3 4 Note OnTET = On-Task E-Turn during online ch at; OffTET = Off-Task E-Turn during online chat; LF = Language functions during online chat; OOB = Other online behaviors

PAGE 131

115 After all data were entered into the matrices, the researcher used the displayed data to tentatively establish a scheme ba sed on which participants’ motives could be identified. To establish the scheme, the rese archer first focused on Anton. All information from Anton, which included her beyondscreen and on-screen behaviors were overviewed to obtain a general image of wh at she did in the three CMPR tasks she participated in. Then, the researcher primar ily analyzed what specific beyond-screen and on-screen behaviors she had during each CMPR task. As for beyond-screen behaviors, according to the researcher’s observation in the pilot study, th e more verbal interactions Anton had with the instructor and other st udents in the class during CMPR sessions, the less motivated she was to genuinely engage in the learning activity during the CMPR task. Her other beyond-screen behaviors such as pausing in the middle of chat to read both her and her partner’s essay and checking he r partner’s status by l ooking at his or her directions could not indicate whether she was genuinely enga ged in the learning activity. The initial judgments were triangulated with the researcher’s reflective journals, which recorded students’ in-cla ss activities throughout the se mester and contained the researcher’s contemplation of each student’s engagement in class activities, and the onscreen behaviors. As for the on-screen behaviors, the res earcher observed in the pilot study that students who produced more on-task e-turns he ld the motive of learning how to write an essay in the particular mode while those who produced more off-task e-turns were mostly motivated by having fun or socializing with other students online. In Wiemelt’s (2001) study, language functions employed in class in teraction are used as an indicator of students’ motives in participating in a writ ing class. In the pilot study in the summer

PAGE 132

116 semester, 2005, the researcher also discovered that ESL students’ subconscious motives could be reflected in the la nguage functions they used dur ing online chat sessions. For example, students who produced more complime nts and general opini ons than specific suggestions might be motivated by making fr iends through CMPR and those who tended to elicit more questions from their partne r were driven more seriously by a motive of learning writing. As for other online behavior s, the researcher discovered in the pilot study that students who disliked CMPR tended to use the computer to do other things such as chatting with other friends wh ile participating in CMPR. Based on the information, another tentative scheme of An ton’s motives according to her on-screen behaviors was established: the more time she spent on discussing on-task topics, e.g. giving and ask for opinions and suggestions on e ach other’s essay, with her partner rather than off-task topics with the pa rtner or other online friends. By iteratively comparing and contrasting th e findings in the primary analysis of participants’ beyond-screen and on-screen behavi ors as well as the reflective journals, the researcher established a motive-identifyi ng scheme by using which each participant’s motive of participation in each CMPR task we re identified. This scheme was constantly modified and refined as other participants’ motives were analyzed. For example, although Rocky contributed a relatively large number of on-task e-tu rns without chatting with any other online friends or any ve rbal communication w ith other students in the lab during the CMPR task for a problem-solution essay, he was not genuinely engaged in the learning activity because he did not even write his ow n essay and he had ample amount of verbal communication with the instructor. He tried to impress the instructor that he was on-task by confirming every suggestion he gave to his partner. It was evident that the only reason

PAGE 133

117 he did not chat with online friends, which he did constantly in the previous CMPR tasks, was that the instruct or sat behind him. After the motives were identified, th e second phrase was to identify each participant’s conscious goals in each task. A ccording to CHAT, the same conscious goals could serve for different motives. Thus, each pa rticipant’s goals identified in this phrase might not reflect their true motives. This phrase consisted of three major steps which were not necessarily conducted in a linear manner. First, the content analysis (Carley, 1993; Holsti, 1969) with interview transcripts was conducted to identify each participant’s goa ls in each CMPR task. Content analysis has been defined as “any technique for making inferences by objectively and systematically identifying specified charac teristics of messages" (Holsti, 1969, p. 14). Four steps were taken in this analysis. Fi rst, an analytical technique “Key-Word-InContext (KWIC)” (Carley, 1993) was employed to identify the goal-related statements in interview transcripts. Key words such as “ I want ”, “ I plan ”, “ my goal is ” were identified by using the searching function in NVIVO. The second step was a thorough review of all interview transcripts to glean any statements that were goal-relate d but screened out in the previ ous step due to the lack of any of the key words. For example, in the first interview with Anton, she said “ usually when I make peer review, I try to answe r the questions you ask from the paper… we were asked to help each other. So I gave him my comments on his ideas, organization, grammar and the references in his essay. Th en, I asked him to help with my essay.” Although she did not use any key word explici tly, her actions as she described in the statement were driven by some conscious goals according to CHAT. In addition, these

PAGE 134

118 actions were not considered automatic opera tions based on the information provided in the beyondand on-screen behavi or recordings: she still reli ed on the reader’s worksheet to guide her review and form her questions and she reported to the instructor her difficulties with using the worksheet. At the third step, sentence s containing the pre-selected key words and those goalrelated statements were read through to id entify specific goals that were explicitly or implicitly expressed by each student. Those explic itly stated goal-related statements were be further confirmed by the researcher whethe r they reflected participants’ motives or goals by using the criteria set at the outset of data analysis. For example, the actions Anton described in the above gleaned statem ent reflected the goals she held during the first CMPR task: help her partner with the content, the organization, grammar, and the references. After all goals were identifi ed, each goal expressed by an individual participant was compared and contrasted with each other to cluster similar ones into categories, which were coded with names created by the researcher. Research Subquestion 2: How do compute r-mediated technologies, particularly synchronous chat, mediate ESL students’ interaction in peer response? As for subquestion 2, data including the re searcher’s field notes, video clips, reflective journals, interview transcripts, IM chat transcripts, a nd on-screen behavior recordings were analyzed. Acknowledging C HAT as a helpful theoretical framework, some prominent computer technology rese archers (e.g. Kapelinin, 1996; Kuutti, 1996) purpose that computer technologies’ mediati on in computer-human interaction can be investigated through analyzing the support or problems comp uter technologies bear at three levels of human activities: activity, actions, and operations. In other words, how

PAGE 135

119 computer technologies transform the subject’ s motive, goals, and physical conditions is the focus. Kuutti (1996) agrees on Da vydov, Zinchenko, and Talyzina’s (1983) (in Kuutti, 1996) notion that the borders between activity a nd action as well as between action and operation are blurred, in other word s, an activity can cha nge into an action, which in turn can become an operation any time, because of the dynamic and fluid nature of activity systems. Thus, he argues that computer technologies may play diverse mediational roles in different activities. A nd even within the same activity, computer technologies’ mediation may vary de pendent on the level of analysis. With a focus on the mediation of com puter-mediated communication (CMC) in language learning, Thorne (2000) observes th at CMC not only shapes the way foreign language students communicate in a synchr onous chat environment, which can be considered as mediation at the level of operation, but also reshapes students’ conceptualization of communication, which may be at the level of actions or activity. Integrating Kuuti’s view of co mputer mediation at the three levels and Thorne’s focus in the analysis of the mediation, the researcher conducted a multiple-level analysis of CMPR, namely at the level of activity, actions, and operations. At the activity level, the focus was placed on how the use of instant messenger mediated participants’ motives by analyzing the motive maintenance and shifts that were triggered by the use of IM and participants’ perceptions of CMPR tasks. As for the level of goal-driven actions, the researcher investigated how the use of instant messenger had an impact on students’ conscious goal-setting during CMPR. At the level of operations, how participants took eturns and employed different language func tions as well as non-text communicative strategies such as emoticons (smiley face icons to express emotions), wink and nudge

PAGE 136

120 (animated emoticons), as well as what inte rpersonal relationships were established throughout CMPR were investigated. The analysis of instant messenger’s media tion at the activity level was composed of two phases. In the first phase, the research er investigated the in fluence of IM use on participants’ motive formation and shift. The fi rst phase consisted of two steps. First, the researcher reviewed the findings as well as a ll the data analyzed in the research question to identify whether the use of IM played a ro le in each participant’s motive formation and shift. If a motive was identified as having fun in IM chat, it indicated that the use of IM afforded the formation of the motive. If a participant shifted from the central learning activity to having fun in IM chat, it was evid ent that the use of IM might allure the participant from continuously engaging in the central learning activity. After the influence of IM on each participant’s motive formation and shift during the CMPR tasks was identified, a cross-case analysis was conducted to draw a complete picture of how IM use mediated all participants’ motive formation and shift by comparing and contrasting the influences on each participant’s participation. The second phase was a within -case analysis with each pa rticipant as the unit of analysis, which contained five steps, follo wed by a cross-case analysis. The researcher identified each participant’s perception(s) of CMPR by analyzing the data related to participants’ perceptions in the interview transcripts. First, data from the perception section in the interview transcripts of each participant were overviewed. Second, statements on similar perceptions ere clustere d. At the third step, a name or theme was given to each cluster to desc ribe the type of perception re flected in the statements. The name was either gleaned directly from the interview data or created by the researcher.

PAGE 137

121 Fourth, the researcher compared and contrast ed all statements within each cluster to ensure the statements within each cluster were not redundant with those in other clusters. Finally, the identified types of perceptions we re displayed in a per ception matrix (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Following the same steps, pe rceptions expressed in interviews with other participants were identified an d displayed in the same matrix. As for the analysis of the mediation of instant messenger at the level of goaldriven actions, the researchers investigated how the use of instant messenger influenced participants’ decision-making regarding set ting a certain goal or choosing particular strategies during CMPR. To do so, pertinen t data from all participants’ interview transcripts were analyzed by using both with in-case and cross-case analyses. During the within-case analysis, relevant data in the interview transcri pts from each participant were analyzed in five steps. First, the data were overviewed to ga in a general view of how the use of instant messenger influenced the pa rticipant’s goal-set ting, particularly by reviewing the findings in the first research question. Second, statements that reflected types and the extent of influences were group ed together. Third, the researcher compared and contrasted statements within each group and cross groups to reduce redundancy and discrepancy. Then, a name was given to each group to describe the main feature in the group. Next, a cross-case analysis was conducte d to identify the types and extent of influence on their goal-setting that were pe rceived by the majority of participants and those that were only indivi dually acknowledged. The findings of the cross-case analysis showed the types and the extent to whic h the use of instant messenger influences participants’ goal-driven actions in CMPR at an individual as well as collective level.

PAGE 138

122 Instant messenger’s mediation at the level of operations was analyzed from three aspects, what messages participants exch anged during CMPR sessions, in what way participants exchanged messages, and what in terpersonal relationships were established between participants and their respective pa rtner. As for the mediation to messages student participants exchanged during chat sessions, the focus was placed on the on-task and off-task e-turns each participant took. As described earlier, on-ta sk e-turns, a term coined by Thorn (2000), are the turns in wh ich students are engaged in task-related discussion whereas off-task e-turns refer to t hose in which students discuss topics that are unrelated to the task in an online chat e nvironment. By using the on-screen behaviors matrix (see Appendix M), which contained da ta from online chat scripts and online behavior recordings from WINK, the research er counted both on-task and off-task e-terns each participant took during the CMPR tasks. To analyze in what way the use of instant messenger mediated messages exchanged during CMPR sessions, the research er counted the maximum and minimum of e-turns each participant took continuously w ithout giving up the floor to demonstrate how dominating or collaborative each participant be haved when he or she collaborated with different partners in differe nt CMPR tasks. The resear cher also looked at language functions participants employed and ot her online behaviors such as non-text communicative features, e.g. emotions, wink, during online chat. The on-screen behaviors matrix (see Appendix M) was used here. Regarding language functions, as men tioned earlier, a coding scheme for language functions such as clarification request, confir mation request, or eliciting questions (see Appendix K), which was adapte d from Lockhart and Ng’s (1995) study,

PAGE 139

123 was be used to identify the language functi ons participants employ in online chat. To identify what language functions participants used in the CMPR sessions, a within-case analysis of each participant’s online chat sc ripts will be followed by a cross-case analysis of all participants in each CMPR session. In addition, participants’ language patterns during online chat sessions, such as the us e of emoticons, which are smiley-face icons provided in MSN IM to expre ss emotions, were counted. Thes e features were analyzed because it was observed in the pilot study that students frequently employed emoticons during conversations, which was considered an important online inte raction strategy. In addition, the conditions under wh ich participants used emo ticons were described. The researcher also captured other emergent online conversation stra tegies by using a constant comparison method, which enabled the researcher to group similar patterns into distinct clusters and then to conduct comparison and contrast of the data to identify emergent recurring patterns and themes. In addition, other online behaviors, such as simultaneously browsing other websites whil e conversing in the IM, or chatting with other online friends by opening multiple IM chat windows, were analyzed as well. Regarding the relationship established be tween online peers, both the IM chat transcripts and the interview transcripts were analyzed. Fi rst, information about each student participant’s self-perceived relati onship with their onlin e partner was gleaned from interview transcripts. Then, all relationship-related statements from each student participant were collected together and further review ed by the researcher. Through comparing and contrasting, conclusions about the types of relationships established during CMPR between all student pairs were drawn.

PAGE 140

124 Subquestion 3: How do the current social and cultural contexts in fluence ESL students’ peer interaction in comput er-mediated peer response? The contextual influences on students’ participation in CMPR were analyzed through multiple data sources including inte rview transcripts, observations including synthesized information from both the research er’s field notes and vi deo clips, IM chat transcripts, the researcher’s reflective journa ls, and documents obtained from the institute and the writing class such as the mission statem ent of the institute, the class syllabus, and peer response instruction sheets during CM PR sessions. In other words, both the researcher’s interpretation and the partic ipants’ perceptions a bout the tensions and conflicts that took place in each CMPR task were used to fully present the complex interactions in each activity system. Drawing on CHAT, the social cultural cont ext that was investigated in this subquestion was the activity system in which each participant was engaged when participating in each CMPR task (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Wertsch, 1985), such as the activity system of learning to write a summa ry-analysis essay in the second CMPR task. Each activity system was comprised of the object negotiated by each participant with the institutional expectations and th e instructor’s expectations, in teraction with other students in the class, rules required to follow as well as roles participants played during the CMPR task. Since contextual influences cannot cau se effects without be ing perceived by people situated in the context, the researcher investigated from the lens of each CMPR participant the affordances and tensions generated by the inter actions between the components in the central learning activity sy stem each participant was engaged in during

PAGE 141

125 each CMPR task by looking at both what each participant performed and how they perceived the influence from the contexts. To answer this subquestion, three main phrases were undertaken. In the first phrase, the researcher reviewed all the data to understand what ha d happened to each participant in each CMPR task. The second phase focused on how each component of the activity system in which each participant e ngaged in each CMPR task interacted, which yielded or constrained pa rticipant’s learning and de velopment by uncovering what tensions and conflicts emerged and what cause d the tensions in each activity system. In the third phrase, the researcher investigated the interactions within the social cultural context with the whole class as the subject driven by an overall motive of learning how to conduct CMPR tasks. In particular, the analysis at the second pha se consisted of seve ral steps. First of all, documents collected from the institute and the writing class such as the mission statement of the institute, the class syllabus, the peer response task instruction sheet, and peer response student working sheets were t horoughly reviewed by the researcher to gain acquaintance with the environment. Sec ond, the interview transcripts with each participant were reviewed. The information that was related to how each participant thought the institute, instructor, his/her peer and partner, the rules to be followed during CMPR, and the different roles the instructor and each student s hould play during CMPR influenced his/her online behaviors was pulled out discretely. Names were given to each discrete group of informati on. For example, information a bout participants’ perceptions about the influence from the institute was categorized as “community” whereas information about influences from the use of English and CMPR worksheets were

PAGE 142

126 categorized under “mediational tools”. After a ll relevant informati on was categorized and named, further analysis within each cat egory was conducted. By using constant comparison method (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; M iles & Huberman, 1994), the tensions that emerged in each activity system that was dr iven by a learning and development motive and how each participant sought solutions to or ignored the tensions were identified. In the third phrase, the whole class was considered the collective subject engaged in the activity system throughout the summer seme ster that was oriented to the object of knowledge and skills of conducting a CMPR task. Following the similar steps as those in the second phrase, first, the researcher iden tified the tensions or conflicts between each component within the activity system by reviewing all the data collected during CMPR tasks. Then, participants’ attempts or neglig ence to reconcile the te nsions and conflicts were identified by using constant comp arison method. Finally, the learning and development that emerged throughout par ticipants’ solu tion-seeking process were investigated by scrutinizing what changes in terms of communicative strategy use had occurred in students’ participation in the CM PR tasks in the summer semester. To present the interactions between the components in th e activity system, tensi ons or conflicts also were displayed in the activity triangle. Subquestion 4: How do students’ prior experi ence with writing in struction and with computers use, particularly synchronous co mmunication, influence their participation in CMPR? Regarding how students’ prior experien ce with writing instruction and with computer use, particularly using s ynchronous communication, influenced their participation in the CMPR tasks, the analys is was conducted within the activity systems

PAGE 143

127 each individual participant was engaged in that were constantly mediated by each participant’s unique historie s before his or her enrollm ent in the current class. Information from the pre-study ethnographi c survey, interview transcripts, the researcher’s field notes, vide o clips, reflective journals, and participants’ IM chat transcripts as well as their onscreen behavior recordings we re analyzed to describe in what way and to what extent each student’ s history of writing in struction and compute use facilitated and/or constr ained his or her interactions during the CMPR tasks. This analysis contained four phases. Fi rst, data from the pre-study survey were reviewed and each student’s prior experience of writing instruction such as whether he or she received English academic writing instruct ion before enrolling in this course, how many years of writing instruction they had received upon enrolling in this course and what kind of writing instruction they had rece ived, whether he or she had heard of or participated in any peer response, etc, and of their computer use and CMC were reorganized in a matrix for the convenience of later analysis. Then, segments of student interview tr anscripts addressing how students thought their prior experience with writing instruction, particul arly peer response, and with computer use, particularly IM chat, influen ced their participation in the current CMPR, which were usually reflected in their precon ceptions of peer response and IM chat, were reviewed thoroughly. The problems or tensions encountered by each participant that were caused by his or her prior experience with writing instruction a nd computer use, the process of seeking for solutions to these problems/conflicts, as well as any positive experience that was fostered by their prior ex perience were identifie d. By using constant comparison method (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Miles & Huberman, 1994), identified

PAGE 144

128 themes and categories, such as negative or positive experience each participant had during the CMPR tasks were r ecorded and later compared a nd contrasted to ensure all pertinent information was included but not overlapped. The identified information later was synthesized in the Matrix created in the first phase. Next, the researcher’s field notes, video c lips, IM chat transcripts as well as onscreen behaviors recorded in WINK were revi ewed to identify the conflicts/problems and/or conveniences that were brought by each participant’s history. Themes and categories identified from the data were compared and contrasted to eliminate redundancy and discrepancy. Inform ation obtained at this phrase also was synthesized in the Matrix. Finally, identified themes from the three phrases were compared and contrasted. When discrepancies occurred, the participants were contacted either in a face-to-face interview or through email or IM to conf irm what exactly had taken place during the CMPR. By connecting each par ticipant’s prior experience with writing instruction and computer use with his/her current actions duri ng the CMPR tasks, the researcher was able to uncover how each ESL student’s prior experi ence influenced his or her participations in each CMPR task throughout the semester. Subquestion 5: What is the dynamic nature of CMPR? The fifth research sub-question was answ ered based on the findings in the other four sub-questions. This que stion concerned the dynamic aspect of CMPR. In other words, ESL students’ learning and developm ent throughout CMPR was the focus of the analysis. Drawing on the previous ly analyzed data, a review of the interview transcripts, and the constructs provided in both Leont’ev’ s (1981) hierarchical structure of activity

PAGE 145

129 and Engestrm’s (1987, 1999) triangle model of activities, the researcher presented a synthesized explanation of how each participant performed in CMPR by connecting what motive and goals each particip ant held during each CMPR task, whether their motives maintained or shifted, and how each student dr iven by his or her own motive constantly transformed and was transformed by the social cultural contexts which contained the mediational tools, the commun ity members, the norms and rules to be followed, and the roles expected to play, as well as his or her own histories. In addition, drawing on the key tenets in a supplementary theory, namely Dynamical Systems Theory (DST ), the researcher recorded the trajectory of the dynamic developmental process of CMPR in a twodimensional graphical diagram. Time was considered a parameter on the X axis while each participant’s engagement in each CMPR task throughout the semester was reflected on the Y axis. To analyze each participant’s developmental trajectory throughout the CMPR tasks, data from field notes, participants’ beyondand on-screen behavior recordings, IM chat record ings, and the researcher’s reflective journals were used. Three main phases were undertaken. In the first phase, a Scale for Quantifying ESL Students’ Engage ment in CMPR Tasks (Appendix O) was created based on the researcher’s understan ding of participants’ engagement and/or disengagement behaviors during the CMPR task s. The second phase was using the scale to quantify each participant’ s performance during each CMPR task. In the third phase, each participant’s score at th e particular point of time during each CMPR task was filled in a matrix and then converted into diagrams. Particularly, in phase 2, five specific steps were undertaken. First, the participant’s beyondand on-scre en behavior recordings as well as IM chat transcripts

PAGE 146

130 were reviewed. Behaviors that occurred every 10 minutes within each CMPR task were grouped together. Second, data collected ever y 10 minutes were scrutinized to identify the types of performances based on the af orementioned scale. Third, the constant comparison method was conducted to ensure th e data under each cat egory were accurate and not redundant. Step 2 and 3 were repeated to identify th e performances during all of the 10-minute slots. Fourth, after the type s of performances every 10 minutes were identified, each type of performance was give n a score based on the Scale. If a participant conducted multiple types of performances, hi s or her score would be the accumulated scores of all performances. For example, dur ing the second 10-minute slot in the first CMPR task, Iron both gave opinions to Ant on, which was scored 3, and read the essay and the worksheet, which was score 2. Thus, his score in this slot was 5. The same steps were repeated to score ever y participant’s performances. Since Rocky was considered unengaged in the activity system of l earning how to conduct CMPR tasks, his performances were analyzed here. This trajectory display provided a mo re transparent picture of the dynamic development process during each participant’ s involvement in the CMPR tasks, which illustrated the results of the interactions of all components with in each participant’s activity system and the one s between neighbor activity system interacts existing diachronically and synchronically, which gradua lly led or was leadi ng to ESL students’ development in terms of their understandi ng of CMPR and second language writing. Trustworthiness Lincoln and Guba (1985) argue that researchers conducti ng naturalistic or qualitative inquiry should ascertain the quality and rigor of qualitative research as well as

PAGE 147

131 quantitative researchers do. In contrast to th e validity and reliability against which the rigor of quantitative studies is established, they propose four attributes to caliber the trustworthiness of qualitative studies: cred ibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. Credibility is a standard that all relationships identified by and interpretations made by qualitative inquirers should be derived from authentic data as well as be credible to “constructors of orig inal multiple realities” (p.296). To meet this criterion, Lincoln and Guba recommend th ree strategies: prolonged engagement, persistent observation, and triangulation to reduce unnecessary distortion in the field, build trust with participants, gain data matu ration in the field, and decrease researcher biases. As for transferability, Lincoln and Guba argue that al though it is, in a strict sense, impossible to transfer findings of qualitati ve inquiry from one context to another, qualitative researchers are res ponsible to provide thick descri ption for potential appliers. Dependability concerns whethe r the process of the study is reasonably stable over time and across researchers and methods. To achieve this goal, they recommend researchers keep an audit trail to record all methods and procedur es that are conducted throughout the study. The fourth criterion, confirma bility, refers to the “relative neutrality and reasonable freedom from unacknowledge d researcher biases ” (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p.278). This criterion concerns whether the conclusions depend on the people and the environment under investigation rather th an the inquirer. In other words, other researchers can “rep licate” the study. Given the aforementioned four criteria, th e researcher employed several strategies to establish the trustworthiness of the study. Firs t, to achieve the cred ibility, the fact that the researcher also was the instructor of the class allowed unobtrusive and persistent

PAGE 148

132 observation in the academic writing class thr oughout the semester. It also enabled the researcher to develop a deep understanding of the participants and the environment, which might otherwise be uneasy for an extern al researcher. Beside s using video cameras and taking field notes to record all three CM PR sessions, the researcher kept a teaching log, namely reflective journals, after each CM PR session and periodically at the end of each week, to record salient issues that emer ged in the class as well as to reflect on why the issues occurred and whethe r they shed light on tensions and conflicts that emerged during the following CMPR task. Using thes e multiple sources of data enabled the researcher to make authentic interpre tation of the event under investigation. However, the dual roles the re searcher played in the study also caused researcher effect. For example, some participants such as Rocky tried to please the instructor/researcher during interviews by giving overwhelmingly positive comments about CMPR when asked about their percep tions about CMPR. Rocky also tried to impress the instructor/researcher by acting mo re attentively during the last CMPR session when he was aware that the researcher was sitting right behind him. To reduce these threats to credibility, the researcher used several strategies: (1) participants were informed at the outset of the study that what they said during inte rviews would affect their final grades for this class; (2) occasi onally informal interviews were conducted in IM after the researcher discovered participants such as Nicky were more open in IM chat as well as during class break time; and (3) th e researcher avoided si tting right behind or next to participants during the CMPR tasks. In addition, to reduce the researcher biases, both peer debriefing and memb er checking were conducted.

PAGE 149

133 A peer researcher was invited to revi ew a sample coding process and sample codes identified by the researcher during the an alysis process. The peer researcher also was invited to participate in the coding pr ocess in research question 5 to ensure the performance conversion was reliable. Beside s the help from the peer research, the researcher also discussed the identified th emes and instances under some category with one debriefer who has expertise and ample experience in ESL writing instruction and research methodology. The findings of the st udy were reviewed by two debriefers, one with expertise in ESL peer response a nd the other knowledgeable in the field of computer-mediated communication and sociocultu ral theory. Both debriefers were on the researcher’s dissertation committee. The debr iefing activities aimed to verify the data collection and analysis, e.g. identifying all goal-related statements in interview transcripts, and clarify interp retation. Debriefing activities we re undertaken in formal and informal modes. The formal debriefing was conducted when the researcher had face-toface meetings with each debriefer to di scuss the primary findings. The informal debriefing was undertaken when the researcher shared ideas and insights with each of the debriefers about the emerging issues during the data collection pr ocess and the primary findings in the data analysis process. As for the member checking, all data and partial findings and interpretations were verified with all participants. Member checki ng was used to confirm the intentionality on the part of the participants and to reduce th e error of interpretati on on the researcher’s part. The member checking was conducted either in the classroom during break time or informally through IM chat with each indivi dual participant after initial findings were identified, which usually occurred in the week following the CMPR task. During the

PAGE 150

134 member checking, participants were asked to restate their inten tions during the peer response session and to confirm their inten tion in the interview. The researcher’s interpretations of the goals and the influences from the social cultural contexts and the historical activities were shar ed with each participant. Each member checking was kept in the researcher’s reflective journals. To consolidate the transfer ability of the proposed study, the researcher provided thick description of the study de sign in the report with an emphasis on the context and the sampling strategy. As for the dependability, the researcher provided an audit trail of the entire study by providing a dense description of the data collection and data analysis processes. Apart from this, strategies such as triangulation by using multiple data sources and research methods, member checking with the participants, and peer debriefing with two advisors on the researcher’s di ssertation committee were undertaken. Regarding confirmability, Robert Yin ( 2003), a prominent case study researcher, offers an opposite view by arguing that it is impossible for anot her researcher to replicate the results of a previous case study in a new e nvironment due to the context sensitivity of case studies. The researcher agrees with Yin’ s assertion. One of the research interests in the study was to investigate how the current social and cultu ral contexts influenced ESL students’ behaviors during CMPR sessions in a level IV academic writing class. Given the uniqueness of all social cultu ral contexts in which human beings are situated, it may not be feasible for another re searcher to replicate or conf irm the conclusions obtained in the study in a new social cultural context. To achieve confirmability Yin (2003) suggests the case study researcher provide thick descriptions of the context and the study design so that future researchers are able to replic ate the research methods rather than the

PAGE 151

135 conclusion. Thus, in the study, the researcher provided detailed descriptions about the context where the study was conducted, the partic ipants, the data collection and analysis procedures as well the methods. Conclusion In this chapter, the researcher presen ts how to conduct the study, including the study design, study contexts, par ticipants, data colle ction and analysis procedures and techniques. Besides these, detailed information about the techniques employed to establish the trustworthiness of the inquiry is also pr ovided. Through these research procedures and techniques, important in formation was obtained to answer the overarching research question: how do ESL st udent writers perform in a peer response task that is conducted in a computer-mediate d environment?, which will be reported on in Chapter IV.

PAGE 152

136 CHAPTER IV RESULTS This chapter presents the results based on the obtained data in the study. To provide a context for the findings, I first provi de a profile of each participant. It is followed with the results pertinent to the firs t four research questions: (1) ESL students’ motives and goals as well as their forma tion and shift during Computer-mediated Peer Response (CMPR) tasks; (2) the mediation of IM use in ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks; (3) the mediation of the so cial cultural contexts in ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks; and (4) the mediation of ESL students’ prior experience with English academic writing instruction, partic ularly peer response, and with IM chat in their engagement in CMPR tasks. The resu lts for the fifth research question, which present a comprehensive dynamic view of th e whole study, are discussed in detail in Chapter V. The information about each participant’s cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds was obtained from two sources: (1) pre-study ethnographic survey and (2) students’ background records including preand post-level-4 C ELT and MTELP scores. The pre-study ethnographic survey was admini stered in the second week of the summer semester, 2006 in the English La nguage Institute (EL I) whereas the students’ test scores were collected both at the beginning and at the end of the semester.

PAGE 153

137 The Profiles of the Participants The class in which the study was conduc ted started with 11 students in May, 2006. In the second week, one student left th e ELI and one newly joined it. Throughout the semester, three more students withdrew fr om the class due to va rious reasons. In the middle of the semester, one student (Gas an) was dropped from the study because he consistently missed classes including the majo rity of computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) sessions. Thus, although he signed the informed consent form, his data were not included in the study. Two students (Percy a nd Jillil) did not part icipate in the study. Thus, data for this study were collected from a total of five participants: Anton, Diane, Iron, Nicky, and Rocky. Pseudonyms are used he re to protect the confidentiality. The profiles (see Appendix N) present participants’ ethnographic information, self-reported intention of atte nding the ELI, and prior experiences with English academic writing instruction, particularly peer response, and computer use. As shown in Table 7, among five participants, three were female with two within 20-30 years old and one in the age range of 30-40. The othe r two were male one of whom was within the age range of 20-30 and the other in his mid-40s. Each of the students came from a different cultural background including Belgium, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Turkey. The only language they used to communicate with each other was English. Their academic backgrounds were diverse as well. Two earned a Master’s degree before the enrollment in the ELI. One had a B.A., one came with a voc ational school certifi cate, and one had a high school diploma. They a ll earned the degrees in thei r native countries. Among the five participants, two stated their goal at the ELI was to solely improve his or her English

PAGE 154

138 language proficiency. Two intended to enroll in a graduate program in the U.S. and one in a undergraduate program in the U.S. All five participants received English language instruction before joining the ELI. However, only one participant took one cour se with a focus on English academic writing in which only writing-related lectures were delivered. Three of the participants knew about peer response and two had no idea of it before taking this course. Only one participant explicitly expressed her expecta tion for this academic writing course: express self in a correct way. Regarding their prior expe riences with computer use, all participants owned a personal computer. Four of them had been us ing computers for more than three years and one less than six months. All of them expresse d enthusiasm in using the computer and all had been using computer technologies to communicate with people. Among computer technologies, four used email, instant messaging, and public chat room whereas one reported only use of email. In terms of inst ant messaging, four said they used IM daily but three used it less than one hour per day and one stayed online for 4-12 hours per day. All four IM users used IM to entertain with friends and/or to co mmunicate with family. The non-IM-user participant only used em ail to communicate with colleagues. In terms of participants’ English language proficiency, one had been in the ELI since level 1, which means this was her fourth semester at the ELI. Three joined the ELI in the spring semester, 2006, and one was a fr esh new student in the ELI. Among the five participants, one participant took the TOEFL in the spring se mester and obtained a very good score. The pre-test scores in CELP & MTELP demonstr ate that two participants were at the upper level, two in the medium ra nge, and one at the lower level. Except the

PAGE 155

139 two participants leaving the ELI before the e nd of the semester, two participants obtained higher scores and one obtained the same in the post tests. The following section provides a detailed description of each pa rticipant with an emphasis on his or her prior experiences with English language learning, academic writing instruction, and computer use. Anton. She was a 22-year-old Belgian stude nt. Her native language was French. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ec onomy from a college in Belgium one year before the data collection. Then she worked in a small company in Belgium. In order to work in the international trad e company owned by her sister-in-law, she came to the U.S. to improve her English. She had no intent to en roll in any higher educ ation institution in the U.S. or any other English-speaking count ry. Anton had taken English courses for 3 years in a high school in Belgium. Most of the instruction she received in Belgium focused on grammar and translation. She was not trained to speak English or to compose academic papers in English. She had never heard of peer response until she was enrolled in a Level-3 academic writing course in the ELI in spring, 2006, which was also her first semester at the ELI. When Anton joined the ELI in Januar y, 2006, she could not understand or speak English at a normal speed. However, she made dramatic progress in the spring semester. When she started the level-4 academic writing class, she was one of the most proficient students in English speaking and writi ng. She had no obvious communication problems within and beyond classrooms. She also t ook the TOEFL at the end of the spring semester and obtained a very good score. An ton had her own computer and claimed she had been using it for more than three years and was an enthusiastic CMC user. She used email, public chat room, instant messenger, and voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) to

PAGE 156

140 communicate with her friends and family. The IM tool she usually used was MSN messenger and she used it daily but merely less than one hour per day. She had never used IM to discuss academic issues with classmates. Diane She was a 34-year-old Columbian st udent with Spanish as her native language. After marrying an America-born Columbian in Tampa, FL, she moved here to take care of her husband and mother-in-law. She spoke Spanish at home. Besides taking courses at the ELI, Diane also worked as a pa rt-time salesclerk in a local grocery store where she spoke Spanish for the majority of time and occasionally practiced English with her English-speaking co-workers. She obtained her bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Columbia before moving to Tampa. She st arted her study at the ELI from Level 1 in summer, 2005. In other words, she had gone thro ugh level-1, -2, and -3 at the ELI in the past three semesters. Diane planned to join a graduate program in accounting in the U.S. after the ELI. She took English courses in Co lumbia but those courses merely focused on vocabulary memorization. When she arrived in the U.S., she could not speak any English. Only after her enrollment at the ELI, she started systematically learning English speaking, reading and writing. Thus, she cherished every moment to improve her English. Diane took a Level-3 academic writing course in the previous semester in which she learned paragraph-level composition a nd gained awareness of peer response. However, peer response was not deemed an im portant learning task in the level-3 writing class. Thus, Diane did not understand what was expected in a peer response task until she took the Level-4 academic writing course. Re garding computer technologies, Diane had her own computer and had been using computer s for more than three years. She enjoyed using various computer-mediate communication technologies such as email, chat room,

PAGE 157

141 and instant messenger to communicate with he r friends and family members. She used IM daily but for less than one hour per day. Iron He was 43 years old when he joined the ELI. He was financial manager in an International finance a uditing company located in Istanbul, Turkey. His native language was Turkish and he obtained his mast er’s degree from a university in Turkey. He had taken English classes in Turkey for about three years. However, he had rich experience with English-speaking environm ents because of his trips to London for business meetings. Therefore, although the summ er semester was Iron’s first semester at the ELI, he was placed at level 4. Iron could comprehend, read and write in English with no significant difficulties. But his Englis h speaking ability was in need of ample improvement. He reported that his sole purpos e at the ELI was to improve his English proficiency. He expected to learn how to correctly express himself in both spoken and written forms in English at the ELI. Iron had his own computer. He had a column in a well-known finan ce newspaper in Turkey. He published financial reports and commentaries every Wedn esday in his column. Since he was away from Turkey, he usually typed his article in Turkish on his computer and sent it to the newspaper editor in Turkey every Tuesday ni ght. Thus, Iron was a frequent computer user although he only used email to comm unicate with his colleagues in Turkey and occasionally with colleagues in London. Howe ver, Iron could not type especially in English on the computer very quickly because his staff usually typed for him when he was in Turkey. He had never used, even hear d of instant messenger before he joined the Level-4 academic writing class.

PAGE 158

142 Nicky She was a 21-year-old native Taiwanes e and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents a year and a half before she en rolled in the ELI. She obtained a certificate from a vocational college in Taiwan, which coul d be considered an equivalent degree to a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. Before joini ng the ELI, she took only one year of English language instruction in a high school in Taiwan. She had never taken any English academic writing courses before she entered th e ELI. Upon her enrollment at the ELI, she was placed at Level 3. She expected to enter a graduate program in a U.S. institution after the ELI. Nicky had difficulties speaking and writing complete and grammatically correct English sentences upon entering the Level-4 academic writing class. Besides very introductory knowledge about peer response she gained at level 3, Nikky had never participated in any peer response activiti es. Regarding her computer use experience, Nikky had her own computer for more than th ree years. She felt very comfortable with computer use. She usually used email and instant messenger to communicate with her friends. She never used IM to discuss academic content with her classmates. She used IM daily and usually 4-12 hours per day. Rocky. He was a 23-year-old Saudi Arabian student. After graduating from a high school in Saudi Arabia, he moved to Armenia because of his fathe r’s duty as a Sandi Arabian diplomat. After two years in Armenia where he learned English with his mother who was an English teacher, he moved to Ne w York City. After four years in NYC, he joined the ELI. His total English instruction ex ceeded 5 years, more th an that of all other participants. However, he never took any formal English academic writing course except writing practice with his mother before he en tered the ELI. Because of the years of his

PAGE 159

143 English education and his livi ng experience in NYC, he was very fluent in English and had no ostensible problem with reading in Eng lish. But due to his relatively low level of writing proficiency, he was placed at Level 3 when he joined the ELI. Confident in his English proficiency, he insisted on taking courses at level 4. He failed the Level-4 academic writing class and had to retake it. Thus, at the time of this study, it was the second time Rocky took the academic writing IV class. And he was aware that he had to be sent back by the Saudi Arabian Embassy which sponsored his study in the ELI to Saudi Arabia if he failed it again. Despite his prior experience with level4 academic writing, Rocky was not aware of peer response tasks. He expected to su ccessfully graduate from the ELI and obtain reference letters from the ELI to enter a undergraduate program in a local private university. Regarding his computer skills, Ro cky had his own computer but he did not own it until six months ago. He was very co mfortable with computer use and usually used email, chat room, and instant messenger to communicate with his friends. He used IM daily but only for less than one hour per day. The five participants of the study came from diverse cultu ral, educational, linguistic, and social backgr ounds. The CELP and MTELP scores showed participants had distinct English language proficiency in terms of listening, reading, vocabulary and grammar. Among them, two inte nded to enroll in a graduate program in a U.S. higher education institution, one was aiming an undergraduate program, and two merely wanted to improve their English proficiency. None of them had taken English academic writing courses and understood how to conduct peer resp onse tasks. Four out of five had used

PAGE 160

144 and were familiar with instant messenger to communicate with friends and family. None of them had used IM for academic purposes. The students participated in a total of four computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) tasks throughout the semester although only one pair (Anton and Iron) participated in the first CMPR task whic h was for an expository essay. Due to the holidays that were right before the first tas k, the vast majority of students either missed the class or did not finish the expository e ssay upon the first CMPR session. Thus, data in the first CMPR task were only collected fr om Anton and Iron. In other words, the majority of data were collected in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th CMPR tasks for the 3rd (summaryanalysis), 4th (argumentative), and 5th (problem-solution) essay, respectively. However, due to Anton and Iron’s unexpected early withdrawal from the ELI, no data were collected from them in the 4th CMPR task. In the first CMPR task, all students in the class were paired with partners selected by the instructor according to students’ writing proficiency. In the last three ta sks, students were paired with either instructor-selected or self-selected partners upon students’ request. Pairs who wo rked in the CMPR tasks were listed in Table 2. The following sections are organized in th e order of the four research questions: (1) ESL participants’ motive and goals as well as their motive shif t throughout the CMPR tasks; (2) the mediation of th e use of instant messenger in participants’ interaction in the CMPR tasks; (3)the mediation of current so cial and cultural contexts on participants’ participation in CMPR; and (4) the mediation of students’ prior expe rience with writing instruction and computer use in their participation in CMPR tasks. Both within-case and

PAGE 161

145 cross-case analysis were conducted in th is study. Thus, each research question was answered with findings from both th e individual and collective views. ESL Students’ Motives a nd Goals in CMPR Tasks Question 1: What are the motives and goals of ESL students participating in CMPR and how do these motives and goals maintain or shift over time? CHAT researchers (e.g. Davydov, Zinche nko, & Talyzina, 1983, as cited in Kuuti, 1995; Leont’ev, 1981) acknowledge the difficulties of distinguishing motives from goals due to the blurring a nd fluid boundaries between mo tives and goals. Therefore, prior to the analysis of each participant’s motives and goals in each CMPR task, the researcher employed two criteria to help id entify each participant’s motives and goals: (1) goals can be attained in a finite or rela tively short time while motives are not timebounded and may be achieved in days, months, or years; and (2) goals can be verbally expressed while motives are usually below th e plane of conscious attention and may not be verbally explicated. Motives To analyze each participant’s motives, thr ee specific steps were taken. First, each participant’s beyond-screen behaviors that we re recorded by two video cameras and the researcher’ participatory obs ervations and on-screen beha viors that were recorded through a screen-capturing software program WINK and in IM chat transcripts were synthesized by using the constant comparis on method (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Denzen & Lincoln, 2006) into a beyond-sc reen behavior matrix (see Ap pendix L) and an on-screen behavior matrix (see Appendix M).

PAGE 162

146 Each participant’s beyond-screen behavior patterns were first identified from the data recorded in two video cameras in terms of their verbal interaction with the instructor, their respective partner, and other students in the lab, and their facial and physical movements during the CMPR tasks. Then these patterns were compared with the observations collected from the researcher’s obs ervation protocol. Due to the fact that the cameras and the researcher were located in different places during the CMPR tasks, the researcher constantly compared the observa tion protocol and the camera recordings to achieve congruence between the two set of da ta. The identified beyond-screen behaviors in the four CMPR tasks are listed in the four tables (see Appendix L). : As for participants’ on-screen behavior s, the researcher first reviewed each participant’s online interaction and webs ite browsing during the four CMPR tasks captured in both WINK and IM chat recordi ngs. Then significant pa tterns were identified and the frequencies were counted including on/off-task e-turn s (each thread of text or graphic message an IM user posts during IM chat), language functi ons (the purposes of language), emoticon use (e.g. ), online resource usage, and multiple off-task IM chat windows by using the On-Screen Behavior Matr ix (see Appendix M) which was created based on the data from the pilot study and e xpanded with data from the current study. Several new language functions that were not included in th e coding scheme of language functions but were used in part icipants’ interactions in the current study were identified: inform action, check for readiness, indicate lack of self-confidence, linguistic selfcorrection, comment on topic, enc ourage, ask for permission, permit and express appreciation Examples that illustrated the additio nal language functions were added in Appendix K. To avoid redundancy and repe tition among the identified patterns, the

PAGE 163

147 researcher constantly compared the patterns and the data from which the patterns were identified to ensure no patterns were simila r to each other. The frequencies of the onscreen behaviors during each CMPR task were also tallied. Emergent interaction patterns such as the use of wink and nudge, which were animated emoticons, were added into the category of “emoticon”. The identified patterns in the four CMPR tasks are listed in four tables (see Appendix M). Second, by using Anton’s data from the be yondand on-screen be havior matrices, the researcher’s reflective journals, the re sults of revision analysis, and occasionally interview transcripts from the first CMPR task, the researcher established a tentative scheme to identity Anton’s motives in the task. As described in detail in Chapter III, a student’s performances such as chatting with other students in class during the CMPR task and whether helpful suggestions were incorporated into th e second draft were connected with a certain motive in the tentative scheme. Then, the tentative scheme was used to infer Anton’s motives in the other two tasks and other participants’ motives in each of the CMPR tasks. Along the data anal ysis, the tentative scheme was constantly revised to assist the researcher to underst and and identify each participant’s motive in each task. Anton’s Motives The data about Anton’s beyond-screen and on-screen behaviors throughout the three CMPR tasks she participated in showed that Anton was engaged in multiple activity systems. In the following text, I will describe Anton’s actions in three tasks respectively, based on which the motives driving her ac tions in each task were inferred.

PAGE 164

148 The first CMPR task was conducted in week 6 in which Anton collaborated with Iron. The data of Anton’s beyond-screen be haviors showed she concentrated on the online interaction throughout th e task, which was reflected in 1) she did not have any verbal interaction with othe r students and the instructor during the task and the only interaction she had was to return Iron’s essay at the end of the session; 2) she concentrated on typing and reading messages on the screen and occasionally paused to check Iron’s essay, which she explained in th e follow-up interview was to look for more aspects to comment on and ensure her co mments were appropriate; and 3) she occasionally looked at Iron to check whether he was on task. Her on-screen behavior reco rdings also showed that Anton did not chat on any off-task topic throughout this task. She wa s completely focused on the peer response activity. During her message exchange with Ir on, she used various language functions to fulfill her roles as a writer and a reader such as give opinion/suggestion, ask for opinion/suggestion, structure, a nd ask clarification. As shown in Appendix M, a total of 26 e-turns were produced and none of them were off-task topics. During the chat, Anton pinpointed the problems in his content, orga nization, format, and references. She also asked Iron to provide any feedback on her essay. When Iron pointed out some weakness in her organization, she actively s ought suggestions from him. The revision analysis (in Table 7) showed that Anton revised her first draft after the CMPR task. She made two sentence-le vel changes by rewriti ng one sentence and expanding another. Two phrases were replaced by new ones. Five words were replaced with new ones. In the interview, she revealed, “ Iron told me I had problems in my introduction paragraph. So I rewrote my thesis statement and added new information. I

PAGE 165

149 also changed some phrases and words because I feel these new words are clearer and better. (interview with Anton, 6/25/06). Thus, th e sentence-level revisions were mainly inspired by her chat with Iron while her wo rdand phrase-level re visions were made by herself. Her word-level revisions we re stimulated by herself because I like to go back to revise my essay one week later because I could find some mistakes and think of better words (to express myself) . (interview with Anton, 6/25/06) Table 7 Antons Revision in the Expository Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Sentence 2 Phrase 4 Word 5 Add 1 Replace 8 Rewrite 1 Clarify intended meaning 4 Impact 4 New information 1 Structure 1 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 3 Partner 4 Self 6 Based on her beyondand on-screen behavior s as well as the results of revision analysis, it can be inferred that Anton wa s driven by a motive of improving her writing skills in an expository essa y in the first CMPR task. During the second CMPR task conducted in week 8, Antons actions deviated dramatically from those in the first task, which indicates Anton was engaged in some totally different activity systems in this task. The beyond-screen behavior recordings showed that Anton did not concentrate on th e chat, which was reflected in 1) she was constantly checking whether the instructor was looking at her before putting on an earphone and she immediately took off the earphone when she noticed the instructor was

PAGE 166

150 approaching her area; 2) she briefly chatted with her nei ghbor for information of online music; and 3) she stuck her tongue out and made faces toward the camera several times. The on-screen behavior recordings further verified that Anton was not engaged in the learning activity sy stem the instructor expected dur ing the second CMPR task. While chatting with Iron on her essay, she opened a total of three more IM chat windows and browsed several music websites throughout the lab time. In other words, she was simultaneously chatting with four persons, w ith Iron on the peer response task, with an online friend on irrelevant topics, and with tw o classmates Diane and Jillil respectively. In her chat with Iron, Anton only produced ni ne e-turns among which seven were on-task and two were off-task. In the seven on-task e-turns, she rejected all the opinions and suggestions Iron gave about he r essay. In addition, she did not provide any comment or suggestion on Iron’s essay throughout the task. Th e data captured in WINK revealed that Anton complained how boring and stupid her partner Iron was and she did not want to work on the task with him when she chatted with Diane. Then, she started to play an online poker game with Diane. When she chatte d with Jillil, he suggested she visited an online music website, which was accepted by he r. Thus she immediately started browsing the website sent by Jillil and put on the earphone when she noticed the instructor was not looking at her direction. It wa s clear that Anton resented collaborating with Iron, which was confirmed by Anton in the follow-up interview in which she commented on Iron as a partner, “ Iron typed very slowly. He doesn’t know how to give me suggestions. So I didn’t think he could help me ” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06) Regarding her objection to Iron’s suggestions, sh e confessed that “ I don’t think his opinion make sense to me. It just did not help me improve my writing .” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06).

PAGE 167

151 In addition, the revision analysis (see Tabl e 8) showed that she made any revision after the CMPR task. But none of them we re stimulated by her chat with Iron. She explained that He said something about my ideas. Bu t I dont think it helps me improve my essay. He said I have some mistakes in my sentences. But he did not tell me how to change them. (interview with Anton, 7/17/06). But as she usually did, she revised her essay by herself by replacing some words with new ones and rewriting a clause because they made my essay clearer . (IM chat with Anton, 7/18/06). Table 8 Antons Revision in the Summary-Analysis Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Clause 1 Word 5 Replace 6 Rewrite 1 Grammar 1 Impact 5 Self 6 All these observations and an alysis helped the researcher infer that Anton was not engaged in the activity system oriented to th e object of knowledge a nd skills of writing a summary-analysis essay although she sat in the lab and followed the instructors directions in the CMPR task. Instead, it was inferred that Anton was driven by two motives in this CMPR task. The first one wa s to maintain her good-student image, based on her rules-following behaviors in class. Although Anton came to the class and conducted the CMPR task with Iron, she did not initiate the conversation nor did she provide any comments on Irons essay. She onl y passively responded to Irons message whenever the system reminded her that a new message arrived. Her focus was completely placed on her chat with other online friends. Her resistance to Irons opinion might seem that she was engaged in the task and just disagreed with Iron. However, the on-screen behavior recordings showed that Anton comp lained to her other online friends that Iron

PAGE 168

152 was too stupid and boring to chat in IM. In addition, although she occasionally responded to Iron’s messages, she spent the majority of her lab time chatting with other online friends and listening to online music. Thus, her second motive was just to have fun with her friends online. Neither of these motives were congruent with the expectation of the instructor. Between these two motives, th e first one was the primary motive that motivated Anton to come to class to particip ate in the CMPR task. Then she realized she could simultaneously chat with her friends to kill some time in class, which stimulated her second motive. In the third CMPR task, Anton was act ually engaged in two different activity systems although she actively contributed to the IM discussion throughout the task. The beyond-screen behavior recordings showed that she had no interaction with the instructor and had two brief verbal interactions both of which lasted for less than two minutes during the task. The first brief talk was init iated by her classmate who asked how it was going with her when he passed by her computer desk. The other brie f verbal interaction occurred between her and her partner Diane in the middle of their IM chat. The IM chat transcripts showed that neither Anton nor Diane printed out a hard-copy of each other’s essay which was swapped via email the day before the CMPR task. Both of them felt difficult to discuss grammar issues in IM chat So they decided to print out a hard copy and mark out the grammar mistakes directly on the paper. Diane printed out her own essay and walked over to exchange her essa y with Anton’s. After she exchanged the essay with Diane, Anton started to read Dian e’s essay carefully to identify grammatical errors in the essay.

PAGE 169

153 The on-screen behavior recordings reveal ed that Anton was not only participating in the CMPR task with Diane, but also activ ely involved in two other IM chats. In her interaction with Diane, Anton was very coll aborative, which was illustrated in both the eturns she produced and the language functions she used (see the task for the argumentative essay in Appendix M). Througho ut the chat, she produced a total of 46 eturns 34 of which were on-task and 12 were off-task. Among the 34 on-task e-turns, Anton used numerous language functions such as structure, give opinions/suggestions, ask for suggestions, indicate inte ntions, clarify, ask for clarif ication, etc while playing her roles as a critical reader and a self-reflective writer. She also structured the conversations proactively by suggesting what Diane and she could do to optimize th e peer response at both the beginning and the ending of the task. Table 9 Antons Revisions in the Argumentative Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Clause 1 Sentence 5 Phrase 7 Word 10 Add 7 Delete 1 Replace 12 Rewrite 2 Clarify intended meaning 6 Impact 7 New information2 Structure 5 Partner 2 Self (all the rest) As shown in Table 9, the revision analysis that compared Ant ons first and second drafts revealed that Anton made enormous revisions in her second draft, which included one clause-level, five sentence-level, seven phrase-level, and ten word-level changes. Comparing Antons revisions and her IM chat with Diane as recorded in the IM chat transcript, it showed that her edition of three sentences in her body and conclusion paragraphs to make the structure clearer and the addition of two sentences to include new

PAGE 170

154 information were stimulated by her chat with Diane. Some of her word-level revisions such as misspellings were directly from Diane’s edition in her essay. All these indicated that Anton was driv en by the motive of improving her writing skills in an argumentative essay in the thir d CMPR task. However, Anton’s other onscreen behaviors indicated that besides th e CMPR task, she was simultaneously engaged in another activity system: having fun in IM chat. The on-screen behavior recordings showed that as soon as Anton logged onto th e messenger and started chatting with Diane, she opened another IM chat window and init iated a conversation with an online friend who was obviously her boyfriend based on th eir chat content. Based on the beyondscreen behavior recordings, she was smiling all the time while chatting with both Diane and this online friend. She did not pause cha tting with him even when Diane walked over to exchange hardcopies of their essays. In addition, Anton constantly checked the screen to see whether her online friend sent her new messages even when she was editing the grammar mistakes in Diane’s essay. This indi cated that the other motive that drove Anton to participate in the third CMPR task was to interact with friends online. Based on the above analyses, it showed th at Anton held heterogeneous motives within and across tasks. Anton’s motive sh ift throughout the three CMPR tasks can be illustrated in Figure 5: Figure 5 Anton’s Motive Shift Improving writing skills in an expository essay 1. Maintaining a goodstudent image 2. Having fun in IM chat 1. Improving writing skills in argumentative essay 2. Having fun in IM chat 1st CMPR 2nd CMPR 3rd CMPR

PAGE 171

155 Diane’s Motives Before Diane participated in the CMPR tasks, she was an experienced user of instant messenger. She missed the first CMPR task. Thus, she only participated in the CMPR tasks for summary-analysis essay, argumentative essay, and problem-solution essay. In the three CMPR tasks, she wa s motivated by heterogeneous motives. In her first CMPR task, she was paired with one non-participan t student Jillil who she had known since Level-1 was consistently slothful in the majority of class tasks. However, she was still enthusiastic to partic ipate in this task, apparently driven by a different motive. Both the be yondand on-screen behavior ob servation data showed that she was motivated primarily by the idea that she could chat with friends online and access online entertaining resources during the class time. According to the beyond-screen behavi or observations, Diane enjoyed chatting with friends rather than discussing on the essays: 1) she kept sm iling during the entire chat time and even laughed out loud once to ward the end of the CMPR session; 2) she showed her funny chat content to a classmat e who approached to see why Diane was so happy; 3) she did not finish reviewing her pa rtner’s essay before coming to class, thus kept reading the essay throughout the CMPR session. However, even when she was reading the essay, she constantly checked her screen and stopped r eading immediately to respond whenever a message was sent over from a friend. Her on-screen behavior obser vation data showed a cleare r picture of what Diane had been doing during the task. Diane contributed a total of ten e-turns in the chat five of which were on-task and five we re off-task. In the five on-ta sk e-turns, she gave very limited feedback. She used one e-turn to ask how her partner Jillil thought about her

PAGE 172

156 ideas, one to confirm one ques tion asked by Jillil about her introduction paragraph, one to express her appreciation for the feedback from him, and two to comment on Jillil’s essays. There were no actual exchanges as to whether those comment s made sense to the writer. After the brief chat on the essays, Jill il suggested they chat something fun. Diane spent another five e-turns chatting what sh e and Jillil did over th e weekends. She spent less than 10 minutes on the chat with Jillil. In contrast, Diane had a long and enjoyable chat with Anton who was working with Iron. After knowing Anton was bored with chatting with Iron, Diane first suggested she watch some online MTVs, then told her some fun things that just happe ned to another classmate, fina lly started to play an online poker game with her. While chatting with Anton, Diane was also checking email and surfing on the Internet to find interesting online MTV files to amuse herself. She did not seem to concern whether she could improve her writing based on her chat with Jillil, which was confirmed by the results of revi sion analysis, which showed she made very minor word-level changes. In the follow-up interview, she explains, “ Jillil is killing me… he did not want to talk about our essays. He only wants to talk so mething fun. So I did not get any help from him. So I did not make changes .” (interview with Diane, 7/21/06) However, the data also showed that Diane was simultaneously driven by another motive: to maintain a good-student image in front of the teacher. Although Diane extremely enjoyed the online chat and seemed willing to spend the entire class just chatting with friends, she was constantly c oncerned whether her behaviors, which she knew were not allowed by the instructor, would be discovered. The beyond-screen behavior data showed that she constantly checked where the instru ctor was standing and whether the instructor was l ooking at her. Once she noticed the instructor was moving

PAGE 173

157 toward her seat, she started reading the essa y to pretend she con centrated on the task. Considering Diane came from a culture--Colum bia where students are educated to obey all classroom rules, the researcher inferred th at Diane was not willi ng to break the statusquo between the instructor and her in this CMPR task. In the CMPR task for the argumentative essay, Diane’s motives seemed to shift dramatically. She believed she would benefit more if working with a partner with a higher-level English proficiency. Thus, she requested to work with Anton who she thought was the best student in her cohort. Throughout the CMPR task, she provided extensive contributions to the chat. When she was waiting fo r responses from Anton, she reviewed either her own essay or Anton’s essay. After agreeing with Anton on marking down grammatical errors in ea ch other’s essay, she printed out her new essay and walked over to exchange the essay with Anton. The on-screen behavior data showed that during the chat Dian e was also revising her essay based on the suggestions from An ton. In addition, as shown in the chat transcripts, Diane contributed 34 e-tu rns which significantly outnumbered her contributions during her first CMPR task. Among the 34 contributi ons, 25 were on-task, which means the vast majority of her fo cus was placed on the CMPR task during the chat. Diane used a variety of language func tions during the chat, such as express her appreciation, provide opinions and suggesti ons, indicate difficulty, ask for opinions and suggestions, clarify and discuss about her ideas in her essay as well as phatic (maintain the flow of the conversation). Diane agreed on all or did not object any suggestions given by Anton.

PAGE 174

158 The revision analysis (Table 10) furthe r illustrated Diane respected for Anton’s opinions and incorporated the vast majority of her suggestions into the second draft. As shown in Table 8-a, Diane made two paragra ph-level, three clause-level, two sentencelevel, phrase-level, and 10 word-level revisions, She rewrote her introduction and conclusion paragraphs using several connect ors to make her arguments clearer and stronger. She added sentences in the paragr aphs, and replaced ten words and two phrases with new ones. The comparison between her revi sions and the IM chat transcripts showed that her paragraph-level revisions were stimul ated by her chat with Anton. In the followup interview, Diane reflected that her senten ceand word-level re visions were based on Anton’s edition. She also revealed that sh e rewrote three clauses because she thought they were not clear. Table 10 Diane’s Revisions in the Argumentative Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Paragraph 2 Clause 3 Sentence 2 Phrase 2 Word 10 Add 3 Replace 4 Rewrite 5 Clarify intended meaning 1 Grammar 3 Structure 2 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 12 Partner 13 Self 2 In addition, due to their difficulty in using English texts to discuss grammar issues, Diane and Anton voluntarily had a face -to-face meeting to continue their peer response during the lunch break. All these i ndicated that Diane was motivated in the second CMPR task to improve her writi ng skills in argumentative essay. Diane was not solely driven by one single motive in her second CMPR task. Her partner Anton came to class late. Thus, Dian e started checking email and surfed on the

PAGE 175

159 Internet checking new online music video wh ile waiting for Anton. After hearing some positive comments from Anton about her essay, Diane thought they finished the task, thus immediately invited Anton to play an online poker game. In addition, the IM chat transcripts showed that Dian e used numerous non-text comm unicative tools and language functions such as emoticons (e.g. ), nudge and wink (animated emoticons) as well as compliments and sweet greetings to sp ice up the IM conversation. She also used several e-turns to express her disappointment of not being able to play the online game and her admiration of Anton’s English. All those behaviors indicated she tried to entertain both Anton and herself by using th e fun features afforded in IM. The beyondscreen behavior data also showed that Diane kept smiling when she chatted online. Considering her history of using instant me ssenger to communicate with friends as well as her behaviors during the chat, the research er inferred that the other significant motive for Diane to participate in the second CM PR task was having fun in online chat. In the CMPR task for the problem-solu tion essay, Diane was paired with Rocky who she thought was not a serious student. As usual, she started checking her email and returned email upon her arriva l in the computer lab. She also checked various online video sites to see whether there were new music videos. After finding some interesting music sites, she put on the earphone to enjoy them. She did not initiate contact with Rocky until he walked over to ask for her IM account information. Thus, in the first 15 minutes of the CMPR session, Diane did not approach Rocky at all. As shown in the on-screen behavior r ecordings, when Rocky eventually logged online, Diane initiated the chat with him by checking whether he read her essay and whether he finished his essay, which indica ted that Diane had expectation that Rocky

PAGE 176

160 might not have finished his essay because of his usual tardiness. During the chat, Diane contributed 38 e-turns all of which were on-ta sk. Although she initiate d the vast majority of the topics by using various language func tions, e.g. ask for suggestions, and request information about the topic of Rocky’s essay, she did not expect Rocky to give her much feedback as she revealed in the follow-up in terview. But she still seemed enjoying the chat by using emoticons and wink in the chat. However, when Rocky helped her identify some word-level errors in her essay, wh ich was one of her weaknesses in academic writing, she seemed to change her attitudes. She then constantly asked Rocky to mark down those words which he thought were erroneous or unclear. Table 11 Diane’s Revisions in th e Problem-Solution Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Phrase 1 Word 13 Punctuation 1 Add 3 Replace 12 Grammar 12 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 3 Partner 15 The revision analysis (see Table 11) s howed that Diane made one phrase-level, thirteen word-level, and one punctuation revi sions and all of them were suggested by Rocky since he corrected all the errors in her first draft. It indicated Diane trusted Rocky’s English proficiency. She did not make any other revisions except incorporating Rocky’s editions into her second draft. In addition, despite the fact that Rocky did not finish his essay before the CMPR session, during the chat Diane asked what topi c he was writing about and then gave him some ideas to solve the problem he was t ackling. As requested by Rocky who gave her his essay at the end of the day, she reviewed his essay and provided detailed comments

PAGE 177

161 the next day. Diane’s behaviors during this CMPR session showed that she was experiencing a motive shift during the CMPR task for problem-solution essay. Her initial motive of participating in the CMPR task was having fun in IM chat, which was shown in her behaviors before chatting with Rocky. Du ring the chat, after she realized Rocky was able to offer helpful word-level suggesti ons to her, her second motive emerged and dominated the chat, which was to improve her writing skills in argumentative essay. Diane’s motive shift can be illustrated in Figure 6: Figure 6 Diane’s Motive Shift Iron’s Motives Iron was a very dedicated student in the entire semester. However, it showed his motives of participating in the CMPR tasks constantly deviated from his partners’ and shifted chronically. The first CMPR task wh ich was for the expository essay was Iron’s very first time to conduct online chat. He was not skilled in typing on the keyboard. The instructor helped him register a new MS N instant messenger account and showed him how to find his partner in his MSN buddy list and to conduct a chat with her. Because Iron was encountering this completely new tool he was very concentrated on the chat. His beyond-screen behavior recordings s howed that he did not have any other behaviors besides reading messages on the screen, typing on the keyboard, and 1. Having fun in IM chat 2. Maintain a good-student ima g e 2. Having fun in IM chat 1. Improving writing skills in an ar g umentative essa y 1. Having fun in IM chat 2. Improving writing skills in a problemsolution essay 2nd CMPR 3rd CMPR 4th CMPR

PAGE 178

162 occasionally checking his partners essa y and the CMPR worksheets given by the instructor throughout the CMPR task. His on-screen behavior record ings confirmed his devotion to this task: 1) all his contributions in his online chat were task-r elated although he only c ontributed a total of 14 turns due to his lack of typing skills; 2) during the CMPR chat, th e language functions he employed include greetings, express intentio n, give opinion, give suggestion, agree, phatic and inform action; 3) he did not chat with anyone el se during the chat. During the chat, Irons partner Anton suggested he follo w the academic writing format such as space between lines and paragraphs, provide refere nce information for the data he cited, and balance the information discussed in th e introduction and conclusion paragraph. Table 12 Irons Revisions in the Exploratory Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Sentence 1 Add 1 No change Structure 1 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 3 Partner 4 As shown in Table 12, Iron added one se ntence in his conclusion paragraph to match his introduction and conclusion paragra ph, as suggested by Anton during the chat. He also changed the fonts of his bolded wo rds and double-spaced his essay. However, he did not include the reference information despite Antons suggestion. In the follow-up interview, Iron explained, I dont know how to use the re ference. I didnt change it (interview with Iron, 6/21/06). Although he was very slow, Iron managed to offer some feedback on Antons essay. Using the CMPR readers worksheet, he pinpointed some weaknesses in Antons

PAGE 179

163 essay and offered one suggestion, such as he r thesis statement was too broad enough and her conclusion paragraph was w eak. All these data helped the researcher infer that Iron was genuinely engaged in the activity system of learning knowledge and skills of writing an expository essay. In the second CMPR task, Iron colla borated with Anton again. However, he seemed to be driven by two divergent motives in this task. Since he obtained some useful feedback from Anton in the first CMPR task and acknowledged that Anton had very high English proficiency, he retained faith in the usefulness of this task as revealed in the follow-up interview. Thus, he was eager to participate in the second CMPR task. The beyond-screen behavior recordings showed that he again completely concentrated on his chat. When he was waiti ng for responses from Anton, he constantly compared his comments on Anton’s essay w ith the CMPR worksheets. The on-screen behavior recordings showed that he init iated the conversation and contributed many comments on Anton essay despite her negative attitudes as reflected in the IM chat transcript. He reported to the instructor in the follow-up interview that he was disappointed that Anton did not provide a ny feedback to him during the chat, which indicated he was concerned of receiving fee dback from Anton to improve his writing. However, the data also showed that Ir on might be driven simultaneously by a secondary motive: remedying his image of comp uter illiteracy. In th e first CMPR task, due to his limited computer skills, the ch at was constantly led by Anton who not only contributed the majority of the e-turns, but also directed the conversation as well as urged him to type faster. Iron was not able to fini sh the chat within the assignment time, which caused the pair to have an additional CMPR session the next day. Iron seemed to intend

PAGE 180

164 to change this impression during the sec ond CMPR chat, which was reflected in four aspects: 1) he had been staying in the lab to practice typing after class, which helped him be able to type with two ha nds since the second CMPR task (he typed with one hand in the first task); 2) he initiated the conversa tion; 3) when Anton rejected his comments on her essay, he defended himself by indicating that he was a boss in a big company in Turkey and he could not type fast because his staff did all the typing for him, which indicated that Iron was very se lf-conscious about his typing skills; and (4) he was very disappointed by Anton’s negative at titude toward him and his f eedback, as he revealed in the follow-up interview with the researcher. It seems Iron’s motives in this CMPR task were demolished by Anton’s objections, which caused his hesitation to wholeheartedly participate in the following CMPR tasks. Despite his unsuccessful and unhappy experi ence in the second CMPR task, Iron participated in the third CMPR task without any complaint. However, his actions differed from those in the first two CMPR tasks. In this task, Iron was paired with Nicky. According to the beyond-screen behavior r ecordings, Iron encounter ed some technical problems when he tried to log into his MSN messenger at the beginning of the lab time. Unlike the eagerness he demonstrated in the fi rst two CMPR tasks, he seemed indifferent about conducting the CMPR task. He did not report this problem immediately to the instructor. Instead, he began reviewing Ni cky’s essay and writing down comments on the CMPR worksheets. Until the instructor and Nicky discovered the problem he encountered and helped him log in, Iron did not show en thusiasm in conducting the task. However, during the chat, while waiting for responses fr om Nicky after he se nt out each message, Iron was attentive to the task by constantly comparing Nicky’s essay and his comments

PAGE 181

165 with the CMPR reader’s worksheet to “make sure my comments are correct” (interview with Iron, 7/21/06). Iron’s on-screen behavior recordings also showed that one reason that Iron was not so eager to participate in the CMPR ta sk was he did not finish reviewing Nicky’s essay before the class. So he tried to finish it before he started to chat, which indicated that Iron was not so motivated to participate in this task. Otherwise, he would have been fully prepared for this task as he did earlier. Due to the technical problems he encountered at the beginning of the task, Iron had only 20 minutes left to conduct the task. During his chat, Iron only contributed ei ght e-turns and all of them were on-task. The language functions he employed included ask for suggestions, clarify, give opinion and suggestions, express intention, inform action and ask for permission. Although at the beginning of the chat, Iron asked Nicky to gi ve suggestions on his essay, Iron was not genuinely motivated to obtain help from Nicky, which was indicated in the follow-up interview when Iron seemed very confident in his own writing by saying “ my essay is difficulty…. she tried to, she cannot hold my essay and she said she learned a lot of new words in my essay ” (interview with Iron, 7/21/06). After hearing some very positive comments from Nicky and her statement that she did not have any further suggestion for him, he started to provide comments on he r essay. After they ran out of time, Iron suggested they continue the CMPR during th e lunch break. During the interview with the researcher, Iron revealed that he gave his pa rtner more comments in their follow-up peer response. Although he did not obtain any helpfu l suggestion from his partner, he enjoyed the process very much because “ because she is willing, to le arn. Also I am willing (to share) ” and he liked the authority he had in front of Nicky “ I give some suggestions, she

PAGE 182

166 will change all of them ” (interview with Nicky, 7/21/06) A tentative revision analysis showed that Iron submitted his first draft w ithout making any revisi ons directly to the instructor. The data indicated that Iron was driven by two motives which differed not only qualitatively but also chronical ly. At the beginning of the th ird CMPR task, Iron’s actions were driven by his motive of maintaining a good-student image by finishing up reviewing Nicky’s essay before the chat, being prepared to give feedback, and then telling Nicky his comments and suggestions, and politely aski ng Nicky’s suggestions about his essay, which were required by the instructor. After hearing the compliments and appreciative words from his partner, Iron realized Nicky, unlike his prev ious partner Anton, respected his comments, which motivated him to provide more detailed suggestions to her and even suggest they have a follow-up discussion during the lunch break. He enjoyed the collaboration with Nicky even though he di d not obtain any constructive feedback from Nicky on his essay. He also revealed that he did not need Nicky’s suggestions because his “ essay was strong ” and he enjoyed his image as a competent writer in front of Nicky “ I give some suggestions, she will change all of them” (interview with Iron, 7/25/06). Thus, it indicates his actions in the second half of the task were driven by the motive of maintaining an image of a competent writer. To sum up, during the third CM PR task, Iron was driven by an initial motive of maintaining a good-student image in class which was replaced by a secondary motive of merely maintaining his image of a compet ent writer. Iron’s motive shift can be illustrated in Figure 7 below:

PAGE 183

167 Figure 7 Iron's Motive Shift Nicky’s Motives Nicky had no prior experience with either peer response or chatting with Englishspeaking classmates via instant messenger. In addition, Nicky was a very shy Taiwanese student and not confident in he r English writing ability. She was constantly skeptical of whether her partners could benefit from conduc ting peer response tasks with her, which were reflected in her messages during her chat and in the interviews. But she was motivated to improve her writing skills thr ough the tasks by collaborating with competent peers. In the first CMPR task she participated in, which was the CMPR task for the summary-analysis essay, she collaborated with Rocky to whom she seldom talked even in regular class meetings. Rocky did not fini sh his essay before the CMPR session. So Nicky and Rocky only discussed Nicky’s essa y during the in-class CMPR task and they continued the task to discuss Rocky’s essay at home at that night af ter Rocky finished his essay. The beyond-screen behavior recordings s howed that Nicky used the writer’s worksheet exactly as the instructor require d. When she was chatting with her partner online, she wrote down his comments onto the writer’s worksheet. Occasionally, she reviewed her own essay during the chat, wh ich seemed she was comparing what Rocky Improving writing skills in exploratory essay 2. Reshaping his image 2. Maintaining an image of a com p etent writer 1s t CMPR 2n d CMPR 3 r d CMPR 1. Improving writing skills in the summaryanalysis essay 1. Maintaining a good-student image

PAGE 184

168 commented on with her own essay. She also used a portable electronic dictionary to check some words in her essay and some words she used in her messages to Rocky during the chat. Nickys on-screen behavior recordings a nd the chat transcripts showed that she concentrated on the task throughout the task. She contributed a tota l of 41 e-turns and only five of them were off-task. In her chat with Rocky, two of her friends from Taiwan tried to chat with her. She turned down th eir chat invitations by informing them she was trying to finish a class task. Nicky used a myriad of language functions to negotiate with Rocky the opinions and suggestions from and to him, which included conformation check, give opinion and suggestions, ask for opinions and suggestions, disagree, confirmation request, etc. Particularly, she wa s eager to get feedback from Rocky. After hearing some compliments from Rocky, she be came skeptical as to whether Rocky ever read her essay. Later, Rocky pointed out th e problem in her introduction paragraph and the grammar mistakes in her essay. In th e follow-up interview, Nicky reflected, Yes, he was helpful. He told me my problem in my introduction paragraph. He helped my grammar mistakes . (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06) although she still believed Rocky was not competent enough to identify all the problems in her essay. Table 13 Nickys Revisions in the Summary-Analysis Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Sentence 2 Phrase 2 Word 6 Punctuation1 Add 1 Replace 8 Rewrite 2 Grammar 7 Structure 1 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 3 Partner 9 Self 2

PAGE 185

169 As shown in Table 13, Nicky made two sentence-level, two phrase-level, six word-level, and one punctuation revisions by adding one sentence, rewriting one sentence and one phrase, and replacing one phrase, si x words, and one punctuation to correct grammatical errors, misspellings and punctuation, and to improve the structure. Nine of the revisions were stimulated by her chat w ith Rocky and two word-level revisions were made by herself. The above analysis indicated that Nicky was engaged in the activity system of improving her writing skills of a summary-analysis essay. However, merely improving writing skills in a summary-analysis essay c ould not explain all of Nicky’s behaviors. Nicky’s IM chat transcripts in and after class showed she might also be driven by a secondary motive: having online chat with a non-Chinese speaker. Nicky had been in the U.S. for merely seven months. Due to her cultural background and family environment, her soci al circle had been constrained within Taiwanese friends although she was attending the ELI. Nicky revealed in the interviews and informal after-class IM chat with the re searcher that all her real-life and virtual friends spoke Chinese. She seldom talked in English with someone who did not speak Chinese. Thus, she might subconsciously look forward to the opportunity to chat with a non-Chinese speaker online and practice her English, which was reflected on her proactive contributions during he r chat with Rocky in class an d after class despite the fact that Rocky was not so helpful as she expecte d. In addition, despite he r lack of confidence in her English academic writing skills, she provided many suggestions, which surprised Rocky. In the follow-up interview, Nicky reflected on her IM chat,

PAGE 186

170 “ I like it. Rocky is …is nice and his English is good. I never have… talk to people only speak English to me… yes, most of my friends from Taiwan…. Oh, my cousin is … born here. She speak English.. ” (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06). Nicky’s partner in her second CMPR task was Iron. After she read Iron’s essay, Nicky was aware that Iron’s English proficienc y was much higher than hers. She told the instructor that she looked fo rward to working with him. According to the beyond-screen behavior recordings, Nicky voluntarily helped Iron set up his IM when she found he could not log onto his instant messenger. While the instructor was helping Iron to log onto a new instant messenger, Nicky patiently waited in her seat, reviewing both Iron’s and her own essays and occasionally writing down some notes on the reader’s and writer’s worksheets. During her chat with Iron, she was very patient while waiting for Iron’s slow responses. When it took Iron ex tra long time to respond, she constantly looked in Iron’s direction to check whether he was reading or typing messages. While waiting for further responses, she we nt back to read her own essay. The on-screen behavior recordings and the IM chat transcripts showed that Nicky contributed 15 e-turns during th e chat all of which were ontask. Throughout the chat, she neither chatted with other people online, nor checked any other websites. She also used a variety of language functions to comprehend wh at Iron said and ask for and give opinions and suggestions. During the chat, she compli mented Iron that she learned a lot of vocabulary from his essay and expressed her anxiousness to obtain opinions and suggestions from him. When Iron sent an incomprehensible message due to his misspellings and grammar mistakes, she used se veral e-turns to request for clarification. She also pointed out some organizational am biguity in his essay. Due to the technical

PAGE 187

171 problems Iron had and his slow typing, Nicky a nd Iron did not finish the CMPR task in class. But they decided to finish it in the afternoon, which they did very successfully. Table 14 Nickys Revisions in th e Argumentative Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 Phrase 3 Word 8 Add 3 Rewrite 2 Replace 6 Move 2 Clarify intended meaning 1 New information 1 Structure 3 Grammar 8 Partner 6 Self 7 The revision analysis (Table 14) show ed that Nicky added one paragraph to strengthen her argument and two phrases to modi fy the structure, rewrote one sentence to clarify her argument and one phrase to modi fy the structure, moved two words and replaced six words with new words to impr ove her grammar. Among the 13 revisions, six of them were stimulated by Iron during the chat and seven came from herself. She respected Irons feedback and incorporated a ll his suggestions into her second draft. All of these indicated that Nickys actions we re driven by her motive of improving her writing skills in an argumentative essay in her second CMPR task. Because of her successful collaborat ion in the second CMPR task, Nicky requested to conduct her third CMPR task again with Iron. However, due to Irons unexpected early withdrawal from the ELI, Nicky was pair ed with a non-participant student Percy. Driven by the similar motive, she completed her first draft and exchanged the draft with Percy before the CMPR task. The beyond-screen behavior recordings s howed that Nicky a ttentively exchanged messages with Percy throughout the chat. O ccasionally, she paused to check Percys

PAGE 188

172 essay and the readers worksheet. She also constantly checked her own essay and the writers worksheet to ensure the suggesti ons Percy provided we re appropriate and pertinent to her essay. She also wrote down some notes on the write rs worksheet. She smiled frequently at the scr een during the IM chat. The on-screen behavior recordings showed that Nicky contributed a total of 25 eturns all of which were on-task. She provi ded opinions and comments to Percy and actively negotiated the feedback given by Pe rcy by using language functions such as clarification request, ag ree, confirm, etc. The revision analysis (see Table 15) showed that Nicky made an enormous number of revisions in her second draft, wh ich included two clause -level, one sentencelevel, three phrase-level, 36 word-level, a nd one punctuation revisions. The majority of her revisions aimed to correct her gramma r although 12 were inte nded to clarify her meaning. When asked who stimulated her revision s, Nicky revealed that 25 of them were pointed out by her partner Percy, and I also asked my cousin to help me (her cousin is an American-born Chinese). She also changed some word-level mistakes after some similar ones were identified by Percy and her cousin. Nicky incorporated all the suggestions given by her partner Percy. Table 15 Nickys Revisions in the Problem-Solution Essay Level Type Purpose Stimuli Clause 2 Sentence 1 Phrase 3 Word 36 Punctuation 1 Add 12 Delete 3 Move 1 Replace 23 Rewrite 3 Clarify intended meaning 12 Grammar 28 Structure 1 Surface (spelling, capitalization, punctuation) 2 Partner 25 Self 10 Other source (cousin) 8

PAGE 189

173 The above analysis indicated that Nicky’ s motive in the third CMPR task was to improve her English academic writing skills in the problem-solution essay. Nicky’s motive shift throughout the three ta sks she participated in can be displayed in Figure 8: Figure 8 Nicky's Motive Shift Rocky’s Motives According to the ethnographic survey a nd the researcher’s reflective journals, different from other students, Rocky had take n the level-4 academic writing course in the previous semester. Although he failed the cl ass, he believed his English writing was better than most of his current classmates. Th erefore, he did not expect to improve his academic writing skills by working with his classmates, which were reflected in his behaviors such as he never fi nished his first draft before the CMPR task and he always submitted his first draft to the instructor without incorporating the feedback offered by any of his partners. However, since he failed th is class in the previous semester, he had to do well and pass this class in order to successf ully graduate from the ELI on time. Thus, to analyze Rocky’s analysis, the researcher not only used the observation and interview data collected during CMPR tasks but looked at what he did in the class throughout the semester. In his first CMPR task, Rocky collaborat ed with Nicky who he knew had much lower English proficiency than him. He did not finish his essay before the CMPR session Improving writing skills in an argumentative essay Improving writing skills in a problem-solution essay 1. Improving writing skills in a summaryanalysis essay 4th CMPR 3rd CMPR 2nd CMPR 2. Chatting with an English-speaker friend online

PAGE 190

174 as required by the instructor. Thus, he a nd Nicky only focused on Nicky’s essay during the lab session. The beyond-screen behavior ob servation data show that Rocky was very concerned with whether he looked good in front of the instructor. Fi rst of all, at the beginning of the CMPR task, he explained to th e instructor that he did not give Nicky his essay for a pre-CMPR review just because he fo rgot to bring it. But later he had to admit he did not finish it as required. Secondly, he constantly checked whether the instructor was observing him during the chat. He se ldom checked Nicky’s essay and never compared Nicky’s essay with the reader’s wo rksheet during the chat. However, when he noticed the instructor was near him, he st arted to read Nicky’s essay and occasionally scanned the reader’s worksheet. Thirdly, af ter he finished chatting with Nicky, he immediately informed the instructor that he had accomplished the task. He reported that Nicky and he had a great time and they woul d have a CMPR that night to discuss his essay. From the instructor’s perspective, Roc ky looked eager to please the instructor that he was a good student following all the instruction. His on-screen behavior data show that he did not pay serious a ttention to the task, either. First, although Rocky contributed a to tal of 44 e-turns and 35 of them were ontask, he did not provide quite he lpful suggestions to his partner. The vast majority of his contributions were compliments and very vague and general comments on her essay. The only constructive suggestions he provided were about the introduction paragraph and a few grammar mistakes in Nicky’s essay af ter her constant request for suggestions. Second, Rocky was simultaneously chatting w ith another friend during his CMPR with Nicky. He initiated this conversation with the online friend in the middle of his discussion with Nicky. Whenever he saw a message coming from the friend, he would

PAGE 191

175 stop responding to Nicky’s message to check the other chat window, which indicated that he was more interested in the chat with the other friend. In the addi tional chat with Nicky on his essay at night, Nicky offered suggesti ons on Rocky’s organization and references. He denied the weakness in his organiza tion. Although he asked Nicky about how to revise his references, a tentat ive revision analysis showed th at he incorpor ated none of Nicky’s suggestions in his second draft. It was unquestionable that Rocky intended neither to give helpful suggestions nor to ac cept any in this CMPR task. He participated in the task probably merely to maintain a good-student image. Rocky was motivated differently in the second CMPR task because of his experience in the first CMPR task as well as his relationship with his second partner who was a non-participant. First of all, because his expe rience with having IM chat with his friend without apparently interrupting his pa rticipation in the CMPR task, which he thought was not discovered by the instructor, he enjoyed online chat so much that he immediately opened a new window to chat with his online friend even before he started chatting with his partner in the second CM PR task. And he never stopped chatting with this friend throughout the task. On the other hand, another significant motive also drove Rocky’s actions in this task: main taining a good personal relationship. Rocky knew his second partner Francia very well. She had extraordinary difficulty in English academic writing and had constantly expressed her frustration to him. After knowing she would collaborate with Rocky in th e CMPR task, Francia asked Rocky to give her a lot of help. On the day of the second CMPR session, Rocky and Francia sat in two computers facing each othe r. Before the CMPR started, Francia was too eager to get help from Rocky so she walk ed over to directly ask feedback from him.

PAGE 192

176 After being informed by the instructor that this assignment would be conducted online, Francia returned to her computer. However, she could not log onto her instant messenger account. Rocky then walked over to help he r out. During their on line chat, Rocky and Francia occasionally had verbal communicati on because she did not know how to express herself through the messenger due to her limited English proficiency. Throughout the chat, Rocky only occasionally checked Franci a’s essay. He never used the reader’s worksheet. At the end of the task, Rocky walked over to Francia’s seat and gave her more specific feedback on her essay since they did not finish the CMPR online. Rocky’s on-screen behavior recordings s howed that he provided significant help to Francia although some were not specifically related to the essay. He contributed a total of 23 e-turns all of which were on-task. Duri ng the chat, he pointed out that there were some grammatical mistakes in her essay. He suggested she read novels and use an outline to improve her grammar and organization upon he r request for strategies to improve her writing in general. When Francia expressed he r lack of confidence in her English writing, Rocky also spent several turns to comfor t her by saying her essay was fine and her problems were not devastating. In the fo llow-up interview, Rocky described his collaboration with Francia, “she needs a lot of help. I want to help he r. We all are friends here.” (interview with Rocky, 7/25/06). All of the data indicate d that Rocky’s second motive in the task was to provide help a nd maintain his personal relationship with Francia. In the last CMPR task, Rocky was paired up with Diane whom Rocky also knew very well. Although Rocky came to the lab on time, he did not give his essay in advance to Diane, nor did he bring it to the lab. Duri ng his chat with Diane, he admitted that he

PAGE 193

177 did not finish his essay. But he blamed it on his computer which he claimed did not work the day before the CMPR task. Under the situation that the last CMPR task was conducted one week before the final week a nd students would get their scores for the course very soon, both his beyondand on-sc reen behaviors indicated that Rocky’s participation in the CMPR task was driven by his motive of maintaining a good-student image to eventually pass the course. The beyond-screen behavior recordings s howed that Rocky concentrated on the CMPR task by switching between reading Dian e’s essay by using the reader’s worksheet, which he never did in previous CMPR ta sks, and chatting with her on the instant messenger. In addition, during the chat, Rocky constantly confirmed with the instructor some mistakes he identified in Diane’s essay, especially when he noticed the instructor was observing him. The on-screen behavior recordings showed that Rocky contributed an unprecedented number of e-turns and all of the 35 e-turns were on-task. Throughout the CMPR chat, he focused on the discussion w ith Diane without opening any other chat window as he did in previous tasks. The IM chat transcripts showed that Rocky focused on the grammar mistakes and misspelling in Di ane’s essay during the chat. No comments about the content and organization in Diane’s es say were provided. At the end of the task, Rocky informed the instructor that he would give his essay to Diane in the next day so she could give him feedback, which he di d. However, despite the detailed comments provided by Diane, Rocky only subm itted his first draft to the instructor. In the interview, he defended himself by saying “ Diane did not give me much feedback. She only changed some misspellings. ” (interview with Rocky, 8/4/06).

PAGE 194

178 Figure 9 Rocky's Motive Shift Although Rocky acted like a very devoted student during the CMPR task, his behaviors before (his failure to finish his draft in time and his lies) and after (his failure to revise his draft) the chat session indicated that he was not genuinely motivated to improve his writing skills of the problem-solutio n essay when he partic ipated in the task. He might merely intend to maintain a goodstudent image to impress the instructor. Rocky’s motive shift throughout the three CM PR tasks can be illustrated in Figure 9. Goals To analyze each participant’s goals of participating in the CMPR tasks, both content analysis and CHAT analysis were conducted. First, the c ontent analysis of interview transcripts was conducted. All explicit ly stated goals marked by the key words were gleaned from the interview transcripts. According to cultural historical activity theory, all human actions are driven by consci ous goals. However, due to the fact of the participants were still undergoing English la nguage process, they occasionally failed to verbalize their consciou s goals. Under this situation, goal -related statements were gleaned from the interviews. Second, the explicitly e xpressed goals in the interview transcripts were identified. Regarding the goal-related st atements, the goals that drove the actions described in the statements were interprete d by the researcher thr ough the lens of CHAT. To do so, the beyondand on-screen behavior recordings as well as the researcher’s 1. Having fun in IM chat Maintaining a good -student image 2. Maintaining a personal relationship Maintaining a goodstudent image 2nd CMPR 3rd CMPR 4th CMPR

PAGE 195

179 reflective journals were reviewed to identify what conscious goals drove the actions the participant described in a statement. Finall y, the researcher used constant comparison method to constantly compare the goals identif ied with the raw data as well as one goal with another to ensure the c onsistency between the data and the theme identified and to avoid redundancy between the themes. In a ddition, Nvivo 2 was used to assist the analysis process. Goals identified from the above steps were demonstrated in Table 16, 17, 18, and 19. Goals in the CMPR Task for the Expository Essay Table 16 Participants Goals in the CMPR task for the Expository Essay Participant HC HO HR HF SHE MC Extra Anton Iron Log into IM Send Messages Note HC = Help peer with the content in his/ her expository essay; HO = Help peer with the organization in his/her expository essay; HR = Help peer with the resources used in his/her expository essay; HF = Help peer w ith the format of his/ her expository essay; SHE = Seek help from the peer with the e ssay; MC = Maintain conversation; Extra = Extra goals. Among the five participants, only Anton a nd Iron participated in the first CMPR task which was for the expository essay. As shown in Table 16, Anton and Irons actions were driven by both overlappi ng and divergent conscious goals. The overlapping goals included (1) helping peer with the content; (2) helping peer with the organization; (3) helping peer with the grammar; and (4) seek help with own essay, which were congruent

PAGE 196

180 with the explicitly stated goals of the tas k. Both Anton and Iron evaluated each other’s essay by using the prompts in the CMPR reader’s worksheet. Anton stated in the interview, “ Usually when I make peer review, I try to answer the questions you ask from the paper… we were asked to help each other. So I gave him my comments on his ideas, organization, grammar and the references in his essay. Then, I asked him to help with my essay .” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06). Anton also noticed Iron did not follow the format for academic writing, which she learned in the Level-3 academic writing cla ss. Thus, she informed Iron of his problem and offered suggestions. She also tried very hard to maintain the conversation when she found Iron barely responded to her messages. When asked how she felt about conducting the task, Anton reflected, “ The worksheet did not help me much. The questions were too general. I didn’t know if I found all the problems in his essay ” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06). Although Anton did not ex plicitly state her goals in the first task, the beyondand on-screen behavior reco rdings showed that she concentrated on the chat and constantly checked the reader’s worksheet to help her find the problems in Iron’s essay. Iron reviewed Anton’s essay very carefully by using the CMPR reader’s worksheet. He only commented on Anton’s idea and organization, leaving out the grammar, punctuation, and spellings as well as references. When asked why he did this, Iron explained that “ Anton’s English is good very good. So I didn’t find many mistakes. I commented her content and organization because I am responsible…. responsible to help her .” (interview with Iron, 6/ 21/06). He did not comment on her use of references because he himself did not completely understand how to use references in a summary

PAGE 197

181 essay even after a special lecture on this topi c. On the other hand, because this was Irons very first time to use IM, he had three uniqu e conscious goals: (1) logging in to IM; (2) sending messages through IM; and (3) maintain ing conversation. Because he never used an IM and seldom typed on a computer, he described his first experience with CMPR, I wanted to be able to chat like the other students . (interview with Iron, 6/21/06). He was also consciously struggling to maintain the conversation in IM since it was a new communication environment and he was not good at it. Goals in the CMPR Task for the Summary-Analysis Essay Table 17 Participants Goals in the CMPR task for the Summary-analysis essay: Participant HC HO HG HF SHC SHO SHG SHR SH Extra Anton IP SLT Iron TF-IM Diane CF Nicky Rocky CF Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HG = Help peer with grammar; HR = Help peer with refere nce; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from peer with organization; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; SHR = Seek help from the peer with reference; SH = Seek help from the peer with the essay; Extra = Extra goals; IP = Inform the peer his/her problems in IM interaction; SLT = Spend the lab time; TF -IM = Type fast in IM; CF = Communicate with online friend. Table 17 showed a rather diverse distributi on of goals held by participants in the second CMPR task. Anton confessed that she di d not plan to do anyt hing related to the

PAGE 198

182 task during the second CMPR task, “ Actually last Thursday I did nothing. He messaged me to give me his opinions of my essay. I just responded him .” She reflected that she and Iron did not collaborate very well during the first CMPR task because Iron typed very slowly. Thus, she did not plan to receive or provide any feedback in this task. During the chat, when Iron offered some comments, she di rectly rejected them. When asked why she did so, she said, “ they just don’t help me. I don’t think Iron should judge my ideas. He was so slow. He did not know what he was talking ”, so she decided to “ tell him his problems with the chat ” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06). However, when Iron offered one comment about her organization in her essay, she asked him to give detailed suggestion by saying “ go ahead, Iron ”. When asked why she said so but rejected his earlier comments, she said “ I may have a problem with my organization. So I want to hear what he suggested ” with a conscious goal of seeking help from him. She soon dropped the goal when Ir on failed to clarify himself. On the other hand, Anton had been chatting with other on line friends throughout the task with a conscious goal of just ki lling the time in the lab, “ I didn’t think Iron could help me. So I just wanted to spend the time there. ” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06). Iron participated in the task with consci ous goals of helping Anton with her essay. He reflected on his beha viors in the chat, “ I want to help her. You know, this is peer review, help her ideas, organization, and grammar, like I did in the first time .” (interview with Iron, 7/13/06). Iron also had another consci ous goal: to type faster. Iron realized he was too slow to follow the conversation with Anton in the first task. He had been practicing typing English words at home and in the lab. He actually did make progress by

PAGE 199

183 using two hands rather than one to type in th e second task. In the follow-up interview, he revealed, “ I don’t want to chat. But I have to type faster .” (interview with Iron, 7/13/06). As for Diane, she did not plan to do anything serious during the CMPR task because “ Jillil, you know him, he is killing me. He (is) never serious. We just talk about what we did on the weekend. Whenever I talk to him, he says, ‘come on, let’s talk something fun’. So I don’t p….plan to work with him. But I have to do something, you know, in class. ” (interview with Diane, 7/14/06). It seemed despite her dissatisfaction with Jillil, Diane still followed the rules to comment on his content and organization and asked for his opinions and suggestions on her essay. She also read Jillil’s essay by usi ng the reader’s worksheet during the chat. Her actions were driven by the conscious goals to offer and ask for help although she was not oriented to learning. She also chatted with Anton during the task for which she explained, “ I am a multi-tasker. Anton is my friend. I like to talk to her. ” (interview with Diane, 7/14/06). Nicky followed the instructor’s direction closely, “ I used the worksheet… I want to give my comments about his ideas, organizati on, and the references. I want him to help me too. ” (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06). When asked why she did not help Rocky correct his grammar mi stakes, she said, “ my grammar… my English is not good. I am afraid…. And I don’t find mistake in his essay.” As for Rocky, he held the goals of help ing Nicky with the content, organization, and grammar. When asked what he did during the task, he reflected, “ I told Nicky her problem in the introduction (paragraph). I al so gave her some ideas. Oh, I found some

PAGE 200

184 grammar mistakes in her essay …. why? …. well, she needs my help. ” (interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). He did not comment on Ni cky’s references. Although Rocky did not explain why he did not offer opinions and sugge stions on Nicky’s refe rences, the IM chat transcripts showed that he asked Nicky how to put the references in an essay and he missed the lecture on how to include referen ce information in a text according to the researcher’s reflective journal, which i ndicated Rocky did not know how to do the references by himself. Besides these goals, he also had a friend with whom he frequently chatted. He said “ I was waiting for Nicky to answer me. I just wanted to say hello to my friend online. ” (interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). Goals in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay Table 18 Participants’ Goals in the CMPR ta sk for the Argumentative Essay Participant HC HO HG HE SHC SHO SHG SH Extra Anton CF, SW Iron Diane FUN Nicky Rocky CF, FD Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HG = Help peer with grammar; HE = Help peer with the e ssay; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from the peer w ith organization; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; SH = Seek help from the peer with the essay; Extra = Extra goals; CF = Communicate with online friend; SW = S eek a good way to help each other with grammar and organization; FUN = Have fun on th e Internet; FD = Finish the first draft.

PAGE 201

185 The third CMPR task witnessed rather divergent goals held by participants. Rather than following the worksheets closely as they did in the previous two tasks, participants described th eir conscious goals as “ help my partner ”, “ give advice to my partner ” or “ receive advice from my partner ”. When asked what she did duri ng the task, Anton reflected “ We talked about the ideas of the essay. She gave me some advice. I gave her some too .” After informed by Diane that she had some misspellings and gram mar mistakes, she decided to have a faceto-face meeting with Diane to discuss some common problems in each other’s essay such as organization and grammar. When asked why she did this, she said, “… For example, there is a sentence whic h is grammatically incorrect. It is difficult on the net to write it down again. So I want to find some easier way to discuss about it. So I prefer to show her face to face. So here is the mistake, here... ” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Besides the task-related goals, she also confessed that “ it is not easy not to chat with someone else online because they are there ” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). In other words, she still had the conscious goal to communicate w ith online friends. As for Diane, she reflected that “ I had problems with my idea and my organization. I know I also have grammar mista kes. I want Anton to help me because she is good in writing.” And she also “ wanted to discuss with Anton about some information she wrote in her essay and her grammar mistakes. ” (interview with Diane, 7/25/06). She also confessed that she wanted to have some fun online since she was online. Regarding Iron’s goals, he said he gave Nicky some ideas and some suggestions about the organization to “ help her ” (interview with Iron, 7/21/06). He asked for

PAGE 202

186 suggestion but she did not give him any feedba ck. But he still enjoyed the collaboration because “ she learn new words from my essay ” (interview with Iron, 7/21/06). As usual, Nicky used the both the CMPR reader’s and writer’s worksheets when she reviewed her partner Iron’s essay. Sh e wrote down some comments on her reader’s worksheet. She reflected on what she did during the task and said “ I think….. his essay is good. Many new vocabulary… but I said I am not sure one connector word between her his paragraphs… I want to help him ”. She was more concerned with the content, organization, and grammar in her essay. So she asked Iron to give her comments on her organization, her ideas, and the grammar with the conscious goals “ I want he help me, my organization, my argument, and grammar. ” (Interview with Nicky, 7/20/06). As for Rocky, he had conscious goal to he lp his partner but not the other way. He reflected that “ I just wanted to help her. She needs a lot of help She did not give me any suggestion. But it is ok. If she wanted to give me advice, I would receive it. ” (interview with Rocky, 7/20/06). On the other hand, Rocky s till planned to talk to his friend if she was online by confessing “ well, if my friend is online, I always say hello to her. ” (interview with Rocky, 7/20/06). In addition, sinc e he did not finish his first draft of the essay to be discussed that day, he also intend ed to finish his draft during the lab time. Goals in the CMPR task for the Problem-solution essay Due to Anton and Iron’s unexpected withdr awal from the ELI, only Diane, Nicky, and Rocky as participants participated in the CMPR task for the problem-solution essay. In this task, Diane worked with Rocky while Nicky was paired with a non-participant student Percy.

PAGE 203

187 Table 19 Participants’ Goals in the CMPR ta sk for the Problem-solution essay Participant HC HO HG SHC SHO SHG SH Extra Diane FUN Nicky Rocky Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HG = Help peer with grammar; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from the peer with organization; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; SH = Seek help from the peer with the essay; Extra = Ex tra goals; FUN = Have fun on the Internet. During the task, Diane initiated the chat with Rocky and asked him whether he could understand her essay and what recommen dation he could offer. In the follow-up interview, Diane reflected, “ I finish my essay at 1 o’clock. I was tire d. I want my partner to help me find out my mistakes So I ask Rocky to tell me my mistakes, like content, structure. But he only talked about my grammar ”(interview with Diane, 8/3/06). As usual, Diane turned on online music dur ing the CMPR task. She revealed that “ I listened to music because I am chatting with friends. At least for some time, you know, I also want to have fun also. I want to enjoy every time. Because this time is my fun time when I am here. When I go to work, all the kinds of thing... so.... ”(interview with Diane, 8/3/06). Nicky had another successful CMPR task. She said, “ I am not sure about my ideas my organization. I wanted my peer to help me. I also helped him .” (interview with Nicky, 8/3/06). As for Rocky, because he did not finish his essay, he decided to focus on

PAGE 204

188 giving advice on Diane’s essay in the CMPR task. But he planne d to give his essay to his partner later and get feedback. During the chat, he commented on Diane’s introduction paragraph and grammar to “ help Diane. You know… she asked me to give her suggestions .” During the chat, Diane and Rocky di scussed about Rocky’s essay topic. When asked why they had the conversation, Rocky explained, “ I don’t know, she may want to help me. I told her my topic. She gave me her idea. …. Yeah, yeah, it helped me. ” (interview with Rocky, 8/4/06). Thus, alt hough passively, Rocky was aware that he was supposed to get help with his own essay during the task. Section Summery for ESL Par ticipants’ Motives and Goals The results presented above illustrated that ESL participants were driven by heterogeneous motives, in other words, they we re involved in discursi ve activity systems, even when they participated in the same l earning task. In addition, even in the same learning task, one student might have multiple motives which might exist simultaneously or emerge chronologically. On the other hand, for some students, the relationship between one activity system and another one across tasks driven by distinct motives might shift throughout the semester. For example, in one learning task, one motive played the dominant role whereas it receded as a s econdary motive in another learning task. For some students, maintaining a good-student image in class was a dominant motive when they participated in the CMPR task. For others, improving writing skills through collaborating with peers motivated him or her the most of the time in the semester. As for ESL students’ goals during the CM PR tasks, the results showed that the vast majority of participants’ conscious goa ls were consistent w ith those held by the instructor, as stated explicitly in the CMPR instruction sheet which was distributed at the

PAGE 205

189 beginning of each CMPR task. In other words, they helped each other to identify mistakes and offered suggestions about the content, organization and style, grammar, punctuation, and spellings, as well as referenc es in each other’s essay, as required for all the CMPR tasks although they might not be able to conduct certain actions to achieve some goals due to the lack of proficiency or their partner’s proficiency. However, there existed no consistent symmetry between goals of help provision and those of help pursuit in each task. Comparing each participant’s goa ls throughout the three tasks in which he or she participated, the goals across tasks were diverse as well. This was a result of the existence of different motives driving each par ticipant’s actions within the same task as well as throughout the tasks. From the lens of CHAT, providing help or seeking help in certain aspect of the essay might be a consci ous goal in one task because the participant was not familiar yet with the way of providing help in that aspect or he or she needed extensive help to improve his or her writing competence in that aspect. In the next task, he or she had developed the ability to provide feedback in that aspect or the writing competence without conscious attention to seekin g external help in that aspect any more. In addition, even within one CMPR task, participants’ goals shifted because they were simultaneously involved in more than one activity system the interaction of which stimulated new actions driven by newly form ed goals. In other words, the conflicts between motives engendered the emergence of di stinct goals. In particular, because of the multiple chat windows enabled in IM as well as the access to the Internet connection, some participants held goals that were not related to the tasks, such as communicating with online friends and ha ve fun on the Internet.

PAGE 206

190 The data further resonated with the view of CHAT that although students held the same goals and conducted the same actions in a task, they might be involved in heterogeneous activity systems driven by distinctive motives. For example, although Rocky seemingly conducted all th e actions required by the instru ctor as well as Nicky, he was driven by a non-learning motive. In additi on, the reason that some participants’ goals kept relatively constant across the learning tasks in terms of help provision, was caused by their engagement in passive or non-inte llectual activity systems (Clancey, 2002) such as maintaining a good-student image, which did not stimulate conflicts that could constitute advancement or development. Mediation of the Use of Instant Messenger Research Question 2: How do computer-mediate d technology, particularly the use of IM, mediate ESL students’ intera ction in peer response? The mediation of instant messenger (IM) in CMPR tasks was investigated at three levels, namely, the activity, action, and operation (Kuutti, 1995). At the activity level, the motives and motive shift that were trigge red or formed by IM use as well as ESL students’ perceptions of CMPR tasks were i nvestigated with the use of within-case and cross-case analyses by focusing on each par ticipant’s motives in each CMPR task. The findings about motives in research question 1 were used to help analyze how the motive formation and shift might be influenced by the use of IM. At the action level, the conscious goals ESL students held and the actio ns they took that emerged because of the use of IM were identified. Stude nts’ perceptions of the infl uence of the use of instant messenger on their goal-setting process during e ach CMPR task were also investigated. At the operation level, instant messenger’s me diation was analyzed from three aspects:

PAGE 207

191 the messages exchanged during CMPR tasks, the ways in which each message was exchanged, and the interpersonal relationshi p established during the CMPR tasks. The findings were presented in the following texts: Mediation of IM at the Activity Level As discovered in the data for research question 1, the use of IM significantly influenced the activity systems in which ES L students were involve d throughout the four CMPR tasks as well as their perceptions a bout CMPR tasks. In terms of the activity systems in which ESL students were invol ved, the use of IM mediated the motive formation and shift among CMPR tasks. Mediation of IM in Motive Formation and Shift in CMPR tasks In a traditional peer response task, st udents collaborate with each other by verbally exchanging comments on each other’s essay. However, when the collaboration was moved to the Internet, th e change of intera ction environment triggered and nurtured new motives as well as destructed existing motives. During the second CMPR task, Anton discove red she could chat with her friends online simultaneously when she worked on the CMPR task with her partner Iron who she thought was very boring. She st arted participating in two act ivity systems, one of which was afforded by the use of IM: having fun in IM chat whereas the other one was not. In the third CMPR task, she was immediately engaged in two activity systems: improving writing skills in the argumenta tive essay and having fun in IM chat. It seemed that the use of IM not only stimulated the emergence of additional activity systems, but afforded the maintenance of them. The same thing happened to Diane. Diane was an enthusiastic IM user. She hailed the inte gration of IM use in the task be cause she could have fun any time

PAGE 208

192 during the class. Throughout th e three CMPR tasks she partic ipated in, she was engaged in the activity system: having fun with IM chat, which would not have happened should IM not be incorporated in the task. As fo r Iron, his image of being a competent writer, which he firmly believed, was ruined due to his clumsy performance in the first CMPR task. Therefore, a new motive emerged when he participated in the second CMPR task: changing his image of being an electronically dysfunctional partner. In Nicky’s case, the use of IM enabled her to ch at with a friend in English without worrying about prompt language production, particularly oral production. On the other hand, the use of IM may also distance students from existing activity systems. For example, Anton was driven by the motive of learning writing through collaborating with her partner in the first CMPR task. After realiz ing her partner could not type quickly and failed to provide feedback efficiently online, she receded from the activity system when she particip ated in her second CMPR task. Besides allowing participants to join in new IMafforded activity systems and to withdraw from previous activity systems in different learning tasks, the use of IM also enabled participants to fr eely shift among the existing act ivity systems within one learning task. For example, Anton participated in the third CMPR task attentively in one moment, and switched to the activity of havi ng fun in IM chat ne xt moment. All these could happen smoothly without disturbing ot her community members in each activity system. On the other hand, if appropriate t echnologies such as screen capturing tool WINK employed in this dissertation study ar e employed, the activity systems in which students participate can be easily identified be cause students’ motives that are triggered

PAGE 209

193 by the use of technologies are amplified and re alized in their actions in the electronic environment. Mediation of IM in ESL Student s’ Perceptions of CMPR Tasks As shown in the following analysis, becau se of the integration of IM in peer response tasks, ESL participants’ perceptions about peer response tasks, particularly CMPR tasks, were reshaped regardless of wh ether they had prior experience with peer response. The analysis of interview transcript s, particularly those toward the end of the study, presented two main types of percep tions about CMPR tasks held by the participants of this study: (1) learning-affo rdance; and (2) learning-constraint. Under the learning-affordance are four features: a. affectively appealing and low-anxiety environment; b. flexible pedagogy; c. extens ion of view about IM communication for educational purposes; and d. support of mu ltiple learning purposes. The learningconstraint was reflected in: a. constraint s of interaction topics; and b. a demand for skillful computer skills. First, three out of five participants em phasized the fun part of CMPR because of the use of IM. They considered CMPR as a task integrating both learning and fun. Anton described CMPR as “ It's fun to do it w ith instant messenger” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06) In the third interview, she also described that “ …, it is peer review. But the fact that it is online. It's very funny because it is attractive.” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Both Diane and Rocky shared this affecti on. In her first interview, Diane said, “ I think it is a good strategy because we can find each other’s mistakes. Also it is fun. You can chat. ” (interview with Diane, 7/17/06). During the third interview, when asked why she listened to online music while chatting with her partner on the ta sk, she explained, “ I was

PAGE 210

194 waiting for responses. So I don’t have anything to do…. I want to have fun also. I want to enjoy every time… It didn’t affect my talk with him .”(interview with Diane, 8/3/06). It indicates that the fun part in the CMPR task not only resides in th e real-time chat, but also embraces all the fun things afforded by the Internet. As for Nicky, CMPR provided a low-anxiet y environment for her to participate in class discussions without concern about her pr onunciation and with more time to plan for the language. She reported, “(in IM chat) I have more tim e to think about it, to chat .” (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06) Because of the extended re flection time as well as the non-threatening environment allowed in IM chat, Nicky became a very active partner contributing an unprecedented number of e-turns, which was also noticed by her partner Rocky, who noticed that “ I just realize, well, most of teachers and students don’t realize that. When she chats online, she is someone else. She is relaxed, she is home, in her room, she asked me a lot of questions …. She also gave me lots of suggestions. ”(interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). Besides the affective attr action, ESL students also t hought CMPR was a flexible task in terms of scheduling and location. In other words, if students know what to do in peer response and they have access to computers, they can conduct the CMPR anywhere and anytime. Thus, the CMPR does not have to be constrained within the regular computer lab. In the second CMPR task, Nicky and Rocky did not get a chance to discuss Rocky’s essay. They finished the task in their own houses that night. In the follow-up interview, Rocky reflected, “ It was great. We talked on the Instant messenger at night. It feels good to do the task at home ” (interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). After two CMPR tasks, Anton even questioned the necessity of having CMPR tasks in the same lab, “ I

PAGE 211

195 think we don't get the purpose of chatti ng why we are in the same room, you know… ”(interview with Anton, 7/17/06). Through the CMPR tasks, ESL students also realized they could have electronic communication for academic purposes after clas s. Before participating in the CMPR tasks, all four participants who had prior ex perience with IM interaction merely used IM to communicate with online friends, usually in their native languages. Even when they occasionally had IM chat with a friend from the ELI, they mainly talked about daily issues such as what each other did over the weekends or whether one watched a movie or a TV show. No one had ever thought of usi ng IM to discuss homework or schoolwork. After the first CMPR task, students started to r ealize IM could be used to facilitate their English learning at the ELI. Diane reflected that “ When I go to work. I don’t understand. So I go to my messenger. I saw somebody from my university. I ask them how do you do your homework? something like that ”(interview with Diane, 7/17/06). Rocky also revealed that “ I use instant messenger now to chat with classmates over the weekend, about the assignments in cla ss, about the writing class”( interview with Rocky, 7/17/06) Besides discussing homework and school projects, some participants also observed that they could improve their English by participating in on line chat in English. Rather than producing verbal utterances, they had to type down each word they wanted to say, which brought the conversational writte n forms into their consciousness. Rocky discovered that typing was a great way to pr actice writing in terms of spelling and grammar. He reflected on his first CMPR task, “ Typing is really good for writing. I checked my grammar and my writing (spelling) all the time (when I chatted with my partner) ” (interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). It indi cated in some ESL students’ view, IM

PAGE 212

196 chat not only supports idea communication to accomplish the task, but also serves as a language developmental tool. On the other hand, participants noticed th at because of the special features of online chat, such as no physical contact and all text communication, th ere also were some inconveniences caused by IM chat. For exampl e, some students thought the better topics to be discussed during CMPR tasks were th e content and organizations rather than sentence-level grammar in each other’s essay due to their lack of language vocabulary to describe each type of grammar structures. Bo th Anton and Diane rea lized that they did not know how to discuss the grammatical erro rs in each other’s essay. Anton reflected, “ For example, there is a sentence which is gr ammatically incorrect. It is difficult on the net to write it down again. So I prefer to show her face to face. So here is the mistake, here… ” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). She also thought, “ we didn't really emphasize on the sentences. We mainly emphasize on the id eas, how to organize the essay, how to be accurate in the essay .” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Finally, ESL students realized an addi tional skill was crucial for successful participation in CMPR tasks: the com puter typing skill. Although many students perceived CMPR as a fun and learning-conduciv e task, students such as Iron, who did not have the threshold-level typing skill, was not ab le to completely enjoy the process. Anton reflected on her collaboration wi th Iron and pointed out that “ it is not good for everybody. I mean it is not good for Iron because he doesn't know how to type very quickly. But it is good, I mean it works with Diana and me ” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06). Nicky, who also collaborated wi th Iron, reported, “ we didn’t have enough time to discuss. He typed very slowly This is a difficult activity for him although he is good at writing. ” (interview

PAGE 213

197 with Nicky, 7/20/06). The lack of typing sk ill not only brought extra workload for Iron but also reduced the fun to his partners. At the activity level, the use of IM not only triggered the formation of new motives within and across learning tasks but also afforded flexible motive shift among the activity systems in which participants were involved, which to some extent augmented human beings’ agency (Vygotsky, 1978) in learning processes. In addition, from students’ perspective, th e use of IM in a peer respons e task can be both affording and constraining to their learning. As ar gued in Chapter 3, the reason students’ perceptions about CMPR are considered at th e activity level is that the use of a tool shapes students’ perceptions which in turn play an important role in their agency operation, thus motive shift. Mediation of IM at the Action Level The mediation of IM in the CMPR tasks at the action level was mainly reflected in its interference in the process of ESL stude nts’ conscious goal-setting. In other words, the use of IM influenced ESL students’ deci sion-making regarding what actions to take and what to avoid. To analyze the mediation of IM in participants’ goal-setting, the goals identified in research question 1 we re reanalyzed in this section. Iron never chatted with people on the IM be fore the CMPR tasks. To be able to participate in the tasks, he se t a conscious goal in the first CMPR task to create an IM account and to practice online chat, as reflec ted by him in the follow-up interview, “ I wanted to be able to chat like the other students” (interview with Iron, 06/25/06). Due to the lack of the typing skill, he did not finish the first CMPR task in assigned time. Thus, a

PAGE 214

198 second IM-related conscious goal was set up in his second CMPR task: typing faster in IM chat, as shown in the anal ysis in research question 1. As for Anton, sharing comments about gr ammar mistakes with the partner in face-to-face conversations did not cause any pr oblem for her. However, when the action was performed online, she felt it difficult to describe the problem and explain how to revise the erroneous places due to her lack of English vocabulary, as she expressed in the follow-up interview on July 25, 2006, “ Maybe it is easier to form of the.... For example, there is a sentence which is grammatically inco rrect. It is difficult on the net to write it down again. So I prefer to show her face to face. So here is the mistake, here.. ..”. Thus seeking an alternative way to help each other with the grammar emerged as her conscious goal, which would never have happened had IM never been employed in the task. In addition, the integration of IM into the le arning task also allowed other students who were already familiar with IM chat to take advantage of the IM chat. Because of the affordances of IM and the access to the Inte rnet, new goals such as communicating with online friends appeared among some students. On the other hand, because of the easy access to IM and other Internet-afforded tools, students’ actions that were not oriented to learning were more ostensibly displayed in front of an inspector, such as a teacher. Thus, it can assist a teacher to identify what real motives are behind a student’s actions in the same task. As shown above, the mediation of IM at the action level was demonstrated in the elicitation of students’ emergent conscious goals particularly the externalization of more IM and Internet-afforded actions. For students who were not familiar with IM chat, learning how to operate IM rose up as a c onscious goal along with other peer response-

PAGE 215

199 related goals during the CMPR tasks. For students who lack ed the proficiency to discuss certain issues in an IM environment, they created new goals to help them overcome the problems caused by the use of IM. On the othe r hand, the actions that were directed to having fun on the Internet rather than l earning would be easier to be identified. Mediation of IM at the Operation Level The mediation of IM in CMPR tasks at the operation level was analyzed from four aspects mainly based on the on-screen be haviors recorded in WINK, chat transcripts and interview transcripts: (1) participants’ eturns and e-turn-taking features in IM chat; (2) language functions and non-text communi cation tools employed during IM chat; (3) the interpersonal rela tionship established and mainta ined throughout the CMPR tasks; and (4) the off-screen efforts of participants to fulfill their conscious goals in the CMPR tasks;. Since two units of analysis were adopted in this study, the findings will be discussed in both individual activity systems and the collective activity system in which all participants were involved. E-turns and E-turn-Taking In this section, only the data from the ch at transcripts were analyzed. Thus, some operation-level behaviors driven by certain c onscious goals such as logging into IM account and communicating with online friends were not included in the following matrices. To analyze each participant’s e-tu rns and e-turn-taking be haviors, three steps were undertaken. First, on-task and off-task e-turns were identif ied according to the definitions: (1) on-task e-turn is the text or graphic message a speaker posts in a synchronous chat platform, which is pertinent to the task; and (2) off-task e-turn is the text or graphic message a speaker posts in the chat room, which is ir relevant to the task.

PAGE 216

200 Second, the identified on-task e-turns were num bered, which facilitated the later analysis of language functions used in each e-turn. Third, the total number of on-task and off-task e-turns produced by each participant in each CM PR task were counted and filled in the Eturns and E-turn-taking Matrix for each task. Finally, the maximum and minimum number and frequencies of e-turns conducted consecutively by one participant, which was called monologue e-turns, in each CMPR task also were counted and put in the matrix. The analysis results in all four CMPR tasks were represented in Tables 20, 21, 22, and 23 in the following section. Table 20 E-turns and E-turn-taking in the CM PR Task for the Exploratory Essay No. ET No. ETG No.MET FMET Participant OnT OffT HO HC HF HR SH MC Max Min Max Min Anton 26 0 3 4 2 5 12 5 1 2 1 Iron 14 0 6 1 1 6 2 1 3 7 Note No. ET = Number of e-turns; OnT = On-tas k e-turns; OffT = O ff-task e-turns; No. ETG = Number of e-turns for each goal; HO = Help the peer with organization; HC = Help the peer with content; HF = Help the peer with format; SH = Seek help from the peer with the essay; MC = Maintain conve rsation; No. MET = Number of monologue eturns; FMET = Frequency of monologue e-tu rns; Max = Maximum turns of MET; Min = Minimum turns of MET. Only Anton and Iron participated in the first CMPR task which was for the exploratory essay. Since it was Iron’s first time to use IM chat, he typed very slowly. Thus, it took Anton and Iron two class pe riods which were totally one hour and 40 minutes to finish the task. As shown in Ta ble 20, both Anton and Iron focused on the task

PAGE 217

201 during their chat. However, An ton contributed much more eturns than Iron. Because of Iron’s slow responses, Anton produced five eturns before Iron did one as shown in the Excerpt 4.1. Anton used five e-turns to offer comments and suggestions about the format in Iron’s essay before he could type one messa ge as a response that he was still reading her essay. And this situation occurred twi ce during the first CMPR task (as seen in Excerpt 4.1 in which Anton used five c onsecutive e-turns to offer comments and suggestions and Excerpt 4.2 in which she used them to maintain the conversation.) Anton also had one-to-one message exchange w ith Iron, which occurred four times. Excerpt 4.1 2Anton says:So, Iron.... Your writing is well-organized and very interesting... I have nothing very important to tell you actually.... But, this is a peer review... so I will try to help you to do better that you do! 3Anton says: First, concerning the format of the paragraph... Y ou have to know that in an academoc writing, you have to follow certain rules. 4Anton says: Don not use Bold 5Anton says: No space between paragraph (only indent) 6Anton says: Also, the line spac ing is double and not simple 2Iron says: I am reading your essay about learning style now. Excerpt 4.2: 14Anton says: there are onl y three minutes left.... 15Anton says: we are in a hurry! :-p 16Anton says: ok... so I think we have to leave now.... 17Anton says: we will continue this conversation tomorrow morning! In contrast, Iron’s maximu m number of monologue e-tu rns was two. He sent two messages consecutively only for three times. Most of his messages were one-to-one with Anton, which means Iron was alarmingly sl ower than Anton. Anton and Iron used different numbers of e-turns to achieve thei r goals. Both of them spent more e-turns providing feedback than receiving feedback. Iron was still struggling to figure out how to use IM. Before he deliberately requested for suggestions on his essay from Anton, she

PAGE 218

202 offered several. So he had to concentrat e on providing feedback on her essay. Thus, he discussed his feedback on Anton’s essay with 50% (7 out of 14) of his e-turns whereas he spent only one e-turn on the feedback from Anton. In addition, the e-turn distribution also showed that both Anton and Iron contributed an enormous number of e-turns to maintain their conversations (as shown in Excerpt 4.2). The speed of conversation flow did not catch Anton’s attention until in the last five minutes of the CMPR session wh en she found Iron had not really offered any feedback on her essay. She created the consci ous goal to accelerate Iron, the failure of which led her to suggest an additional CM PR session. As for Iron, the cause of his conscious goal to maintain the conversation was that he was too sl ow to catch up with the conversation, as explained in the follow-up interview. Thus, to ensure his partner’s awareness of his presence in the conversati on, he occasionally contributed some e-turns to inform Anton of his status, such as “ I am reading your essay about learning style now ” and “ I'l concern and evaluate your suggestions. Thank you a lot.” During the CMPR task for the summary-an alysis essay, Anton continued working with Iron whereas Diane worked with a non-pa rticipant student Jill il. Nicky collaborated with Rocky. Based on the earlier motive analys is, Anton, Diane, and Rocky were driven by either the motive of maintaining a good-stud ent image or the one of having fun in IM chat. Both Iron and Nicky were engaged in the learning activity. However, Iron simultaneously had a secondary motive to cha nge his inefficiency image. These diverse motives were reflected in their operations in IM chat. Thus, each participant’s e-turn contributions and turn-taking behaviors will be explained within their respective activity systems (see Table 21).

PAGE 219

203 Table 21 E-turns and E-turn Taking in the CMPR Ta sk for the Summary-Analysis Essay No.ET No.ETG No.MET FMET OnT OffT HC HO HG HR SHO SHC SHG SHR SH CF IP Max Min Max Min Anton 9 0 5 4 4 1 1 5 Diane 10 5 1 1 1 2 5 2 1 3 4 Iron 8 1 4 2 1 2 1 2 5 Nicky 36 5 6 7 12 7 1 3 1 2 29 Rocky 39 5 5 13 2 9 7 3 1 1 27 Note No. ET = Number of e-turns; OnT = On-tas k e-turns; OffT = Off-task e-turns; No. ETG = Number of e-turns for each goal; HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer w ith organization; HG = Help peer with gramma r; HR = Help peer with reference; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from the peer with organiza tion; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; SHR = Seek help from the peer with reference; SH = Seek help from the peer with the e ssay; IP = Inform the peer his/he r problems in IM interaction; CF = Communi cate with online friend; No. MET = Number of monologue e-turns; FMET = Frequency of monologue e-turns; Max = Maximum turns of MET; Min = Minimum turns of MET. d 203

PAGE 220

204 Due to the disappointing experience she had in the first CMPR task, Anton engaged in two alternative activity system s in the second task. The primary one was maintaining a good-student image and a sec ondary one was having fun in IM chat. Because she was not engaged in the learning activity system, she merely contributed nine e-turns in her chat with Iron, extraordinarily less than hers in the first CMPR task. In addition, although all of her e-turn s were on-task, she used four e-turns to reject Iron’s comments, only one to ask for further suggestions, and 4 to inform him of his inefficiency in IM chat, which was very rude in online chat. She seldom initiated topics. She responded only when receiving a message. Similar to Anton, Diane was driven by two non-learning–oriented motives. To pretend she was on task, she contributed 10 e-turn s. However, half of them were off-task in which she and her partner discussed fun things they did over the weekend. Diane and her partner maintained balanced and smooth co nversations in chat in which her maximum of monologue e-turns was two. The majority of the communication between Diane and her partner was one-to-one question-and-response. In this task, Iron was involved in both the learning-oriented activity, improving writing skills in summary-analysis essay and the one oriented to change his image. The vast majority of his e-turn contributions re flected both his motives, such as initiating the chat, and more e-turn contri butions within the assigned CM PR time limit. However, he was only able to send two messages consecuti vely twice at the beginning of the chat. During the majority of chat time, he responde d to one message when receiving one. He spent four e-turns on the id eas in Anton’s essay, two on organization, one on grammar, and one to defend himself as to why he could not type fast.

PAGE 221

205 Although the collaboration between Nicky and Rocky seemed successful in terms of e-turn contributions and e-turn taking, Nicky was driv en by the motive to improve her writing and Rocky was driven by merely ma intaining a good-student image. Nicky contributed a total of 41 e-tu rns and Rocky contributed 44. In the middle of the chat, Nicky accidentally closed her chat window without saving all conversations. Thus, she and Rocky each used 5 e-turns to discuss how to remedy the conversation recording. The maximum number of consecutive e-turns Nic ky contributed was three and she did so twice. The most number of monologue e-turn s Rocky took were three and he only did it once. Thus, the vast majority of interacti on between them was one-to-one. However, a further analysis of the e-turn contributions s howed that Nicky used more e-turns to seek help with her own essay and sh e initiated the majority of to pics during the chat whereas Rocky spent most e-turns in giving hel p, more accurately, responding to Nicky. It indicated Nicky was genuinely motivated to improve her writing through this task while Rocky merely wanted to finish it. In the CMPR task for the Argumentative Essay, Anton was paired with Diane, Iron with Nicky and Rocky worked with Francia, a non-participant of the study. In this task, Anton, Diane, and Nicky were mainly driven by the learning-oriented motive: improving writing skills in argumentative es say whereas Iron and Rocky were mainly driven by merely maintaining a good-student image. However, Anton, Diane, and Iron each were also motivated by one additional motive, Anton and Diane by having fun with IM chat and Iron by maintaining a competentwriter image. The detailed e-turn-taking information is displayed in Table 22.

PAGE 222

206 Table 22 E-turns and E-turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay No. ET No. ETG No. MET FMET OnT OffT HC HO HG HE SHO SHC SHG SH SW CF FUN Max Min Max Min Anton 34 12 19 12 4 12 4 1 2 12 Diane 25 9 11 5 10 1 9 2 1 8 18 Iron 8 0 4 1 3 2 1 1 6 Nicky 15 0 9 2 4 4 1 1 4 Rocky 23 0 4 7 10 2 1 5 13 Note No. ET = Number of e-turns; OnT = On-tas k e-turns; OffT = Off-task e-turns; No. ETG = Number of e-turns for each goal; HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer w ith organization; HG = Help peer with gramma r; HE = Help peer with the essay; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from the peer with organiza tion; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; SH = Seek help from the peer with the essay; SW = Seek new ways to help e ach other with grammar and organization; CF = Communicate with online friend; FUN = Have fun on the Internet; No. MET = Number of monologue e-turns; FMET = Frequency of monologue e-turns; Max = Maximum turns of MET; Min = Minimum turns of MET. d 206

PAGE 223

207 Diane had been talking to Anton online ev en when they were not paired in any task. Thus, although the total number of e-turn s Anton and Diane each contributed in the chat were 46 and 34 respectiv ely, 12 of Anton’s e-turns were off-task and 9 of Diane’s were off-task in which they chatted about an online game and something they talked earlier. The maximum number of monologue e-turns Anton took was 4 and she did it twice whereas Diane took either two e-tu rns consecutively or one e-turn per time. Another interesting phenomenon here was Ant on’s two 4-e-turn contributions, which are shown in the following two excerpts: Excerpt 4.3: 1Anton says: I sweetie! 2Anton says: Hi! 3Anton says: I'm online 4Anton says: so.. no pocker today! 1Diana says: hi honey Excerpt 4.4: 19Diane says: you know!! we have similar id eas, but your are eassy to understand. mine are so difficult 22Anton says: don't say that! 23Anton says: you are easy to understand 24Anton says: and yes... we have excatly the same ideas.. that's funny! 25Anton says: We should develop our ideas face to face... I think we have a lot of things to learn from each other Although Anton seemed taking the floor for too long, she did not mean to dominate the conversation. The first time she ut tered four e-turns consecutively, she tried to catch Diane’s attention si nce Diane did not respond to her immediately after she got online, which was unusual. The second time she produced four e-turns at once, she tried to comfort Diane because she sounded very unconfident in her writing. To cheer Diane up, she not only corrected Diane’s mistaken self-perception, but also offered to work on the essay together to help each other. Thus these multiple e-turns by no means indicate

PAGE 224

208 Anton intended to play a dominating role in the conversation. On the contrary, she attempted to build an equally collaborative and friendly relationship with Diane since Diane was both her partner and a good friend, which indicated the overlapping area of two activity systems: improving writi ng and having fun with friends. Due to the technical problem Iron had at the beginning of the chat, he and Nicky only had 18 minutes left before the lab time was over. Thus, Iron was only able to contribute 8 e-turns and Nic ky did 15. But all of the eturns were on-task. Iron’s contribution style was stable. He took 2 consecutive e-turns occasionally and took one eturn per time for the majority of the chat. In itially Iron was merely motivated to maintain a good-student image to finish this task. So he mainly used one e-turn per time to greet Nicky, to inform what he was doing, and to as k for suggestions from her. After hearing very positive feedback from Nicky on hi s essay and her high expectation for his feedback, Iron was very happy and started to c ontribute two e-turns in a roll to provide his suggestions. As shown in Excerpt 4.5, Nicky contributed 4 e-turns in a roll only once when she received a message from Iron asking for permi ssion to give suggestions, which was very unusual in CMPR from Nicky’s perspective. She was too shocked to say anything else but use different expressions to permit. To maintain a smooth conversation between Iron and her, she mainly contributed two e-tu rns in a roll and one e-turn per time. Excerpt 4.5: 5Iron: I was wondering if you'd mind le tting me offer you some addional things. 10Nicky: ofcouse 11Nicky: i am glad if you can gine me some suggestion 12Nicky: i don't mind 13Nicky: :-D (a big smile emoticon)

PAGE 225

209 Rocky contributed a total of 23 e-turns dur ing his chat with his partner. Because he was motivated to maintain a friendly rela tionship with his partne r by helping her, he took two consecutive e-turns five times and poste d one message per time in the rest of the chat time. As shown in Table 22, driven by the motives of maintaining a good-student image and a personal relationship, Rocky main ly focused on grammar mistakes in his partner Francia’s essay by c ontributing seven e-turns. Table 23 E-turns and E-turn Taking in the CMPR Task for the Problem-solution Essay No. ET No. ETG No. MET FMET Ont OffT HC HO HG SHC SHO SHG Max Min Max Min Diane 38 0 6 6 1 25 3 1 2 13 Nicky 25 0 3 6 7 9 3 1 3 16 Rocky 35 0 4 28 3 3 1 3 16 Note No. ET = Number of e-turns; OnT = On-tas k e-turns; OffT = O ff-task e-turns; No. ETG = Number of e-turns for each goal; HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HG = Help peer with gram mar; SHC = Seek help from the peer with content; SHO = Seek help from the peer w ith organization; SHG = Seek help from the peer with grammar; No. MET = Number of monologue e-turns; FMET = Frequency of monologue e-turns; Max = Maximum turns of MET; Min = Minimum turns of MET. Both Anton and Iron left the ELI before the last CMPR task was conducted. Thus, data were only collected from Diane, Nic ky and Rocky. In this task, Diane was paired

PAGE 226

210 with Rocky whereas Nicky collaborated with a non-participant student. However, only Nicky focused on the activity of improving writing skills in problem-solution essay whereas Rocky was merely motivated to maintain a good-student image and Diane was initially driven by the motive of having fun on the Internet although she later engaged in the learning activity. As shown in Table 23, both Diane and Roc ky were prolific duri ng the chat with a total of 38 and 35 e-turns resp ectively. All e-turns were on-ta sk. The largest number of eturns Diane produced consecutively was three and she did so twice. She frequently took one or two consecutive e-turns during the chat. Similar to Diane, Rocky took three consecutive e-turns occasionally. The majority of his contributions spanned two e-turns and one per time. However, due to the fact th at Rocky did not finish his essay, the vast majority of the e-turns focused on the disc ussion about Diane’s essay. As usual, Rocky mainly commented on Diane’s word-level mistakes. He only provided one comment which was very positive on Di ane’s introduction paragraph. As for Nicky, she worked with a student whom she was not quite familiar with. But she was still very active c ontributing a total of 25 e-turn s all of which were on-task. The largest number of e-turns she took cons ecutively was three and she took such e-turns three times. During the majority of chat ti me, she took one e-turn per time. During the chat, she was obviously more concerned with obtaining feedback from her partner on her essay by contributing 16 e-turns to seek ing help and 9 to helping peer. In sum, although participants could c ontribute messages anytime they would in IM chat environment, it seems the divers ity of e-turn contribution depended on both participants’ IM chat skills as well as thei r personal IM communication style. In other

PAGE 227

211 words, a person’s operations in the IM e nvironment were influenced by his or her partner’s operations, which were mediated by the physical situati on. When participants collaborated with a partner who was familia r and equally IM skilled even though they might not have the similar English profic iency, they tended to produce a bigger number of e-turns and managed to balance each ot her’s contributions to avoid dominating the conversation. The unbalanced e-turn contribu tion was caused either by the lack of IM chat skills of one interlocutor or consciously endeavored by the message author to show a stronger emotion: anger or urgency. On the other hand, participants’ motives di d not seem to play a significant role influencing the number of e-turns produced in IM chat. Participants seemed always willing to contribute in the IM chat whether he or she was genuinely engaged in the task. Language Functions and Non-text Communicative Tool Use Lockhart and Ng’s (1995) study show s that ESL students use a variety of language functions to help them achieve th eir goals in peer response, which reflect different stances each ESL student takes for the task. Built on the scheme of language functions developed by Lockhart and Ng in face-to-face peer response, the language functions ESL participants employed for each goal they held during the CMPR tasks were identified through the analys is of IM chat transcripts. Only the goals that were reflected in the use of language functions were included in the following tables. Some goals such as helping peer with the grammar, which were conducted by some participants but not discussed during CMPR tasks, were not displayed. Emergent language functions were identified and analyzed through the constant comparison method (e.g. Lincoln & Guba, 1985) to ensure the accuracy and to avoid redundancy. A definition and an

PAGE 228

212 example were given to the newly identified language functions and added to the coding scheme (Appendix K). In addition, the types and frequency of the non-text communication tools participants used such as the use of emoticons (e.g. ), wink and nudge (animated emoticons) were also an alyzed. All identified language functions and non-text tools employed in the CMPR ta sk were filled in a matrix. The newly identified language functions were italicized to differ from those in Lockhard and Ng’s scheme. Table 24 Language Functions and non-Text Tool use in the CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay Participant HC HO HR HF SH MC Anton GS (3) EM(1) GS(2) GS(2) GS(4) AS(1) PH(2) EA(2) CR(1) EM(1) GR(2) COM(2) EI(1) STR(5) EM(3) Iron GO(3) GS(2) AG(1) GO(1) PH(1) AP(1) EA(1) GR(2) IA(1) EI(3) AG(2) Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HR = Help peer with reference; HF = Help peer with format; SH = Seek help from peer with the essay; MC = Maintain conversation; GS = Give suggestion; EM = Emoticon; GO = Give opinion; AG = Agree; PH = Phatic; AP = Apologize; AS = Ask suggestion; EA = Express appreciation; CR = Clarification request; GR = Greeting; COM = Compliment; STR = Structure; EI = Express intention; IA = Inform action.

PAGE 229

213 As shown in Table 24, because of the on line chat mode, both Anton and Iron used greetings (e.g. hello, hey!) express appreciation ( Thank you a lot. Thank you. ), inform action ( I am reading your essay about learning style now ), and emoticon ( ), which rarely exist in face-to -face peer response. Anton and Iron had different peer response st yles. First of all, Anton directly used the function: give suggestions when she he lped Iron. After giving suggestions on Iron’s organization but failing to receive any respons e from Iron, Anton used compliment to end her suggestions which were followed with a smiley emoticon. She was also very active in seeking help from Iron for which she used la nguage functions such as ask for suggestion, express appreciation, and clarification request Due to Iron’s slowness, Anton used the language function structure several times to check Iron’s status, acce lerate his actions, and finally suggest they con tinue the task the next day. When she structured the conversation, she used emoticons to soften her tone to avoid s ounding overly critical. As for Iron, he was not familiar with online chat as well as peer response. So when he helped Anton, he mainly used the language function give opi nion to express his opinion about Anton’s essay rather than providi ng helpful suggestions to improve it. He also did not understand that he was expected to discuss rather than just provide feedback in a peer response task. As shown in Excerpt 4.6, he failed to answer a clarification request from Anton. Excerpt 4.6 5Iron says:Furthermore, i think you shoul d improve your conclustion pargraph. 5Anton says:you are to broad for me... coul d you be more accurate please? 6Iron says:Ok. I am sorey. 7Iron says:m y opinon obaut your essay is over. than you

PAGE 230

214 Because of his slowness and his misc onception about peer response, Iron only used one language function: e xpress appreciation, in discussing his essay. He did not use any emoticon although he enjoyed seeing emoticons sent by Anton according to the follow-up interview. The discrepancy be tween Anton and Iron’s IM chat style disappointed and bored Anton so much that she decided not to engage in the second task. A variety of language functi ons were used by participants in the second CMPR task in which Anton was paired with Ir on, Nicky with Rocky, and Diane with a nonparticipant student. Table 25 showed the emer gence of new language functions such as comment on feedback ( What you say is unreadable... by Anton), indicate lack of confidence as a reader ( haha actually,,,, I am not a good write r so i afraid to give you any suggestion by Nicky), check readiness ( so,,,,did you read mine? by Nicky), comment on topic ( that's a easy topic to understand it by Nicky), linguistic se lf-correction creative language use ( oh, cc, umm, haha ), encourage ( opinion no it is your by Rocky), and request edition ( oh..if you want i don't mind you correct for me by Nicky).

PAGE 231

215 Table 25 Language Functions and non-Text Tool Use in the CMPR Task for the Summary-Analysis Essay HC HO HG HR SHC SHO SHG SHR IP Anton DA(5) PH(1) COF(1) CL(1) CR(1) Diane GO(1) GS(1) AO(1) EA(1) EA(1) CFM(1) Iron GO(0) EI(2) AG(1) CL(2) GO(1) GS(1) GO(1) Nicky CC(1) GO(3) ILC(1) IA(1) GO(1) GS(2) CC(1) PH(2) EI(1) CRD(2) AO(1) COT(1) PH(1) AS(1) AS(1) DA(1) PH(3) AG(1) AO(1) ID(1) LSC(1) EM(1) CLA(5) RE(1) Rocky GS(4) PH(5) COM(2) GO(2) GO(1) CFM(1) CFM(3) COM(1) AG(1) CFM(1) CR(1) AG(1) EC(2) AO(1) PH(2) EA(1) DA(1) EM(1) CR(1) CFM(1) AG(2) ID(1) PH(1) EA(1) EM(1) Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organization; HG = Help peer with grammar; HR = Help peer with refere nce; SHC = Seek help with content; SHO = Seek help with organization; SHG = Seek he lp with grammar; SHR = Seek help with reference; DA = Disagree; PH = Phatic; COF = Comment on feedback; CL = Clarify; CR = Clarification request; GO = Give opinion; GS = Give suggestion; AO = Ask opinion; EA = Express appreciation; CF M = Confirm; EI = Express intention; AG = Agree; CC = Confirmation check; ILC = Indicate lack of confidence; IA = Inform action; CRD = Check readiness; COT = Comment on topic; ID = Indicate difficulty; LSC = Linguistic self-correction; RE = Request edition; COM = Compliment; EM = Emoticon; EC = Encourage; CLA = Creative la nguage; AS = Ask suggestion.

PAGE 232

216 Because Anton was disappointed by the ch at with Iron in their first CMPR session, she did not in itiate any question nor greet Iron in this session. She boldly objected most opinions and suggestions o ffered by Iron, which was reflected in the language function: disagree. She used disagr ee five times and merely used phatic when Iron provided his opinion on the organization in her essay. After Iron explained why he disagreed on the analysis Anton did in he r essay, Anton directly commented on Iron’s feedback style to express her dissat isfaction, as shown in Excerpt 4.7: Excerpt 4.7: 7Anton says:What you say is unreadable... and I'm wondering why bcs your essay is sooooooooo clear! there is a contradiction be tween the way you exp ress yourself on the Internet and the way you write.... …. 8Anton says:I didn't talk about the the fact that you are slow... but about your style Aware of his slowness in the first task, Ir on tried to do better in this task. He initiated most of the conversations and o ffered his opinions and suggestions on Anton’s essay. Compared to the first CMPR task, Ir on started to use give suggestions more consciously in the second task as shown in his turn “ 3Iron says: on the other hand, your summary paragraph include main idea, but you know, you need more body paragraph” He also started to negotiate with Anton about his opinions. As shown in Excerpt 4.8, after his opinion about Anton’s analysis approach was objected, Iron clarified his intention and explained his rationale for giving the opini on, rather than dropping the topic as he did in the first task. Excerpt 4.8 4Iron says:You know, I can comment about y our analysis if reas onable or not. I am sorry, in my oponion, your analysis is not reasonable why. 6Anton says:I don't give a .... of what you say.... do your work and try to be objective!

PAGE 233

217 5Iron says:Yes, you are right I just want to you hel p. for example, I think writer presents both side idaes that attacs and de finets, both you focus onl y one aspect so your anaysis loos its reasonable. As for Diane, she was not motivated to work with her partner Jillil in this task. With only one opinion and one ambiguous suggestion from her partner, “ your introduction and conclusion look good to me ” and “ you may work more on your spellings ”, she only offered one opinion and one suggestion, confirmed one question, and appreciated the opinion and sugge stion given by her partner. Nicky and Rocky had very active interac tions during the chat. Table 25 showed that Nicky used a whole set of language func tions such as give opinion, give suggestion, ask for opinion, ask for suggestion, confirmation check, clarification request, to help and seek help from Rocky. Prior to the peer re sponse chat, Nicky used check readiness to verify whether Rocky has read her essay. Wh en Rocky failed to point out any weakness in her content, she re-checked whether he had read her essay. During the chat, she noticed one typo in her message and immediately corrected it in the next e-turn. When hearing compliments from Rocky, she used fi ve creative symbols or onomatopoeias such as oh, cc, haha, umm and jiji to indicate her emotions. So me of these words actually were originated in her native language: Manda rin. When Rocky pointed out there were some grammar mistakes in her essay, she reque sted him to edit those mistakes directly. On the other hand, when she offered feedback on Rocky’s essay, rather than directly giving the suggestions, she used confirmati on check to check whether Rocky was aware that he did not include an important writi ng feature in his organization. When giving opinions on Rocky’s organization, she indicated she was not confident in her English at

PAGE 234

218 all so she was not sure whether she could pr ovide helpful feedback. She also used phatic seven times to maintain the conversation. As for Rocky, he mainly responded to requests and suggestions from Nicky throughout the chat. So he used give opini on, give suggestions, confirm, and agree frequently. But because he was confident in his academic writing ability, he used give suggestion more frequently than give opi nions. He also used phatic such as “ really” and smiley emoticons frequently to show he was still in the conversation and to show his positive attitude toward obtaining feedback from Nicky. In the third CMPR task, Anton was pair ed with Diane, Iron with Nicky, and Rocky with a non-participant stud ent. Compared to the previo us two tasks, there emerged the use of new language functions su ch as comment on collaboration ( We make a excellent duel! by Anton), permission request ( I was wondering if you'd mind letting me offer you some addional things by Iron), and permit ( ofcourse, i am glad if you can gine me some suggestion, I don’t mind by Nicky) as well as IM tools such as wink (a multimedia file to show emotions), nudge (a screen-shaking tool), and online poker game invitation which is supported in MSN IM game.

PAGE 235

219 Table 26 Language Functions and non-Text Tool Use in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay HC HO HE HG SHC SHO SHG SH SW FUN CF Anton COM(6) CR(1) GS(4) AG(1) EC(2) EM(1) DS(1) AG(1) ID(1) CL(4) STR(1) EI(1) EA(1) COC(1) LSC(1) RE(1) EM(2) EI(1) STR(1) STR(1) GR(3) EM(3) IML(1) Diane COM(2) CR(2) GO(3) AG(3) PH(1) AO(2) PH(1) ID(2) CL(1) AS(1) DA(2) AG(1) WIN(1) EA(1) EA(1) AG(2) ID(1) PH(1) EM(3) AG (1) NUD (1) EM(2) INV (1) Iron GO(1) GS(2) APM(1) IA(1) EI(1) IA(1) AS(2) CL(2) Nicky COM(2) GO(1) PH(1) CR(1) AG(1) EM(1) PH(1) PER(3) EM(1) AO(1) PH(1) EA(1) AS(1) EM(1) 219

PAGE 236

220 Table 26 (continued) Rocky PH(1) GO(1) PH(1) GS(2) CFM(1) EC(1) LSC(1) GO(5) GS(2) PH(1) LSC(2) EM(1) Note HC = Help peer with content; HO = Help peer with organiza tion; HE = Help peer with th e essay; HG = Help peer with grammar; SHC = Seek help with content; SHO = Seek help with organization; SHG = Seek help with grammar; SH = Seek help with the essay; SW = Seek ways to help each other with grammar and organization; FUN = Have fun on the Internet; CF = Communicate with online friend; DA = Disagree; PH = Pha tic; CL = Clarify; CR = Clarification reque st; GO = Give opinion; GS = Give suggesti on; AO = Ask opinion; EA = Express appreciation; CFM = Confirm; EI = Express intention; AG = Agree; CC = Confirmation check; ILC = Indicate lack of confidence; IA = Info rm action; ID = Indicate difficulty; LSC = Lingui stic self-correction; RE = Request edition; COM = Compliment; EM = Emoticon; EC = Encourage; CLA = Creative language; AS = Ask su ggestion; COC = Comment on collaboration; STR = Structure; IML = IM language; GR = Greeting; WIN = Wink; NUD = Nudge; INV = Invite friends to play online poker; APM = Ask for permission; PER = Permit. 220

PAGE 237

221 Table 26 showed that Anton used a bigge r diversity of language functions when she collaborated with Diane than in the prev ious two tasks. When she provided help with Diane’s essay, she used compliment frequently. She used emoticons three times when she gave suggestions on Diane’s content and us ed direct encouragement when she gave suggestions on Diane’s organi zation. When she sought help from Diane with the content in her essay, she disagreed with Diane’s opini on that her essay was perfect. She also used emoticons and indicate difficulty to comfort Di ane that she was in the same situation with her. She expressed her appreciation every ti me Diane offered suggestions. When Diane pointed out there were some spelling mistakes in her essay, she im mediately agreed and requested her to edit them on the paper. She used express intention and structure to suggest Diane and she help each other with the grammar and organization in a face-toface meeting after class. Since Anton also wa s motivated to communicate with Diane, she greeted Diane with four e-turns and one emoticon as shown in Excerpt 4.9: Excerpt 4.9: 1Anton says:I sweetie! 2Anton says:Hi! 3Anton says:I'm online 4Anton says:so.. no pocker today! 1Diane says:hi honey 5Anton says: As for Diane, she always admired Anton’s English proficiency. Except pointing out misspellings in Anton’s essay and comp limenting her writing, she did not provide many productive suggestions. She only requested Anton to clarify what she meant in her essay without imposing any suggestion on her. Instead, she actively sought help from Anton by frequently using ask for opinions, ask for suggestions, agree, disagree, and

PAGE 238

222 indicate difficulty throughout the chat. She used a wink, to expre ss her appreciation for Anton’s compliment. Since she was also motivated to have fun in IM chat, she uses two special communication tools in IM: nudge to remind Anton to respond as soon as possible, and the online poker game invitation to invite Anton for an online game during the chat. Although Iron contributed a limited number of comments on Nicky’s essay during the CMPR session, he used give opinion and give suggestion to provide comments on Nicky’s content. Due to his negative experien ce with Anton in the previous CMPR task, Iron asked for Nicky’s permission to comme nt on her essay before he offered his feedback. When he asked for suggestions from Nicky, he did not clea rly state whether he expected suggestions on content, organizati on, or grammar. In addition, he made several typos as well as ungrammatical sentences, which prompted Nicky to request for clarification. On the contrary, Nicky complimented bot h Iron’s content and his organization. She said she was even learning new vocabul ary from reading his essay. She used one emoticon to indicate her confusion when sh e could not understand one of Iron’s messages due to his typos. But she immediately explicated her confusion in text in the following eturn. When she saw Iron asked for permissi on to give her his suggestions, she was exhilarated which was shown in her three eturns with three different expressions to welcome Iron’s suggestion followed with a big smiley emoticon (see Excerpt 4.5). When Iron informed her that he would continue r eading her essay and o ffer more suggestions on her organization, she expressed her appreciation with another emoticon.

PAGE 239

223 As for Rocky, he worked with a partne r Francia who was constantly struggling with her English. Motivated to maintain th e friendship between him and his partner, Rocky gave her many tips for writing in general besides giving opinions and suggestions on her essay. He pointed out that there were some grammatical errors in his partner’s essay. He also repeated 5 times that she onl y had minor grammar errors in her essay to comfort his partner. In a ddition, since Rocky focused on giving opinions on the grammar in his partner’s essay, he was very co nscious of misspellings and ungrammatical sentences he produced during the chat. Wh enever he noticed he had a typo, he immediately corrected it in the followi ng e-turn as shown in Excerpt 4.10: Excerpt 4.10: 10Rocky: my advice to you is that you have read 11Rocky: have to read …. 19Rocky: trust your essay was good 20Rocky: trust me Only Diane, Nicky, and Rocky participat ed in the last CMPR task. Diane was paired with Rocky and Nicky was paired wi th a non-participant st udent Percy. Because Diane did not receive Rocky’s essay be fore the CMPR session, she started the conversation by checking whether Rocky had finished his essay and whether he read hers. After hearing Rocky did not finish his e ssay but read hers, she used an emoticon and a bowing WINK to show her appreciation fo r Rocky’s work. Because Rocky did not finish his essay, Diane mainly focused on re ceiving feedback from Rocky. She used the language functions such as indicate difficulty, compre hension check, and ask for suggestion to seek help. After Rocky menti oned she had some misspellings in her essay, she used diverse language functions such as ask for suggestion, agree, explain,

PAGE 240

224 clarification request, confirmation check, cl arify, confirm, comprehension check and express appreciation to ensure his sugges tions were appropriate. Diane did not ask extensive suggestions on her organization. Nicky worked with a non-participan t student. As she usually did, she complimented her partner before providing opinions and suggestions. She used give opinion more often than give suggestion wh en she offered feedback on her partner’s content. She did not offer any suggesti on when she commented on the organization. When seeking help from her partner, she us ed ask language functions such as ask for opinion, ask for suggestion, agree, confirm, and clarify frequently. In addition, she always appreciated the help from her partner. She used two emoticons when she expressed her appreciation to show her positiv e attitude toward her partner’s feedback. As for Rocky, Rocky first complimented Diane’s essay and then offered extensive opinions and suggestions on her spellings. He also used a variety of language functions such as clarification request, confirmation ch eck, confirm, and clarify to make sure the words he suggested were what she really need ed. He also used linguistic self-correction four times throughout the chat to correct his typos.

PAGE 241

225 Table 27 Language Functions and non-Text Tool in the CMPR Task for the Problem-Solution Essay HC HO HG SHC SHO SHG Diane GS(1) AG(1) IR(1) CRD(1) EM(1) ID(1) CC(1) AS(1) CRD(1) EA(1) WIN(1) EM(1) AS(1) AS(5) AG(2) CFC(3) CL(5) CFM(3) CC(1) CR(1) EX(1) PH(3) EA(1) Nicky COM(1) GO(2) GS(1) COM(1) GO(3) CR(1) AO(2) AS(2) CFM(1) CL(1) AG(1) EA(2) AO(1) AS(1) AG(1) CL(1) EA(2) EM(2) Rocky COM(1) LSC(1) IA(1) GO(5) GS(9) CFC(2) CFM(1) CR(3) LSC(3) AG(1) PI(1) Note. GS = Give suggestion; AG = Agree; IR = Information request; CRD = Check readiness; EM = Emoticon; ID = Indicate difficulty; CC = Comprehension check; AS = Ask suggestion; EA = Express appreciation; WIN = Wink; CFC = Confirmation check; CL = Clarify; CFM = Confirm; CR = Clarification request; EX = Explain; PH = Phatic; EA = Express appreciation; COM = Compli ment; GO = Give opinion; IA = Inform action; LSC = Linguistic self-correction; CFC = Confirmation check; PI = Provide information.

PAGE 242

226 As shown in Table 27, the analysis of pa rticipants’ use of la nguage functions and non-text communicative tools in CMPR tasks indicated that ESL participants employed diverse language functions s upplemented with non-text co mmunicative tools to fulfill their conscious goals in the tasks, which diffe red extensively from t hose used in face-toface peer response as discovered by Lockhart and Ng (1995) as well as other researchers (e.g. Zhu, 2001). First of all, partic ipants used the language function indicate actions frequently to inform their partner what th ey were doing due to the lack of physical contact. They also used greetings and e xpress appreciation frequently to show the courtesy in online communication. Secondly, so me participants became very conscious of the grammar and spellings they produced in IM chat. Whenever they were aware of that there were misspellings or grammar mi stakes in the messages, they immediately corrected them. Thirdly, partic ipants frequently used non-text communication tools such as WINK, NUDGE, and emoticons to show their emotions or remind their partners to fill in the silent periods during th e chat. When the emotion was ne gative, such as frustration or confusion, participants usually followed up with one text message to explain why he or she was confused. Fourthly, some participants such as Rocky frequently discussed wordlevel mistakes frequently when they noticed it was easy to show the correct and incorrect words on the screen. Regarding the use of regular language f unctions, none of the pa rticipants intended to dominate the conversation by conscious ly imposing suggestions or focusing on deficiency except the confrontation between An ton and Iron in the second CMPR task. In contrast, the majority of the participants te nded to use compliments before pointing out deficiency in the peer’s essay. In other wo rds, they tried to balance the negative and

PAGE 243

227 positive comments. Participants such as Anton and Rocky frequently encouraged their partners when they indicated lack of conf idence as a reader and a writer. They also frequently used emoticons and other non-text communication tools to mitigate the embarrassment that might arouse on the side of their partners. All these indicated that ESL students tried hard to maintain a frie ndly environment in the CMPR tasks despite their diverse cultural backgrounds which might shed light on their behaviors in peer response (Nelson, 1997) because of the use of IM chat, which is consistent with Thorne’s (2002) notion of “hyper-pers onal relationship”, a unique phenomenon in IM chat. A comparison of the use of language functions across the tasks also showed that the number and types of language functions employed by some participants in each CMPR task were evolving throughout the seme ster, which was influenced not only by the partner they collaborated with in differe nt tasks but by their development of the competence in CMPR tasks. For example, Iron on ly used language functions such as give opinion or give suggestion in the first CMPR task. In the second task, he not only used the language function give opinion, but used gi ve suggestion. In the third task, he even created a new language function: ask for permission before offering suggestions. He also started to use language functions such as cl arify to negotiate the feedback exchanged during the task. As for Nicky, her changes of the use of language functions were reflected not only in the increasingly diverse language functions she employed in different tasks, but in her unusually prolific contribu tions in the computer-mediated environment, compared to her performances in regular class discussi ons. The IM environment afforded Nicky an unthreatening environment to freely presen t her personality and her English skills.

PAGE 244

228 Throughout the three CMPR tasks she participated in, she had been playing a very active writer’s role. She also was very frank and ope n about her lack of self-confidence in her English to her partner. She used emoticons fr equently to express her emotions, which was quite different from her image in regular class meetings. As a reader, in the first task, she ve ry politely used the language function confirmation check to confirm whether Roc ky knew his problem, which conformed to Nelson’s (1997) claim that students from co llectivism cultures such as Chinese culture, tend not to sound critical to make the peer embarrassed during peer response. Before she offered her opinion, she told Rocky that her English was not good and she was afraid to give any opinion, which conformed to Nels on’s another claim that students from countries with a large power di stance such as China/Taiwan usually value the feedback from the teacher and they usually are hesita nt to offer critical opinions. However, after Rocky’s constant encouragement, she started to offer her opinions a nd suggestions. In the following two tasks, she actively offered he r opinions and suggestions mostly about ideas, organization, and references to her partners although she noticed their English proficiencies were higher than her, which indicated that she overcame the power distance in IM chat. Interpersonal Relationships in CMPR tasks This section provides a deeper analysis of the interpersonal relationship built throughout the CMPR tasks that were generate d and maintained by the use of IM, mainly on the operation level. The analysis of pa rticipants’ on-and off-screen behavior observations as well as interv iew transcripts showed that the use of IM in the CMPR tasks cast distinctive influences on the esta blishment, maintenance, and evolvement of

PAGE 245

229 the interpersonal relationships among partic ipants. Since Anton onl y collaborated with Iron and Diane, Iron collaborated with Ant on and Nicky, Nicky with Rocky and Iron, and Diane with Anton and Rocky, only the rela tionship between Anton and Iron, Anton and Diane, Diane and Rocky, Iron and Nicky, as well as Nicky and Rocky will be discussed in this section. There were three types of mediation that took place in the CMPR tasks: (1) perishing, e.g. Anton and Iron; (2) sprout ing, e.g. Iron and Nicky, Rocky and Nicky; and (3) maintaining, e.g. Anton and Diane, Diane and Rocky. Perishing relationship. Anton had been attending the ELI for 7 months while Iron just arrived at the ELI one month before the first CMPR task was conducted. Although both Anton and Iron took the same courses at level 4, they seldom communicated with each other in or out of class except in clas s-based cooperative tasks such as CMPR due to their gender, age, and cultural differences. It was actually the first direct contact between Anton and Iron in the CMPR task for the expository essay. The tension between Anton and Iron was triggered by Iron’s slow responses as well as his IM style. Based on the onscreen behavior recordings, Iron contributed only one message when Anton did five. In the first CMPR task, due to Iron’s slowness, An ton had to use two class periods to finish the tasks. In addition, Iron only provided opi nions rather than specific suggestions on Anton’s essay. When Anton requested sp ecific suggestions, Iron seemed not to understand her request. Anton ended up being bored and disappointed. Out of politeness, she did not complain or repor t this to the instructor. In their second CMPR task, Iron directly pointed out the problems in Ant on’s essay without using any emoticon or buffering strategy, which further irritated Ant on, as illustrated in the following excerpt:

PAGE 246

230 Excerpt 4.11: 2Iron says:Firstly, You have c hosen very intresting subject, but I don't agree with your analysis approch and your idea. 1Anton says:Iron... You shoudn't make any judgement concerning my ideas 2Anton says:The work consists in helping in wrting better 3Anton says:Therefore, I will ask yo u not to say thinga like that 4Anton says:they don't inprove my writing As shown in the Excerpt 4. 11, Anton not only directly reject ed most of the opinions and suggestions from Iron, but also criticized his unhe lpfulness. Anton’s dissatisfaction with Iron was also reflected in the number and types of emoticons she used during the chats. She used four smiley emoticons in the first CMPR task whereas zero in her second CMPR task. After the CMPR task for the summary-analysis essay, she confessed to the instructor/researcher, “ Iron is not good at IM. He is a good write r. But he doesn’t know how to use instant messenger… We were ok. It is just he was a little b it aggressive. . Oh, Diane wants to work with me? That’s great! I can work with her .” (interview with Anton, 7/17/06). Although Anton did not explicitly express her unwillingness to collaborate with Iron, her excitement after hearing Diane wanted to work with her indi cated that the use of IM played an extraordinarily influential role in the rela tionship between Anton and Iron. Anton did not talk to Iron in any other class activities afterwards. In the interview with Iron, he describe d Anton and the relationship between Anton and him, “Anton? I don’t know. She knows English very well. And I think she is maybe level 5. …. Last Tuesday, maybe you have seen the conversation. Maybe she said

PAGE 247

231 complained me now, I don’t want to complain … I think lots of tim e she didn't read my article. I think, I thin k, because she didn't give me any suggestion.” (interview with Iron, 7/13/06). Iron did not want to complain about An ton, but he thought she was not willing to help him. Thus in the third CMPR task, he re quested to have another partner. It seemed that the unsuccessful relationship conseque ntially destroyed the online collaboration between Anton and Iron. Sprouting relationships Nicky had been in the ELI for about 7 months by the time of participating in the CMPR tasks. She was not familiar with Iron before this class. Nor did she have constant communication with Iron in or out of class. Since she took a level-3 academic writing class with Rocky for several months, she was more familiar with Ricky although she seldom talked to him. Nicky was a very reserved Taiwanese girl. Due to her personality, she seldom reached out to other students in the ELI. She was not confident in English, especi ally her grammar and writing. So she constantly felt she needed help from anyone whose English was better than hers. But Nicky was very familiar with IM technology. She constantly communicated with her Taiwanese friends online mostly in Chinese and occasionally in English. Thus when Nicky participated in the CMPR tasks, she did not encounter any technical problems. Because of the familiar environment and l onger time for reflection allowed in IM chat, Nicky turned into a very active and outgoing student, which was reflected in her prolific contributions as we ll as her frequent use of em otions in online chat. Rocky described this “ Nicky was a different person You can tell. She was very talkative online .”(interview with Rocky, 7/17/ 06). She freely expressed her feelings such as lack of

PAGE 248

232 confidence and difficulty she encountered in front of both Rocky and Iron. Rocky was initially surprised and then touched by Nic ky’s honesty. He consta ntly encouraged her and gave her tips of being a critical read er like a good friend. This online collaboration helped Rocky know more about Nicky’s true pe rsonality and gave Nicky more chances to communicate with people in English. Both of them really enjoyed working with each other. Nicky said in the follow-up interview, “ Rocky is nice….. His English is good…He help me. He taught me give my opinions .”(interview with Nic ky, 7/17/06) while Rocky described Nicky, “ she wants to talk. She is just shy in class. She is a nice person. I think we can become good friends. You know, we all are like friends in class, anyway ” (IM interview with Rocky, 7/18/06). When collaborating with Iron, Nicky wa s imminently impressed with Iron’s writing skills after she read his first draft for the argumentative essay. Thus, she considered Iron a helpful partner for the ta sk. During the chat, Nicky tolerated Iron’s slowness in IM chat. When he encountere d difficulty logging ont o his IM account, she voluntarily walked over to help him. She e xpressed her appreciation for Iron’s help as well as admiration for his writing. Thus, Iron de cided to give her more suggestion on her organization after the CMPR session, which wa s exactly what Nicky expected. Nicky and Iron built a close relationship during the CMPR task. They even star ted to share thoughts on the assignments from other courses. Du ring the interview, Nicky commented on Iron and the relationship between her and Iron, “ Iron is a good writer… He helped me. He give suggestions about my grammar, ideas, … paragraph… Yes, we discuss other classes too. Sometimes we discuss (other) assignments. ” (interview with Nicky, 7/20/06). It indicated that Nicky’s tolera nce of Iron’s IM style and he r admiration for Iron’s writing,

PAGE 249

233 which might only be expressed by her in IM, won Iron’s friendship, which extended beyond the Internet. Maintaining relationship Anton and Diane had been taking courses together for 6 months before they joined the academic writi ng IV class. Diane admired Anton’s writing skills and she never hid this feeling. Both of them had already developed a very good relationship before collaborating on the CMPR task. Both of them were veteran users of IM. Thus, once knowing all peer response ta sks would be conducted on the IM, they added each other into their buddy lists. When ever Diane saw Anton online, she would chat with her. During the second CMPR ta sk, Anton opened another chat window and complained about Iron to Diane. When they both finally collaborated in the third CMPR task, Diane and Anton addressed each othe r as “honey” and “sweetie”, complimented each other frequently, and used many IM co mmunication features such as wink, nudge, and numerous emoticons that were seldom used with other students. They also tended to play online poker when they decided to fini sh one part of CMPR in a face-to-face meeting after class. When asked about their relationship online and in face-to-face, Anton attributed their collaborative relationship to their existing friends hip in real world. “I think it is better to be with someone you get along with and ... But it is good, I mean it works with Diana and me. …. You feel, well, you feel comfortable with the very person. You think you can tell everything. We ar e already good friends. So we feel very comfortable talking to each other like that. She won't get it like, ... I mean it is Diana. I know that I can give her advice and she won't take it like an aggressive thing, or something… We always have the relations hip. Nothing changed after the chat.” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06)

PAGE 250

234 Diane commented on their relationship as “ Oh, Anton, she is my friend. We chat in class, out class. He r English is good. I want to learn from her. We also chat othe r time… in instant messenger, you know, just chat because we are friends. …. The wa y I talk? The ‘honey’? oh, that’s instant messenger. We always talk like that. ” (interview with Diane, 7/25/06). To them, whether it was conducted in a phys ical or virtual environment, they would help each other. As for the relationship between Diane a nd Rocky, both of them were familiar with each other, but not good friends, before partic ipating in the CMPR ta sks. Both of them knew IM chat very well. In the follow-up interview, Diane described Rocky and the relationship between Rocky and her, “ I don't know. I feel like sometimes he is here because he has to…. because you know when somebody wants to learn, different, or you know when some people stay here just because have to be here. oh, you know, you can tell who wants to learn, right?... No, because I know this. We know each other ver y well. We have other courses together in the ELI. All the classes I have him. Something li ke that. He is ok. Also he has a kidney stone. So he doesn't seem so bad. He works in class …. Instant messenger just another way for us to talk. Nothing changed. ” (interview with Diane, 8/3/06) Thus, she was still willing to work with Rocky even though she was aware that Rocky was not quite serious about his study in the ELI. She already had ample communication with Rocky before the CMPR task and their relationship was neither strengthened nor weaken because of the IM. It seems the pre-IM relationship played a dominant role if both partners knew each other and IM chat well. In other words, IM had

PAGE 251

235 become an ordinary communication venue afte r both partners mastered its functions and operation, thus could not cast dramatic in fluence on ESL students’ interpersonal relationship establishment. It seems the use of IM ca st differentiated effect on the interpersonal relationship among participants who were paired to collabor ate in CMPR tasks. To some students, IM operation proficiency rather than writing prof iciency played a bigger role in relationship establishment. For others, the provision of a free IM environm ent fosters the participation and personality exposure which was conduciv e to relationship building. Dialectally, friendly relationship between dyadic pairs promoted constr uctive collaboration in the tasks. Mediation of the use of IM in Off-screen behaviors As mentioned above, the use of IM al so mediated participants’ off-screen behaviors at the operation level. First of all, participants tended to ask their partner to mark down or directly edit the mistakes on the essay paper due to the lack of a hard copy of their own essay. Secondly, some participan ts spent long time editing the message or merely paused to write down the suggestions from their partner in the middle of the chat, which left the partner without knowing what happened. It usually caused the partner to look at his or her direction to check the status. In sum, at the operation level, participan ts’ e-turn contributio ns and e-turn taking, the use of language functions and non-text communicative tools, th e establishment of interpersonal relationship as well as their offscreen behaviors were influenced to diverse extent by the use of IM. Different from faceto-face peer response, participants regardless of their English proficiency and motives were more active in terms of e-turn

PAGE 252

236 contributions if both were familiar with IM chat. They also tended to share the floor and build equal status in online chat, which le d to more frequent use of collaborative language functions and positive emoticons. Fo r some participants, the interpersonal relationship established in IM chat was infl uenced by the operation style of the partner whereas for others a friendly interpersonal re lationship was naturally established in the IM environment. Section Summary for IM Mediation in ES L Students’ Participation in CMPR Tasks This section reported on the findings of the mediation of IM in five ESL participants’ involvement in the CMPR ta sks. Data from the onand off-screen observations, chat transcripts, and interview transcripts were analyzed at the activity, action, and operation leve ls respectively. At the activity level, it shows the us e of IM mediated participants’ agencyexecution in terms of choosing which activity sy stem to join as well as generation of new motives. Because students were equipped with both various IM chat software as well as the powerful and wall-penetrati ng Internet browser, they were exposed to a myriad of activity systems driven by divers e motives or objects, such as socializing with people on the Internet, having online ente rtainment, or collecting non-t ask related information from the Internet. Despite the presence of an inst ructor in the lab, it was impossible to monitor all students’ online behaviors. Thus, theore tically, as a mentally functional agent, students had all the liberty to choose whatever activity system s they were interested in. Therefore, the mediation of IM in the CMPR tasks was reflected in the affordance of the central activity system in the academic writing classroom--improving academic writing skills in each essay, the stimulation of new motives such as learning how to operate IM

PAGE 253

237 and having fun in IM chat, and the support fo r discursive motive shift even within one learning task. On the other hand, participants ’ involvement in multiple activity systems also influenced their operation of IM with in each activity system. IM use mediated ESL participants’ perceptions about the CMPR tasks, which can be summarized in two aspects: (1) learning-affordance, and (2) learning-constraint. At the action level, the mediation of IM was reflected in its facilitation in new goal generation as well as externalization of participants’ actions th at did not belong to the central activity system. Because of the use of IM, Iron created new goals such as login to the IM account, IM co mmunication, as well as type fast in IM chat. And Anton set up a goal to find a good way to discuss grammar and organization. On the other hand, because of the use of IM, ESL participants’ ac tions that belonged to alternative activity systems, such as listening to online musi c or video, and chatting with other online friends, were easily exposed to the instructor if certain technologi es such as screen motion capturing software were employed. At the operation level, the use of IM me diated ESL participants’ involvement in CMPR tasks in four aspects: (1) e-turns and e-turn-taking, (2) the deployment of language functions and non-text communicative tools, (3) es tablishment and maintenance of interpersonal relationshi p, and (4) mediation in off-screen behaviors. Firstly, participants contributed a grea ter number of e-turns more e qually if they had similar IM chat skills and styles regard less of their English profic iency and motives. Unbalanced contribution of e-turns during the chat was caused by participants’ conscious or subconscious emotion breakout. Secondly, par ticipants freely employed a variety of language functions such as give suggesti on, confirmation check, as well as non-text

PAGE 254

238 communicative tools such as emoticons, nudge, wink, and creative language to fulfill their goals and to establish a friendly peer res ponse environment. None of the participants consciously adopted a dominant or aut horitative role during the chat. Thirdly, participants’ interpersonal relationship with their partner in each task was more or less influenced by the use of IM, depending on what pre-CMPR relationship they already established and the IM communi cation styles each interlocutor had. Finally, the use of IM also influenced participants’ off-screen behaviors in terms of grammar error edition and physical movements during the chat sessions. Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts Research Question 3: How do current social and cultural contexts influence ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks? When clarifying the concept of activity, Wertsch (1985) emphasizes that a context is “not a setting within which activity takes place, rather it is activity that produces the very arena of human conduct” (Lanto lf & Thorne, 2006, p.215). Expanding Vygotsky and Leont’ev’s interpretation of an activity, Engestrm’s (1987) proposes a new model of activity system which is co mprised of six constantly interacting components: subject, object, mediational artifacts/ tools, rules, community, and distribution of labor. Since this study was guided by cultural historical activit y theory advocating the unit of analysis as the context or activity system in which each human subject is involved when he or she participates in a learning task, the researcher concentrated on the central activity systems, that is, the activity systems driven by the mo tive of improving writing skills in each mode by looking at the interactions between the si x components within each activity system.

PAGE 255

239 According to the principle of multi-voi cedness in CHAT (Engestrm, 2001), each subject in an activity system has his or her own perspect ive about the object. Because each participant in this di ssertation study bore a heteroge neous historical background when participating in each CMPR task, the firs t unit of analysis adopt ed in this section was the learning activity in which each part icipate was engaged within each CMPR task. Then, the focus of the investigation was placed on the collective activ ity all participants participated in to unfold the mediation of the social cultur al context in participants’ learning and development processes across the four CMPR tasks. Before presenting the results of mediati on, I would like to rest ate that the object driving each learning activity system discusse d in this section was knowledge and skills of writing an expository essay, summary-an alysis essay, argumentative essay, and problem-solution essay, respectively. Because the focus of this study was the learning and development that occurred in the tasks, the non-learning activity systems in which participants were engaged such as those driven by the motives of having fun in IM chat, or maintaining a good-student image, were beyond the scope of the current study. In addition, as each activity system consisted of a chain of actions such as taking lectures, writing the essay, conducting CMPR tasks, re ceiving teacher’s feedback and submitting the final draft, each participant’s participa tion in CMPR tasks were investigated in connection with other actions as well. As mentioned earlier, all five partic ipants in the study had different prior experiences with English academic writing inst ruction, peer response, and IM chat. When they participated in the CMPR tasks, they em barked with different skills, unde rstandings, and expectations of conducting CMPR tasks despite the pre-CMPR demonstration, which

PAGE 256

240 resulted in their different a doptions of the CMPR instructio n sheets, the CMPR reader’s and writer’s worksheets, as well as varied perf ormances in the tasks. This section focused on the interactions among the six components within each learning activity system (from now on, it will be called central activity system (Engestrm, 1987)) as well as those interactions between multiple neighbor activit y systems and the central activity system in each CMPR task. In each central activity system, the subject was the participant. The object was knowledge and skills of writing an essay in each mode, whic h drove the entire activity system. The mediational tools were comprised of physical tools such as the computer, MSN instant messenger or Yahoo! instant me ssenger, and psychological tools such as English, documents about writi ng an essay in each mode, the CMPR instruction sheet (Appendix D), and the CMPR reader’s and writ er’s worksheets (Appendix E1 & E2). All participants were required to use English to communicate in class, part icularly with his or her partner in IM chat. Before conducting e ach CMPR task, one or two lectures were given by the instructor to demonstrate how to write the essay such as how to outline the essay, what content information should be generated, and what particular writing strategies should be used. Pertinent documents such as an example outline and sample sentence structures that coul d be used in the essay were distributed. Before each CMPR session, the instructor gathered all students to the front of th e lab and instructed how to use IM to communicate with th e partner by both distributing an instruction sheet detailing steps students needed to take and demonstrat ing how to log onto the IM and to exchange messages with a partner.

PAGE 257

241 The community who shared the same object with each participant in each activity system consisted of particularly the participan t’s partner, the instruct or, the class, the ELI and USF of which each participant was a member. The rules that regulated the interactions between each participant and the commun ity included the norms of interaction between the instruct or and students, students and st udents, particularly in IM interaction. The procedures all students in the class needed to follow for each CMPR task included finishing the first draft, exchangi ng a hard copy with the partner, conducting CMPR task, and revising the first draft a nd submitting a second draft to the instructor. During the IM communication, there were some general rules students needed to follow, such as actively exchanging messages to pr ovide and seek opinions and suggestions on each other’s essay. Constructive negotiation was encouraged in CMPR tasks. Verbal communication among students during online chat was avoided as much as possible. On the other hand, to achieve the object collectively, all people in the community had to divide the labor In CMPR tasks, each student was required to play both a reader’s and a writer’s role. As a reader, a student n eeded to carefully read his or her partner’s essay with or without the CMPR reader’s wo rksheet and provide critical and productive feedback. As a writer, a stude nt needed to prepare severa l questions to solicit opinions and suggestions from the partner on his or her own essay. The role played by the instructor was to provide instruction and demonstration of the content as well as facilitation in both languag e and technology during the CM PR tasks. All the other students were required to work on their own computers. To answer the research question, data from the beyondand on-screen behavior recordings, IM chat transcripts, interview tr anscripts, reflective j ournals, and collected

PAGE 258

242 documents were first analyzed at each individua l level, then at a collective level. In other words, both the researcher’s interpretati on through the observation of the field and participants’ perceptions were taken into consideration to under stand the complex and dynamic interactions between components with in each activity system. At the individual level, each participant’s central activity sy stems was illustrated in a triangle diagram respectively to show the rela tionship among all components in the activity system. It will be followed with a detailed explanation of learning and development that took place in each activity system. At the collective level was presented the interactions between the six components in the collective activity system of which all pa rticipants were considered the subject driven by a collective motive: learning how to conduct CMPR tasks. Mediation of Social Cultural C ontext in Anton’s Participation As discovered in the first section, An ton was involved in two central activity systems throughout the three CMPR tasks in which she participated throughout the semester. The two activity systems were orie nted toward the objects of knowledge and skills of writing an exploratory essay and knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay, respectively.

PAGE 259

243 Figure 10 Anton’s Central Activity System in th e CMPR Task for the Exploratory Essay In the follow-up interview, Anton reflect ed on what she did for the first CMPR task, “What did I do? You mean concrete thing? I gave Iron my essay and he gave me on Monday. Then I read his essay and tried to use the worksheet you gave me. I answered the questions… he doesn’t have many problems. I just found he did not follow the format. You know, you should follow an essay format, righ t? My teacher in level 3 told me… then I found his conclusion is not t hat balanced compared to his introduction. You have seen it in our conversation, right? I told him my suggestions. And I asked him to give me some.” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06) The interview showed that during the first CMPR task, Anton employed the psychological tools: the reade r’s and the writer’s worksheet s, and her concepts of an expository essay as well as the documents about writing an expository essay she obtained in the earlier mini-lecture about writing an expository essay, to judge whether there was Mediational Tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, documents about writing an exploratory essay, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an exploratory essa y Rules: Procedures of PR IM communication Anton Community: Iron Instructor Class ELI,USF Division of Labor : Reader’s role Writer’s role Instructor’s role

PAGE 260

244 inappropriateness in Iron’s essay. As shown in her first comment “ So, Iron.... Your writing is well-organized and very interesting... I have nothing very important to tell you actually.... But, this is a peer review... so I w ill try to help you to do better that you do!” Anton used the reader’s worksheet and her knowledge about th e standards of an expository essay such as the organization and the content to judge Iron’s essay. She also used her knowledge about the format of a paragraph, the in-text quotation, and the correspondence between the intr oduction and conclusion paragraph to identify mistakes in Iron’s essay. Anton learned the format of a paragraph, such as double-space, no bold words, and spaces between paragraphs in her Level-3 academic writing class. She learned the strategy of balancing the introduction and conclusion paragraph in the first writing session of the semester which focused on a comp are/contrast essay and the strategy of intext quotation in the current session. Her comments indicated that she had internalized these new and previous skills and knowle dge and externalized them by providing suggestions to improve Iron’s essay in these aspects. “ But usually when I make peer review, I tr y to answer the questions you ask from the paper. About the questions, I mean, mayb e it is too broad. Too general? … So we have to answer yes or no. We do very quickly, usually. I think it is for all students the same. ” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06) As shown in the above interview excerpt, Anton used the reader’s worksheet to help her identify problems. However, she t hought the guiding ques tions on it were too general to help her identify specific mistak es in Iron’s essay, which caused the tension between the reader’s worksheet and the objec t. This tension later stimulated a new activity system of which the subject-the instructor produced a new CMPR reader’s

PAGE 261

245 worksheet containing more specific questions students could use to identify problems and offer suggestions to their partners. It also indicated that Anton was using he r conceptions about what were important issues for an expository essay and what wa s the purpose of peer response in the task. During the chat, she told Iron that she did not have anything important to tell Iron except his problems with the format, the in-text quotation, and the corre spondence between the introduction and conclusion paragraph, which indicated she thought these mistakes were not serious for an expository essay. On the other hand, she also indicated the purpose of peer response in her mind was to h elp you to do better than you do. During the chat, Anton collaborated with Iron through two physical tools: the computer and the IM software. She employe d one psychological tool: comprehensible English, followed the online communication ru les, and abided by the division of labor by taking her dual roles as a reader and a wr iter. Regarding the me diation of English language, Anton did not have many misspellings or ungrammatical structures. She used the connectors: first, second, also, last to organize her three suggestions for Iron, which shows she handled the language very well. The other interesting phenomenon was Anton capitalized the first letter in each of the e-turns when she offered opinions and suggestions while she used lower case lett ers in all other e-turns. It seemed she considered providing feedback was similar to a writing assignment whereas receiving feedback was conducted in an informal discourse. Mediated by the division of labor, she asked Iron to give her his opinions and suggestions on her essay after she finished her readers role. She only obtained one suggestion from Iron about how to provide a good thesis statement in the introduction,

PAGE 262

246 which she integrated in her revision. Although he commented on her conclusion paragraph, Iron did not provide specific suggestions to tackle the problem. Antons precepts about online communication particularly mediated her behaviors during the chat. For example, she greeted Iron at the beginni ng and said good-bye at the end of the chat. She produced only one complete sentence per eturn when she gave suggestions to Iron. She also used compliments when giving opini ons, expressed apprec iation after receiving feedback, as well as used emoticons and co lloquial expressions such as ok, hey, and usually short sentences in chat. She always responded to Iron right after Iron sent over a message. As pinpointed by Engestrm (1987), an activity system is never stable or static. All components in the system constantly in teract, shape and are shaped by each other, which triggers tensions and dissonances betw een each other in the activity system. Some tensions became ostensible as shown by the three double-headed lightening signs in Antons activity system, the first one between the mediational tool and the object, the second one between the rules and the co mmunity, and the third one between the community and the technology. As mentioned earlier, the first tens ion emerged when Anton found the CMPR readers worksheet did not help her identify problems in Irons essay as shown in the follow-up interview, About the questions, I mean, maybe it is too broad. Too general? So we have to answer yes or no. We do very quickly, usually. (interview with Anton, 6/21/06). The second tension lied in betw een one mediational tool, IM, and the community, particularly Iron. It was Irons first time to us e IM. He did not know how to type very fast. Neither did he know how to ch at with people in a polite way in IM. At the

PAGE 263

247 beginning of this task, Anton typed five messages before Iron did one. After Iron informed Anton that he had some suggesti ons on her essay, Anton waited three minutes but saw nothing. So she started to worry that they would not be able to finish the task in time. After another minute without response from Iron, Anton had to say we will continue this conversation tomorrow morning . Another tension was engendered by Irons lack of IM skills and existed between Iron as a community member and the rules. Ir on used very formal written form such as complete sentences with formal sentence connectors and started each sentence with a capitalized letter in all his e-turns. He never used emoticons to soften his tone or show some emotions, which made him sound uptight and critical. In addition, Iron did not know how to show online communication cour tesy, which made Anton think he was impolite and critical. For example, during the chat, Iron very boldly stated, I think your thesis statement is not appr opriate and he seldom complimented Anton. The tension between the rules and Iron was also illustrated in his communicati on style as shown in the following excerpt: Excerpt 4. 11: 5Iron says: Furthermore, i think you should improve your conclustion pargraph. 5Anton says: you are to broad for me... c ould you be more accurate please? 6Iron says: Ok. I am sorey. 7Ironn says: m y opinon obaut your essay is over. than you In this excerpt, Iron po inted out there was some pr oblem in Antons conclusion paragraph. However, when Anton asked him to specify his suggestion, he failed to provide more information. Instead, he just apologized for his unclearness and then concluded the conversation, which sounded ve ry unhelpful. To this, Anton commented

PAGE 264

248 on Iron, It's slow. and it 's bored He is slow yes, maybe he doesnt know how to chat He didnt answer my question (interview w ith Anton, 6/21/06) Anton reported the tension with the readers worksheet to the instructor who revised it, which successfully solved the te nsion. However, she did not take efforts to deliberately solve the tensions between her pa rtner and the tools and the rules. On the contrary, she tried to avoid these tensions by refusing co llaborating with Iron, which triggered the destructive collaboration betw een her and Iron in the second CMPR task, which Anton was not engaged in the central activity system. Mediationaltools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of argumentative essay, concepts of friendship Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay Rules: Procedures of PR IM communication Anton Community: Diane Instructor Class ELI, USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role Mediationaltools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of argumentative essay, concepts of friendship Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay Rules: Procedures of PR IM communication Anton Community: Diane Instructor Class ELI, USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role Figure 11 Antons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay In her reflection on the third CMPR task, Anton said, It was fine How did I comment? You k now, we already learned how to write argumentative essays. But I still not sure well, we talked ab out the ideas of the essay. She gave me some advice. I gave her some too. I don't remember. I don't know. Maybe

PAGE 265

249 it is easier to form of the .... For example, there is a sentence which is grammatically incorrect. It is difficult on the net to write it down again. So I prefer to show her face to face. So here is the mistake, here... It is just ... I mean it is not good for everybody. I mean it is not good for Iron because he doesn't know how to type very quickly. But it is good, I mean it works with Diane and me. (interview with Anton, 7/25/06) Anton was engaged in the central activity system when she collaborated with Diane in the CMPR task for the Argumentative Essay. In this task, Antons participation was mediated by the mediational tools, particul arly her newly internalized concepts about CMPR, documents and her con cepts of argumentative e ssay, the rules, community, division of labor as well as the object which motivated her to participate in the activity system. When reviewing Dianes essay, Anton first deployed her knowledge of a good argumentative essay and the CMPR reader s worksheet to form her opinions and suggestions for Diane. According to the ch at transcripts, Anto n commented on Dianes grammar, the organization and content in her introduction paragra ph, and the conclusion paragraph. Using her knowledge of English, Anton identified some misspellings and ungrammatical structures in Dianes essay. Me diated by her concept of peer response, she planned to correct them directly on Diane s paper rather than merely mark them out and let Diane correct them by herself. W ith her knowledge of the organization and content in an argumentative essay, Anton disc overed that Dianes introduction paragraph had a hook sentence which hooks the reader but some information provided in the paragraph was not accurate.

PAGE 266

250 During the IM chat, Antons actions were mediated by the mediational tools she used, the community, particularly her partne r Diane, the rules of IM communication, and the division of labor. The tools that mediated Antons actions in the chat included IM, the computer, English, her concepts of an argumentative essay, peer response, and friendship. Anton did not feel comfortable to discuss grammar issues on the IM. She told Diane during the chat I prefer to correct the grammar mistakes directly on your sheet . During the chat, she also discovered that both Diane and she had the same problem with the organization, and she felt it was not easy to discuss about it on the IM either. So she suggested they work togeth er at noon. Antons ac tions were strongly mediated by her concepts of friendship as she revealed in the follow-up interview, I know Diane for a long time. We are good friends I don't know. It is the way you talk to friend on the computer (interview with Anton, 7/ 25/06). She and Diane were good friends. Thus, she gave many emotionally posi tive comments on Dianes essay such as I love your ideas! you always have goods ideas! , I really LOVE you introduction sweetie! She also encouraged Diane frequently As shown in Excerpt 4.12, when Diane indicated her lower proficiency compared to that of Antons, Ant on immediately objected to her judgment and tried to lift up her spirit. Excerpt 4.12 19Diane says:you know!! we have similar idea s, but your are eassy to understand. mine are so difficult 22Anton says:don't say that! 23Anton says:you are easy to understand 24Anton says:and yes... we have excatly the same ideas.. that's funny! From collaborating with Diane, Anton al so realized some problems in her own essay. As shown in Excerpt 4.13 below, An ton did not realize the problem in her

PAGE 267

251 conclusion paragraph until Diane pointed out the problem in her own conclusion. Anton was not sure what problem it had. But she seem ed to want to comfort Diane so she said dont worry, I think its good . But Diane insisted in obtaining some suggestion from Anton. After a quick re-check of Dianes conclusion, Anton discovered she also had some problem with her own conclusion. Then she called for an additional meeting on the common problem in their essays. It indicat ed that Anton was prompted by Diane to recheck her own essay. In the follow-up interview, Anton reported, Actually I get new idea.I changed some grammar mistakes. Well, that's the one I hope. And what did I do? I tried to extend a little bit (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Excerpt 4.13: 10Diana says: but, my essay has problem with tthe conclusion 10Anton says: What do you mean? 11Diane says: I don't know if it was ok... 11Anton says: maybe you should work on it... 12Anton says: but don't worry... I think it's good 12Diane says: yes. do you have some recommendation 13Diane says: (waiting for answers) 13Anton says: Mine has problem too.... it's too short compared w/ others paragraphs! 14Diane says: yes. the same like me 14Anton says: Maybe we should work together at noon! As for the mediation of the rules of IM communication, Anton immediately greeted Diane when she logged onto the IM expressed her appreciation when she received suggestions from Diane, and said good-bye to Diane at the end of the chat. During the chat, she produced one sentence in each e-turn. She mainly had one-to-one eturn exchange with Diane. Anton also used di fferent strategies to avoid confrontation in the chat. As shown in the following excerpt:

PAGE 268

252 Excerpt 4. 14 17Anton says: Just one thing... in your first paragraph... you should specify that you are talking about the ELI 18Anton says:because all programs don' t provide teachers with PhD 19Anton says:and all programs are not 25h a week 17Diane says:ok. just they promet it 20Anton says:I really LOVE you introduction sweetie! 18Diane says:but here it is 21Anton says: She pointed out there was some inaccura te information in Dianes introduction paragraph. When Diane insisted the informa tion was still true because those programs promised it although they did not do it actu ally, Anton immediately complimented her and used a smiley face to dismiss the argument. Mediated by the division of labor, sh e explained to Diane why she thought the organization of her introduction paragraph was good and why some information was not accurate. When Diane pointed out the misspellings in her essay, Anton asked Diane to provide direct edition. As indicated in the above analysis, this activity system also embodied tensions. The first tension existed between the symbo lic tool Anton used, her concepts of a good argumentative essay, and the object. It was ac tually rooted in the tension between the object and the earlier lectures in which Anton probably did not develop plenty of knowledge about writing a conclusion paragr aph in an argumentative essay. During the chat, both Anton and her partner felt difficu lt to revise their conclusion paragraphs. Anton thus suggested Diane and she work toge ther on this after class. They compared each others essay with the documents for th e argumentative essay and helped each other

PAGE 269

253 revise the essay during the noon meeting. Th e other tension was between the physical tool IM and the object. Ant on realized it was not easy for both her and Diane to discuss grammar mistakes in IM. So she suggested an alternative way to solve this tension: correct the mistakes dir ectly on Dianes paper. In addition, some tensions also existe d between Antons central activity system and the neighbor activity system in which she was simultaneously involved: having fun in IM chat. This non-central activity system c onstantly distracted he r from participating fully in the central ac tivity system. As shown in Excerpt 4.13, during the chat about the problem in Dianes conclusion paragraph, Diane was waiting for Antons suggestions while Anton was chatting with another online friend as shown in the on-screen behavior recordings. After being urged by Dianes emoticon, Anton came back and started to recheck Dianes essay. However, the delay of response was short because Anton usually immediately went back to Dianes chat window from her additional chat window whenever the IM system reminded her that a new message arrived. Mediation of Social Cultural Cont exts in Dianes Participation Diane was only fully engaged in two CM PR tasks throughout the semester. As mentioned earlier, she was not motivated to collaborate with her partner in the CMPR task for the summary-analysis essay due to his sluggishness and her perceptions of his English proficiency. Instead, she actively participated in the CMPR task for the argumentative essay in which she collaborate d with Anton and the task for the problemsolution essay in which she worked with Rocky. Diane reflected on what sh e did throughout the task, what I did I email Anton my essay. She email me her essay. worksheet? I

PAGE 270

254 use it. Of course. I am not sure I use it to help me find problems in her essay. You know, she is a good writer, she doesnt have lots of problem s. I found some misspellings, something like that. And I told her these in th e chat. I want her to help me. So I asked her a lot of questions. She is he lpful. yes, I learned how to write an argument essay. But Because sometimes when you wrote, you don' t realize your own mistakes. Sometimes when you write, you say, oh, t hat's excellent, you didn't de fine your own mistakes, or some mistakes from the first one (interview with Diane, 7/25/06) Figure 12 Dianes Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay As shown in Figure 12, Dianes participa tion in the CMPR task was driven by the object : knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay. Simultaneously, her participation was mediated by mediational tools such as the use of Internet-connected computer, IM, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, English, and the documents and her concepts of a good argumentative essay. Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, concepts of peer response, documents and concepts of argumentative essay Community: Anton Instructor Class ELI, USF, Dianes family Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essa y Rules: Procedures of PR IM communication Diane Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 271

255 As recollected by Diane in the intervie w, she was mediated by her knowledge of English and the standards of a good argum entative essay when she was reviewing Antons essay. Although she found several grammar mistakes, she thought Antons introduction was very original in terms of content. She also identified some contentrelated ambiguity in Antons conclusion para graph. However, she failed to identify any organization or reference-rela ted problems due to her limited proficiency of writing an argumentative essay. And she was aware of her own problem. Mediated by her concepts of peer response, she counted on Anton, w ho she thought had higher English proficiency than her, to help her identify those problems, which were reflected in the questions she asked during the chat and the revisions she made in her second draft. Diane was very familiar with the use of computer and IM because of her previous experience with IM. During the chat, she employed the physical tool IM and the psychological tool English dexterously playi ng her roles as a reader and a writer. She frequently employed the emoticons, wink, nudge and even online poker game feature supported in IM to express her emotions as we ll as to indicate what she intended to do. Although Diane had many misspellings in her es say, she tried to use correct spellings in her IM messages to avoid confusion from Anton. As for mediation from the division of la bor, she still played her readers role actively in the chat despite he r lack of confidence in her wr iting and eagerness to obtain help from Anton. She commented on Antons es say that she had some misspellings and her introduction paragraph had ve ry interesting information. She then pointed out some content-level ambiguity in Antons conclu sion paragraph. Regarding the mediation from the community, Diane moved to the U. S. after she married her Columbia-born

PAGE 272

256 American husband. Although her husband was a native speaker of English, he seldom helped her with her English. T hus, she particularly looked forward to collaborating with Anton to improve her English. Mediated by the rules of IM comm unication, Diane responded to Antons message immediately after she received it. In the follow-up interview, she revealed that despite her problems with spellings, she neve r stopped to verify them in a dictionary during IM chat because she wanted to chat quickly. She greeted Anton at the beginning and said good-bye to her at th e end of the chat. She always expressed her appreciation after receiving a suggestion from Anton. She al so used emoticon frequently to show her emotions and attitudes toward Antons comments. When she pointed out some weaknesses in Anton, she either preceded her negative comments with a positive comment as shown in Excerpt 4. 15 or used an intimate greeting and clarification request to express her different opinion about Anton s argument approach in her essay as shown in Excerpt 4. 16. Excerpt 4.15: 7Diane says: but, you don' t have a lot mistakes. just I saw spelling problem 5Anton says: Yes Excerpt 4. 16: 20Diana says: honey... in your conclusion you wrote about bad accent in ours teachers???? but just in your country??? In Dianes central activity system, there existed tensions that were triggered by the interaction between her cen tral activity and the neighbori ng activity system in which she was simultaneously participated: having f un on the Internet. The tension within her central activity system resided between the IM and her object. Diane was a music fan.

PAGE 273

257 Whenever she got online, she would check online music video no matter what she was obligated to accomplish. Thus, even if she wa s attentively collaborating with Anton, she still managed to find some time to browse other music video websites and listened to her favorite music, which actually formed the tens ion between her central activity system and her adjacent activity system driven by her mo tive: having fun on the Internet. The tension between the two activity systems was projecte d in the tension between the IM and her object in her central activity system. During her chat with Anton, she invited Anton to have an online game which was supported in the MSN IM system before they finished the task. Diane did not deliberately seek solutions for these tensions. Instead, she considered these as normal activities in IM chat. In the CMPR task for the problem-solu tion essay, Diane collaborated with Rocky. She reflected on her collaboration with Rocky, This was a hard-done job. I don't get what he says. So we working on mine. I just gave him my essay before we chat. Yes, I read his essay. I am not sure.... I am not sure... Yes, yes, (Rocky helped me.). because when I finish to write it, I did not correct before print out. So all the mistakes that I had were corrected. no suggested different than I have. When I read him, I omit some informati on then it made me improve my essay, for example, data. Also I got data. But I think for t hat time, I didn't get that. But when I read his essay,all of a sudden, it is data. All is dat a. So when I think of my essay, oh, I forget to put data. And I have to.. . (interview with Diane, 8/3/06)

PAGE 274

258 Figure 13 Dianes Central Activity System in th e CMPR task for the Problem-Solution Essay Dianes participation in the task was dr iven by the object: know ledge and skills of writing a problem-solution essay. Because Rocky did not finish his essay before the IM chat, Diane did not get a chance to read his essay. Thus, the entire IM chat was focused on Dianes essay. In the task, Dianes actions were mediated by the mediational tools including the use of computer and IM, English, and her kno wledge and concepts of a problem-solution essay as well as concepts of CMPR since this was her third time to participate in the tasks, the community, th e rules of CMPR and class interaction, and division of labor, particul arly her writers role. First of all, Dianes participation wa s mediated by her community. As mentioned earlier, Diane immigrated to the U.S. as a brid e. She took classes in the ELI as a full-time student and worked as a part-time cashier in a local grocery store. She had a very busy schedule. She revealed in both the interview a nd the IM chat with Rocky that she did not finish her problem-solution essay unt il 1 am the night before the class It severely Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, documents and concepts of a good problem-solution essay, concepts of CMPR Object : Knowledge and skills of writing a problem-solution essay Rules: Norms of Teacher-student and student-student interaction Procedures of PR IM communication Diane Community: Rocky Instructor Class ELI, USF, Dianes family Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 275

259 influenced the grammatical accuracy in her essay, which became the focus of the CMPR chat. Dianes participation was mediated by the use of IM and the rules of online communication. She greeted Rocky once she lo gged onto the MSN IM and expressed her appreciation from Rockys help and said goodbye to him before she withdrew from the conversation. She maintained one -to-one e-turn exchange with Rocky in the vast majority of the chat. She also used several emoticons including one wink to express her emotions. She also invented some special expressions such as mmm to show she agreed that she made some errors, which she thought made th e conversation more fun and lively, as she revealed in the follow-up interview. Mediated by the division of labor, Diane first checked whether Rocky had finished his essay and whether he had read her essay. After she conf irmed that Rocky had read hers, she asked him what suggestions he could give to her. When Rocky mentioned he found several misspellings and ambiguous words in her essay, she immediately requested him to identify them. She respecte d the suggestions from Rocky as well. As shown in Excerpt 4. 17, when Rocky questioned the accuracy of the wo rd intrafamily in her essay, Diane explained her intention. Th en Rocky suggested she use another word intra-family. She questioned that she saw pe ople used this word in their articles. However, Rocky had moved to the next proble m in her essay and did not get a chance to answer her question. Although her question was not answered, Diane still incorporated Rockys suggestion into her essay.

PAGE 276

260 Excerpt 4. 17: 28Rocky says: what do you mean by the word intra? 27Diane says: intrafamily? 28Diane says: interior of the family 29Rocky says: you mean entire? 29Diane says: it is other word to replace domestic violence 30Diane says: no into 31Diane says: you got it? 30Rocky says: ok 31Rocky says: but you should write like this: intra-family 32Diane says: it is better??? because i read a lot about it and i saw that word kd like that In the follow-up interview, Diane said, Yes, yes, (Rocky helped me.). because when I finish to write it, I did not correct before print out. So all the mistakes that I had were corrected (interview with Diane, 8/3/06). To fulfill her readers role, Diane also prompted some discussions about Rocky s essay although she was aware he did not finish it. As shown in Excerpt 4.18, Diane firs t asked what topic he wrote about and then offered some ideas under the mediation of her knowledge of a problem-solution essay. Excerpt 4.18: 15Diane says: and what topic did you choose for your essay? 16Rocky says: it is about aids 16Diane says: oh! Big problem... and what kind of solutions do you have 17Rocky says: donation i guess 17Diane says: just $ 18Diane says: i think that education is the best 18Rocky says: yes i was going to say that 19Diane says: :-D Except the tension between the comput er and Dianes object of her central activity system, which also emerged in her ce ntral activity system in the CMPR task for the argumentative essay, there were three ot her tensions within Di anes central activity system that were triggered by her partner Ro cky. The first one was between the rules of

PAGE 277

261 the class and the object. Rocky did not finish his essay before the CMPR task, which led to the second tension: his failure to play hi s role as a writer. This in fact reduced the opportunity for Diane to use her concepts of a good problem-solution essay to critique and learn from critiquing a problem-solution essay. This tension was solved when Rocky finally finished his essay and gave it to Di ane. Diane reported th at she learned how to provide examples with appr opriate references to suppor t her argument from reading Rockys essay, I learned add information, data in my essay .. to support my argument. I didnt realize that until I read Rockys essay. He is really good about it. . (interview with Diane, 8/3/06). The second tension was between Roc ky and the division of labor. Although Rocky provided many word-level suggestions to Diane, she revealed in the follow-up interview that you know, Rocky only told my mistakes in words. He did not help me about other mistakes. But it is ok. I know Rocky. Because you know when somebody wants to learn, different, or you know when some people stay here just because have to be here. But it is ok. You w ill correct my mistake, right?. (interview with Diane, 8/3/06). She seemed to look forward to more fee dback on the organization, which she thought was important for the essay. This tension was not solved during or after the CMPR task. As shown in her reflection in the intervie w, she did not mind this tension since she believed the instructor would help her through the teachers feedback. The third tension existed between the object and Rocky. Rocky was not motivated to participate in the CMPR task. However, to maintain a good-student image, he had to read Dianes essay and provided feedb ack. He chose to only comment on the misspellings in Dianes essay which was the eas iest to discuss. Therefore, his feedback

PAGE 278

262 was far from helping Diane improve the true quality of her essay. Despite this tension, Diane was not disappointed by the collaboration because she was aware he at least helped her identify some mistakes she could not id entify by herself and the instructor would provide further feedback regarding her organization and content later. In sum, through the two CMPR tasks, Dianes participation was constantly mediated by her object, the mediational tools she employed, the community of which she was a member, the rules govern ing the interaction between her and other community members, as well as the division of labor. E ach component in her cen tral activity system constantly mediated each other, thus triggere d conflicts and tensions. Some tensions were solved but others remained. While seeking wa ys to reconcile the te nsions, Diane learned and development certain knowledge and skills. For example, she learned how to improve the grammar and organization of her argumen tative essay by working with Anton and how to select accurate words and to make a statement stronger by negotiating with Rocky and reading his essay. Those tensions that we re not solved did not afford learning and development opportunities to Diane. Mediation of Social Cultural Cont exts in Irons Participation Iron was fully engaged in two out of th ree CMPR tasks in which he participated. Therefore, this section discussed the media tion of social cultural contexts in Irons participation in the CMPR tasks for the expos itory essay and the summary-analysis essay respectively. As shown in Figure 14, Iron collab orated with Anton in his first CMPR task for Exploratory Essay. In this activity system, as mentioned in Antons case, Iron was mediated by the same object : knowledge and skills of writing an exploratory essay.

PAGE 279

263 Figure 14 Irons Central Activity System in the CMPR task for the Exploratory Essay According to the data from the interv iews, observations, reflective journals, and document reviews, Irons actions in the ta sk were simultaneously mediated by the mediational tools including physical tools and psychological tools, the community sharing his object such as Anton, the inst ructor, the class, the ELI and USF, the rules governing the interaction between him and th e community both online and face-to-face, and the roles he was required to play as well as the roles other community members needed to play. Reflecting on his work with Anton, Iron said, I think I must learn English. I must im prove my English language. I used my knowledge to help her. It is about helping each other. Anton? I dont know. She knows English very well. And I think she is maybe level 5.. Very quickly. Very quickly. Last Tuesday, maybe you have seen the conversati on. I am learning it but it is not easy . (interview with Iron, 6/21/06) Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of exploratory essay Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an exploratory essay Rules: Norms of Teacher-student and student-student interaction Procedures of PR IM Communication Iron Community: Anton Instructor Class ELI, USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 280

264 As reflected by Iron in the interview, he used his knowledge that a thesis statement should address all the ideas in an e xploratory essay to identify whether Antons thesis statement was good or not when revi ewing Antons essay. Mediated by the CMPR readers worksheet, he wrote down the suggest ions he had for Anton. He also identified there was something wrong with Antons conclusion paragraph. During the chat, Iron was mediated by th e use of IM and computer, English, his concepts of peer response and online comm unication, the rule of online communication, the community, and division of labor. Iron was not familiar with IM chat, particularly typing. He also needed ample time to plan his sentences, which was reflected in his online behaviors: he constantly edited hi s messages before sending each one out. Mediated by his slow typing skill and his English-processing ability, he contributed fewer messages than Anton did throughout the chat. In addition, Iron was not familiar with oral English and he was not aware IM ch at provided an informal chat environment. Thus, all his messages in the chat were in a very formal academic writing language, e.g. I'l concern and evaluate your suggestion , and On the other hand, I have some suggetinons obut your essay too , which looked very incompatible with the IM environment. Mediated by his concepts of peer re sponse which only contained receiving and providing opinions and suggestions a nd the division of labor, he said I'l concern and evaluate your suggestion after Anton sent him her suggestions. He did not intend to discuss or negotiate those suggestions with her. As shown in Excerpt 4.19, when Anton asked him to explicate what problems she had in her conclusion paragraph, Iron did not know he should follow up the question and clarif y himself. Instead, he apologized for his

PAGE 281

265 ambiguity and then concluded the peer response. Excerpt 4.19: 5Iron says: Furthermore, i think you should improve your conclustion pargraph. 5Anton says: you are to broad for me... c ould you be more accurate please? 6Iron says: Ok. I am sorey. 7Irfan says: m y opinon obaut your essay is over. than you Irons participation also was mediated by the rules of online communication. He greeted Anton after being greet ed by her and expressed his appreciation for Antons help after receiving suggestions from her. Howeve r, he never said goodbye to Anton at the end of the conversation although he said thank you in his last message. In addition, he was aware he needed to give responses to maintain the conversation. So after receiving five messages consecutively from Anton, he posted one message I am reading your essay about learning style now to explain why he had not responded. However, he violated the rules seriously when he spent ample time editing his sentences and spellings before sending them out, which caused severe response delay. Irons activity system contained consta nt conflicts between some components. The first conflict existed between the IM and Iron. As analyzed in earlier sections, Iron never used IM before this task. Although he spent some time figuring out how to use it with the help from the instructor, he was still very unskillful during the chat. For example, he typed messages with only one hand, which delayed his contributions extensively and consequently limited the number of e-turns he contributed in the task. The second tension was between the psychological toolEnglish and Iron. Although Iron was very proficient in writing, wh ich was demonstrated in his essays, he made many typos and sometimes even gramma tical mistakes in his IM messages when

PAGE 282

266 he had limited time to compose messages. The on-screen behavior data also showed that Iron spent long time editing his senten ces before he sent them out. The third tension emerged between Iron and the rules, particularly the CMPR chat rules. Although the instructor demonstrated how to chat for the CMPR chat such as what questions to ask and what res ponses to give at the beginning of the semester, Iron did not follow some rules when he participated in th e chat. For example, as discussed in earlier analysis, he failed to provide appropriate response when Anton asked a question. Since Iron was not familiar with the IM communication rules, all his messages were in a formal written style. He never used emoticons or any other colloquial style. In the follow-up interview, he revealed that he considered the CMPR a serious cl ass task. When asked whether he even used IM and knew how to use emoticons, he said If you are young, generally, you can chat.like that (my children) Yeah, yeah. They can. Many young people do. (interview with Ir on, 6/21/06). It seemed using emoticons and other cute expressions in chat looked very forei gn and too young to him although he enjoyed receiving those messages from his partner. Iron was aware of the first two tensions. He endeavored to solve these tensions during and after the task. During the chat, he was very focused on reading his partners messages and intensively typed down messages. When he realized he was delaying the conversation, he sped up typing, unfortunate ly, which aggregated the tension between English and him. He even stayed in the lab to practice typing after class. In the follow-up interview, he revealed that he seldom t yped on the keyboard in Turkey although he used email to communicate with customers. It was ve ry hard for him to type fast. Because of these unsolvable tensions and the impression he felt Anton had on him, he was involved

PAGE 283

267 in another activity system: to change his image as an incompetent partner in the following CMPR task. Figure 15 Irons Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Summary-Analysis Essay In the CMPR task for the summary-an alysis essay, Irons activity system was mediated by the object: knowledge and skill s of writing a summary-analysis essay. Before the CMPR chat, his review action was mediated by his knowledge and concepts about summary-analysis essay as well as th e CMPR readers worksheet. After reading Antons essay, he identified the problems with the organization, the content and the grammar. In the lectures for summary-an alysis essay, Iron was instructed that a summary-analysis essay usually has three body paragraphs and each of them analyzes and evaluates one idea in the summarized essay. However, he found Anton only focused on one idea the original author had. Guided by the CMPR readers worksheet, he thought neither the content no r the organization in Antons essay was complete, which indicated that he was externalizing wh at he internalized about how to write a summary-analysis Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of summary-analysis essay Object : Knowledge and skills of writing a summary-analysis essa y Rules: Norms of teacher-student and student-student interaction Procedures of PR IM Communication Iron Community: Anton Instructor Class ELI, USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 284

268 essay. During the IM chat, Irons actions were mediated by the use of IM, computer, English, his concepts of summary-analysis essay, the CMPR instruction sheet and worksheets, the rules, and divi sion of labor. However, his collaboration with Anton in this task was a total failure due to the colle ctive mediations from these components. All the tensions he had in the first CMPR task st ill existed in this task which was devastated by a new emerging tension between him and An ton, who did not collaborate with him in his central activity system. Still constrained by his slow typing skills and language editing behaviors, he posted the messages very slowly at the beginning. As show n in Excerpt 4.20, Iron still did not internalize some essential rules fo r IM communication although he greeted Anton at the beginning of the chat. In the convers ation, although he first pointed out a positive aspect in Antons essay, he straightforwardly criticized her content and organization, which triggered Antons rejecti on of his comments. Rather than using strategies such as emoticons or comforting words to ease An tons defensiveness, Iron, who was probably mediated by the division of labor at the mo ment, bluntly insisted he could do so and continued explaining why he t hought her approach was not appropriate, ignoring Antons anger. Irons violation of implicit IM comm unication rules that dictate complimentary and friendly rather than crit ical and demeaning atmosphere obviously irritated Anton who returned with a rude message as show n in e-turn 6. This eventually caused communication breakdown between Anton and Iron, who did not say good-bye to conclude the conversation as usual.

PAGE 285

269 Excerpt 4.20 2Iron says: Firstly, You have c hosen very intresting subject, but I don't agree with your analysis approch and your idea. 4Iron says: You know, I can comment about your analysis if reasonable or not. I am sorry, in my oponion, your analysis is not reasonable why. 6Anton says: I don't give a .... of what you sa y.... do your work and try to be objective! 5Irfan says: Yes, you are right. I just w ant to you help. for example, I think writer presents both side idaes that attacs and de finets, both you focus onl y one aspect so your anaysis loos its reasonable. Excerpt 4.20 also showed that the qualit y of Irons language output was severely affected by Antons negative attitude. He sens ed Antons anger and tried to immediately defend himself. However, his quick respons e left him little time to edit his message, which caused many misspellings that were too rampant to be comprehensible. As shown by the double-headed lighteni ng arrows in Figure 15, there existed multiple tensions among the components in this activity system. First of all, the tensions such as the one between Iron and IM, Iron a nd English as well as between Iron and the rules still existed. In additi on, these tensions generated the tension between Iron and Anton, which in turn aggregated the tensi on between Iron and IM, and particularly the one between Iron and English. Iron reflected on his work in the second CMPR task: if you want to help each other, it is useful. But only for not so good. I think willingness is very important. I just want to help her. I read her essay. I think lots of time she didn't read my article. I th ink, I think, because she di dn't give me any suggestion. she misunderstands me. We are writing, it is go od. You know. But I want to help. Maybe wrong, but I try. For example, she only likes only one paragraph. I said you maybe needs more body paragraphs. (interview with Iron, 7/13/06).

PAGE 286

270 On the other hand, new tensions also emerged, which was rooted in Antons unwillingness to collaborate as shown in the above interview excerpt. Due to the unsuccessful experience in the previous CMPR task, Anton did not plan to work with Iron, which was illustrated in the tensions between the object and Anton, the rules and Anton, and division of labor and Anton. Ant on was involved in two other completely different activity systems driven by her motiv es of maintaining a good-student image and having fun in IM chat, which caused the te nsion between Irons object in the activity system and her. The tension between the rule s and Anton emerged when she did not read Irons essay before the chat. Thus, when she chatted with Iron, she did not initiate any topic as to ask or give opinions and sugge stions. This tension deteriorated when she turned irritated in the middle of the chat. In other words, neither did Anton play her writers role well nor did she play her readers role in this task, which caused the tension between the division of labor and Anton. Du ring the interaction w ith Iron, all these tensions clashed and eventually externa lized the tension between her and Iron. In addition, the interac tion between Irons central activity system and his secondary activity system driven by his motiv e of changing the imag e of a dysfunctional IM user, also tightened the tension between Anton and Iron. As shown in Excerpt 4. 21: Excerpt 4.21: 7Anton says:What you say is unreadable... and I'm wondering why bcs your essay is sooooooooo clear! there is a contradiction be tween the way you exp ress yourself on the Internet and the way you write.... 1Iron says:That is right, I coul dn't use internet and competer much quickly. my staff does these things why I don't have free time for chat etc. But I try. Otherwise my artical about my profeciancy I am a CPA in Turkey. Also I relaise my English is not enough. 8Anton says:I didn't talk about the the fact that you are slow... but about your style

PAGE 287

271 When Anton complained she could not understand Irons message due to his ungrammatical structures and misspellings, he defended himself by explaining he had reasons to be unable to type fast, wh ich was not received well by Anton. Although Iron tried to solve the tensions, such as the one between IM and him, the one between Anton and him, it did not work very well, which caused a complete breakdown between him and Anton, who refused to collaborate with him in the following CMPR task. Iron did not get any feedback from Anton, which did not help him to achieve his object of the activity system. In sum, Irons participation in the two tasks was severely me diated by the use of IM. However, the tension between the IM and him varied depending on whom he collaborated with in the task. It showed no single component in Irons activity systems played the dominating mediational role. Despite the communication breakdown between him and Anton as well as the remained tensions, Iron still developed the skills of using IM, conducting CMPR, as well as his knowledge about writing an exploratory essay in terms of format, references, content and or ganization, summary-analysis essay in terms of content, organization, and grammar, and ar gumentative essay in terms of content and organization in the process of seeking solutio ns for and reconciling the tensions within each CMPR task. Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts in Nickys Participation in CMPR Tasks Nicky attentively participated in the CM PR tasks for the summary-analysis essay, the argumentative essay, and the problem-so lution essay. She had been fully engaged in three central activity syst ems. In this section, the mediation of social cultural contexts in her participation was explai ned in three central activity systems respectively.

PAGE 288

272 Figure 16 Nickys Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the SummaryAnalysis Essay In the CMPR task for summary-analysi s essay, Nicky collaborated with Rocky. As shown in Figure 16, Nickys activity sy stem was mediated by the object: knowledge and skills of writing a summary-analysis essa y. Her actions were oriented toward the object throughout the task. Fi rst of all, Nicky, as the subject of the activity system, was mediated by the meditional tools including using the physical t ools such as the computer, IM, digital dictionary, English, the CMPR instruction sheet and the CMPR worksheets and symbolic tools such as English, and her concepts of a good summary-analysis essay. Following the rules of the peer respons e task, Nicky exchanged her essay with Rocky although he did not finish his before the CMPR lab session and completed the chat after he finished his essay. Nicky had b een using IM for years. Thus, she completely embraced the use of IM in the task. Followi ng the IM communication rules, she greeted Rocky at the beginning. And she used a very ca sual chat style which was reflected in her use of lower-case first letter in each message, short and simple sentence in each e-turn, Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, digital dictionary, Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of a good summary-analysis essay Object : Knowledge and skills of writing a summary-analysis essay Rules Norms of teacher-student and student-student interaction Procedures of PR IM communication Nick y Community: Rocky Instructor Class ELI, USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 289

273 and emoticons to show her emotions. However, she was still not conf ident in her English, especially vocabulary. During the chat, she cons tantly checked words in a portable digital dictionary whenever she felt uncertain of her English. Nickys actions were also mediated by on the CMPR writers worksheet. She occasionally compared her own essay with the writers worksheet to check whether she asked the appropriate and relevant questions in which she asked for suggestions on her topic, the introduction paragraph, the organization of the entire essa y, the structure of the conclusi on as well as her grammar. Excerpt 4.22: 12Nicky says:how was my t opic that is too long ? 10Rocky says: for a summary my opinion is that you should start with questions 13Nicky says:oh... 11Rocky says:that is a good tip .. 16Nicky says: so,,,the summary was similary ot article or...how do you think? 15Rocky says: it was related 17Nicky says: but, this assignment is about summary-analysis... 16Rocky says: i know 18Nicky says: i don't know it was wrote the right way or not 17Rocky says: well i liked it 19Nickysays: :-p good Nickys actions during the chat also reflected her internalization and externalization process of the knowledge about a summary-analysis essay. As shown in Excerpt 4.22, when Rocky suggested Nicky use questions to start the introduction of her summary-analysis essay, she, mediated by her knowledge that this strategy was only used in a summary article, disagreed that the introduction paragraph in a summary-analysis essay might be written in a different way th an a summary article. However, despite her doubt and disagreement, Nicky incorporated this suggestion into her revision. In the follow-up interview, she revealed that she did so because he sound very sure (interview

PAGE 290

274 with Nicky, 7/14/06). Considering that Ni cky was not confident in her English proficiency, it seemed the co mmunity mediated Nickys de cision to incorporate the comments. With Rockys help, Nicky also re alized one problem in her introduction that she forgot to use a hook sentence to attract readers, one wr iting strategy she learned in the lectures but did not intern alize it yet, as she revealed in the follow-up interview, he told me I should use a hook. Yes, I lear n it. I just did not remember to use it (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06) However, sometimes Nickys knowledge about summary-analysis essay cast more influence on her actions. As shown in Excerpt 4. 23, when Rocky said the rest of her essay was fine to him after commen ting on her introduction paragraph, Nicky, mediated by her concepts of a good summary-anal ysis essay and her belief that her essay was not perfect questioned whether Rocky r ead her essay carefully. Even after Rocky confirmed it, she still had the doubt. Excerpt 4. 23: 12Rocky says: but anyway the rest of the essay was good 14 Nicky says: you didn't read the auticle ,right? 13Rocky says: no i did 15 Nicky says: oh you read Mediated by the division of labor, Nicky read Rockys essay after he finished it and conducted a CMPR with him at home. Me diated by the documents and her concepts of a good summary-analysis essay as well as the CMPR readers worksheet, Nicky identified some problems in the organization and references in Rockys essay. However, she did not have confidence in offering sugges tions. Rather than di rectly expressing her opinion, she used a rhetoric se ntence in her e-turn 24 to solicit Rockys own opinion.

PAGE 291

275 When she sensed Rocky disagreed with her, she immediately explai ned she was not sure because her English was not good enough, which created one tension between Nicky and her readers role. Fortunately, Rocky constan tly encouraged her and even gave her some tips of being a critical reader. She finally was able to provide further comments and suggestions on Rockys essay. Excerpt 4. 24: 24Nicky says: do you think, your introduction have a ho? 23Rocky says: I think so. 24Rocky says:Why 25Nicky says: I think its a good topic sentence,,, but if be a ho i think,, a little bit not strong 25Rocky says:I see 26Nicky says: haha actually,,,, I am not a good writer so i afraid to give you any suggestion Although Rocky was a good encourager for Nicky, he was neither motivated to participate in Nickys activity system, which was reflected in the tension between the object of Nickys central activity system and Rocky, nor responsible for the roles he was required to play during the chat, which create d the tension between division of labor and Rocky Rockys disengagement in the CMPR task also caused the tension between the rules and him and the one between the object and him. First of all, he did not finish his essay before the CMPR lab session although he finished it later and completed the CMPR with Nicky that night at home, which si gnificantly extended Nickys working time. Second, he did not provide very useful suggest ions for Nickys essay. During the chat, he merely suggested Nicky have a stronger hook-up sentence in her introduction paragraph. All of the other comments were very positiv e and general, not constructive, although he helped edit Nickys grammar directly on he r paper. Nicky was not able to find out

PAGE 292

276 solutions to the tensions triggered by Roc ky, which left her with a somewhat negative impression of peer response. Figure 17 Nickys Central Activity System in the CMPR Task for the Argumentative Essay In the CMPR task for the argumentative essay, Nicky collabor ated with Iron. Her central activity system was mediated by the object : knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay. In this task, Nicky di d not use the CMPR instruction sheet. Since the information in the CMPR instruction sheet was similar to the one used in the previous CMPR task, her successful participation in the task indicated she had internalized the information in the instruction sheet. During her review of Irons essay, afforded by her knowledge of argumentative essays, she disc overed that Irons essay was very well organized and clear. There was only one am biguous place between his third and fourth paragraph. However, constrained by her Englis h proficiency, she encountered numerous unfamiliar words in Irons essay, which impressed her very much. Mediated by her Object : Knowledge and skills of writing an argumentative essay Rules: Norms of teacher-student and student-student interaction ProceduresofPR Nick y Community: Iron Instructor Class ELI,USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role Mediational Tools Physical tools : Computer, IM, digital dictionary, Psychological tools : English, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of a good argumentative essay, concepts of CMPR

PAGE 293

277 concepts of writing proficiency and peer response, she immediately decided Irons English proficiency was much higher than hers and he must be a great help for her. During the IM chat, mediated by the use of computer, IM, English, and the rules for IM communication, she greeted Iron at the beginning, appreciated his help after receiving his suggestions, and said good-bye at the end of the conversation. She also frequently used emoticons to show her emotions. As shown in her contributions in the previous task, Nicky was very active during the chat. She expressed her opinions about Irons essay and informed Iron of her confus ion by his messages. She used her portable electronic dictionary less frequently. Although she still consulted the worksheets occasionally, she was more knowledgeable regarding how to provide and ask for suggestions. Mediated by the rules and division of labor, she gave Iron her opinions about his essay and requested comments and suggestions from Iron. Although she still felt lack of confidence in commenting on Irons essay as she revealed in the follow-up interview, she played her readers role successfully this time, as shown in Excerpt 4.25: Excerpt 4. 25: 14Nicky: i am wondering..between your third paragrph or fouth ....the word began in UNFORTUNATELY....this part is a new par agraph or it's belone to third paragraph 8Iron: Also, I will sudy your essay organiza tion then I will offer some sugestions. 15Nicky: ok,,,thank you so much,,,,don't forget tell me!!:) Iron did not get time to read her clar ification request sin ce he was focusing on typing his following message due to th e limited time left. Although she did not immediately hear back from Iron, she brought up this question again and made Iron explain why he used the word dur ing their after-class meeting.

PAGE 294

278 Nickys central activity system contai ned two tensions both of which were triggered by Iron. The first tension emerged be tween Iron and IM. Iron could not log into his MSN IM account at the beginning of th e IM chat. With the help from both the instructor and Nicky, he finally logged in to his Yahoo! IM account. However, when Iron and Nicky started to chat, less than twenty minutes left. Although Iron managed to ask for Nickys comments and suggestions on his essay and gave one suggestion on Nickys content, he did not have time to answer Ni ckys question about his essay and to discuss Nickys organization, which led to the sec ond tension between Iron and the division of labor. To solve this tension, Iron and Nic ky had a face-to-face mee ting after school two days later to finish up the peer response. In the follow-up interview, Nicky commented on her collaboration with Iron, he is good. I learned new voc abulary in his essay. He also told me some ideas. and my problem of the organization (interview with Nicky, 7/20/06). It indicated that Ni cky learned how to write an argumentative essay from collaborating with Iron. She was especially glad that she learned many new words by reading Irons essay. In the CMPR task for the problem-s olution essay, Nicky worked with a nonparticipant student Percy. Nickys cent ral activity system was mediated by the object : knowledge and skills of writi ng a problem-solution essay, which was the last essay combining all writing strategies students l earned in the entire summer semester. Since this assignment was built on a ll the knowledge and skills taug ht in the semester, Nicky was mediated by a larger repertoire of psychological tools which embodied not only specific concepts about a problem-solution essay but also knowledge about general academic writing and strategies of performi ng CMPR chat. When she reviewed her

PAGE 295

279 partners essay, she employed these psychol ogical tools to help her identify both good and problematic parts in Percys essay. Sh e wrote down her comments and suggestions on her partners essay on the readers worksheet. Figure 18 Nickys Central Activity System in th e CMPR Task for the Problem-Solution Essay During the chat, Nicky completely di scarded the CMPR instruction sheet although she still occasionally checked the CMPR readers worksh eet. Following the rules of CMPR as well as division of labor, Ni cky first greeted Percy and then gave Percy her opinions about his essay most of which were positive. She also actively asked for opinions and suggestions on her essay from Percy. After receiving comments and suggestions from her partner, Nicky always expressed her appreciation. There existed only one tension between the components in Nickys central activity system: between Percy and the object. In the followup interview, Nicky revealed that most comments from Percy were very pos itive but she still felt she should have some imperfect place to improve. Thus she thought Pe rcy might not be proficient to identify all Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM, digital dictionary, Psychological tools : English, CMPR readers worksheet, documents and concepts of a good problem-solution essay, concepts of CMPR Object : Knowledge and skills of writing a problem-solution essay Rules: Norms of teacher-student and student-student interaction Procedures of PR Rules of IM communication Nick y Community: Percy Instructor Class ELI,USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role

PAGE 296

280 problems in her essay. Except this tension, both Percy and Nicky were skillful of IM chat and familiar with the procedures of CMPR. Thus, they did not encounter ostensible problem related to the technology and the CMPR. From this task, Nicky became more knowledgeable about conducting CMPR and she was more certain of her knowledge of the appropriate organization as well as relevant content that should be used in a problemsolution essay. In sum, through the three CMPR tasks, despite various tensions she encountered in the activity systems, Nicky developed competences in conducting CMPR, writing in different modes, particularly difference or ganizations used in different modes and references, and increasing her vocabulary. He r perception of being a reader was also reshaped as shown in her chat with Rocky in which Rocky told her a reader even without high English proficiency could offer opinions and suggestions. She was more confident in providing comments and suggestions to ot her students. These ch anges evolved through her participation in the thr ee activity systems in which multiple components interacted with each other and tensions were constantly engendered and solutions were sought. Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts in the Classs Participation in the CMPR Tasks Orthodox Vygotskians (e.g. Moll, 1990) focu ses on the intellectual skills students learn and develop through soci al interaction. However, Wertsch (1981) argues that the very means used in the social interaction ar e also being internaliz ed by learns. In other words, the means such as some psychological tools are not only the vehicles for learning. They are also the focus of learning (Putney, Green, Dixon, Durn, & Yeager, 2000, p.88). Besides the means, the rules and the divi sion of labor also can be the focus of the learning.

PAGE 297

281 For the vast majority of the particip ants, peer response was a new concept for them. Conducting this unfamiliar task in a familiar or unfamiliar (in Irons case) communication mode is another learning expe rience for them. Thus, I argue here that while students were engaged in their respectiv e learning activity systems, they were also learning and developing competences of pe rforming well in CMPR, including how to review their peers essay, to conduct CMPR, and finally to re vise their draft. Therefore, the whole class also could be considered as a collective group of subjects (although not everyone) driven by an object of knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR tasks. To analyze the collective activity system, all the data used in the earlier analysis of each individual activity system were used here again. Three major steps were taken to identify the interactions between the six components in the colle ctive activity system. First, all the data were review ed for an overall view of what occurred in all four CMPR tasks in terms of learning and developing the knowledge and skill s of conducting CMPR tasks, such as what the instructor and the ELI did to help participants learn how to conduct CMPR tasks, the language functions pa rticipants learned, a nd what tensions or conflicts emerged that were related to l earning CMPR tasks. Second, information about the tensions and participants attempts to r econcile the tensions we re loosely clustered by using the triangle model. Third, the learning and development that occurred because of participants seeking solutions for the tensi ons or reconciled tensions were identified. Finally, the types of development were groupe d together and named with unique themes by using the constant comparison method.

PAGE 298

282 Figure 19 The Class Activity System of Learning Conducting CMPR Tasks in Summer, 2006 As shown in Figure 19, the whole class and instructor as well as the larger community collaboratively worked to execute the transformation from the object to the ultimate outcome: successfully accomplished CM PR tasks. The tensions that were emerged in the activity system are illustrat ed with the double-headed lightening arrows. In the following section, mediation from each component in the activity system will be analyzed from the perspective of the collective participants. Mediation from the Mediational Tools Akin to the propositions of CHAT theorists (e.g. Vygots ky, 1978; Engestrm, 1987; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), th e mediational tools employed by the participants in the CMPR tasks provided both affordances and constraints in the cl asss participation. Regarding affordances, by employing the comp uter and IM, students were able to conduct the peer response on the IM. Since IM supports multiple in teraction features such as emoticons and winks, student were ab le to employ these features to compensate for the lack of physical contact in online co mmunication. On the other hand, the use of Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of academic writing, Object : Knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR ta sks Rules: Norms of teacher-student and student-student interaction IM Communication Participants Instructor Community: Class Family ELI USF Division of Labor : Readers role Writers role Instructors role ELI sroles Outcome Successfully conducted CMPR tasks

PAGE 299

283 IM caused problems for students who were unskillful of using IM, which caused the tension between the subject and the physical tool. For example, learning how to operate IM chat costed Iron great amount of time and energy, which ultimately discouraged him from using IM. In addition, some students did not feel convenien t to discuss grammar problems in each others essay through IM chat, which caused the tension between the physical tool and the object. Regarding the mediation of English, all st udents were required to use English in IM chat. Some students such as Anton, Diane, and Rocky, who were fluent in English, spent less time planning their messages. Anton and Rocky even paid more attention to their English spellings in their messages. As for students like Iron and Nicky who were less proficient in spoken English, they t ook longer time constructing their messages. Irons situation was even worse. He not onl y spent ample time editing his messages but also was too focused on typing and editing to notice new incoming messages from his partner. Therefore, he sometimes missed the opportunity to res pond to his partners messages, which caused the tension between the psychological tool and the object. On the other hand, students were not constrained by the use of English. When they intended to express certain facial e xpressions such as happy, a nxious for response, shy, or admiring, they used emoticons or wink rather than describing them in texts. Although students became more conscious of their ow n English production dur ing the chat, they tolerated the misspellings in their partners messages as long as the misspelled words did not interfere their comprehension. Regarding the mediation from CMPR in struction sheet and CMPR worksheets, the mediation varied gradually along the time students participated in the tasks. In the

PAGE 300

284 first CMPR task, each student relied on the in struction sheet for dire ctions in the CMPR task. After gaining familiarity with the work sheets, students gradually discarded it. The use of CMPR worksheets varied among stude nts. Some students used the worksheets throughout the tasks because different sample questions were provided for each CMPR task whereas other students stopped using it after they discovered that the sample questions were given in the same format across the tasks and understood that peer response merely focused on several similar aspects of an essay. On the other hand, students did not passively internalize the psychological tools. The worksheets were modified constantly to more efficiently meet their needs. For example, in the CMPR task for the exploratory essay, Ant on discovered the hints given in the worksheets were too general to help her and other students anal yze their peers essa y. Consequently, the instructor modified the worksheets and adde d more specific sample questions which assisted students to comment and re quest comments on each others essay. Students were also constantly mediated by other psychological tools such as the documents and concepts of academic writing in certain modes. A lecture about how to write an essay in each academic mode was give n before students started writing their first draft. Thus, every student had certain knowledge about what is a good essay in each mode, which was internalized to some extent as the repertoire in their higher mental functions. In addition, along with the lectur e they were given pertinent documents containing guidance and examples of composing essays in each academic writing mode. Participants used both the concepts they had internalized and documents about each academic writing mode to evaluate the partne rs essay and provide certain suggestions although their abilities of usi ng these concepts and documen ts varied. During the chat,

PAGE 301

285 they used the concepts as well as English to justify their comments and suggestions on their partners essay as well as evaluate and negotiate the comments and suggestions from their partner. In other words, they em ployed these symbolic tools to achieve the goals they set in the activity systems. On the other hand, the mediation from th e physical and psychological tools was neither linear nor static. As students employed the tools in the activity systems, their skills of using these skills grew. Sometimes, they had to go back to review what they learned earlier to help them internalize the new concepts, e.g. Nicky in the third CMPR task. Along with their internaliz ation process, they constantly tried out or externalized their newly gained knowledge and skills of these psychological tools (Vygotsky, 1983). These processes were continuous and endle ss, sometimes troublesome, like what Iron encountered in his learning of IM. Mediation from the Community The community that shared the same object with the students and the instructor was composed of each students family, the ELI, and USF. Most of the students in the class were enrolled in the ELI with their fa mily support despite the fact that the support might not be direct support in English la nguage. They understood they took the academic writing class with certain purposes, including internalizing the norms of teaching and learning in the university such as conducti ng CMPR tasks, which was reported by Anton in her first interview, actually, we have a culture class. In the class, we are taught what rules to follow in and outside class in the ELI. It is in the students handbook (interview with Anton, 6/21/06).

PAGE 302

286 As for the ELI, all CMPR tasks were conducted in the ELI computer lab. The administrative faculty fully supported the integr ation of computer in all kinds of inand after-class activities. The use of IM in peer response tasks was also proved by the academic coordinator and the level-4 teach ing coordinator at the ELI. In addition, students who needed extra time practicing t yping or learning comput er operation skills had access to computers and computer lab assist ants any time when no class was given in the lab. As for the mediation from the USF, students who were enrolled in the ELI were allowed to use other facilities on campus at USF. Thus, they had access to the library including computers, staff, and books as well as the language environment. Mediation from the Rules According to CHAT (Engestrm, 1987, 1999; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006), rules refer to the explicit and imp licit regulations that govern the communication among the community members engaged in one activity system. In the CMPR-learning activity system, the rules consisted of the norms of t eacher-student and student-student interaction in class as well as implicit rules of IM co mmunication such as gr eeting each other and responding to each others messages in a timely manner. During the CMPR tasks, in particular, when the chat was conducted, students were required to sit beside their own computer and verbal communication was not encouraged. The instructor circled around the lab and answered any writing-related and computer-related questions when they were raised. The rules afforded a quiet environment for students to focus on their CMPR tasks. On the other hand, it constrained them from learning how to conduct CMPR task s from each other, especially for those who preferred to learn from observing their peers operating a computer such as Iron.

PAGE 303

287 Regarding the implicit rules of IM communication, a mini-demo of IM chat was given by the instructor before the very first CMPR task. The majority of students such as Anton and Diane were familiar with IM chat. Therefore, they had awareness of IM communication rules such as greeting, se nding messages, responding to messages, and using polite words and emoticons. When they exchanged comments on each others essay in English, they consciously or subconscious ly were mediated by the online communicate mode such as how to provide negative opi nions and suggestions without offending the partner and how to receive opinions and sugge stions politely as well as what problems could be discussed in IM whereas others could not. Iron was on the other end of the continuum of following the IM communication rules. Due to the lack of knowledge of IM and IM chat, Iron was not aware of the IM chat rules. Even after the mini-demo, he still ha d significant difficulties with following more implicit rules of IM chat, which generate d the tension between him and the rules, consequently the tension between him and An ton. However, Iron endeavored to solve the tensions by practicing typing dili gently. When he participated in the third CMPR task in which he collaborated with Nicky, he empl oyed an innovative language function in IM: asking for permission to provide suggestions, which was very well re ceived, as shown in Excerpt 4. 26. Excerpt 4.26: 5Iron: I was wondering if you'd mind let ting me offer you some addional things. 10Nicky: ofcouse Permit 11Nicky: i am glad if you can gi ne me some suggestion Permit 12Nicky: i don't mind Permit 13Nicky: :-D

PAGE 304

288 Therefore, the rules of in-class inte raction and online communication not only afforded chances for students to learn from participating in CMPR tasks but simultaneously constrained them from taking alternative ways. Mediation from the Division of Labor To achieve the collective object driving the activity system, all members in the community need to take certain responsibil ities. In the current activity system, the instructor played the role of facilitating th e CMPR such as developing and distributing the CMPR instruction sheet and CMPR wo rksheets as well as demonstrating the performance in CMPR tasks and providing assistance during the CMPR tasks. Although not everyone did so, each participant in the activity system was aware that he or she needed to play dual roles: reading and comme nting on the peers essay as a reader and receiving or requesting comments and suggestions from the peer as well as revising his or her own essay as a writer. The ELI played their supportiv e role as a provider and supporter of physical and administrative faciliti es to enable the implementation of CMPR tasks. During the CMPR tasks, all participants were aware of the roles they were expected to play. However, some participants usually those who were not involved in the central activity system, voluntarily opted for not taking either a readers role or an active writers role. Participants who more frequently played a r eaders role, such as Rocky, were more reluctant to accept suggestions from their peers. Those who preferred to play a writers role more often, such as Nicky, were less confident in their writing skills. In other words, the mediation of division of la bor actually illustrate d the distribution of power among participants. Stude nts who preferred a readers role leaned toward playing

PAGE 305

289 the traditional authority role in the task wher eas those who preferred a writers role were willing to subordinate under their peers. However, th power status was not stable. Throughout the tasks, students such as Nicky who were less confident gained confidence in their writing ability and thus sought a mo re active readers role whereas those who were more dominant such as Anton gradually realized they also c ould learn things from reading their less competent peers essays The last CMPR task witnessed a more equalized and quick role switch among peers. Although the mediation from each component in the activity system is described separately above, the mediational processes we re far from segregated. On the contrary, the participants actions were constantly influenced not distinctly but collectively by the object they subscribed to, the tools they employed, the community in which they were situated, the explicit and implicit regulati ons and norms in on and off-line social interaction, as well as the tacit labor division accepte d by each member in the community, which discursively shaped and were shaped by each othe r in the interaction. Tensions flowed and ebbed along the inter action only through whic h the participants internalized what were the purposes of CM PR tasks and how to conduct CMPR tasks, which eventually helped them accomplish the transformational process from the object to the outcome. In other words, it was only th rough encountering the problems or tensions and actively seeking solutions th at participants in the study le arned what were the nature and functions of a CMPR task and how to play their roles in a CMPR task.

PAGE 306

290 Section Summary for Mediation of Social Cultural Contexts in ESL Students’ Participation in CMPR Tasks This section unpacked the mediation of the social contexts in the actions of each participant of the study as well as the whole class during the four CMPR tasks. Adopting the triangle model of CHAT (Engerstrm, 1987, 1999, 2001), the interaction and tensions that emerged among the six components within each central activity system, namely, the subject, the object, mediational tools, the community, the rules, and division of labor, were analyzed in each participant’s central ac tivity system in each CMPR task as well as of the collective group embodying the enti re class throughout the semester. It shows that tensions existed omnipr esently between the components within an activity system. Some of them were triggered by previous internal te nsions while others were generated by the tension between the central activity system and its neighboring activity system. Some students deliberately sought ways to solve the tensions whereas others neglected them especially when they were simultaneously engaged in alternative activity systems. Successfully solved tensi ons led to the accomplishment of the object while neglected tensions aggregated the tensions within the activity system and ultimately resulted in collaboration breakdown. The analysis in this section unfolds both the complex relationship and the problems that existed contemporarily among the ESL students, their knowledge and sk ills of using both IM and En glish, their employment of supplementary materials distributed in class, the rules and norms governing the interaction among everybody in the class, the instructor, the ELI, USF, students’ family, as well as the responsibilities each one invol ved in an innovative learning task: CMPR took.

PAGE 307

291 Mediation of ESL Students’ Prior Experien ce with Academic Writing Instruction and Computer Use in Their Engagement in CMPR Tasks Research question 4: How do ESL students’ pr ior experience with writing instruction, particularly peer response, and computer us e mediate their engagement in CMPR tasks? This section was intended to answer the fourth sub-research question. Engestrm (1999) stresses one key princi ple of activity theory: histor icity, which means “identifying the past cycles of the activity system” (p.35) considering learning as expanding cycles. He argues that because of the complexity and multiple voices in activity systems, a historical investigation of the historical origin is essent ial for the analysis of an activity system. According to CHAT (Engestrm, 1987, 1999), beside the centr al activity system that is under the researcher’s investigation, there exist numerous neighboring activities among which are activities that produce the mediational tools (e.g. computer manufacturing), the subject (e.g. previous sc hooling or family life), and the rules (e.g. administration). Guided by CHAT, each participant’s prior experiences with peer response and IM chat were perceived as the neighbor activity systems in which he or she had been involved that produced him or her as a student participating in the cu rrent activity system, shown in Figure 20. Thus, the mediation of pa rticipants’ prior experiences was reported here as the interaction between the centra l activity systems and two neighbor activity systems: the peer response activity and the IM chat activity that existed earlier or were still existing depending on each participant’ s background. Following the analysis in the previous section, each part icipant’s engagement in th e CMPR tasks throughout the

PAGE 308

292 semester was considered as a developmenta l activity system dr iven by the object of improving academic writing through CMPR from his or her own perspective. The data used in the analysis of this research question included pre-study ethnographic survey, interview transcripts, be yondand on-screen behavior recordings, and IM chat transcripts. To analyze the data, two phases we re undertaken. The first phase focused on the analysis of the interaction between each participan t’s prior experience with academic writing instruction, particular ly peer response, and his or her central activity system driven by the motive of learning how to conduct CMPR tasks. The second phase analyzed the interaction between each pa rticipant’s prior experience with computer use, particularly IM chat, and his or her cen tral activity system driven by the motive of learning how to conduct CMPR tasks. In each phase, both withinand cross-case analysis were conducted. In Phase one, first, a within-case analys is was conducted to analyze how each participant’s prior experience with academi c writing instruction shaped his or her participation in the activity system. To do so, three steps were taken. First, the information related to the influence was fi rst loosely clustered in different groups. Second, the constant comparison method was used to ensure every group contained distinctive information. Third, a theme was given to each group. After the within-case analysis was finished, a cross-case analysis was conducted in which all identified themes in each participant were constantly compar ed and contrasted to avoid redundancy. The finally selected themes provided informati on about how participants’ prior experience with academic writing instructi on influenced their participati on in the collective central activity system. Phase two repeated the si milar steps in phase one to identify how

PAGE 309

293 participants’ prior experience with computer us e, particularly IM chat, influenced their participation in the collectiv e central activity system. This section consisted of three parts. In the first part, two types of interaction between participants’ ce ntral activity system and their pr ior peer respons e activities in which participants were involved will be repor ted. The second part pr esents two types of interaction between participants’ central activity system and their prior IM chat activities. In the third part, an integr ative view of the interaction between participants’ prior activities and an emergent more advanced CMPR activity will be discussed. The CHAT analysis and the constant comparison met hod (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) were used to analyze the data from the pr e-study ethnographic survey, interv iew transcripts, IM chat scripts, field observation data and the researche r’s reflective journals. Figure 20 Central Activity System and Neighbor Activities Prior PR activities Prior IM chat activities Community: Class Family ELI USF Mediational tools : Physical tools : Computer, IM Psychological tools : English, CMPR instruction sheet, CMPR worksheets, documents and concepts of academic writing, Object: Knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR Rules: Exchange draft IM Communication PR in IM Revise own essay Sub j ect Division of Labor : Reader’s role Writer’s role Instructor’s role ELI’ s r o l es

PAGE 310

294 Mediation of Prior Academ ic Writing Instruction and Peer Response Activities As shown in participants’ profiles (Appendix N)), none of the five participants reported they had taken any English academic writing courses before participating in the study. Although all participants had taken a various number of years of English instruction in their home countries, only E nglish grammar, vocabulary, and reading were required. In addition, although Anton, Diane, an d Nicky took a level-3 academic writing course in the previous semester in the ELI in which they were exposed to peer response, they mainly focused on basic paragraph com position and peer editing. On the other hand, Rocky revealed that he learned most of his written English from his mom who was an English teacher. Every time he went back to visit his parents, sh e would give him writing assignments and help him practice writing. He never participated in peer response tasks before taking the current course. The interview transcripts and field observat ion data showed that some participants did not believe or were not sure of the he lpfulness of peer res ponse in improving their own or their partner’s academic writing. For exam ple, Anton said in an informal IM chat with the researcher, “ For peer review, actually peer review never helps me to improve my English.. Yes, maybe. Maybe for a few or... I think that is better than me. T hat would be really helpful. That's why when you correct my, when you fix my essay. It's really helpful for me. ” (IM chat with Anton, 6/19/06) As indicated in Anton’s reflection, this negative perception about the effectiveness of peer response was rooted in their unsuccessful prior experience with peer response or preconception generated in their prior English instruction, which

PAGE 311

295 consequently generated two tensions between th eir central activity systems and their prior peer response activities. The first type of interaction or tensio n between participants’ central activity system and their prior activity lied in the re quirement of the CMPR and their disbelief in peer response, particularly for Anton and Ro cky. In the CMPR tasks, every student was required to read their peer’s essay, write dow n their own comments and suggestions using the CMPR reader’s worksheet, then exchange comments with their partner by using both the reader’s and the writer’s worksheets, finally revise their essay based on the information they obtained from the CMPR. The task assumed all students could learn from each other regardless of student s’ English language proficiency. Anton obtained her B.A. degree in Belgium and spent one year writing her thesis, which gave her some experience with acad emic writing although it was in French. She was also confident in her English grammar b ecause of her high scores obtained in all English courses at level 3. Thus she revealed that “ …. actually peer review never helps me to improve my English. ” (IM chat with Anton, 6/19/06) because she was used to writing an essay and revising it by herself one week later. Despite her disbelief in peer response, she participated in the first CMPR with Iron. In the first CMPR task, although she provided ample suggestions on Iron’s essay, she did not deliberately seek suggestions on her essay from Iron until she heard some comments from him. However, Iron’s lack of IM chat skills caused communication delay dur ing the CMPR. Anton thus did not obtain any helpful suggestions from the task, wh ich seemingly approved her preconception. In addition, after the first CMPR task, Anton also complained to the instructor that the guiding questions provided in the CMPR work sheets were too general so she did not

PAGE 312

296 exactly know what to do in CMPR. Consequent ly, Anton did not engage in the second CMPR task. She did not review Iron’s essay and completely rejected Iron’s comments on her essay by complaining that Iron should not comment on her ideas and his suggestions on her organization were too broad. The followup interview revealed that Anton did not believe Iron could help her in any rate and she thought he was too defensive when receiving feedback from her. Despite the experience in the first two tasks, Anton’s third CMPR was very successful during which, she discussed by employing the revised CMPR reader’s worksheet with Diane the ideas and orga nization in each other’s essay. From the negotiation, she noticed some of her ideas we re not clear and her organization was not well-structured. She also sugge sted that Diane and she work more on their content since they had the same argument in their essays as well as on their grammars in a face-to-face meeting. Her comment on the effectiveness of peer response was, “ Actually I get new idea. I will change some grammar mistakes. We ll, that's the one I hope. And what did I do? I tried to extend a little bit, but not that much .” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Regarding the procedures of peer response, she reflected, “ the more you make peer review, you know what to do exactly….” and “now we don't, we didn't really emphasize on the sentences. We mainly emphasize on the id eas, how to organize the essay, how to be accurate in the essay. Because it is onl y a first draft, a lot of things to talk about..” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). It indicated that Anton internalized the knowledge about how to conduct peer response by engaging in the tasks, which was also shown in her employment of the CMPR worksh eets. At the early time, she merely treated peer response as some rules she needed to follow. Consequently, she externalized her

PAGE 313

297 knowledge by actively negotiating comments and suggestions with her partners on each other’s essays. In other word s, at this moment, peer response had turned into some psychological tools she could employ to assist her actions in the activity. As for Rocky, he had lived in the U.S. fo r 5 years. He could speak English very fluently without apparent grammar mistakes. His prior experience with his mother made him confident in his writing as well. In addi tion, as discussed in Section 1, Rocky failed his previous Level-4 course. In order to move to the next level, he had to pass the course this time. Thus, his motive in the course was apparently merely passing the course. When asked how he thought of peer response, he merely answers, “ it is helpful for many students to improve their English .” (interview with Rocky, 7/17/06). He never expressed that peer response helped him throughout the th ree CMPR tasks. His motive and his view of peer response caused his tardiness in essay writing and participati on in CMPR tasks. Throughout the three CMPR tasks, he never finished his essays in time. He was only able to get feedback on his essay in the first CMPR task during which, he only provided suggestions on the organization in Nicky’s essay upon he r request. Although Nicky gave him very helpful suggestions re garding his organization and references, he did not incorporate them into his draft. In both his second and third CMPR tasks, he was not able to finish his essays before the tasks thus did not get any feedback from his partners. He reflected the proce ss of the second peer response, “ I was more concerned of reading her essay than she read my essay .” (Interview with Ro cky, 7/20/06). During the third CMPR, he focused on the misspellings in his partner’s essay. Despite correcting them by himself, he constantly checked with the instructor who wa s facilitating students in the lab. He explained that he was not sure of the mistakes and he “ just wanted to

PAGE 314

298 confirm with you ” (Interview with Rocky, 8/ 3/06), which indicated he still considered the instructor as the authority w ho could provide better help. Both Anton and Rocky’s case showed that ESL students’ prior experience with academic writing instruction and peer res ponse could cast negative influence on their participation in the CMPR due to the negativ e perceptions triggered by and formed based on their prior experience, especially in the firs t CMPR task they part icipated in. It could trigger tensions or conflict s between the central activity system and the peer response activity at an earlier time. However, the te nsions could be constantly shaped by and reshaping students’ participation in the central activity system. Anton successfully internalized the use of peer response and was able to take advantage of the task to improve her writing whereas Rocky never embraced the tasks and failed to internalize it. The second type of tension resided in the requirement of the CMPR and participants’ lack of self-confidence in help ing the peer, such as Nicky. The observation data and the document analysis further show ed that Nicky employed the CMPR reader’s and writer’s worksheets in every task. She ha d no problem with the procedures of peer response. However, Nicky only had two y ears of English instruction before she immigrated to the U.S. with her parents one year ago. She never took academic writing courses before she was enrolled in the ELI She was very concerned of her English grammar and her writing skills. However, iI n her first CMPR task, Nicky confessed, “ I am not sure it is helpful or not. But for me, I will give someone suggestion. I am afraid to do …. because I am not sure I am right or correct…. I give wrong suggestions or …. ” (interview with Nicky, 7/14/06) although she agreed peer resp onse definitely helped her. She explicitly expressed her worried in he r conversations with Rocky, her first CMPR

PAGE 315

299 partner: “haha, actually,,,, I am not a good writer so i afraid to give you any suggestion”. Fortunately, Rocky was friendly enough to enc ourage her to give any comments from a reader’s perspective, which helped her ga ther some confidence. She provided very helpful suggestions to Rocky in terms of us ing appropriate connectors between sentences and writing correct references. In her second and third CMPR tasks, Nicky very actively offered comments and suggestions on the orga nization and content in her partners’ essays although she very shyly admitted, “ I cannot find any grammar mistakes ” in the follow-up interview (Interview with Nicky, 7/20/06) She mainly focused on the content and organization, which she learned in the lectures and felt more confident in. Although Rocky did not believe peer response helped him, he also was cautious of giving feedback to his partners. He only provided feedback on the grammar and spellings in his partners’ essays. Unlike other students who provided both positive and negative comments on mainly the content a nd organization in their partner’s essay, Rocky was reluctant to comment on either the content or the organization in his partner’s essay. When asked why he did so, he revealed that “ they are good writers. They work really hard. And I like their ideas and the organization. But I found lots of grammar mistakes in their essays .” (interview with Rocky, 8/3/ 06). Considering that Rocky was very good at English grammar which he knew clearly from his scores in the grammar classes, this indicated that he either lacked the competence in or just did not want to spend time reading his partners’ essays and giving feedback on the content and organization in his partner’s essay. Thus, he also decided to focus on some aspects in which he felt comfortable with. Since he report ed in an interview that his mother usually

PAGE 316

300 edited his essays, his focus on grammar issues might also be caused by his perception of being a reader although he did not e xplicate this in the interviews. Both Nicky and Rocky did not have confid ence in their ability of being a helpful peer reviewer, although to differe nt extent, before they partic ipated in the CMPR tasks. However, Nicky deliberately internalized th e process of peer response as well as the writing strategies she learned in the lectures. She gradually overcome her personal barrier and actively contributed her opi nions and suggestions to her partner. In contrast, Rocky did not strive to internalize either peer respons e or different writing strategies delivered in lectures. Instead, he only focused on the aspects at which he was good before his enrollment in the class. Thus, the tensi ons between Nicky and Rocky central activity system and their prior peer re sponse activities existed and were resolved in different ways. In sum, although the tensions emerged between the central activity system and participations’ prior experi ence with academic writing in struction, especially peer response tasks, the mediation varied dependi ng on how each participant was engaged in the central activity system throughout the seme ster. On the other hand, neither Diane nor Iron had prior experience with English academ ic writing instruction and peer response. Both of them displayed no resistance to th e implementation of peer response. They both actively participated in the CMPR tasks. Mediation of the Prior Experience with Instant Messenger(IM) Chat There also existed two types of interac tions or tensions between the central activity system and participants’ prior IM ch at activity. One emerged between the use of IM chat as a learning environment in th e current activity system and some ESL

PAGE 317

301 participants’ preconception of IM chat as a fun communicati on activity. The other existed between the requirement of IM operation in the current activity system and some ESL students’ preconception of IM skills. Although IM has been a popular personal a nd group communication tool since its inception in early 2000s, it is rarely used in education for academic purposes. As shown in Appendix N, four out of the five partic ipants had been using IM chat daily to communicate with their friends and family. Th ey all expressed enthusiasm in using IM chat because online chat was fun for them. Thus, the tension emerged between using IM exclusively for the learning purpose in CMPR tasks and using it to communicate friends online. At the beginning, integrating a fun tool in to a learning task was enthusiastically embraced by the students. For example, Anton said “ It's fun to do it with instant messenger. I use instant messenger a lot. So I love talking on computer .” (interview with Anton, 6/21/06). And Diane agreed that “ To relax. you know. Because it is something that I like. That I enjoy. ” (interview with Diane, 7/11/06). Their positive attitude toward IM chat motivated them to partic ipate in the first CMPR task very actively. For example, Anton exclusively focused on the task dur ing her first CMPR although she did not believe the effectiveness of peer response. Unfortunately, ESL participants soon discovered CMPR was not so fun as they imag ined because they had to accomplish a task which might not work out due to the English pr oficiency or IM skills of their partners. Thus, they started to use IM as an entert aining tool rather than a learning tool. For example, Anton very surprisingly found he r partner Iron was a newbie of IM chat:

PAGE 318

302 “ As you see he is slow, that means that, well, I remember, I will type in my ideas about his essay. And he didn't reply in one hour to answer, and to put his own ideas about my essay. So we had to use another hour to make a peer review on my essay. So it took two hours. You know ”. (Interview with Anton, 7/1/06) She hardly obtained any helpful suggesti ons from Iron due to his slowness and she did not enjoy the chat at all. Thus in the second CMPR task in which she collaborated with Iron again, she started to chat with other online friends, which once resumed and never remained controlled ag ain. Even when she was collaborating with Diane in her third CMPR task, she did not stop chatting with another online friend. As for Diane, she never distinguished IM chat for a learning purpose from for an entertaining purpose. Whenever she was onlin e regardless of whether she was conducting CMPR tasks, she chatted with people as we ll as listened to online music and watched online musical video. She justified that “ I also want to have fun also. I want to enjoy every time. Because this time is my fun time when I am here. When I go to work, all the kinds of thing... so... ” (interview with Diane, 8/3/06) It indicates th at Diane thought CMPR was both a fun-seeking and learning process. The use of IM in classroom activities also inspired Diane to use the IM for educational purposes after class. She revealed that she started to use IM to disc uss homework with her classmates in the ELI after class or over the weekend, which she ne ver did before participating in the CMPR tasks. Rocky also was a long-time IM user. Duri ng two out of the three CMPR tasks, he immediately opened a chat window with one of his online friends once he logged into his IM. He constantly switched be tween the chat window with his online friend and the one

PAGE 319

303 with his CMPR partner. Chatting with the other friend sometimes severely distracted Rocky from answering his CM PR partner’s questions. In sum, the tension between the educational use of IM in the central activity system and participants’ prior activities that generated their preconception of its entertaining use varied depending on how willin g individual participants were to gain help from their partners. It was aggregated when the participant, such as Rocky, was not motivated to participate in CMPR tasks, in which case, IM chat enabled a convenient and well-disguised way for him to disengage in the central activity system. The second tension between the central ac tivity system and participants’ prior IM activities was reflected in the conflicts betw een participants’ heterogeneous expectations toward the CMPR conversation styles. Becau se of participants’ diverse prior IM activities, they might have different levels of IM skills. Some participants such as Anton, Diane, Nicky, and Rocky were very skillful of using IM. They could not only instantly exchange text messages in English but also use the myriad of extra communication tools provided in IM, such as emoticons to e xpress emotions with smiley faces, nudge to remind an IM partner if a res ponse is urgently needed, wink to show stronger emotions with multimedia animation, as well as creative IM language such as haha, lol which were the fun part that attract users to adopt IM chat over f ace to face chat. As proficient IM users, these participants e xpected their partner to have the IM proficiency to make a fun conversation. On the other hand, there was another type of students such as Iron, who knew IM chat but never used it because they thought IM chat was another online time-killing tool for younger generation. As for Iron, he was a de partment manager in a leading auditing

PAGE 320

304 company in Turkey. He seldom communicated with people in English except occasional email with his international customers in which case his secretary drafted the letters. Thus, typing in English was a challenging task for him. In addition, Iron never used IM chat so he had no idea as to how people co mmunicate in IM. Despite the demonstration by the instructor, Iron was not able to mast er all skills and comm unication styles that need in IM chat. The proficiency inequity between veteran IM users and novice users stimulated tensions during the CMPR tasks, which were most severe between Anton and Iron. Anton and Iron collaborated with each othe r in their first two CMPR tasks. In the first CMPR task, Anton realized that Iron was a very slow typist and not familiar with IM chat, which shredded her expectation for a f un IM chat. In the second CMPR task, she found Iron was still unbearably slow and he s ounded very uptight sending messages such as “Firstly, You have chosen very intresting s ubject, but I don't agree with your analysis approch and your idea”. Thinking of her own parents who were at Iron’s age, “ I mean my parents really want to be involved in t hat kind of thing. I th ink they are really good. They can chat. They know how to use it very well ”(interview with Anton, 7/19/06), she could not conceal her impatience in one message to Iron, “ What you say is unreadable... and I'm wondering why bcs your essay is s ooooooooo clear! there is a contradiction between the way you express yourself on the Internet and the way you write.... ”, which she was aware was caused by the use of IM, not by his English skills because “ But Irfan is very good. I was surprised when I read his essay ” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). Iron had realized his lack of online chat skills since the first CMPR task. He had been practicing typing very diligently. This message insulted him to some extent, which

PAGE 321

305 triggered his immediate self-defense, “ That is right, I couldn't use internet and competer much quickly. my staff does these things why I don't have free time for ch at etc. But I try. Otherwise my artical about my profeciancy I am a CPA in Turkey. Also I relaise my English is not enough.” The confrontation in the ch at ended with a complete communication breakdown. Anton neither acc epted any suggestions from Iron nor offered any suggestions for Iron. This confr ontation with Iron made Anton realize that unfamiliar people would get defensive in CMPR, as revealed in the follow-up interview, “ You feel, well, you feel comfortable with the very person. You think you can tell everything. She won't get it like, .” and “ I mean it is Diana. I know that I can give her advice and she won't take it like an aggressive thing, or something.” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). In contrast, Iron thought the communication breakdown was caused by Anton’s unwillingness to collaborate because she did not read his essay and she was too defensive to accept any feedback, “ Anton, you know, she cannot, she could defense, I don't understand why .”(interview with Iron, 7/21/06). The tension was solved in the third CMPR task in which Anton was paired with Diane who was as skillful as Anton in IM ch at and Iron collaborated with Nicky who was very patient with Iron’s typing and respected Iron’s feedback. Ant on could not resist hailing their online collaborati on in one message to Diane “ We make a excellent duel(duet)!” In the follow-up interview, she commented, “ Diane types faster than Iron, so the interaction is more efficient.. ” (interview with Anton, 7/ 25/06). On the other hand, Iron was also satisfied with his partner, “ Yeah, she study hard and she is serious. not you know ..”.(interview with Iron, 7/25/0 6). In addition, Iron also r ealized the way he provided his opinions was straightforward and sounded t oo critical. Thus, in his conversation with

PAGE 322

306 Nicky, he changed his style by asking very politely “I was wondering if you'd mind letting me offer you some addional things.” before he offered any suggestions. It shows Iron learned some communicati on strategies for CMPR. In sum, the tensions between the cent ral activity system and ESL participants’ prior IM activities shaped thei r preconception of IM use in th e central activity system as well as their expectation of an IM-mediate d collaborative conversation. Some students might confuse the educational use and entert aining use of IM when they encountered tensions during the CMPR tasks. Others might opt for the entertaining use of IM if they were not motivated to engage in the central activity system. As for students’ expectation toward CM PR conversations, some experienced IM users expected fun-infused but learning-orie nted conversations by using various non-text communicative features provided in IM whereas those novice IM users thought grammatically correct text messages would be enough for the discussion. On the other hand, by experiencing and seeking solutions for the tensions caused by students’ prior IM activities, students, especially Iron, also deve loped certain knowledge and skills that were beneficial for his or her partic ipation in future CMPR tasks such as how and when to use IM for educational and entertaining purpos es respectively, how to provide negative opinions without offending the partner. In othe r words, while the prior IM activities cast influence on students’ participation in the central activity system, the tensions evolved and reshaped their prior IM activities by turni ng into part of the prior experience. Thus, the mediation from the prior experiences with IM chat was never a one-way transmission.

PAGE 323

307 An Emerging Online Discourse for CMPR According to the data, tensions were ge nerated during the cons tant interactions between the central activity sy stem and both participants’ pr ior peer response activities and their prior IM chat activities. However, the process of seeking solutions for these tensions was undoubtedly a learning and develo pmental process in which participants might gain knowledge and skills of conducting p eer response tasks in an IM environment. In other words, a CMPR communication discou rse that differed from but integrated the features of both a casual IM chat discourse and face-to-face peer response conversations emerged throughout the CMPR tasks as the outcome of participants’ engagement in the collective central activity system. This em erging online discourse was synthesized in terms of greetings, linguistic features, negotiation of opinions and suggestions, and use of multiple chat windows. Greetings Participants usually greeted each other at the beginning of the conversation to inform each other his or her online status and readiness for the conversation. Sometimes, participants also us ed smiley emoticons to indicate his or her excitement in the task, which usua lly lightened up the atmosphere. Linguistic features Although misspellings or irregul ar Internet words such as thanx, 4u(for you), are tolerated in general IM chat, which is part icularly popular among native speakers of English, participants in th e study tended to use complete and accurate English words and sentence structures througho ut the chat. Some participants such as Anton, Nicky, and Rocky very conscious ly corrected their misspellings and ungrammatical sentences once they noticed th em in their messages. In the follow-up interview, Anton revealed that “ this is an English writing task If we cannot say correct

PAGE 324

308 English, we cannot help each other improve English. ” (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). In addition, participants usually wrote one sent ence in each e-turn they took, which made it easier for the partner to read and follow the messages. Negotiation of Opinions and Suggestions The special online discourse for negotiation of opinions and suggestions was illustrated in three aspects: (1) language function use; (2) focus of the negotiation, and (3) sequence of negotiation. First of all, participants noticed that providing critical opinions and suggestions might easily stimulate offense in their partner due to the lack of physical contact if the dyad did not have very close pre-IM pers onal relationship. Some partic ipants tended to start the negotiation with extensive compliments of th e strengths in the pa rtner’s essay followed with opinions and suggestions. In addition, usually the opinions were expressed by employing the language function clarifi cation request or confirmation check accompanied with smiley emoticons rather than direct opinions or suggestions such as “ honey... in your conclusion you wrote about ba d accent in ours teachers???? but just in your country???” Secondly, the majority of participants thought IM chat provided an excellent environment to discuss the content and organi zation rather than grammar errors in each other’s essay. Students such as Nicky and Di ane liked the way the ideas and organization in each other’s essay were discussed in IM because they could have extra time to organize their language and use the fun feat ures provided in IM chat to spice up the discussion. However, Anton commented, “ Maybe it is easier to form of the.... For example, there is a sentence which is grammatically incorrect. It is difficult on the net to write it down again. So I prefer to show her fa ce to face. So here is the mistake, here. ..”

PAGE 325

309 (interview with Anton, 7/25/06). It indicates th at a face-to-face meeti ng is still necessary for ESL students who lack the vocabulary for discussing grammar problems. Thirdly, the sequence of essay discussion was flexible in CMPR. In face-to-face peer response, students usually follow the or der to discuss each other’s essay. In an IM environment, because participants could post messages any time during the chat, the content in their messages could refer to any pr oblems in either one’s essay. To ease the conversation, participants tended to discuss a nd compare one similar i ssue in both essays Use of multiple chat windows In the CMPR chat, it was unavoidable that one student had to wait for a response from his or her partner because typing messages took time. While waiting for responses, some par ticipants opened multiple chat windows to chat with other online friends usually on offtask topics. Usually they immediately went back to the CMPR chat window if a new message was received. However, sometimes multiple conversations severely distracted th e student. Under this situation, the partner usually sent messages or a nudge to urge for prompt responses. In sum, the tensions generated in th e interaction between the central activity system and participants’ prior experience with IM chat and peer response urged them to form a new conversation discourse that was he lpful to achieve the ta sk goals in the IM environment. This discourse was different fr om both the casual and informal multimedia discourse used in daily IM chat and the re latively formal oral di scourse in classroom discussions. The IM chat transcripts showed that the new CMPR discourse emerged and continued evolving during ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks.

PAGE 326

310 Section Summary This section reported on the interactio n and tensions between ESL students’ central activity systems and thei r prior peer response activities and IM chat activities. It shows that the interaction was constant and fluid. Thr ough the process of seeking solutions for the tensions, ESL students co llectively created a new online communication discourse that was compatible with and helpful for CMPR. Conclusion This chapter reported on the empirical resu lts to answer the first four research questions in this dissertation study. It unfolds the motives a nd goals each ESL participant held as well as the fluid nature of the motive and goal formation and maintenance during their participation in the four CMPR tasks as well as the mediational roles played by instant messenger at the activity, action, and operation level. The complex relationship between the social cultural contexts, ESL stude nts’ historical activit ies in terms of peer response and IM chat and ESL students’ actions in CMPR tasks was interpreted diachronically and synchronically from the lens of CHAT. Chapte r V will present a holistic and dynamic picture of ESL students’ participation in the CMPR tasks from an integrative view of CHAT and Dynamic Syst ems Theory by using all the findings of the four research questions pres ented in Chapter IV.

PAGE 327

311 CHAPTER V A DYNAMIC VIEW OF ESL STUDENTS’ PARTICIPATION IN COMPUTERMEDIATED PEER RESPONSE (CMPR) Tasks This chapter displays a holistic a nd dynamic picture of ESL students’ participations in computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) tasks in summer, 2006 from an integrative view of cultural histori cal activity theory (CHAT) (e.g. Cole, 1996; Engestrm, 1987,1999, 2001; Leont’ev, 1981; Vygotsky, 1978) and dynamic systems theory (DST) (e.g. Thelen & Smith, 1994; van Gelder & Port, 1995). The chapter consists of two sections. The first section describes the fluid and dynamic social settings that were constantly transformed by and transforming ES L participants engaged in the CMPR tasks in the summer semester, 2006. The dynamic in teractions between ESL participants’ motives, goals, actions as well as activities and the social cultural historical contexts were unpacked. All findings in the prev ious four research questions based on the analysis of all data including formally collected data a nd those through the researcher’s informal communication with participants were used to help the researcher interpret the dynamics in the CMPR tasks. Occasionally, new info rmation from the analysis of interview transcripts was included to support new findings in this section. In the second section, the transformati onal trajectories ESL students experienced during their participation in the CMPR ta sks are presented in graphical diagrams, adopting the key tenets of DST. In this s ection, the main data sources included beyond-

PAGE 328

312 and on-screen behavior recordi ngs, the IM chat transcripts, as well as the researcher’s reflective journals. The constant comparison me thod was used to identify incidents that indicated the extent to which each partic ipant was engaged in each CMPR task. Dynamic Social Settings in the Academic Writing IV Class According to CHAT, social interacti on is a dialectical process through which people create and develop social settings (Vygotsky, 1978; Smagorinsky, Cook, & Reed, 2005) or activity system (Engestrm, 1987) affording tools through which people internalize ways of thinking and externali ze them by continually changing the settings. Wertsch (1985) points out that every sett ing has an overriding motive based on the predominant values and social practices of people who inhibit it. The motive suggests what social actions are appropriate within the setting. However, the setting is always subject to changes and shifts because the members who have heterogeneous ways of thinking (Tulviste, 1991) in the social setting are constantly resisting or renegotiating the motive, thus create new motives and get enga ged in new activities. In this section, ESL participants’ motive shift and the learning and development that were derived from their motive shift will be explained by using both Leon t’ev’s notion of hierarchical structure of an activity and Engestrm’s triangle models. The purpose wa s to thoroughly display the fluidity of ESL students’ behaviors by focu sing on individual’s hier archical development as well as their horizontal development that we re originated in the interaction with the social contexts. Individual’s Hierarchical Development According to Leont’ev’s (1978) proposition of the hierarchical structure of an activity, an activity consists of individual or cooperative actions, whic h in turn consist of

PAGE 329

313 chains of operations. An activity is usually driven by an unconscious and infinite motive or object whereas actions usually have an immediately defined goal. Thus, when an action is performed in the real world, it is usually planned in the subject’s consciousness and executed in chains of automatic or subc onscious operations corresponding to specific conditions in which actions are performed. When an action is practiced long enough, the conscious planning fades away and thus the action collapses into automatic a nd fluent operations. On the other hand, when the conditions change, an operation will return to the consciousness of the subject and turn into an action. The constant change of c onditions in various social settings causes the action-operation dynamics. This dynamic also exists between acti on and activity. When an activity’s motive becomes conscious to th e subject, it turns into a goal. Thus, an activity is transformed into an action. Conversely, an action may break down into a series of successive activities, that is the goal may break into a seri es of subgoals and thus turn into a subconscious motive (Davydov, Zinche nko, & Talyzina, 1983, as cited in Kuuti, 1995). The notions of flexibility between ac tion and operation and between activity and action provide powerful constructs to explain each i ndividual’s vertical or hierarchical development processes. The dynamics were clearly observed among the ESL participants of this study, particularly in Anton, Dian e, Iron and Nicky. As shown in previous analyses, Rocky was not engaged in any of the learning-oriented activity system during all of CMPR sessions he part icipated in. Thus, his lear ning and development are not discussed here. Because of the different le arning and development patterns shown in the

PAGE 330

314 logging into IM account typing messages sending messages typing correct words and sentences choosing appropriate expressions help peer with each aspect of the essay seek help from peer CMPR sessions, I will present two types of dynamics, one in Iron’s development (Figure 21) and the other in the rest of three participants (Figure 22). Activity level ___________________________________________ Action level __________________________________________ Operation Level Figure 21 Iron’s Activities, Ac tions, and Operations When Iron joined in the first CMPR tas k, he could not type English words very fluently on the keyboard. Although he was invol ved in the activity systems of improving knowledge and skills in academic writing in the expository essay, he had conscious goals to improve his typing skills as investigated in research que stion 1. He was actually driven by a secondary subconscious motive: to learn or improve IM chat skills, which evolved into the motive of changing his image of an incompetent IM user in the second CMPR task. Thus, at the activity level, he was learning IM chat. At the action level, he consciously practiced logging into IM account typing and sending messages. And at the operation level, he could find each key on th e keyboard and hit the keys with one hand without any technical problems. hitting each key checking the spelling of each word and the grammar of each sentence checking the appropriateness of sentences learning IM chat/changing image learning conducting CMPR learning academic writing in each mode learning academic writing

PAGE 331

315 As he grew more skillful of tying messa ges at the end of the second CMPR task and in the third CMPR task, Iron could perf orm the IM account-login and message typing and sending without apparent pr oblems, which indicated these actions had turned into his automatic operation. It also means his subc onscious motive of learning IM chat or changing the image of being an incompetent IM user had become a conscious goal. So a new subconscious motive: use IM chat to partic ipate in CMPR tasks, that is, learning how to conduct CMPR, emerged as his new activit y. As shown in earlier analysis, while engaged in the activity of learning how to conduct CMPR tasks, Iron learned what language functions to use, which turned in to his actions, to give his opinions and suggestions without offending his partner. In addition, based on Leont’ev’s hierarch ical structure of activities, Iron’s participation in the first two CMPR tasks also could be considered an action driven by higher-level motives: learning academic wr iting skills in the e xpository essay and learning the skills in the summary-analysis e ssay, if he could su ccessfully conduct each CMPR task and gain knowledge and skills th rough his participation. In other words, when he mastered the skills of conducting CM PR tasks, his participation in each CMPR task would turn into an action of a larger activity. However, the earlier analysis showed that Iron was still learning how to conduct CMPR tasks upon his departure from the ELI. Due to both his and his partner’s incomp etence in conducting CMPR tasks, conducting the CMPR tasks did not help Ir on significantly in terms of im proving his writing skills in each mode. The dynamics also occurred in a reverse direction. Iron was al ready a proficient English writer at the word and sentence leve l when he was enrolled in the course. He

PAGE 332

316 knew many English words and could write gram matically correct sentences fluently on paper. However, when he chatted on th e IM, typing correctly spelled words and grammatically correct sentences, which used to be his automatic operations, became his consciously planned actions due to the ch ange of condition: fast online message exchange. In addition, since he was not familia r with the online chat environment, even producing pragmatically appropria te sentences came into his consciousness. Thus, he had to constantly check the appropriateness of his messages to avoid offending his partner. From Leont’ev’s view, once Iron becomes mo re familiar with the IM environment, typing IM-compatible messages will turn into his operations. On the other hand, according the resear cher’s reflective journals, Iron was engaged in the activity of improving academic writing when he was enrolled in the course. However, due to the complexity of the activity, it was broke n into a series of smaller-scope activities, namely improving academic writing in each mode, which consisted of chains of actions such as taki ng lectures, writing the first draft, conducting CMPR tasks, and receiving teach er’s feedback. However, because of the use of IM chat and the unfamiliarity with peer response, conducting CMPR tasks turned into an activity for Iron as described early. The two-direction movements constantly took place within a nd across the CMPR tasks. The dynamics between the actions and operations and between the actions and activities reflected the lear ning and development processe s Iron experienced throughout the summer semester. The downward move ment indicated Iron’s development in competences in IM chat and conducting CM PR tasks whereas the upward movement indicated the problems that emerged during hi s learning process. As discussed earlier,

PAGE 333

317 sometimes the movements described above di d not occur in a neatly organized linear fashion. For example, in the second CMPR task, Iron was involved simultaneously in both the activity system of learning IM chat or changing his image of being an incompetent IM user and the one of improvi ng writing skills in the summary-analysis essay which was at a higher level in the hier archy. To be analyzed in a later section, tensions between the two activity systems could occur when activity systems that belonged to different hierarc hy juxtaposed simultaneously. Activity level _______________________________________________________ Action level _______________________________________________________ Operation Level Figure 22. Anton, Diane, and Nicky’s Activities, Actions, and Operations The dynamics in Anton, Diane, and Nic ky’s activities, actions, and operations throughout the four CMPR tasks was presented in one diagram because all of them were familiar with IM chat before participating in the study. In other words, IM execution was at the operation level for all of them. Thus they started the CMPR tasks at a higher hierarchical level than Iron. None of Anton, Diane, and Nickywas familiar with CMPR tasks when they were enrolled in the class. Thus, during the first ta sk, they all had conscious goals to help peer helping the peer identify problems and providing suggestions seeking help from peer with the essay typing and sending messages receiving and reading messages reading essays and using CMPR worksheets help peer/seek help with the content help peer/seek help with the organization help peer/seek help with the grammar, spelling, punctuation help peer/seek help with the references learning conducting CMPR tasks learning academic writing in each mode learning academic writing

PAGE 334

318 with the content, the organization, grammar, sp ellings, the references as well as seek help with those aspects. They also tried to use the CMPR worksheets to guide their CMPR performances. In other words, help peer/seek he lp with certain aspects of an essay were at their action level. Throughout their particip ation in the CMPR tasks, they gradually internalized the procedures and purposes of providing help and seeking help with each aspect. Thus, these executions lost the consciousness and turned into their automatic operations. Especially for Anton, in the third CMPR task, she was very clear about what she was expected to do in the task. Thus, help ing the peer and seeking help in a general sense rather than in the specific aspects required in the CMPR worksheets became her conscious goals. As Anton, Diane, and Nicky had more pr actices with CMPR tasks throughout the semester, they all gradually internalized th e CMPR tasks which were reflected in their more independent use of the CMPR wo rksheets and increasingly sophisticated employment of various language functions es pecially in their last CMPR task, which postulated their engagement in the activity of improving academic writing in each mode. Ultimately, they would develop competen ces in academic writing in general. On the other hand, the movement between the operations, actions, and activities was never linear or straightforward. For example, although Nicky developed the competences to provide help to Rocky with the organization in his summary-analysis essay, she was not sure how to evaluate the organization in Iron’s argumentative essay because of the introduction of new writing mode and Iron’s writing style. In this case, helping peer with the organization turned in to her conscious goal again. This type of fluctuation never ceased during ESL participan ts’ engagement in the four tasks. Going

PAGE 335

319 through these dynamic processes as well as internalizing an d transforming the external activities, participants were transfor med, that is, developed (Leont’ev, 1978). Dynamics Within and Between ESL Students’ Activity Systems Leont’ev’s hierarchical st ructure lends a lens thro ugh which each individual participant’s developments throughout the se mester were analyzed. However, a human being never transforms into a more advanced entity solitarily. The dynamics also existed among the interactions with other member s in certain social settings. Although Engestrm’s (1987, 1999) triangle model may l ook rigid, the relationships within and between the triangular systems are fluid a nd dynamic, which afforded a theoretical framework to unpack the fluid nature of the knotworking activity systems of each participant. First of all, when the five ESL particip ants joined the academic writing IV class offered in the English Language Institute in a southeastern res earch-oriented public university in summer, 2006, this class already had an overr iding motive that had been driving the administrative and teaching facu lty as well as the overall student body: improving the academic writing proficiency. Under this overall setting, there were subsettings such as the learning modules each of which focused on one writing mode, i.g. expository essay, argumentative essay, etc. E ach subsetting was driven by a similar but smaller-scale overriding motive: improving st udents’ academic writing skills in the expository essay, the argumentative essay, etc. The subsetting afforded tools such as documents regarding how to write essays in each mode, the computers, IM used in the CMPR task, and CMPR worksheets, through wh ich ESL students collaborated or resisted

PAGE 336

320 the collaboration with each other, gove rned by certain norms and values commonly accepted by the community. As shown in earlier analysis, althoug h some students embraced the overriding motives in each subsetting, not everyone subscribed to it every moment throughout the semester. By interacting with different dyadi c partner and interacti ng with the overriding activity systems, students developed alte rnative and even dissonant motives and conscious goals based on their situations and their own ways of thinking. Due to the dissonances and juxtapositions of multiple curr ent and previous activity systems in which ESL students participated, tens ions within and between ac tivity systems emerged. Some tensions within an activity system were ar oused by the ones between the central activity system and its neighbor systems. Others we re generated because of the interaction between the central one and some previous ones in which the part icipant was engaged. The tension-generating and solution-seeking process was dynamic. In this section, the dynamics in all the activity systems in wh ich each participant was engaged throughout the CMPR tasks will be discussed ba sed on each participant’s experience.

PAGE 337

321 Dynamics Within and Between Anton’s Activity Systems Figure 23 Anton’s Dynamic Activity Systems Figure 23 showed the dynamic relationships between activity systems that existed when Anton participated in the three CMPR tasks. The dynamics within each activity system, particularly in 1 and 3, which reflect ed the overriding motives of the subsettings, were illustrated in the circling arrows with in activities 1 and 3, which were Anton’s central activity systems: learning academic writing skills in exploratory essay and learning academic writing skills in argumentative essay. A is her prior activity of IM chat and B is her prior act ivity of English academic writing instruction and peer response. Although these two activity systems resided in a different temporal scale, they constantly interacted with An ton’s central learning activity systems and influenced the conscious goals she had throughout her participation in the three CMPR tasks. The other two overarching motives that penetrated all of Anton’s actions throughout the CMPR tasks were le arning CMPR tasks and learning academic Learning CMPR tasks Learning academic writing A B 1 1a 2a 2 2c 3 3a 3 A : prior activity of IM chat; B: prior activity of English academic writing instruction; 1: activity of learning academic writi ng skills in exploratory essay; 1a : Iron’s activity 2a : activity of maintaini ng a good-student image; 2b : activity of having fun in IM chat; 2c : Iron’s activity 3 : activity of learning academic writing skills in argumentative essay; 3a : activity of having fun in IM chat; 3b : Diane’s activity

PAGE 338

322 writing. In other words, while engaged in s ub-activity systems in each writing module, Anton was also engaged in tw o overall activity systems. 1a represents Iron’s activity system when he collaborated with Anton in the first CMPR task. 2a and 2b are two activity system s Anton were engaged in whereas 2c is Iron’s activity system in the second CMPR tas k. 3a is the other activity system in which Anton was engaged while 3b is Diane’s activity system when she worked with Anton in the third CMPR task. The dynamics in Anton’s activity systems lied in her negotiation of the tool use, the rules of interaction, the co mpetences of a CMPR partner, and her perceptions of peer response throughout the three CMPR tasks in wh ich she participated. As shown in Figure 23, Anton was usually engaged in multiple activity systems simultaneously, which produced conflicts and tensions in her goals within each activity system, especially her central activity systems. dynamics in the use of IM Although the activity systems did not exist in the same temporal space, the influence from the earlie r systems penetrated the later ones. As analyzed in Chapter 4, Anton was very familiar with IM chat. Participation in this prior activity helped Anton form certain concepts in her mind regarding what to use IM for and how to use IM. During the first CMPR tas k, Anton noticed her partner Iron was very unskillful of IM chat. Her prior experiences with the activity system of using IM for fun and her inefficient collaboration with Iron in the first task triggered her engagement in the activity system of havi ng fun in IM chat when she was aw are she had to collaborate with Iron again in the second task. Iron’s unimprove d IM chat style gave her another impetus to engage in both the activity system of maintaining a good-student image and the one of

PAGE 339

323 having fun in IM chat. She not only chatted with other online frie nds but listened to online music and played online poker with Dian e. In the third task in which Anton was engaged in the central activity system, she suggested Diane and she edit each other’s grammar mistakes directly on the essay papers rather than discussing them on IM after she realized the inconvenience of IM chat. While she discussed essays with Diane, she was simultaneously chatting w ith another online friend. As shown in earlier analysis, Anton first used IM as a learni ng tool through which she could interact with her partner. After the unsuccessful experience, she dwelled on its entertaining function. Finally, she used it as a tool for both learning and entertaining purposes. She also tried to tailor the use of IM for her convenience as shown in her behaviors in the third CMPR task. This dynamic was caused by her engagement in multiple activity systems. dynamics in the use of CMPR worksheets In her first CMPR task, Anton was engaged in both the activity of learning academic writing skills in an expository essay and the one of learning conducting CMPR ta sks. Her unfamiliarity with conducting a CMPR task caused the tension between the psychological tool: th e CMPR worksheets, and her object in the former activity syst em. She reported her difficulty with the worksheets to the instructor who modified th em and developed more helpful tools. Anton used these tools in her third CMPR task, wh ich provided a better guide for her to identify problems in Diane’s essay. As shown in her be haviors in the third task as well as her reflection, once she became familiar with the pr ocedures of how to offer suggestions and ask for help, she gradually relied on herself rather than the worksheets in the task.

PAGE 340

324 dynamics in her negotiation of the rules During the CMPR tasks, all students were required to only communicate with thei r partner through IM chat. However, Anton constantly crossed the line when she was enga ged in both the learning activity system and non-learning activity systems. In her first CMPR task, Anton followed the rules closely by chatting only with Iron online. In the second task, after she re alized the inefficiency of the collaboration with Iron, she lost patience to work with him. Driven by her motive of having fun in IM chat, she started to chat with other online friends. In the third task, she used IM to interact with both her partner and another online friend. In addition, when noticing some common problems in both her and her partner Diane’s essays, she felt it wa s necessary to have a deeper discussion. Driven by her motive of learning academic writing in an argumentative essay, she formed a new conscious goal: seek a good way to discuss grammar and organization with Diane which generated a new activity system in which Anton and Diane co llaborated in a face-to-face meeting to solve the problem. Thus, the rules of online interaction were first closely followed, then broken for non-task purposes and finally expanded for the sake of achieving her object. dynamics in her perception of peer response and competences of a CMPR partner Anton had prior experience with academ ic writing although it was in her native language and with English language instru ction which was mainly teacher-fronted lectures. She did not believe a classmate whos e English proficiency was lower than hers could help her when she participated in the first peer response task. When she participated in the first CMPR task, she in itially thought Iron would help her because his essay was very well-written, which was in concord with her prior concept of peer

PAGE 341

325 response: a peer with higher English proficie ncy would help her. Later, she discovered his lack of IM chat competence severely ha mpered his contribution. Thus, her concept of a constructive peer response was refined by ch anging her standards for a competent peer. After her participation in the second task, she realized a helpful peer should not be aggressive, either. Therefore, in the third CMPR task, although she knew Diane’s English language proficiency was not as high as hers she was willing to collaborate with her because she was good at IM communication, friendly, and cooperative. She not only perceived Diane as a source to obtain suggestio ns but considered her as a co-constructive partner with whom she could negotiate and generate new ideas and writing strategies, which indicated Anton’s concepts about peer response had been completely transformed. In summary, the dynamics in Anton’s activ ity systems were particularly displayed in the fluidity within her central activity sy stems. When the tension between the tools and her object emerged, she sought solutions to so lve the tensions. When the tension between the tool and her community member emerged, sh e shifted to alternative activity systems. None of her objects during her particip ation in the tasks were static. Dynamics Within and Between Diane’s Activity Systems As shown in Figure 24, Diane’s actions in her central learning activity systems throughout the three tasks in which she partic ipated were also me diated by her prior activities with IM chat and academic writi ng instruction and the two overall activity systems. The dynamics in her activity systems was mainly shown in her use of IM and her perception of peer response and her partne r’s role amid the constant interactions among these multiple activity systems.

PAGE 342

326 Figure 24. Dianes Dynamic Activity Systems dynamics in the use of IM. Diane had been using IM for a long time. She perceived IM an important entertaining tool. Whenever she used the Internet, she would chat with people, including during all the CMPR tasks time. Therefore, Diane was consistently engaged in the activity of havi ng fun in IM chat throughout the CMPR tasks. On the other hand, because of her engagement in multiple activity systems, her concepts of IM chat were also transformed. She rea lized IM chat could be used not only for entertainment but for academic purposes such as discussing homework with classmates after class. The dynamics in her use of IM were illustrated in her switch between these two functions throughout the three tasks she participated in. During her second CMPR task, Diane colla borated with Anton whom she admired and had been looking forward to working w ith. However, her engagement in multiple activity systems: the central activity system and the activity system of having fun in IM Learning CMPR tasks Learning academic writing B A 1a 1c 2 2a 2b 3 3a 3b A : prior activity of IM chat; B: prior activity of English academic writing instruction; 1a: activity of maintaini ng a good-student image; 1b : activity of having fun in IM chat; 1c: Partner Jillils activity 2 : activity of learning academic writing skills in an argumentative essay; 2a : activity of having fun in IM chat; 2c : Antons activity 3 : activity of learning academic writing skills in a problem-solution essay; 3a : activity of havin g fun on the Internet ; 3b : Rock y s activit y 1b

PAGE 343

327 chat still produced a tension between the use of IM as a tool and her object. During her chat with Anton, Diane was eager to have some fun with Anton as they did in the previous task. She invited Anton to have an online game supported within MSN IM even when she and Anton did not finish the task, which did not happen only because Anton was using a different version of IM which did not support the game. In addition, Diane tended to chat about off-task to pics with Anton during the tas k. Diane failed to notice this tension, thus did not deliberately seek solutions. dynamics in her perceptions of peer response and the partner’s roles Diane never received formal instruction in English academic writing before she was enrolled in the ELI. Thus, she believed anyone whose Englis h proficiency was higher than hers could help her. She did not reject any feedback from a peer as long as he or she could offer helpful suggestions. Although the overriding motive in the first task in whic h Diane participated was to learn academic writing skills in a summar y-analysis essay, she did not uptake this motive because of the partner she was paired with. Her part ner Jillil who only wanted to have fun in IM chat did not offer any cons tructive feedback on her essay based on the IM chat transcripts. Mediated by her partner’s activity as well as her genuine motive of having fun in IM chat, Diane did not embrace the overriding motive. Instead, she participated in the task merely to maintain a good-student image. In the task for the argumentative essay, Diane was fully engaged in the activity system of learning academic writing skill s in an argumentative essay because she believed Anton with her higher English profic iency could help her identify problems in her essay. In this task, she obtained helpfu l feedback from Anton and offered some

PAGE 344

328 opinions to Anton. She also had a very constr uctive discussion with Anton after class to both develop each other’s ideas and collabo ratively revise each other’s conclusion paragraph. From this experience, Diane learned she could help Anton although her English proficiency was lower than hers. Diane’s initial motive in the third CMPR task was just to have fun on the Internet because she was aware of Rocky’s genuine mo tive. However, after realizing Rocky could provide some helpful feedback on her word-lev el mistakes, she was gradually engaged in the central activity system of learning academic writing skills in a problem-solution essay. However, the divergent objects driv ing Rocky’s and Diane’s activity caused the dissonances between the components within Di ane’s central activity system, such as the rules and Rocky, the object and Rocky, the di vision of labor and Ro cky. During the task, Diane endeavored to solve the tensions by di rectly requesting information about Rocky’s essay although he did not finish it and offe ring her ideas. In addition, although Diane was not satisfied with the suggestions provided by Rocky, she did not express disappointment because she was aware more suggestions could be given by the instructor to achieve her eventual object of improving her academic writing in a problem-solution essay. In the follow-up interview, she also reflected that sh e later read Rocky’s e ssay and gained some writing strategies. It indicated that Diane’s perception a bout peer response was more realistic in terms of what bot h she and her partner could c ontribute in peer response. As illustrated above, the dynamics in Di ane’s activity systems was displayed especially in the constant interactions betw een the multiple activity systems in which she was engaged during each task. Her prior activity with IM chat and her engagement in the activity system of having fun on the Internet interfered with her conscious goals in the

PAGE 345

329 activity system of learning academic writing in each mode, which produced tensions between the tool and her object. The tension either deteriorated or was ameliorated depending on the interaction between her ac tivity system and her partners activity systems. Dynamics Within and Between Irons Activity Systems Figure 25 Irons Dynamic Activity Systems The dynamics in Irons activity systems was complicated by his more complex life experiences including his prior experiences w ith IM and English instruction as well as his social status as a respectful and powerful departme nt manager in a prestigious finance auditing company in Turkey. To unf old the dynamic nature of all the activity systems in which Iron was engaged throughout the three CMPR tasks, the interactions within and between activity systems wa s discussed in the following section. Learning IM chat Learning CMPR tasks Learnin g academic writin g A B 1 1a 2 2a 2b 3a 3b 3c A : prior activity of IM chat; B: prior activity of English academic writing instruction; 1: activity of learning academic writi ng skills in an expository essay; 1a : Antons activity; 2 : activity of learning academic writing skills in a summary-analysis essay; 2a : activity of changing image; 2b : Antons activity 3a : activity of maintaini ng a good-student image; 3b : activity of maintaining a goodwriter image; 3c : Nickys activity

PAGE 346

330 Although Iron never chatted with people via IM in the past, he saw his children using the Internet and chat. He perceive d chat as some younger-generation like his children’s entertainment means through which they kill time. However, he took great efforts to learn IM chat during the CMPR ta sks because he thought it was an interesting communication tool and more importantly the instructor required every student conduct the task in IM. Unfortunately, he lost interest in using this tool gradually due to Anton’s negative attitude toward his contributions in the second CMPR task and his uncomfortable feeling that al l his IM conversations could be inspected anytime by the instructor. Although he had a pleasant chat wi th Nicky in the third CMPR task, he still had difficulty in producing clear and accurate messages in English quickly. Regarding his prior experience with English academic writing instruction, especially his experience w ith peer response, Iron had never taken any academic writing instruction in English. Nor did he hear of peer response before he was enrolled in the current writing class. He part icipated in the first CMPR ta sk with strong interest and obtained feedback from Anton. However, his performances in the task indicated he did not completely understand the purpose of peer response. He did not intend to discuss the feedback provided by Anton, which was reflect ed by his reaction message in the chat “ I'l concern and evaluate your s uggestions. Thank you a lot” Neither did he discuss the suggestions he could offer to Anton. He me rely offered some opinions. He only gave specific suggestions after Ant on’s explicit request. His attitude toward peer response changed in the second CMPR task when he not iced Anton was neither willing to obtain his feedback nor prepared to offer him her feedback. Based on the two experiences, he realized his partners did not he lp him much in the task. Thus in the third CMPR task, he

PAGE 347

331 was more inclined to give feedback rather than obtain any feedback. He enjoyed the feeling of helping and being admired by a cl assmate, which reminded him of his higher power status in Turkey. Because Iron was engaged in the activity systems of both learning academic writing skills in the exposito ry essay and learning how to conduct CMPR tasks, he set conscious goals to improve his IM login a nd typing skills. Without knowledge about the implicit rules of IM communi cation, Iron was so concerned about his English production that he spent enormous amount of time editing his messages before sending them out, which along with his slow typing extraordinar ily delayed his message contribution in the task. At the same time, the lack of know ledge and skills of conducting peer response adversely influenced the quality of fee dback provided by Iron. Driven by her own motives of learning writing an expository e ssay and learning CMPR tasks, Anton did not feel satisfied with Iron’s contributions, whic h alerted Iron who never felt so incompetent as boss in a big company in Turkey, and urge d him to generate a new activity: changing his image of being an incompetent colla borator in the second CMPR task. Although Iron, driven by multiple motives in the second task, endeavored to increase his typing speed unfortunately by s acrificing the accuracy at both the wordand sentence-level, his contributi on was still slow and his missp ellings and grammar mistakes severely interfered with the meaning he in tended to deliver. Facing the failure of achieving his new goals and object, Iron de fended himself in a message to Anton by indicating his decent status in Turkey, which further dismayed Anton. Thus, the tensions between the IM tool, the rules of IM comm unication, and Iron gradually aggregated and were finally transformed into the tens ion between Anton and him. Iron neither

PAGE 348

332 successfully changed his image nor obtained he lpful feedback from Anton. However, the tension between Anton and him afforded Iron an opportunity to learn the CMPR rules, which was externalized in his use of an i nnovative opinion-giving strategy in the third task. The tensions he confronted in the se cond task refrained Iron from getting engaged in the central activity system in the third CMPR task in which he initially was only driven by the motive of maintaining a good-student im age. He did not expect to obtain any helpful feedback from Nicky despite his suggestion-request action during the chat. However, Nicky’s positive comments and attitudes toward his feedback infused Iron with some confidence in his competence, which so licited his engagement in a new activity system: maintaining a goodwriter image by providing opinions and suggestions to Nicky. Iron’s experiences ostensibly illustrated the fluid natu re of the motive generation and goal setting during his participation in th e three CMPR tasks. The activity systems in which he engaged afforded him opportunities to resist, negotiate, and change the context in terms of using tools and following rule s, which produced tensions and conflicts. Regardless of the solutions to the tensions Iron learned and deve loped knowledge and skills in IM chat and conducting CMPR tasks. Dynamics Within and Between Nicky’s Activity Systems The dynamics in Nicky’s activity systems were particularly displayed in her negotiation of her reader’s role, her percep tion of peer response, and her use of the CMPR worksheets. Nicky had two-year Englis h instruction before she immigrated with her parents to the U.S. from Taiwan. A ll her prior instruction was teacher-fronted

PAGE 349

333 lectures. She was very respectful for the aut hority and people who we re more proficient in English than her. She had ne ver participated in peer res ponse before her enrollment in the current class. She did not believe a classm ate could help her sign ificantly. Nor did she think she was competent enough to help a classmate in writing. Figure 26 Nicky’s Dynamic Activity Systems dynamics in the role-taking. In her first CMPR task, Nicky was very reluctant to give her opinions and suggesti ons to Rocky due to her lack of confidence in her English proficiency. Under Rocky’s encouragement, sh e offered some suggestions for his essay, which boosted her self-esteem. In her second CMPR task, she pinpointed some ambiguity in Iron’s essay although she knew Iron’s Englis h proficiency was much higher than hers, which indicated that she was gradually interna lizing her reader’s role. In her third task, although her comments were still constraine d in organization and ideas due to her constant lack of confidence in her gr ammar, she actively offered opinions and Learning CMPR tasks Learning academic writing A B 1 1b 2 2a 3 3a A : prior activity of IM chat; B: prior activity of English academic writing instruction; 1: activity of learning academic writing skills in a summary-analysis essay; 1a : activity of chatting with an English-speaking partner; 1b : Rocky’s activity 2 : activity of learning academic writing skills in an argumentative essay; 2a : Iron’s activity; 3 : activity of learning academic writing skills in a problem-solution essay; 3a : partner’s activity; 1a

PAGE 350

334 suggestions to her partner, which indicat ed a blossom growth of her skills and perceptions of a criti cal reader’s role. dynamics in the perceptions of peer response As mentioned above, Nicky did not believe a classmate could be as helpful as a teacher to improve her writing. When she collaborated with Rocky in the first CMPR task, she constantly checked with Rocky whether he read her essay b ecause he did not provide many constructive suggestions. She later reported that Rocky was helpful because he identified some although not all of the mistakes in her essay, which indicated that sh e considered peer response merely as an opportunity to obtain feedback that otherwis e should be given by the teacher. In her second task, she noticed Iron used many ne w words she’d never seen. In order to understand his essay and provide helpful feedback for him, she checked every new word in her dictionary. Eventually she learned these new words and realized conducting peer response was also a process to learn someth ing from her partner’s essay. Thus, in her third CMPR task, she studied her partner’s e ssay very carefully, which exposed her to a different approach to writing a problem-soluti on essay, as she reporte d in the interview, “ yes, I learned something. I read his essay… se e his writing…he has a different way write it .” (Interview with Nicky, 8/3/06). It showed that throughout he r participation in the th ree CMPR tasks, Nicky’s view of peer response shifted from peer response as an alternative way to obtain suggestions to edit an essay to peer res ponse as a learning process through which she learned not only from discussing with her partner on the problems in each other’s essays but also from being exposed to divers e writing approaches and language output.

PAGE 351

335 dynamics in the use of CMPR worksheets Nicky’s employment of the CMPR worksheets also varied throughout the three tasks. Although she used the worksheets in all three tasks, she closely followed all the sample questions given in the worksheets in the first task whereas she only loosely used some questions in her third task. After the three tasks, she reported to the researcher that “ the worksheet? They helped me…. for example, what to look in my partner’s essa y, questions I should ask to improve my essay ” (interview with Nicky, 8/3/06) The above mentioned three types of dynamics occurred during Nicky’s negotiation with her CMPR partne rs as well as her interaction with the entire context. In other words, these dynamics existed both w ithin and between the activity systems in which she participated. Dynamics Within and Between Rocky’s Activity Systems As shown in Figure 27, Rocky was not de liberately engaged in any learning activity system in the three CMPR tasks he participated in, which was mainly influenced by his prior experience with English learning in and out of the ELI. Rocky had been in the U.S. for six years when the study was c onducted. Compared to other classmates, his English proficiency, particularly spoken Eng lish, was higher. In addition, his mother was an English teacher who always checked his English learning progress when he visited them during his vacations. Rocky did not like school life and all the assignments in the ELI because he thought his English was good enough. However, because he failed his previous Level-4 academic writing course, he had to retake it and pass it to get promoted to level-5 before he could graduate and obt ain admission from a local private university. Therefore, he was not motivated to take the course and accomplish all the assignments.

PAGE 352

336 Neither did he believe his classmates coul d help him improve his writing. The major motive that drove him to participate in th e CMPR tasks was to maintain a good-student image in front of the instructor in order to pass the class. Figure 27 Rockys Dynamic Activity Systems Although Rocky was not engaged in any learning activity system, his participation in the CMPR tasks still dem onstrated fluidity and dynamics which were reflected in the roles he played and his use of IM in the tasks. dynamics in the roles Rocky played in the tasks. When Rocky collaborated with Nicky, he surprisingly discove red that Nicky was very ac tive in IM chat, which was completely different from her quiet image in regular class discussions. After noticing Nicky was still not confident in giving her opinions and suggestions, he offered her some tips about how to provide feedback and encour aged her to offer her opinions confidently. In his second CMPR task, Rocky collaborated with a friend of his, Francia, who needed Obtaining Participation Credits A B 1a 1c 2a 2c 3a 3b 1b 2b A : prior activity of IM chat; B: prior activity of English academic writing instruction; 1a: activity of maintaini ng a good-student image; 1b : activity of having fun in IM chat; 1c : Nickys activity 2a : activity of helping a friend in the task; 2b : activity of having fun in the IM chat; 3c : partner Francias activity; 3a : activity of maintaini ng a good-student image; 3b : Dianes activity;

PAGE 353

337 extensive help in English language. After she told him about her extraordinary difficulties with English writing, he offered her not only feedback on her essay but general writing strategies. He also constantly comforted he r by saying her mistakes were not serious. In this task, he apparently played a friend rather than a critical reader role. When collaborating with Diane who he knew had higher English proficiency than Nicky and Francia, he focused on the word-level mistakes she made rather than organization and content because he was more sure of English grammar. In this task, his role was merely an editor. The dynamics in Rocky’s role-pla ying was caused by his engagement in the activity system of maintaining a good-student image and his interaction with different community members. The relationship betw een him and his partners mediated his performance as to how much he contributed his feedback. dynamics in the use of IM. Rocky was very familiar with IM chat. Because of his engagement in the activity system of main taining a good-student image, he seemed not concerned about what he could learn from the peer response. Driven by a secondary motive of having fun in IM chat, he consiste ntly chatted with an online friend during the first and second CMPR tasks. However, duri ng the third CMPR task, he stopped chatting with the online friend and focused on chatting with Diane because he noticed the instructor was sitting right behind him during the most time of the lab. In case that his off-task behaviors were caught by the instruct or and cost his partic ipation credits, he withdrew from participating in the activity system of having fun in IM chat, which indicated his IM use was mediated by the pr esences of and the conflicts between the activity systems in which he was engaged.

PAGE 354

338 Taking a consistent anti -reductionistic stance, Vygotsky (1987) warns against “the decomposition of the complex mental w hole into its elements” (p.45). Although the dynamics provided in the above analysis was pr esented in discrete aspects such as motive shift, the role-taking, the use of IM, and the perceptions about peer response and competences of a partner, the dynamic shifts in those aspects were generated through the constant and vibrant interactions among all co mponents within an activity system as well as between juxtaposed multiple activity systems. The findings of the dynamics within and between activity syst ems in which ESL participants were engaged thr ough their participati on in the CMPR task s illustrated that the dynamics existed ominously in various lear ning activities. In a learning environment such as the level-4 ESL academic writing clas s in the ELI, ESL students participated in the learning task CMPR by accomplishing which they were expected to improve their writing skills in each mode through dyadic interaction, which also were the motives imposed by the existing social context. In spite of the overriding motives, each ESL participant perceived the social cultural c ontexts in a different way because of their heterogeneous historical b ackgrounds, consciously and subc onsciously resisted and renegotiated constantly with th e social contexts, and formed their own motives and goals which were either consistent or di ssonant with the ove rriding motives. Through the resisting and renegotiating pr ocesses, tensions and dissonances within their central learning activity system and between th e central activity system and its neighbor activity sy stems such as having fun in IM chat emerged. The process of seeking solutions led to lear ning and development either pr omptly or in a long run. In other words, due to their unfamiliarity with the format and procedures of the CMPR

PAGE 355

339 tasks, ESL participants who were genuinely engaged in the learning-oriented activity systems not only learned writing through partic ipating in the tasks but learned how to conduct the tasks. The following section will pr esent the developmental trajectories each participant had while he or she was engaged in the CMPR tasks by using an integrative view of CHAT and DST. ESL Participants’ Dynamic Developmental Trajectories in CMPR Tasks Wertsch (1998) argues that it is fru itless to unpack the nature of mental development only through investigating the st atic products of development. Because of the vibrant and accidental influences from th e environment, none of the development can be interpreted following the same standards. However, it is impossible to speak of development without positing a preferre d direction. To untangle this dilemma, developmental dynamists (e.g. Thelen & Smith, 1995; Smith & Thelen, 2003;van Geert, 1998; van Gelder, 1995) advocate the Dynami cal Systems Theory, particularly, the nonlinear developmental model, a.k.a. chaos th eory, to capture the nature of human’s dynamic and emergent development that is sensitive to the changes to the environment without only considering the static products. Th is section presents ea ch ESL participant’s dynamic development that unfolded in his or her participation in each CMPR task in a graphically represented traj ectory, considering each student as a complex dynamic system which comprised inter action of multiple different components and processes in specific contexts. Data sources for the analys is included field notes, participants’ beyondand on-screen behavior record ings, IM chat recordings, a nd the researcher’s reflective journals.

PAGE 356

340 According to DST (Thelen & Smith, 1995) to represent the trajectory of a complex system at a particular timescale, it is necessary to identify its collective variable(s) which acts as a dependant measure of change in the system. The trajectory and phase shifts of the system through its state space are graphically displayed by the successive values of the collective variable which can be performed through quantifying qualitative data through empirical observat ions. The current study focused on both the microgenetic and ontogenetic changes in ESL participants’ perfor mances throughout the CMPR tasks. To record the microgenetic ch anges, each ESL participant’s performances were identified every 10 minutes in each CM PR task. Since each CMPR session usually lasted for 50 minutes, students’ performances were evaluated five times in each task. In other words, the collective variable was each ESL participant’s performances every 10 minutes during each CMPR task whereas the de pendent variable was the entire semester. To systematically quantify each participant’s performances every 10 minutes, a Scale for Quantifying ESL Students’ Engage ment in CMPR Tasks (Appendix O) was created. According to the data analysis in Chapter IV, participants who were actively engaged in providing constructive feedback and negotiating feedback from the partner were genuinely engaged in the activity system of learning writing essays in each mode. Those who only asked for and/or received opi nions and suggestions were less confident in their own English proficiency or did not believe in peer response. Those who merely provided opinions rather than specific suggestions were eith er less engaged or competent in the task. Students who spent ample time r eading the essay and/or the worksheets were less familiar with CMPR and those who had verbal communication with the instructor or had technical problems were eith er uninterested in the peer co llaboration or not skillful

PAGE 357

341 enough to get engaged in the task. To the c ontrary, those who provi ded no feedback and objected the majority of his or her partner’s feedback, or di scussed off-task topics, or used the IM and the Internet for entertai nment purposes were disengaged in the task. Considering this was a computer-mediated ta sk, students who conti nuously chatted with neighbors on some topics unrelated to th e task for more than two minutes were considered least engaged in the task. Base d on the above understanding of ESL students’ engagement in CMPR tasks, the researcher as signed an ordinal score to each type of performance to indicate the extent of a stude nt’s engagement due to either his or her willingness of or competence in conducting the CMPR task. To use the scale to quantify each ESL part icipant’s performance, five steps were undertaken. First, the pa rticipant’s beyondand on-screen be havior recordings as well as IM chat transcripts were revi ewed. Behaviors that occurred every 10 minutes within each CMPR task were grouped together. Second, data collected every 10 minutes were scrutinized to identify the types of perf ormances based on the aforementioned scale. Third, the constant comparison method was conducted to ensure the data under each category were accurate and not redundant. Step 2 and 3 were repeated to identify the performances during all of the 10-minute slots. Fourth, after the types of performances every 10 minutes were identified, each type of performance was given a score based on the Scale. If a participant conducted multiple types of performances, his or her score would be the accumulated scores of all perf ormances. For example, during the second 10minute slot in the first CMPR task, Iron bot h gave opinions to Anton, which was scored 3, and read the essay and the worksheet, whic h was score 2. Thus, his score in this slot was 5. The same steps were repeated to sc ore every participant’ s performances. Since

PAGE 358

342 Rocky was considered unengaged in the ac tivity system of learning how to conduct CMPR tasks, his performances were analyzed here. To increase the trustworthiness of the da ta, a peer researcher also was asked to conduct the scoring. The obtained two sets of sc ores were compared and an average score for the controversial item was used. The final scores are shown in Table 28: Table 28 ESL Participants’ Performances in CMPR Tasks A 1 A 2 A 3 A 4 A 5 B 1 B 2 B 3 B 4 B 5 C 1 C 2 C 3 C 4 C 5 D 1 D 2 D 3 D 4 D 5 Anton 2 6 4 5 1 0 -4 -4 -7 -3 0 0 -2 2 5 Diane 0 4 -2 -3 -3 2 -1 3 2 2 -3 1 1 5 5 Iron 0 5 6 3 1 0 5 5 -2 1 2 2 2 9 5 Nicky 2 4 8 7 3 2 2 2 9 7 7 3 7 6 1 Note. A1,2,3,4,5: CMPR Task for expository essay; B1,2,3,4,5: CMPR Task for summary-analysis essay; C1,2,3,4,5: CMPR Ta sk for argumentative essay; D1,2,3,4,5: CMPR Task for problem-solution essay. In the following charts, the trajectories of ESL students who participated in the same tasks were placed in one chart fo r the convenience of comparison. Figure 28 showed Anton and Iron’s performances in CMPR tasks 1, 2, and 3 while Figure 29 illustrates Diane, Nicky, and Rocky’s in CMPR tasks 2, 3, and 4.

PAGE 359

343 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 A1A2A3A4A5B1B2B3B4B5C1C2C3C4C5 Anton IronFigure 28 Anton and Iron’s Performance Dynamics in CMPR Tasks -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 B1B2B3B4B5C1C2C3C4C5D1D2D3D4D5 Diane NickyFigure 29 Diane and Nicky’s Performance Dynamics in CMPR Tasks Figures 28 and 29 illustrated the fluctuating engagement of each ESL participant except Rocky in the CMPR tasks they participated in, which resonates with the dynamics observed through the lens of activity theor y. As shown in Figure 28, Anton and Iron’s trajectories did not show ostens ible disparity in Task 1 while they diverged dramatically in Task 2 due to the mediation of their hete rogeneous motives in the two tasks. In the third task, Anton worked with Diane while Iron worked with Nicky. According to their trajectories, both of them were more engage d in task 3 compared to the second task. However, although Anton was motivated by the learning knowledge a nd skills of writing an argumentative essay, she was distracted by her involvement in the activity system of having fun in IM chat. Hence her scores in Ta sk 3 were not as high as in her first task.

PAGE 360

344 Figure 29 showed that Diane and Nicky a ll tended to have higher scores in CMPR Task 4, compared to their performance in th e first two tasks. Diane was not engaged in Task 2 because she did not believe her partner back then could be of significant help to her. Although she enjoyed working with Anton in Task 3, she was severely distracted by her involvement in the activity system of havi ng fun in IM chat. In Task 4, she did not do anything except checking her email and brow sing on the Internet during the first 10 minutes of the task. The reason that Nicky obt ained a lower score in the last ten minutes in Task 4 is she finished her peer res ponse earlier than the re quired time. Hence she mainly tried to maintain the conversation w ith her partner till the end of the class. To analyze learning and development, developmental dynamicists (e.g. Lewis,, Lamey, & Douglas, 1999; Thelen & Sm ith, 1994) use the constructs of state (the position of each element and relation at a particular point of time), state space (the space defined by the set of all possible states that they system could path through), trajectory (the particular succession of states through the state space), and attractors (a point or path in the state space toward which the trajector y will tend) to explain the process of development. They contend that human beings are complex systems composed of diverse elements and situated in complex contexts wh ich constantly interact with each other and eventually become coordinated or coupled and produce coherent patterns over time. The behavior of the system at a particular point of time is called the state. The path of the behaviors the system has throughout a certain amount of time is called trajectory. And the behaviors that are iteratively performed by the system and eventually become stable are called attractors in the stat e space of the system.

PAGE 361

345 As graphically displayed in Figures 28 a nd 29, the attractors in all participants’ systems, which were the stat es they most frequently re sided in, were around 2 upon the end of the semester. It means that the major ity of the five ESL pa rticipants’ engagement in the CMPR tasks was at level 2 throughout th e semester. However, it did not mean that they will remain at this level forever. Gi ven a longer time to pr actice the CMPR tasks, they may achieve a higher level in terms of engagement in the CMPR tasks. On the other hand, the trajectories displayed in Figures 28 and 29 also demonstrated the multiple unstable states each ESL participant visited throughout the semester. Each of them had heterogeneous behaviors in each CMPR task. In summary, DST provided signifi cant constructs through which the developmental dynamics of each ESL participan t in the CMPR tasks was explained with graphical illustrations. This complemented the findings from the lens of CHAT. Conclusion This chapter answers the sub-research question 5: What is the dynamic nature of CMPR? The findings were presented through two distinct but co mplementary views: Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT ) and Dynamical Systems Theory (DST). From the lens of CHAT, the dynamic developmental processes each participant went through were analyzed by employing both tenets in Leont’ev’s hierar chical structure of activity system and those in Engestrm’s tr iangle model. The analysis through Leont’ev’s hierarchical structure showed that the blurring boundaries between each ESL participant’s activities, actions, and operati ons due to their different competences of operating IM chat, conducting CMPR tasks, and writing an academic essay in a certain mode caused dynamic movements between thei r motives and goals. The analysis through

PAGE 362

346 Engestrm’s triangle model illustrated that the dynamics was engendered and thus maintained due to the conflicts each particip ant had within each central learning activity system as well as between juxtaposing social cultural and historical activity systems each participant was involved in dur ing their participation in each task. Employing the central tenets of DST, the researcher also was able to graphically illustrate the developmental trajectories each participant had throughout thei r participation in the CMPR tasks, which unfolded in a dynamic and fluctuating manner. As emphasized by both activity theorists and developmental dynamists, learning and development are far from being a self-contained neutral process. Instead, development is always situated in a comp lex context full of conflicting and mutually shaping components. Going through the develo pment means learners need to confront these conflicts and discover solutions collect ively one way or another, which is usually reflected in their unstable behaviors that have potential to produce a coherent pattern over time. In the case of CMPR, the introduction of instant message situated ESL students who were unfamiliar with computer-mediated communication in an unfamiliar physical environment and left those who had been using instant messenger for entertaining purposes confused as to how to balance IM’s entertaining and learni ng functions. It might perplex them more seriously if they had no prior experience with peer response and/or suspected the benefits of peer response. In this complex and unfamiliar environment, the dynamics was inevitable, which, however, prem ised the learning and development.

PAGE 363

347 CHAPTER VI SUMMARY, DISCUSSION, RECOMMEND ATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS This chapter provides a summary of th e research findings, a discussion relating the results from this study with pertinent pr evious studies and theo ries, recommendations for future research and pedagogical implicat ions based on the findings of the study. Summary of Research Findings This section contains a summary of research findings for each research question. As for the research question 1, it was discovere d through the analysis of observation data, IM chat and interview transcripts as well as th e researcher’s reflective journals that each ESL participant held heterogeneous motives within and across computer-mediated peer response (CMPR) tasks. Some motives confor med to those expected by the teacher such as learning academic writing skills in each m ode whereas others could be categorized on an engagement continuum the one end of wh ich was peripheral to learning such as maintaining a good-student image and changi ng the image of an unhelpful partner and the other end of which was orie nted to completely fun-seeki ng, e.g. have fun in IM chat or have fun on the Internet. Participants were usually driven by multiple motives within and across tasks, in other words, they were involved in multiple activity systems, which also usually diverged from his or her partner’s in each CMPR task. Participants’ engagement in multiple and heterogeneous activity systems triggered conflicts between activity systems, which in tu rn stimulated diverse conscious goals held by each of them. Participants who were driven by learning-oriented motives usually had

PAGE 364

348 specific goals to help the part ner or seek help from the pa rtner regarding the content, organization, grammar, etc as dictated in the CMPR worksheets. The actions driven by these conscious goals usually advanced into operations in the following tasks after the participants gained acquaintance with the pr ocedures of CMPR. On the contrary, those who were not driven by these motives, i.e. Ro cky, usually held goals such as providing superficial feedback merely on the aspects which they thought were easier to comment on. They did not intend to seek help actively. Hence there were no ostensible changes in their goals across tasks. Through Leont’ev’s (1981) view of activ ity theory, the findings for the second research question illustrated the mediation of instant messenger (IM) in ESL participants’ participation in CMPR tasks at the activity, action, and operation levels respectively. At the activity level, it was discovered that th e use of IM stimulated new activity systems such as having fun in IM chat as well as f acilitated participants’ flexible shifts between the central learning activity system and its neighbor activity systems. In addition, conforming to Thorn’s (1999) findings regard ing students’ perceptions about computermediated language learning, at the end of the semester, ESL particip ants in this study developed alternative views of peer re sponse that was conducted in a synchronous computer-mediated environment. The views were manifested in two dialectical aspects: learning-affordance and learning-constraints. As for learning affordance, the participants thought that (1) CMPR tasks were affectively appealing and could be conducted flexibly in class or after school; (2) IM could be used for other academic purposes; and (3) multiple learning purposes could be fulfilled in th is task. In terms of learning constraints, participants realized that some topics su ch as grammar mistakes might not be easily

PAGE 365

349 discussed in IM due to their limited language repertoire to describe grammar issues in pure texts and that the task might cause extra cognitive and affective burden on students who lacked the IM chat skills. At the action level, IM influenced partic ipants’ conscious goal-setting. Iron as the only one who was unfamiliar with IM chat se t conscious goals such as creating an IM account and being able to conduct IM chat in his first task and being able to type faster in the second task. Participants who were fa miliar with IM operati on but had difficulties with discussing certain issues in IM would set conscious goals such as seeking alternative ways to collaborate. At the operation level, the mediation of IM was analyzed from four aspects. First, despite the unconstrained speech environment enabled in IM chat, the number of participants’ e-turn contributions varied based on their IM co mmunication skills and personal IM chat styles rega rdless of whether they were driven by a learning-oriented motive. In addition, they tended to maintain a balanced e-tu rn-taking pattern when they collaborated with a familiar and equally IM-ski llful partner. Second, compared to face-toface peer response, participants in the st udy created innovative language functions such as inform action, constantly used conversa tion-maintaining strategies, i.e. greetings, express appreciation, high fre quency of compliments and enco uragement even if the pair was not familiar with each other, as well as embedded numerous non-text communication symbols such as emoticons, winks, and nudges to spice up their conversations as well as explicate personality (in Nic ky’s case). Participants also were more competent in employing appropriate language f unctions to achieve their go als in each CMPR tasks. Third, the interpersonal relationships between pa rtners were reshaped to different extent

PAGE 366

350 by the use of IM depending on ESL students’ IM operation skills, IM communication styles, and pre-CMPR relations hip. Lastly, participants sought alternative ways to obtain grammar-related feedback and performed special actions to check their partner’s status if the partner was within thei r sight area in the lab. To answer the third research question, the mediation of contemporary social cultural contexts was analyzed first within each ESL participant’s individual activity system driven by discrete motives then in the collective activity system in which the whole class was the subject unde r investigation and oriented to the object of knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR tasks. It s howed that tensions and conflicts existed omnipresently in participants’ activity systems regardless of task types and partners. Each participant’s activity system entailed different tensions because of his or her divergent thinking and constant negotiation with the soci al setting. Students su ch as Iron and Nicky actively sought solutions to the tensions in their activity systems whereas those like Diane and Rocky ignored the tensions, which we re rooted in their divergent motives in the tasks and thus resulted in distinctive learning results. In terms of the collective activity system in which the whole class was engaged during the CMPR tasks, the majority of the pa rticipants participating in the CMPR tasks were subconsciously involved in the activ ity system of learning conducting CMPR tasks due to the fact that none of them were fam iliar with peer response, not mention computermediated peer response. Although there were assumed roles for each student and rules to be followed, participants from their individua l perspective constantly negotiated with the context regarding how to use th e mediational tools, either phy sical tool such as instant messenger or psychological tools such as CM PR worksheets, English use in informal

PAGE 367

351 settings, and their concepts of academic wr iting, and how to play the roles and how to follow the rules in the CMPR tasks. Because of these constant and vibrant negotiations, there emerged conflicts and tensions within the activity system as well. Collectively, some tensions were solved, which led to learning and development whereas other tensions remained and had potential in e ngendering further development in terms of knowledge and skills of conducting CMPR tasks. The answer to the fourth research ques tion provided a historical view of the phenomena in ESL participation in CMPR ta sks in summer, 2006, which helped explain why ESL participants were driven by different motives a nd adopted different perspectives and means to negotiate with th eir social cultural c ontexts. Two types of interactions or tensions we re unpacked between participan ts’ central learning activity system and their prior activity of peer re sponse, including the one between the CMPR requirements and participants’ disbelief in peer response and the other between the division of labor and participants ’ lack of self-confidence as a critical reader. There also existed two types of interaction between part icipants’ central activity system and their prior activity of IM chat, one between IM as a learning tool and IM as an entertaining means and the other between IM operati on as a necessary skill and participants’ preconception of IM skills. In addition, the mediation of th e historical activity systems not only existed in the first CMPR task but penetrated into all following CMPR tasks. With participants’ accumulated experiences in each task, the mediation was never unfolded in the same form. In other words, the mediation between the central learning activity system and the hist orical activity systems was dynamic and dialectical. In addition, the dialectical medi ational process was also a progressive process through

PAGE 368

352 which participants learned a nd developed certain knowledge a nd skills that were reflected in the emergence of a CMPR discourse. The CMPR discourse embodied unique communicative features regard ing greetings, linguistic feat ures, negotiation of opinions and suggestions, and use of multiple chat wi ndows when participants were engaged in CMPR tasks. The fifth research question uncovered the dynamic nature of ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks. Employing Leont’e v’s hierarchical structure of activities as well as Engestrom’s triangle model, the researcher unfolded the fluctuation among activity, actions, and operations, which showed the learning and developmental process throughout the CMPR tasks and the discur sive and constant negotiation of each participant as an active agent with his or he r social settings through which both the agents and the context were transformed. To illustrate the transformational process, constructs such as state, state space, attractors, traj ectory, and timescale from Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) were adopted, which crystalli zed the fluctuating transformational process each participant went through in his or he r participation in the CMPR tasks. Collectively, the results for the five re search questions explained and illustrated how ESL participants were engaged or di sengaged in the computer-mediated peer response tasks in the Level-4 academic writing class in the summer semester, 2006, providing a thorough answer to the overarch ing research question of this study. Discussion As part of the writing-as-a-process appr oach to teaching L2 writing, peer response has been a widely adopted task in ESL acad emic writing classes (e.g. Grabe & Kaplan, 1996; Ferris, 2003). Due to ESL students’ dive rse linguistic, cultural, and educational

PAGE 369

353 backgrounds, ESL peer response has been deemed a complex learning task. Although peer response as a L2 classroom task has been investigated from various aspects since the mid-1980s, research on computer-mediated peer response as an emerging area is still scarce. With the Internet-connected comput er an increasingly pe rvasive communication tool in the modern society, CMPR, particul arly in a synchronous mode, merits more attention from researchers and educators. Th e current study investig ated the dynamics in computer-mediated peer response in an ES L academic writing class innovatively from the cultural historical activity theoretical perspective. The following section discusses how the findings from this study resonate with, differ from, as well as advance the existing knowledge of ESL peer response, especially those conducted in a computermediated synchronous environment, particular ly in three aspects: the dynamic motive shifts and the discursive social cultural contexts in CMPR ta sks, tensions and conflicts in CMPR tasks, and the learning and development that occurred in CMPR tasks. Dynamic Motive Shifts and Discursive Social Cultural Historical Contexts in CMPR Tasks First of all, different from the majority of previous research on ESL peer response (e.g. Carson & Nelson, 1996; Hedgcock & Lef kowitz, 1992; Leki, 1992; Lockhart & Ng, 1995; Storch, 1998, 2001, Tin, 2003; Zhu, 1995, 2001), I did not assume every participant was driven by the same motive and goal with the instructor ’s. In other words, ESL participants might not subs cribe to the overriding motive of the social setting when they participated in each CM PR task. Neither did their motives and goals maintain unchanged within and across tasks.

PAGE 370

354 When ESL students joined in the Level4 academic writing class, the social setting of each CMPR task, was endowed with multiple overriding motives and goals (Smagorinsky, Cook, & Reed, 2005) which did not determine but rather served to afford and constrain particular kind of actions (Cole, 1996; Vals iner, 1998), for example, what norms or communication rules should be fo llowed in CMPR, what roles each student should take, and what tools they could empl oy during the tasks. The findings indicated that as active agents (Vygotsky, 1981), each ESL participant accepted, rejected, and negotiated with the social contexts embodying a myriad of physical and psychological tools accessible or inaccessible to him or her, the community members, the communication norms and divisi on of labor, based on his or her own thinking that was shaped and continuously being shaped by hi s or her prior and current experiences. Therefore, there existed participants’ hete rogeneous and fluctuating motives and goals which derived divergent performances in CMPR tasks. For instance, Anton first used the IM as a learning tool then switched to its entertaining function, and finally used it for both learning and entertaining pu rposes. Nicky was initially shy to play her reader’s role because of her lack of self-confidence in he r English grammar. After two tasks, she grew into a critical reader providing bot h opinions and suggestions actively. The negotiation and transformational inte raction between ESL students and the social cultural contexts re flected ESL participants’ agency (Ahearn, 2001, in Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Roebuck, 2000). Students did not passively fulfill all the expectations preset by the instructor or whoever set up th e task. Instead, they actively transformed the relationship between them and th e contexts, i.e. how to use the mediational tool and how to play their roles, and consequently were transformed through the negotiation process.

PAGE 371

355 The findings conformed to those in Zhu a nd Mitchell’s (2005) study in which they discover that ESL students hold different general goals for peer response. The incongruence also exists between the goals he ld by the instructor and those by students. They also identify that students’ stances dur ing peer response are consistent with their preset goals and the stances re flect their beliefs about the peer response process and the roles the instructor and students shoul d play in learning a second language. Students entered the activity systems with historical bearings (Engestrm, 1987). The interaction between prior experiences and the current ones can ge nerate conflicts and instability which can in turn lead to change s. Through the lens of activity theory, Storch (2004) discovers that students’ goals, wh ich are shaped by both their pre-existing attitudes and beliefs and their actual experien ce of dyadic interacti ons and the perceived roles they should play rather than the task type determine how they conduct the peer response task. These goals may differ from th e one held by the teacher and the one held by the peer, but may eventually evolve into a mutual goal shared by the dyadic partners. Conforming to Storch’s findings by fo cusing on the motive shift, this study discovered that ESL participants were dr iven by heterogeneous motives that were influenced by their prior experiences w ith English academic writing instruction, particularly peer response and instant messenger chat, as well as shaped by their current experience in CMPR tasks. For example, both Anton and Rocky did not believe their partners who did not have high English pr oficiency could provide helpful feedback. However, participants’ perceptions were consta ntly reshaped as they were engaged in the tasks (in Rocky’s case, his perception ch ange was not investigated due to his disengagement in the CMPR tasks). When collaborating with Diane who Anton knew

PAGE 372

356 had lower level of English prof iciency than her, she noticed her discussion with Diane helped her identify content and organizati on problems in her essay. The constantly reshaped perceptions in turn could influence what activity systems the participants were willing to join in, which led to the motive sh ift within and across tasks. Consequently, motive shifts were reflected in changes in participants’ conscious goal-setting. Hence, both the subconscious motives and conscious goals held by ESL pa rticipants in each CMPR task were neither predetermined nor static within and across tasks. The influence of preexisting perceptions of peer response and IM chat and the actual experience with CMPR on the motives might weigh variously for different participants. As for the prec onception of peer response, fi ndings indicated that some students’ perception about peer response did not change throughout th eir participation in CMPR tasks due to the fact that they never genuinely engaged themselves in the learning activity systems. Rocky’s primary motive in th e writing class was to pass it. In addition, because of his previous experience with his mother’s private writing instruction and his self-perceived English proficiency, he did not believe his peers who had lower English proficiency could help him. Thus, he never ma naged to completely engage in the tasks. Throughout the three CMPR tasks in which he participated, he never finished his essay before the task sessions. Although he obtained helpful feedback from his partner, he did not incorporate them into his second draft. For him, his preconception of peer response overrode his positive actual experiences with CMPR tasks. The integration of IM technology into the peer response task cast tremendous influence on ESL participants’ motive negotia tion and shifts. Many pa rticipants had prior experience with IM chat, mainly for entertai ning purposes. The fun-infused and familiar

PAGE 373

357 environment motivated students to actively jo in in the discussions regardless of their prior perception of peer res ponse and their extent of enga gement in the activity of learning writing. In addition, th e familiar and low-anxiety en vironment presented the peer interaction as a less daunting task for student s like Nicky who had less confidence in their English proficiency, which dramatically booste d their participation and more importantly provided a stage for them to have their voi ces heard. On the othe r hand, the use of IM also constrained some students’ engagement in the central learning activity systems. The relaxing and fun-infused environment afford ed by instant messaging easily allured those who had less self-control such as Diane or w ho did not plan to join any learning activity such as Rocky away from the central learning activity system. For students who had no or very little prior experience that shaped their perceptions about peer res ponse and IM chat, such as Iron, their cultural backgrounds, general language learning and technol ogy-enhanced communication experience, and actual experience in the tasks might cast more influence on their motives. As shown in the findings, Iron never had IM ch at before. Thus when he part icipated in the first CMPR task, he did not know that he should have a discussion or negotiation with Anton after she offered her suggestions. Influenced by hi s prior experience with communicating with people in English via email, he simply thanke d her for her suggestions and said he would consider it by using very formal langua ge. On the other hand, since CMPR was a required task, he set up conscious goals to learn how to operate it. After taking great efforts learning it, he still encountered si gnificant amount of difficulty during the chat, which triggered and aggregated the tension between him and Anton in the second CMPR task. Due to his negative experi ence with CMPR tasks in the fi rst two tasks, he lost his

PAGE 374

358 interest and belief in CMPR. T hus, he withdrew from the cen tral learning activity system when he participated in the third CMPR tas k. This indicates that the use of computer technologies not only changed the physical conditions which led to the change of human’s operations and actions (Kuutti, 1996; Thorne, 2000; Wertsch, 1998), but mediated and even directly urged the form ation of new motive and motive shifts, which is consequential for an a ppropriate and thorough understand ing of the influence the employment of an innovative co mputer technology in the soci al practices, in particular, our learning activities. The other uniqueness of the current st udy is the approach to analyzing ESL students’ performance in the tasks in particul ar social cultural a nd historical contexts which afforded various opportunities as well as constrained the subjects’ performances. Most of the previous ESL peer response studies (e.g. de Guerrero & Villamil, 2000; Lockhart & Ng, 1995; Mangelsdorf & Schlum berger, 1992; Storch, 2002; Villamil & de Guerrero; 1998) focus on the various strategies and stan ces undertaken by students without situating them in the specific social cultural and hi storical contexts. Accounting for the social contexts of peer response that may have an impact on the quality of peer response, Liu and Hansen (2002) identify severa l important factors in the social contexts of ESL peer response such as the language used in peer response, the purpose of L2 writing, the L1 and L2 literacy development of students, the teacher’s linguistic and cultural background, and the par ticipation patterns of student s in whole-class and group activities. Perceiving ESL students with in dividual historical bearings as an integral part of the contemporary social cultural context, the current study explained participants’

PAGE 375

359 performances during the CMPR tasks as a re sult of their constant negotiation with the social cultural and historical contexts. For example, Anton employed the IM for different purposes when she collaborated with differe nt partners. Nicky used different language functions when she participated in diffe rent CMPR tasks. Analyzing students’ performances in specific social cultural a nd historical contexts helped the researcher identify the actual and potential problems th at existed or would exist in the tasks. Tensions and Problems Emerging in CMPR Tasks From the CHAT perspective, some tensi ons and conflicts that existed in ESL students’ participation in CMPR tasks were identified. Some of them shared commonality with face-to-face peer response tasks. Othe rs were unique in a computer-mediated learning environment. Researchers (e .g. Liu & Hansen, 2002; Tin, 2003; Zhu, 2001) discover some problems in face-to-face ESL peer response that emerge due to ESL students’ limited proficiency in the language, the task type, and their perceptions of the helpfulness of peer response. These conflicts also existed in the CMPR tasks. For example, in the CMPR task for an argume ntative essay, both Anton and Diane knew the organization in their essays was not accurate. But they could not help each other due to their lack of knowledge of th e organization. Nicky did not offer much feedback on Iron’s argumentative essay because she did not unde rstand many words in his essay. Moreover, students’ perceptions about peer response had an imp act on their participative performances. For example, having obtained the majority of her Engl ish instruction in a teacher-led learning environment, Ant on thought only people had higher English proficiency than hers could help her improve her essay when she participated in the first CMPR task. Similarly, Nicky thought she wa s not qualified to offer any opinions or

PAGE 376

360 suggestions due to her low English proficie ncy, which constrained her from confidently taking her role as a reader at the beginning of her first CMPR task. On the other hand, conducting peer response in a CMC environment enables some affordances as well as constraints that e ngendered unique conflicts and tensions. Many researchers (e.g. Nelson & Carson, 1995; Liu & Hansen, 20002; Nelson, 1997; Zhang, 1995) caution that communication breakdown mi ght occur in ESL peer response due to students’ different linguistic and cultural background and their unfamiliarity with the interaction norms during peer response. Su rprisingly, there did not emerge much communication breakdown during the CMPR tasks except between Anton and Iron in their second task which was caused by the unbalanced IM operation skills. Most participants were very friendly to their partner even though some of them had never talked to each other prior to the task. They constantly complimented each other and used smiley emoticons along with their explanations. Students more skillful of peer response provided suggestions naturally following his or her opinions. In addi tion, students tended to build amiable relationship with their partne rs even if they knew their partner could not offer much help. None of the participants took a dominant role during the interaction. Some more proficient students constantly en couraged and offered peer response tips to their partner when he or she expressed l ack of confidence in his or her English proficiency. The results indicated that the reason th at students acted extremely friendly in CMPR tasks was that they perceived IM as a fun and friendly environment in which conflicts and confrontations s hould be avoided as much as po ssible. Compared to face-toface peer response, CMPR afforded a lo w-anxiety and fun-infusing communication

PAGE 377

361 setting with its emoticons a nd writing-speaking discourse features (Beauvois, 1992; Jin, 2005). Since most ESL participants were alr eady skillful users of IM and familiar with the discourse norms such as turn-taking a nd conversation maintenance, they naturally maintained the friendly discourse norms a nd minimized the critical tones in peer response. Even Nicky, a shy Taiwanese girl who seldom talked in regular classroom discussions due to her lack of confiden ce in her English (Nelson, 1997; Zhang, 1995), became an active participant in CMPR tasks. Students such as Rocky who were not motivated to learn academic writing through pe er response also contributed significant amount of input in the IM discussion because they enjoyed IM chat. Although the IM environment afforded uni que opportunities for peer response, it also caused tensions that exclusively existe d in a CMC, particularly IM environment. Some students such as Anton and Diane felt it very inconvenient to discuss in text messages grammar issues such as describing what type of wordand sentence-level mistakes were in the essay and how to co rrect the mistakes due to their lack of vocabulary and lack of the phys ical presence of the essay under discussion. The other tension existed in the interference or tempta tion from the fun-oriented activity system inherently supported by IM chat for the le arning-oriented activity systems. Many participants had been using IM for fun chat with friends and family long before they started to use the IM to conduct peer respons e. They were constantly distracted when outside-class friends were also online. Th e blurring boundary between the classroom and outside world did not help those who had weak er self-control in the task, which partially caused the dynamic motive shift within CMPR tasks.

PAGE 378

362 In addition, the use of IM caused extra cognitive burden for those who were not familiar with IM chat such as Iron. Although Iron was a good writer and willing to collaborate with his partners in the CMPR tasks, he ha d to spend extra time typing messages and planning his language due to hi s misconception of IM chat as a written rather than spoken form. His clumsiness e xhausted him and the objection from Anton frustrated him, which gradually eroded his interest in the task. On the contrary, Iron really enjoyed his after-class f ace-to-face talk with Nicky because it was easier for him to express himself clearly in a face-to-face meeti ng. Apparently, rather than facilitating the dyadic communication, IM hampered the particip ation of students like Iron who were not familiar with IM chat or the discourse of IM chat. To this type of students, certain socialmaterial conditions may impoverish their transformational development (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Learning and Development during ESL Participation in CMPR Tasks Regarding learning and development in pe er response, L2 writing researchers have been concerned with both the short-term effects such as whether students can detect errors in their peer’s essays (e.g. Belche r, 1990; Hedgcock & Lefkowitz, 1992; Villamil & Guerrero, 1998) and whether peer respons e leads to quality revision (e.g. Berg, 1999; Paulus, 1999; Villamil & Guerrero, 1998) a nd long-term effects such as students’ language development (e.g. Villamil & Guerre ro, 1996). In a synthesis of previous studies in L2 peer response, Liu and Hansen (2002) conclude that peer response in a traditional mode has positive short-term and long-term effects on ESL students’ writing and language development. The current study also discovered that peer response tasks

PAGE 379

363 conducted in a synchronous multimedia-en hanced communication environment had positive short-term and long-term effects. First of all, as identified in Chapter IV, participants used a wide range of language functions regardless of whether he or she was genuinely engaged in the task, through which they not only discussed the ideas and st ructures in each other’s essay but shared comments on the grammar and references in the essays. In other words, contrary to Liu and Sadler’s findings, the majority of par ticipants in the study focused on the global issues, i.e. ideas and organization. Some students even complained IM did not conveniently support the discus sion of grammar issues. Stud ents who only discussed the superficial issues usually were merely motiv ated to maintain a goodstudent image rather than learning how to write an essay. The di sparity between the curr ent study and Liu and Sadler’s study may be caused by the use of different synchronous tools. Since IM supports a myriad of multimedia communicativ e features and the majority of students were quite familiar with it, they felt it was more fun to negotiate meaning rather than grammar even in their first participation in th e task. In addition, partic ipants in the current study usually incorporated the suggestions give n by the partner into their second draft if they were driven by the motive of learning how to write the essay. They also gained new ideas and learned new writing strategies when reading their partner’s essay. In Liu and Sadler’s (2003) study that co mpares peer response in the traditional and electronic modes (using text-based MOOs), they discover that text-based synchronous peer response generated more superficial than substantive comments compared to asynchronous commenting mode (i.e. Word editing). They conclude two reasons that may affect the quality of comments ESL students give in a synchronous

PAGE 380

364 commenting mode: (1) quick turn-taking and to pic shift due to multiple speakers in one discussion window; and (2) enormous turns on conversation maintena nce rather than ontask comments due to the lack of nonverbal communication. Although the current study did not excl usively focus on the quality of the comments provided during CMPR, it had both co ntradictory and conforming findings to Liu and Sadler’s. As for the contradictory findi ngs, for example, in the third CMPR task, Anton and Diane exchanged enormous amount of on-task comments. They discussed the ideas and the organization in each other’s e ssay and planned for a peer response meeting. Among the exchanged comments, both Anton and Diane not only offered opinions but gave specific suggestions and explanati ons. As for the conforming aspect, some participants were distracted by multiple IM conversations during the CMPR tasks. There are several reasons that the current study di scovered different CMPR interaction patterns from the one s in Liu and Sadler’s. First, all the CMPR tasks in the current study were conducted in one-toone IM chat, which means only two speakers participated in the discussion. In addition, the two speakers could choose different fonts and personalized username to distinguish the messages from each other. In addition, participants could deliberately maintain a balanced e-turn-taking in IM chat if both speakers were skillful of IM chat and familiar with the IM chat discourse. This to some extent diminished the flow of overwhelmi ng amount of messages. Second, IM chat supports multimedia communication features such as emoticons, wink, and nudge, not like the purely text supported in MOO. These multimedia communication features could help participants express emotions such as happy, accepting, frowning, thinking, etc, informing the partner what they were doing and feeling, which to some extent

PAGE 381

365 compensated for the lack of physical pres ence. If both users are familiar with these features, conversation maintenances do not have to cost many turns. Thus, for those who were already skillful of IM chat, they di d not spend much time maintaining the IM conversations if they were genuinely enga ged in the learning ac tivity systems, not distracted by these features, such as Nic ky. Thus, I would argue that synchronous CMPR could be an efficient mode if both speakers are familiar with IM operation and IM chat discourse as well as driven by a learning-oriented motive. In terms of the long-term effects on la nguage development, CMPR also played a facilitative role in the process of ESL stude nts’ English language development. The chat transcripts showed that students like Anton, Nicky, and Rocky became very conscious of their language output. Whenever they noticed any misspellings and grammatical mistakes in their messages, they immediately corrected them in the following turn (Gonglewski, 1999; Salaberry, 2000). Although informal shor tened forms of words or acronyms were found in L1 messaging (Cziko & Park, 2003), st udents in this study seldom used the informal word spellings with the awareness that their use of informal spellings could cause confusion on the part of their partner. In fact, only Anton and Nicky occasionally used some informal spellings such as “pls ” to mean “please” during the online chat. In addition, students like Nicky had more opportu nities to practice her English in a lowanxiety environment. Nicky usually used a por table electronic dicti onary during the chat whenever she was not sure of some words she used in the conversations. The flexible response time afforded her longer time to refl ect on her language and the virtual chat environment reduced the chances of being embarrassed or anxious because she did not have to concern her pronunciation. In additi on, corresponding to the findings in studies

PAGE 382

366 on traditional ESL peer response (e.g. Villamil & Guerrero, 1996), students in the current study were exposed to richer language input when they read each other’s essay. For example, Nicky learned many new words by reading Iron’s essay. According to sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1985) and cultural historical activity theory (C haiklin, Hedegaard, & Jensen, 1 999; Cole, 1996; Engestrm, 1987;1999; Leont’ev, 1981), human be ings constantly interact with the soci al contexts through mediation of social groupings, mate rial and symbolic resources, and the constantly transformed objects, which in evitably entails tensions, conflicts and breakdowns. The attempts to reconcile tensi ons and conflicts catal yze changes, and in turn, afford opportunities to transformati onal development (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). Besides writing and language development in the current study, a myriad of learning and development occurred throughout students’ pa rticipation in CMPR tasks regardless of whether they were motivated to learn or not. During the chat, students employed both physical such as computer and instant messenger and psychological tool s such as English, their prio r concepts of writing in the respective mode, the concepts of online communi cation rules that were only accessible to those experienced IM users, and their emer ging concepts of CMPR regulations. Wertsch (1998) argues that all human minds are medi ated actions. People learn the mediational tools by using them. As mentioned earlier, st udents were exposed to a wide range of language input and afforded with ample oppor tunities to use the language during each CMPR task, which augmented their appropr iation of the language (Wertsch, 1998). Students also needed to employ the concepts they learned in earlier lectures in each mode to help them identify problems, pa rticularly ideas and organizations, in each

PAGE 383

367 other’s essay. Some of them did not master the tool quite well through the lectures. When they participated in th e peer response, they had chances to discuss or merely obtain help on these concepts from their peers by excha nging comments and/or asking for help. Even if neither of the pair could use the tool effec tively such as Anton and Diane in the task of argumentative essay, they colle ctively figured out a way to make improvement either by going through the lecture materi als together. In other words, students were conscious of the contingent help they need ed in the dialectically shaped collaborative dialogues. Although students were taught and demonstr ated how to conduct CMPR tasks, the concepts such as what kind of communicat ive norms they should maintain and what content they should discuss during CMPR ta sks were not clear to them until they participated in each CMPR task and endeavor ed to solve tensions. For example, Anton did not realize how difficult providing feedback was until she participated in the first CMPR task in which she noticed the sample questions provided in the CMPR worksheets were too general to assist he r role as a critical reader This engendered the tension between the mediational tool and her object. To reconcile this tension, she reported this problem to the instructor who revised the worksheet. Anton succe ssfully conducted the third CMPR task under the guidance of th e new worksheet. As for Iron, he was not familiar with the procedures of peer response. So he used exclusively used the language function of give opinion in the first task. But after his conflict with Anton in the second task, he understood his IM style might be too straightforward. So he employed a new language function: ask for permission, before he started to offe r negative opinions and suggestions.

PAGE 384

368 Among all the tensions and conflicts enta iled in various activity systems during CMPR tasks, the researcher was particularly concerned with how students reconciled or ignored those caused by the physi cal tool: IM chat in the act ivities. The findings showed that the use of IM chat caused tensions between the tool a nd the subject, the rules, the community, the division of labor, and the objec t of the activity, and even the tensions between activity systems. Some tensions directly caused by the tool even further triggered tensions between th e subject and the community. Some students voluntarily sought solutions to the tensions such as Anton who suggested a supplementary face-to-face meeting w ith Diane to further their discussion of the grammar and organization issues in each ot her’s essay when she realized neither of them was able to solve the tension between the IM chat and th eir objects during the allotted CMPR time. Similarly, Iron took e fforts to improve his IM chat skills. Sometimes, although students were not able to reconcile a tension in one activity system after it emerged, they consciously av oided the similar tension by trying new performances in the following activity sy stem, e.g. Iron’s creation of a new language function: asking for permission, to avoid Nic ky’s potential defense. Through the process of collectively reconciling tensions with in and between activity systems, students developed knowledge and skills as to how to conduct CMPR tasks in an IM environment. Gradually, a new online discour se emerged and kept evolving, which was compatible with the physical situations and facilitative to the fulfillment of each of their needs and achievement of their eventual objects. In contrary, there were students who were either unable to notice or unwilling to solve the tensions originated from the use of IM chat. For example, Diane consistently

PAGE 385

369 ignored the tension between her central l earning activity and the neighbor activity of having fun in IM chat because she was driv en by the bifurcating motives and was not willing to withdraw from either activity syst em, which did not help her concentration in the learning activity. Those who were not mo tivated to join in any central learning activity such as Rocky, also were unwilling to contribute efforts to help their partners reconcile the tensions. Thus their learning and development in terms of conducting CMPR tasks were not as evident as those who were genuinely e ngaged in the learning activity. In addition, throughout the CMPR tasks, students also developed new visions regarding how to use IM for other academic purposes, how to maintain interpersonal relationship on and off-line. New conceptions were generated regarding what a peer response was and what roles they needed to play in each CMPR task when they were dealing with the tensions and conflicts betw een the tool and the object, the community and the object, the community, the rules and the subject, etc. In summary, the findings of the study unfolded the heuristic and dynamic nature of ESL students’ performance in CMPR tasks. When participating in each CMPR task, ESL students did not passively achieve the goa ls set by the instruct or, but actively and constantly negotiated with and dialectically transformed their social contexts, which was reflected in their constant motive shifts within and across task s. The negotiation and dialectic transformation were triggered and maintained by multiple components in both contemporary social cultural contexts and historical activities. The dynamic interaction with the social contexts also enta iled tensions and problems many of which were caused by the in troduction of a new physical tool: IM. The

PAGE 386

370 tensions caused due to the inte gration of IM into the task were quite consequential and might catalyze changes, even transformationa l development. Hence, participation in CMPR tasks is not only a collaborative task in which ESL students can develop writing skills in a short term and la nguage proficiency in a long run (Liu & Hansen, 2002), but a complex and chaotic learning and development process in terms of students’ proficiency in and perception of conducting CMPR tasks. This has a rather fundamental influence on their future employment of peer response in a writing project and/or participation in a potential community by negotiating the rule s, the roles they should play, and the relationship with other members in the comm unity, as well as expressing their voices. Recommendations for Future Research Although computer-mediated communication is gaining its popularity in the field of ESL instruction, research on computer-med iated peer response, particularly in a synchronous environment, is still at its infanc y. Only a handful of empirical studies have been conducted in the past five years. The majority of these studies focus on asynchronous such as email or online-foru m peer response tasks. As synchronous multimedia-supported communication devices such as instant messengers become increasingly pervasive in our daily life, especially for the new generation of ESL students who grow up in an electronic media-laden wo rld, the influence of integrating these technologies into collaborative tasks in ESL writing classes merits more attention from researchers as well as educators. The current study investigated ESL partic ipants’ performance in the CMPR tasks in an IM environment by unpacking the dynami c relationship between the participants and their social cultural historical contexts. As a matter of fact, th e relationship between

PAGE 387

371 ESL students and their social cultural and hist orical contexts may be more complex and intangible than what we expect. Issues such as the power re lationship between the instructor and ESL students, students’ iden tity formation, and students’ perceptions of English literacy and English learning were not thoroughly an alyzed due to the scope of the study. In addition, each stude nt has involved in much more complex prior activities such as their family life and ethnical cultu ral life which may cast influence on their perceptions and behaviors in school life. The curren t study did not look at how participants’ involvement in these prior or contemporary activity systems mediated their performances in the CMPR tasks. Further re search can be conducted in these areas. The knowledge of the relationship of these issues with students’ performance in CMPR tasks can advance our understanding of ESL student s’ motive formation in CMPR tasks. The study only focused on five participan ts. Other students who collaborated with the participants were not investigated due to their unwillingness to be involved in the study. As an integral part of the community regardless of the ac tivity systems, their perceptions and performances during the CMPR tasks are consequential to the understanding of the whole dynamic picture of CMPR tasks. Future research can account for all the students and the inst ructor in an ESL class that participate in a CMPR task. Only three CMPR tasks for each participan t were investigated in this study. The developmental trajectories analyzed th rough the lens of dynamic systems theory demonstrated that some participants’ beha viors had not reached the attractor position stably, which indicates that they had not fully developed the competences of conducting CMPR tasks by the end of the study. Future studies can be conduc ted to continuously track the growth of participants in four or even more tasks, accounting for their

PAGE 388

372 consequential progressions (Putney, Gree n, Dixon, Duran, & Yeager, 2000), which can depict a fuller picture of CMPR tasks. CHAT was introduced to the western worl d in the 1970s and has not been widely used to explain learning and development phenomena in the U.S. until two decades ago. Recent years have witnessed some efforts in the field the second language acquisition to employ this theory to expl ain second language developm ent (e.g. Lantolf & Thorne, 2006). There is even scarcer research in second language writing (e.g. Bazerman, 1997; Russell, 1997; Wiemelt, 2001) that seek s for theoretical guidance from CHAT. Employing the major constructs of CHAT and DST, the current study unfolded the dynamic and multifaceted nature of a computer-mediated collaborative task in an ESL academic writing class. ESL students, especial ly adult ESL learners, do not come to the English language learning environment fr om a vacuum. They have already formed certain values and perceptions. They do not a nd never swallow whatever is offered in the environment. They may desire to have th eir voices heard. CHAT can help L2 writing researchers and educators uncove r the relationship between th e agents and their social cultural contexts from a hist orical and heuristic view, which is usually not offered by other Cartesian cognitive theories guiding the majority of cu rrent research in the field. Hence, a call for more studies investigati ng second language writing and any learning that occurs throughout the second language wr iting instruction, particularly students’ moment-to-moment microge netic and ontological developments, is urgent. CHAT also provides a useful theoretical framework to research on computermediated communication. Analyzing technolog y’s genotypic and phenotypic existence to users, Thorne (1999, 2000) disc overs that foreign language students’ employment of a

PAGE 389

373 text-based synchronous communication technolo gy was related to their prior experience with the technology as competent exogenous digital speech communities. The current study not only focused on the influence of ESL students’ prior experience with IM chat but contended that their use of IM in CM PR tasks was related to both their prior experience and current involvement in the tasks by using both Leont’ev’s and Engestrm’s constructs of activity theory. In other words, the mediation of CMC in L2 learning environment is evolvi ng rather than static. Ever y technology contains its own history and helps shape users’ perceptions a nd behaviors when they are used. Researchers interested in uncovering the me diation of different emerging computer technologies in L2 learning and teaching can follow this line from a CHAT perspective. Neither is Dynamic Systems Theory (D ST) a widely acknowledged theoretical framework for research on second language acq uisition (e.g. De Bot, Lowie, & Verspoor, 2005; Larseen-Freeman, 1997) or computer-m ediated communication. The current study innovatively adopted some DS T constructs to graphically present the dynamics in participants’ engagement in the CMPR tasks, which conveniently complemented the findings based on the CHAT constructs. Desp ite the different constructs and metaphors used in CHAT and DST, both of them hold a dynamic and context-sensitive view of learning and development. More empirical research need to be conducted to illustrate the compatibility and feasibility of the two theo ries to explain computer-mediated second language learning. Implications for Pedagogical Implementation The findings in the study have signif icant pedagogical implications for ESL teachers intended to adopt instant messenger (I M)-mediated peer response as well as for

PAGE 390

374 teachers and administrators with intere st in integrating various synchronous communication technologies into ESL curriculum. The study showed that computer-mediated peer response, part icularly through IM, can be used in an ESL academic writing class, especially with ESL students who are already familiar with the tec hnology because of the considerab le benefits afforded in CMPR. However, appropriate perceptions about the functi ons of the technology on the part of teachers and well-t hought preparation on the part of students should be in place before the task is implemented. In addition, pr ompt and appropriate reactions to students’ behaviors during the task also are important. First, the teacher needs to understand that not every student is savvy in using instant messenger although it is pervasive especially in younger students’ daily life. For those untraditional students, like Iron, who have never used IM, the teacher needs to find out before the implementation of CMPR whet her they are willing or comfortable to employ the new technology to replace a tr aditional class discussion. However, sometimes, students still encounter extensiv e difficulties with IM operation, which may devastate their engagement in the peer respon se task, although they are willing to try the technology. Under this situation, the teacher needs to be observant and provide contingent help when necessary. The teacher also can be flexible about grouping in CMPR. Students who are familiar with IM can be paired while those who are not familiar with it can work either in a traditional mode or in IM at their pace to avoid the tensions created between unbalanced IM skills between a pair. The teacher also needs to keep in mind that CMPR has its unique digital speech discourse and students may get confused or even shift their motives during the task even

PAGE 391

375 if they are familiar with IM chat. As the findings showed, students may be a competent member of a non-academic discourse. Different from face-to-face peer response, CMPR supports a special discourse in which students n eed to discuss academic issues in a casual and usually friendly environment. In their firs t-time participation in a CMPR task or even when they are paired with a new partner, st udents may feel confused as to whether they should maintain a friendly and unjudgmental re lationship with the partner or play their role as a helpful and critical reader. A single demonstrati on or modeling is not enough because the discourse is emergent and may vary depending on who the student collaborates with. To solve this problem, the teacher can not only demonstrate an example discourse pattern in terms of how to provide critical and gain helpful suggestions from the partner while main taining the friendly environment usually embedded in IM chat, but prepare a mock-CMPR task and encourage students to practice CMPR skills. Based on their performances in the task, the teacher can analyze along with the students what discourse features such as the use of emoticon and the way to give opinions and suggestions are appr opriate or not for the task. Another piece of crucial knowledge th e teacher should have when organizing CMPR tasks is that students may have divergent and dynamic motives and goals when participating in the tasks. Neither the teacher’s task objectives nor students’ preformulated conscious goals can determine what they perform during a task. Due to their prior experience with IM chat, they may be eas ily distracted and get involved in non-task chat. Or they may encounter difficulties due to their lack of knowledge of how to discuss certain topics in IM, e.g. grammar mistakes. In the former situation, the teacher can set up special new IM accounts that are only used for CMPR tasks. When students need to

PAGE 392

376 conduct CMPR tasks in the computer lab, th ey are randomly assigned with an account, which can minimize the distraction from the out side-class online buddies if they use their own accounts. Another way to solve this prob lem is to allow students to conduct CMPR tasks whatever and whenever they want as long as it is before the deadline after the CMPR training session. But students will be required to submit their online chat transcripts afterward so that the teacher can track how they conduct th e task. If the latter issue emerges, students can be encouraged to conduct blended peer response in a both online and traditional mode. At any rate, on ce students develop certain competences in peer response, the task can be flexibly conducte d, either online or blended, in or out of classroom as long as it is conducive to their learning and development. The final implication is the implementa tion of CMC technologies in general ESL writing curriculum. Undoubtedly, the integration of various computer technologies such as instant messenger, online forum, wiki, and even blogs, has gained increasing attention from ESL educators. More and more ESL st udents who choose to l earn English in the U.S. may have been exposed to or even sk illful of using these technologies. Before making the decision to integrate any technolog ies into their pedagogy, teachers need to concern students’ prior expe rience with these technologies, which may significantly influence students’ performance during the task s. In addition, ESL students’ motives and goals may shift during their part icipation in a task. To be aw are of any emergent issues and provide contingent help, teachers may be more observa nt or even conduct miniaction research on the dynamics in a classr oom. Only if the teacher understands the students and the context can help ful instruction be provided.

PAGE 393

377 Conclusively, the current study investigated the dynamics in CMPR tasks in a level-4 ESL academic writing class by uncovering its social cultural contexts as well as the historical activities that were relate d to the contemporary contexts. Due to ESL students’ diverse prior experien ces and discursive social cultural contexts in which they are situated, none of the students may share the exactly same learning and developmental process. The social cultural contexts as well as historical activities provide both affordances and constraints to students’ lear ning. A more radical responsibility a teacher can take is to be sensitive to the contexts students are negotiating with and amplify the affordances rather than to impoverish the conditions conducive to their learning.

PAGE 394

378 REFERENCES Abrams, Z. (2001). Computer-mediated co mmunication and group j ournals: Expanding the repertoire of participant roles. System, 29 489-503. Atkinson, D., & Ramanathan, V. (1995). Cultures of writing: An ethnographic comparison of L1 and L2 university writing/language programs. TESOL Quarterly, 29 539-568. Atkinson, D. (2001). Reflections and refractions on the JSLW special issue on voice. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10 107-124. Atkinson, D. (2003). L2 writing in th e post-process era: Introduction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 3-15. Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. Holquist (Ed.), The dialogic imagination: Four essays (pp. 259-422). Austin: University of Texas Press. Bakhtin, M. M. (1986). Speech genres and othe r late essays. In C. Emerson, & Holquist, M (Ed.). Ban, R., Jin, L, Summers, R, & Eisenhower, K. (2005). Integrating technology: Best-use practices for English language learners in content-based classrooms. In J. M. Govoni (Ed.), Infusing ESOL in university preservice teacher education programs New York: Pearson/Longman Press. Barker, T. (1990). Computers and the instructio nal context. In D. H. Holdstein, &Selfe, C.L (Ed.), Computers and writing: Theory, research, practice (pp. 7-17). New York: The Modern Language Association of America. Bayer, A. (1990). Collaborative-apprenticeship learni ng: Language and thinking across the curriculum, K-12 Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. Bazerman, C. (1997). Discursive ly structured activities. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 4 (4), 296-308. Beach, R., & Eaton, S. (1984). Factors influe ncing self-assessing a nd revising by college freshmen. In R. Beach, & Bridwell, L. S (Ed.), New directions in composition research (pp. 149-170). New York: Guilford Press.

PAGE 395

379 Beauvois, M. H. (1992). Computer-assisted cl assroom discussion in the foreign language classroom: Conversation in slow motion. Foreign Language Annals, 25 (5), 455464. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1985). Cogn itive coping strategies and the problem of "inert knowledge". In S. Chipma n, Segal, J, & Glaser, R (Ed.), Thinking and learning skills: Volumn 2. Research and open questions (pp. 65-80). Hove, Sussex and Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Bereiter, C., & Scardamalia, M. (1987). The psychology of written composition Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Berg, E. C. (1999). The effects of trained peer response on ESL st udents' revision types and writing quality Journal of Second Language Writing, 8 (3), 215-241. Blake, R. (2000). Computer mediated communication: A window on L2 Spanish interlanguage. Language Learning & Technology, 4 (1), 120-136. Braine, G. (2001). A study of English as a fo reign language (EFL) writers on a local area network (LAN) and in traditional classes. Computers and Composition, 18 (275292). Bruffee, K. A. (1993). Collaborative learning: Higher e ducation, iInterdependence, and the authority of knowledge Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press. Bruner, J. (1975). From communication to language: A psychological perspective. Cognition, 3 255-289. Canadian Test Center, Inc. (2003). CELT: A comprehensive English language test for learners of English Carley, K. (1993). Coding choices for textual analysis: A comparison of content analysis and map analysis. Sociological Methodology, 23 75-126. Carson, J., & Nelson, G. (1994). Writi ng groups: Cross-cultural issues. Journal of Second Language Writing, 3 17-30. Carson, J., & Nelson, G. (1996). Chinese stude nts’ perceptions of ESL peer response group interaction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 5 (1), 1-19. Casanave, C. P. (2003). Looking ahead to more sociopolitically-oriented case study research in L2 writing scholarship (But should it be called ‘‘post-process’’?). Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 85-102. Caulk, N. (1994). Comparing teacher and stuent responses to written work. TESOL Quarterly, 28 (1), 181-188.

PAGE 396

380 Chapelle, C. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition: Foundations for teaching, testing, and research Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chun, D. M. (1994). Using computer networ king to facilitate the acquisition of interactive competence. System, 22 (1), 17-31. Clancey, W. (2002). Simulating activities: Rela ting motives, deliberation, and attentive coordination. Cognitive Systems Research, 3, 471-499. Cole, M. (1996). Cultural psychology: A once and future discipline Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cole, M., & Engestrm, Y. (1993). A cultura l-historical approach to distributed cognition. In G. Salomon (Ed.), Distributed Cognitions : Psychological and educational considerations. (pp. 1-46). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Connor, U., & Asenavage, K. (1994). Peer response groups in ESL writing class: How much impact on revision? Journal of Second Language Writing, 3 257-276. Constas, M. A. (1992). Qualitative data anal ysis as a public even t: The documentation of category development procedures. American Educational Research Journal, 29 253-266. Cooper, M., & Selfe, C. (1990). Computer conferences and le arning: Authority, resistance, and internally persuasive discourse. College English, 52 847-869. Coughlan, P., & Duff, P. A (1994). Same task, di fferent activities: Analysis of a SLA task from an activity theory perspective. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 173-194). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Cziko, G. A., & Park, S. (2003). Internet audio comm unication for second language learning: A comparative re view of six programs. Language Learning & Technology, 7 (1), 15-27. de Bot, K., Lowie, W, & Verspoor, M (2005). An introduction to second language acquisition: Dynamic aspects London, UK: Routledge. DebugMode, inc. (2005). WINK 2.0. de Guerrero, M., & Villamil, O. (1994). Social-cognitive dimensions of interaction in L2 peer revisions. Modern Language Journal, 78 484-496. de Guerrero, M., & Villamil, O. (2000). Ac tivating the ZPD: Scaffolding in L2 peer revision. the Modern Language Journal, 84 (1), 51-68.

PAGE 397

381 Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S (Ed.). (2003). Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. DiCamilla, F. J., & Anton, M. (1997). Repeti tion in the collaborative discourse of L2 learners: A Vygotskian perspective. Canadian Modern Language Review, 53 (4), 609-633. DiGiovanni, E., & Nagaswami, G (2001). Online peer review: An alternative to face-toface? ELJ Journal, 55 (3), 263-272. Donato, R. (1994). Collective scaffolding in se cond language learning. In J. P. Lantolf, & Appel, G (Ed.), Vygotskian approaches to second language research (pp. 33-56). Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Doughty, C., & Pica, D. (1986). Information gap tasks: Do they facilitate second language acquisition? TESOL Quarterly, 20 305-325. Edelsky, C. (1986). Writing in a bilingual program: Habia una vez Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Elbow, P. (1973). Writing without teachers London: Oxford University Press. Emig, J. (1971). The composing processes of twelfth graders Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Engestrm, Y. (1987). Learning by Expanding: An activ ity-theoretical approach to developmental research Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit Oy. Engestrm, Y. (1993). Developmental studies of work as a testbench of activity theory: The case of primary care medical practice. In S. Chaiklin, & Lave, J (Ed.), Understanding practice: Perspect ives on activity and context (pp. 64-103). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Engestrm, Y. (1996). Perspectives on activity theory Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Engestrm, Y. (1999). Activity theory and i ndividual and social transformation. In Y. Engestrom, Miettinen,R, & Punamaki, R (Ed.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 345-374). New York: Cambridge University Press. Engestrm, Y. (2000). Activity theory as a framework for analyzing and redesigning Work. Ergonomics, 43 (7), 960-974. Engestrm, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14 (1), 133-156. Erben, T. (1999). Constructing learning in a virtual Immersion bath: LOTE teacher education through audiographics. In WorldCALL Armsterdam: Zwetlinger Press

PAGE 398

382 Faigley, L., & Witte, S. (1981). Analyzing revision. College Composition and Communication, 32 (400-414). Faigley, L. (1986). Competing theories of process. College English, 48 527-542. Ferrara, K., Brunner, H, & Whittemore, G. (1991 ). Interactive written discourse as an emergent register. Written Communication, 8 (1), 8-34. Ferris, D., & Hedgcock, J. S. (1998). Teaching ESL composition: Purpose, process and practice Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Ferris, D. (2003). Response to student writing: Implications for second language students Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Flower, L., & Hayes, J. (1981). A cognitive process theory of writing. College Composition and Communication, 32 365-387. Flower, L. (1989). Problem-solving strategies for writing (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Gass, s., & Selinker, L. (2001). Second language acquisition: An Introductory course Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum. Gere, A. R. (1987). Writing groups: History, theory and implications Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L (1967). Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research Chicago, IL: Walter De Gruyter. Gonzlez-Bueno, M., & P rez, L. C. (2000). Electronic mail in foreign lagnuage writing: A study of grammatical and lexical accuracy and quantity of language. Foreign Language Annals, 33 189-198. Grabe, W., & Kaplan, R. (1996). Theory and Practice of Writing: An Applied Linguistic Perspective London: Longman. Gutirrez, K. D., & Stone, L.D. (2000). Synchr onic and diachronic dimensions of social practice: An emerging methodology for cultur al-historical persp ective on literacy learning. In C. D. Lee, & Smagorinsky, P (Eds.), Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research: Constructing mean ing through collaborative inquiry (pp.150164). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Hall, C. (1990). Managing the comple xity of revising across languages. TESOL Quarterly, 24 (1), 43-60. Hasu, M., & Engestrom, Y. (2000). Measurem ent in action: an activity-theoretical perspective on producer -user interaction. International Journal of HumanComputer Studies, 53 (5), 61-89.

PAGE 399

383 Hedgcock, J., & Lefkowitz, N. (1992). Collabo rative oral/aural revision in foreign language writing instruction. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1 255-276. Herring, S. (1996). Two variants of an elec tronic message schema. In S. Herring (Ed.), Computer-mediated communication: Li nguistic, social and cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 81-106). Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Hirvela, A. (1999). Collaborative writing in struction and communities of readers and writers. TESOL Quarterly, 8 (2), 7-12. Holsti, O. R. (1969). Content analysis for the soci al sciences and humanities Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Honeycutt, L. (2001). Comparing email a nd synchronous conferencing in online peer response. Written Communication, 18 (1), 26-60. Jin, L., & Erben, T. (2007). Instant messe nger-mediated intercultural learning. CALICO Journal, 24 (2), 291-312. Jin, L. (2005). Intercultural learning via instant messenger. Paper presented at the the 14th World Congress of Applied Li nguistics (AILA), Madison, WN. Johnson, M. (2004). A philosophy of second language acquisition Binghamton, NY: Yale University Press. Jones, S., & Tetroe, J. (1987). Composing in a second language. In A. Matsuhashi (Ed.), Writing in real time (pp. 34-57). Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Kaptelinin, V. (1996). Activity theory: Implications for huma n-computer interaction. In B. A. Nardi (Ed.), Context and consciousness: Activity theory and humancomputer interaction (pp. 53-59). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Kelm, O. R. (1992). The use of synchronous computer networks in second language instruction: A preliminary report. Foreign Language Annals, 25 444-454. Kent, T. (1999). Post-process theory: Beyond the writing-process paradigm. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press. Kern, R. G. (1995). Restruct uring classroom interaction with networked computers: Effects on Quantity and Charact eristics of Language Production. Modern Language Journal, 79 (4), 457-476. Kozma, R. B. (1991). Computer-based writ ing tools and the cognitive needs of novice writers. Computers and Composition, 8 (2), 31-45. Kramsch, C., & Thorne, S. L. (2002). Foreign language learning as global communicative practice. In D. Block, & Cameron, D (Ed.), Globalization and language teaching (pp. 83-100). London, England: Routledge.

PAGE 400

384 Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications London, UK: Longman. Kuutti, K. (1995). Activity theory as a potential framework for human-computer interaction research. In B. A. Nardi (Ed.), Context and Consciousness: activity theory and human-computer interaction (pp. 17-44). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Lantolf, J. P., & Appel, G. (1994). Vygotskian approaches to second language research Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Lantolf, J. P. (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lantolf, J. P., & Thorne, S.L. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development Oxford: Oxford University Press. Larsen-Freeman, D. (1997). Chaos/complex ity science and sec ond language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 18 141-165. Lee, C. D., & Smagorinsky, P (Ed.). (2000). Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research: Constructing meaning through collaborative inquiry Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Lee, L. (2002). Enhancing learners’ comm unication skills through synchronous electronic interaction and task-based instruction. Foreign Language Annals, 35 (1). Lehr, F. (1995). Revision in the wr iting process: Eric document ED 379664. Leki, I. (1990). Potential problems with peer responding in ESL writing classes. CATESOL Journal, 3 5-19. Leont'ev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality, : Prentice-Hall. Leont'ev, A. N. (1981). The problem of activity in psychology. In J. V. Wertsch (Ed.), The concept of activity in soviet psychology (pp. 37-71). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry Newbury Park, CA: SAGE. Liu, J., & Hansen, J. (2002). Peer Response in Second Language Writing Classrooms Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press. Liu, J. S., R. (2003). The effect and affect of peer review in electro nic versus traditional modes on L2 writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2 (3), 193-227. Lockhart, C., & Ng, P. (1995). Analyzing talk in ESL peer response groups: Stances, functions, and content. Language Learning, 45 (4), 605-655.

PAGE 401

385 Lompscher, J. (2003). The category of activit y as a principal constituent of culturalhistorical psychology. In D. R obbins, & Stetsenko, A (Ed.), Voices within Vygotsky’s non-classical psychology New York: Nova Science Publishers. Long, M. (1983). Native speaker/non-native sp eaker conversation a nd the negotiation of comprehensible input. Applied Linguistics, 4 (2), 126-141. Long, M., & Porter, P. (1985). Group work, in terlanguage talk, and second language acquisition. TESOL Quarterly, 19 207-228. Long, M. (1985). Input and second language acq uisition theory. In S. Gass, & Madden, C (Ed.), Input and second language acquisition (pp. 377-393). Rowley, Mass: Newbury House. Mangelsdorf, K., & Schlumberger, A. (1992). ESL students' stances in a peer-review task. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1 235-254. Matsuhashi, A., & Gordon, E. (1985). Revisi on, addition, and the power of the unseen text. In S. W. Freeman (Ed.), The acquisition of written language: Response and revision (pp. 126-249). Norwood, NJ: Ablex. McCarthey, S. J., & Garca, G.E. (2005). Eng lish language learners' writing practices and attitudes. Written Communication, 22 (1), 36-75. McGroarty, M. E., & Zhu, W. (1997). Triangul ation in class research: A study on peer revision. Language Learning, 47 (1), 1-43. Meara, P. (1999). Simulating recovery from bilingual aphasia. International Journal of Bilingualism, 3 45-54. Mendonca, C., & Johnson, K. (1994). Peer review negotiations: Revi sion activities in ESL writing instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 28 745-769. Merriam, M. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A.M. (1994). An expanded sourcebook: Qualitative data analysis (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage. Mittan, R. (1989). The peer response pro cess: Harnessing students' communicative power. In D. Johnson, & Roen, D (Ed.), Richness in Writing: Empowering ESL Students (pp. 207-219). New York: Longman. Nabors, L. K., & Swartley, E.C. (1999). St udent email letters: Negotiating meaning, gathering information, building relati onships. In M. C. Pennington (Ed.), Writing in an electronic medium: Research with language learners (pp. 229-266). Houston: TX: Athelstan.

PAGE 402

386 Nardi, B. A. (Ed.). (1996). Context and consciousness activity theory and humancomputer interaction London, England: MIT Press. Nelson, G., & Murphy, J. M. (1992). An L2 wr iting group: Task and social dimensions. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1 (3), 171-193. Nelson, G. (1997). How cultural differences a ffect written and oral communication: The case of peer response groups. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 70 (Summer), 77-84. Nelson, G., & Carson, J. (1998). ESL students' perceptions of effectiveness in peer response groups. Journal of Second Language Writing, 7 (2), 113-131. Nystrand, M., & Brandt, D. (1989). Response to writing as a context for learning to write. In C. M. Anson (Ed.), Writing and response: Theory, practice, and research (pp. 209-230). Urbana, IL: National Counc il of Teachers of English. Nystrand, M., Greene, S, & Wiemelt, J. (1993). Where did com position studies come fom? An intellectual history. Written Communication, 10 267-333. Ortega, L. (1997). Processes and outcomes in networked classroom interaction: Defining the research agenda for L2 com puter-assisted classroom discussion. Language Learning & Technology, 1 (1), 82-93. QSR International Pty Ltd. (2002). NVIVO: Reference guide Doncaster Victoria: Australia: Author. Patton, M. Q. (2002). TQualitative Research and Evaluation Methods Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Paulus, T. (1999). The effect of peer and teacher feedback on student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8 265-289. Paulus, T. M. (1999). The effect of peer and teacher feedback on student writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8 (3), 265-289. Pellettieri, J. (2000). Negotiati on in cyberspace. In M. Warschauer, & Kern, R.G (Ed.), Networked-based language teaching: Concepts and practice (pp. 59-86). New York: Cambride Applied Linguistics. Peterson, M. (1997). Language teaching and networking. System, 25 29-37. Pica, T. (1994). Research on negotiation: What does it reveal about second-language learning conditions, processes, and outcomes? Language Learning, 44 493-527. Prior, P. (2001). Voices in text, mind, and society: Sociohistorical accounts of discourse acquisition and use. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10 55-81.

PAGE 403

387 Putney, L., Green, J., Dixon, C., Durn, R ., & Yeager, B. (2000). Consequential progressions: Exploring co llective-individual deve lopment in a bilingual classroom. In C. D. Lee & Smagorinsky, P (Eds.), Vygotskian perspectives on literacy research: Constructing mean ing through collaborative inquiry (pp.86121). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Raimes, A. (1985). What unskilled ESL student s do as they write: A classroom study of composing. TESOL Quarterly, 19 229-258. Ramanathan, V., & Atkinson, D. (1999). Individualism, academic writing, and ESL writers. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8 45-75. Reed, A., & Bergemann, V. E. (2001). A guide to observati on, participation, and reflection in the classroom (4th ed.). New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Roebuck, R. (2000). Subjects speak out: How learners position themselves in a psycholinguistics task. In J. P. Lantolf (Ed.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 79-95). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Roux-Rodriguez, R. (2003). Computer-mediated peer res ponse and its impact on revision in the college Spanish classroom: A case study. Unpublished Dissertation, University of South Florida, Tampa. FL. Russell, D. (1995). Activity theory and its im plications for writing instruction. In J. Petraglia (Ed.), Reconceiving writing, rethin king writing instruction (pp. 51-78). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Russell, D. (1997). Rethinking genre in school and society: An activity theory analysis. Written Communication, 14 (4), 504-554. Salaberry, M. R. (1996). A theoretical f oundation for the development of pedagogical tasks in computer mediated communication. CALICO Journal, 4 (1), 5-34. Salaberry, M. R. (2001). The use of t echnology for second language learning and teaching: A retrospective. The Modern Language Journal, 85 (1), 39-56. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1986). Research on written communication. In C. Wittrock (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed., pp. 778–803). New York: Macmillan. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1987). Knowledge-telling and knowledge-transforming in written composition. In S. Rosenberg (Ed.), Advances in applied psycholinguistics, Volumn 2: Reading, writing, and language learning (pp. 142175). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

PAGE 404

388 Seidman, I. (1998). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Smagorinsky, P. (1995). The social constr uction of data: Met hodological problems of investigating learning in the z one of proximal development. Review of Educational Research, 65 (3), 191-212. Smagorinsky, P., Cook, L., & Reed, P. (2005). The construction of meaning and identiy in the composition and reading of an architectural text. Reading Research Quarterly, 40 (1), 70-88. Smith, B. (2003). Computer-mediated negotia ted interaction: An expanded model. Modern Language Journal, 87 (1), 38-54. Smith, L. B., & Thelsen, E. (2003). Development as a dynamic system. TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences, 7 (8), 343-348. Sotillo, S. (2000). Discourse functions a nd syntactic complexity in synchronous communication. Language Learning & Technology, 4 (1), 82-119. Spitzer, M. (1990). Local and global networking : Implications for the future. In D. H. Holdstein, & Selfe, C. L (Ed.), Computers and writing: Theory, research, practice (pp. 58-70). New York: The Modern Language Association of America. Stake, R. (1995). The art of case study research Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Stake, R. (2003). Qualitative case studies. In N. K. Denzin, & Lincoln, Y. S (Ed.), Handbook of qualitative research Thousand Oak, CA: Sage. Stanley, J. (1992). Coaching student writers to be effective peer evaluators. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1 217-233. Storch, N. (1998). A classroom-based study: Insights from a collaborative text reconstruction task. ELT Journal, 52 291-300. Storch, N. (2001). How collaborative is pair work? ESL tertiary students composing in pairs Language Teaching Research, 5 (1), 29-53. Storch, N. (2002). Patterns of Interaction in ESL pair work. Language Learning, 52 (1), 119-158. Storch, N. (2004). Using activity theory to explain differe nces in patterns of dyadic interactions in an ESL class. Canadian Modern Language Review, 60 (4), 457480.

PAGE 405

389 Sullivan, N., & Pratt, E. (1996). A compara tive study of tow ESL writing environments: A computer-assisted classroom and a traditional oral classroom. System, 29 (491501). Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: So me roles fof comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its developm ent. In S. Gass, & Madden, C (Ed.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, MA: Newburry House. Swain, M., Brooks, L, & Tocalli-Beller, A. (2 002). Peer-peer dialogue as a means of second language learning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 22 171-185. Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre analysis Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thelen, E., & Smith, L.B. (1994). A dynamic systems approa ch to development: Applications Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Thorne, S. L. (2000). Beyond bounded activity systems: Heterogeneous cultures in instructional uses of persistent conversation. Paper presented at the the ThirtyThird Annual Hawaii Inte rnational Conference on System Sciences, Los Alamitos, CA. Thorne, S. L. (2004). Cultural historical activity theory and the object of innovation. In O. St. John, van Esch, K, & Schalkwijk, E (Ed.), New insights into foreign language learning and teaching Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang Verlag. Tin, T. (2003). Does talking with peers help learning? The role of expertise and talk in convergent group discussion tasks. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2 53-66. Tsui, A., & Ng, M. (2000). Do second L2 writers benefit from peer comments? Journal of Second Language Writing, 9 147-170. Tuzi, F. (2004). The impact of e-feedback on the revisions of L2 writers in an academic writing course. Computers and Composition, 21 217-235. University of Michigan. (2003). MTELP: Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency MI: Testing Certification Divi sion, English Language Institute. Van Geert, P. (1994). Dynamic systems of development : Change between complexity and chaos London, England: Harvester Wheatsheaf. van Geert, P. (1998). A dynamic systems m odel of basic developmental mechanisms: Piaget, Vygotsky, and beyond. Psychological Review, 105 634–677. van Gelder, T., & Port, R. (1995). It's about time: An overview of the dynamical approach to cognition. In R. Port, & van Gelder, T (Ed.), Mind as motion (pp. 144). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

PAGE 406

390 van Gelder, T. (1995). What might cognition be, if not computation? The Journal of Philosophy 91 (7), 345-381. van Gelderen, A. (1997). Elementary students’ skills in revising: Integrating quantitative and qualitative analysis. Written Communication, 14 360-397. van Lier, L. (1996). Interaction in the language curri culum: Awareness, autonomy, and authenticity New York: Longman. Van Pattern, B. (1996). Input processing and grammar in struction in second language acquisition Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Villamil, O., & de Guerrero, M. (1996). Peer revision in the L2 classroom: Socialcognitive activities, medi ating strategies, and asp ects of social behavior. Journal of Second Language Writing, 5 (1), 51-75. Villamil, O., & de Guerrero, M. (1998). Assessing the impact of peer revision on L2 writing. Applied Linguistics, 19 491-514. Volosinov, V. N. (1973). Marxism and the philosophy of language New York: Seminar Press. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and Language Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wallace, D. L., & Hayes, J. R. (1991) Redefining revision for freshmen. Research in the Teaching of English, 25 (1), 54-66. Wallace, D. L. e. a. (1996). Better revision in eight minutes? Prompting first-year college writers to revise globally. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88 (4), 682-688. Warschauer, M. (1995). Comparing face-to-face and electronic discussion in the second language classroom. CALICO Journal 7-26. Warschauer, M. (1996). Comparing face-to-face and electronic discussion in the second language classroom. CALICO Journal, 13 (2), 7-26. Warschauer, M. (1997). Compute r-mediated collaborative lear ning: Theory and practice. Modern Language Journal, 81 (3), 470-481. Warschauer, M., & Healey, D. (1998). Comput ers and language learning: An overview. Language Teaching, 31 57-71. Warschauer, M. (1999). Electronic literacies: Language, culture, and power in online education NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

PAGE 407

391 Warschauer, M., & Kern, R (Ed.). (2000). Network-based language teaching: Concepts and practice New York: Cambridge University Press. Warschauer, M. (2005). Sociocultural perspectiv es on CALL. In J. Egbert, &Petrie, G. M (Ed.), CALL Research Perspectives (pp. 41-51). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum. Wells, G., & Chang-Wells, G. L. (1992). Constructing knowledge together Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic inquiry: Toward a soci ocultural practice and theory of education Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Wertsch, J. (1985). Vygotsky and the social formation of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wertsch, J. (1991). Voices of the mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated action Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wertsch, J. (1998). Mind as action Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wertsch, J., & Bivens, J.A. (1992). The social origins of individual mental functioning: Alternatives and perspectives. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, 14 35-44. Wiemelt, J. (2001). Toward an activity-base d conception of writi ng and school writing contexts. Written Communication, 18 (2), 107-179. Williams, J. (2004). Tutoring and revision: Seco nd language writers in the writing center. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13 173-201. Yin, R. (2003). Case study research: Design and method Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Zamel, V. (1985). Responding to student writing. TESOL Quarterly, 19 79-102. Zamel, V. (1987). Recent research on writing pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly, 21 697-715. Zhang, L. (2001). Examining the effects of drafting and revising patterns on students' writing performance and the implica tions in writing instruction Zhang, S. (1995). Reexamining the affective advantage of peer feedback in the ESL writing class. Journal of Second Language Writing, 4 (3), 209-222. Zhang, S. (1999). Thoughts on some recent evidence concerning the affective advantage of peer feedback. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8 (3), 321-326. Zhu, W. (1995). Effects of training for peer response on students' comments and interaction. Written Communication, 12 (4), 492-528.

PAGE 408

392 Zhu, W. (2001). Interaction and feed back in mixed peer response groups. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10 251-276. Zhu, W., & Mitchell, D. (2005). Understanding students' goals for peer response. Paper presented at the the 40th Annual Meeting of Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages, Tampa, FL.

PAGE 409

393 APPENDICES

PAGE 410

394 Appendix A CELT

PAGE 411

395 Appendix A (continued) 395

PAGE 412

396 Appendix A (continued) 396

PAGE 413

397 Appendix A (continued) 397

PAGE 414

398 Appendix B MTELD

PAGE 415

399 Appendix B (continued) 399

PAGE 416

400 Appendix B (continued) 400

PAGE 417

401 Appendix B (continued) 401

PAGE 418

402 Appendix B (continued) 402

PAGE 419

403 Appendix C Academic Writing IV Syllabus ACADEMIC WRITING IV SYLLABUS ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE University of South Florida Summer Semester 2006 Instructor : Li Jin e-mail : lijin@mail.usf.edu Phone : 813-974-1203 Office : FAO130 Office hours : 11:00-12:00 (W) Class Time: 10:00 – 10:50 MRF 10:00—10:50 TW (CPR 467) Classroom: M-SOC205, T& W-CPR 467;RCPR340;F-CPR250 Required Materials: 1. Textbook: Reid, J. (2000). The process of composition (3rd Ed.). White Plains, NY: Prentice Hall Regents. 2. A 3 ” computer disk or a thumb dr ive (or you can e-ma il your documents to yourself) 3. Any Writing Folder (for al l exercises, information, and drafts for each writing assignment); 4. A Moodle Account (Go to http://steinemail.com/moodle/ to register. Class Key: AW4) Suggested Book (not required): Longman Language Activator (Advanced). The cost is about $56 new or $46 used. Course Goals: This course will prepare you for the writing a ssignments required in university courses. Two days per week we will meet in the com puter lab. During the the semester you will: gain proficiency with Microsoft Word write paragraphs and essays us ing various styles, such as definition, process, classification, compare/c ontrast, cause effect. use peer review before revising your papers practice editing for grammar and punctuation practice revising for vocabulary, co ntent, organization, coherence practice paraphrasing, summar izing, and synthesizing in formation, as well as using direct quotation and reported speech conduct research on the Internet and the USF library become familiar with academic documenta tion procedures (APA in-text citations and bibliography) Policies: Attendance is mandatory. If you are absent from class, remember to get notes from a classmate. You should additi onally call or e-mail the instructor

PAGE 420

404 You must send me an e-mail if you are absent the day of a test and want to make it up. “Pop” quizzes and reading checks are to be expected. Be prepared. The final exam can only be taken during its scheduled day and time. Labs: Writing IV meets in the lab on Tuesday and Wednesday. Be sure to bring a disk or a thumb drive. NO FOOD or DRINK is allowed in the lab. The lab is open for you to work on assignments from 8:00 to 5:30 M-R and 8:001:00 F. Course Requirements and Evaluation: An overall grade of 85% in core courses (Grammar, Writing, Culture) is necessary to successfully complete level IV. The grade for this course is based on: 10% Attendance 30% Writing Folder 30% Assessments 30% Final Exam Writing Folder: a two-pocket folder where you will save all of your writing assignments: free writing, charts, outlines, summaries, drafts, gathered information, peer reviews, teacher comment s, revisions, final drafts, etc. The Writing Folder will be collected on the due date of each writing assignment. Assessments: chapter quizzes, timed writings, paragraphs, and essays that are not reviewed by the teach er prior to grading. Tentative Schedule: Week 1 May 18-19 Chapter. 1 (Paragraphs) 1. understand your audience 2. difference between written and spoken English 3. Purpose for writing Reading assignment : Chapter 1 (pp.1-31) Writing assignment: Write a paragraph to describe yourself Week 2 May 22-26 Chapters 1 & 2 1. Topic Sentences and Controlling Ideas; Outline a Paragraph; 2. Developing and supporting ideas: pr ocess, extended definition, comparison/contrast, classi fication, and cause/effect. Reading Assignment : Chapter 2 (pp.32-64) Writing Assignment : Write a Compare/Contrast Paragraph about two different advertisements. Week 3 May 30-( May 29, Memorial Day, no classes ) Chapter 3: Planning an essay (essay organization, Internet resources, and

PAGE 421

405June 2 APA citation) Reading Assignment : Chapter 3 (pp.65-98) Peer Response Session Week 4 June 5-9 Continuation of week 3: Chapter 3 Writing Assignment : Write a 500-word Expository Essay in which you explain learning styles Use at least 2 in-text APA citations. Week 5 June 12-16 Chapter 4: Introduction to Academic Re search (topic sele ction, surveys and interviews, using Internet resources, nontext materials, coherence device) Reading assignment : Chapter 4 (pp.99-133) Computer-mediated Peer Response Session Week 6 June 19-23 Chapter 5: Academic Written Responses Reading Assignment: Chapter 5 (pp.134-169) Writing Assignment : Write a Summary-analysis Essay (at least 3 paragraphs) Week 7 June 26-30 Chapter 5 (continue) MIDTERM EXAM TUESDAY Computer-mediated Peer Response Session Week 8 July 5-7 (July 3: catch-up day; July 4, I ndependence Day. no classes) Chapter 6: Persuading an Audience: The Arguing Essay Reading Assignment : Chapter 6 (pp.170-204) Writing Assignment : Write an Argumentative Essay arguing for a viewpoint (at least 5 paragraphs) Week 9 July 10-14 Chapter 6 continued Computer-mediated Peer Response Session Week 10 July 17-21 Chapter 7 & 8: Evaluating in Academic Writing Reading Assignment : Chapter 7 (pp.205-240) Writing Assignment : Write a 3-4 page Problem-solution Essay including evaluations of information from multiple sources at least 6 in-text citations, and 4-6 references Week 11 July 24-28 Chapter 7 & 8 (continued) Reading Assignment : Chapter 8 (pp.241-281) Computer-mediated Peer Response Session Week 12 July 31Aug 4 finishing up Reading Assignment : Chapter 9 (pp.282-313) Week 13 Aug 7-11 Final Exam

PAGE 422

406 Appendix D Sample Peer Response Instruction Sheet Class Activity Instruction July 5, 2006 1. Please read your partner’s e ssay and the original articl e he or she summarized carefully. 2. Write down your comments and suggestions on the worksheet. 3. Find your partner on the messenger a nd discuss about your comments and suggestions.

PAGE 423

407 Appendix E Peer Response Worksheets Peer Response Worksheet 1 – Reading Date: June 20, 2006 Topic: Expository Essay Draft #1 Reader: ___________________ Writer: __________________ Problems you found out in your partner’s writing The changes you suggest your partner to make to improve his or her essay (e.g. add or delete some information) Content 1. Is all information relevant? 2. Has all necessary information about learning styles been discussed in the essay? 3. Do both the introduction and the conclusion paragraph include the thesis of statement? 4. Is there anything you think your partner should add into 5. Any other aspect you find interesting in the essay? Organization and Style 1. Does the essay have a clear thesis of statement? 2. Does the introduction paragraph include a hook or a grabber and a thesis of statement? 3. Does the conclusion paragraph include a restated thesis of statement and a clincher? 4. Does each paragraph start with a topic sentence? Is all information provided in the paragraph related to the main idea in the topic

PAGE 424

408sentence? 5. Are the main ideas discussed in the topic sentence of each paragraph related to the thesis of statement of the essay? 6. Are all transition words used correctly? Is the given-new principle of coherence followed in the essay, such as the use of he, she, they, this, and that? 7. Any more thing you want to share with your partner regarding the organization and style ? Punctuation, capitalization, spelling 1. Are all types of punctuation used correctly? 2. Is there any mistaken capitalization or misspelling in the essay? References 1. Is the quotation or citation used correctly in the text? (e.g. the author’s name and the year of publication) 2. Are the references listed out correctly? Peer Review Worksheet 1--Reading Date: June 20, 2006 Topic: Expository Essay Draft #1 Reader: ___________________ Writer: __________________ Problems you found out in your partner’s writing The changes you suggest your partner to make to improve his or her essay (e.g. add or delete some information) Content

PAGE 425

4092. Is all information relevant? 2. Has all necessary information about learning styles been discussed in the essay? 3. Do both the introduction and the conclusion paragraph include the thesis of statement? 4. Is there anything you think your partner should add into 5. Any other aspect you find interesting in the essay? Organization and Style 1. Does the essay have a clear thesis of statement? 2. Does the introduction paragraph include a hook or a grabber and a thesis of statement? 3. Does the conclusion paragraph include a restated thesis of statement and a clincher? 4. Does each paragraph start with a topic sentence? Is all information provided in the paragraph related to the main idea in the topic sentence? 5. Are the main ideas discussed in the topic sentence of each paragraph related to the thesis of statement of the essay? 6. Are all transition words used correctly? Is the given-new principle of coherence followed in the essay, such as the use of he, she, they, this, and

PAGE 426

410that? 7. Any more thing you want to share with your partner regarding the organization and style ? Punctuation, capitalization, spelling 1. Are all types of punctuation used correctly? 2. Is there any mistaken capitalization or misspelling in the essay? References 1. Is the quotation or citation used correctly in the text? (e.g. the author’s name and the year of publication) 2. Are the references listed out correctly?

PAGE 427

411 Appendix F Informed Consent Informed Consent Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for People Who Take Part in Research Studies The following information is being presented to help you decide wh ether or not you want to take part in a minimal risk research st udy. Please read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the pers on in charge of the study. Title of Study: Computer-mediated Peer Response in an ESL Academic Writing Class: An Activity Theoretical Perspective Principal Investigator: Li Jin Study Location(s): Tampa Campus, the University of South Florida You are being asked to participate because this study is intended to investigate the process of computer-mediated peer revision in which you and your partner in the writing class will exchange comments on each other’s writing through synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies. General Information about the Research Study The purpose of this research study is to e xplore how ESL students perform in a peer response task in a computer-mediated communi cation environment. Students will use an instant messenger (synchronous communicatio n technology) and the discussion board (asynchronous communication tech nology) to exchange feedb ack on each other’s writing. Plan of Study By participating to this study, pa rticipants will be asked to review their partner’s writing draft and write down feedback they have on th e partner’s writing as well as what they expect to hear from their partner regardi ng their own writing. At the outset of the study, voluntary participants will fill up a pre-study su rvey that is used to collect demographic information of all participants. During the study, three writing task s will be undertaken with online peer revision ac tivities, one with Yahoo! Messe nger and one with discussion board. For the Yahoo! Messenger-assisted peer revision, pairs will be required to sit in front of different computers and exch ange their comments through the Yahoo! messenger. All conversations will be arch ived and sent by the conversants to the researcher at the end of each peer respons e session. As for the discussion board peer response activity, different boards will be create d for each pair. Participants in each pair will be asked to post their essays for each wr iting task in their respective board. After reviewing each other’s essay, they will post their feedback. At the end of each online peer revision activity, each participant will also receive a follow-up interview from the researcher that will help participants reco llect what occurs duri ng the peer response session and reveal how they think of the onlin e peer response activit ies. All interviews will be audio-taped and later tr anscribed. At the end of the study, each participant will be

PAGE 428

412 required to fill up a post-study survey that is intended to collect data regarding how participants think of the com puter-mediated peer revision acti vities as a reviewer and a writer, respectively. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for your participation in this study. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study By taking part in this research study, you ma y benefit more from peer review activities, obtaining more helpful information from your partner and gain more knowledge and develop your skills of using English language. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There will be no known risk to participate to this study. This study is only intended to investigate the process of computer-mediated peer revision. No physi cal or mental risks will exist. All records of each participant will be kept confidential. The detailed confidentiality process is described below. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy and research records will be kept confidential to the extent of the law. Authorized research personnel, employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the USF Institutional Review Bo ard, its staff and other individuals acting on behalf of USF may inspect the reco rds from this research project. The results of this study may be published. However, the data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the pub lication. The published re sults will not include your name or any other information that w ould personally identify you in any way. Fake names will be used instead in any future publications. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study Your decision to participate in this research study is comple tely voluntary. Your decision to participate or not to part icipate will in no way affect your student status. You are free to participate in this research study or to withdraw at any time. There will be no penalty or loss of benefits you are en titled to receive, if you stop taking part in the study. Questions and Contacts If you have any questions about this rese arch study, contact Li Jin at (813)7841139 or via lijin@mail.usf.edu If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Divi sion of Research Compliance of the University of South Florida at (813) 974-5638. Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: I have fully read or have had read and e xplained to me this informed consent form describing this research project.

PAGE 429

413 I have had the opportunity to question one of the persons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I am being asked to pa rticipate in research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, unde r the conditions indicated in it. I have been given a signed copy of this informed consent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ ________________________________________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participant Date Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the nature of the above re search study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge th e subject signing this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved in participating in this study. _________________________ ________________________________________ Signature of Investigator Printe d Name of Investigator Date Or authorized research investigator designated by the Principal Investigator

PAGE 430

414 Appendix G Pre-Study Survey This survey is intended to obtain informati on about all participan ts’ ethnographical and academic backgrounds, the prior experience of computer use, and experience of online synchronous communication. Please provide genuine informati on. I sincerely appreciate your cooperation! I. Ethnographical Information (1) Gender Male Female (2) Age under 20 yrs. 20-30 yrs. 30-40 yrs above 40 yrs. (3) What country are you from? ____________________________________________________ (4) Your native language(s) _______________________________________________________ (5) What degree have you obtained in your home country? High school diploma Baccalaureate Master or above other degree, please identify it here _______ (6) For what purpose(s) are you taking courses in ELI? Preparing for entering a undergraduate program in USF or another U.S. higher education institution Preparing for entering a graduate program in USF or another U.S. higher education institution Just improving English proficiency other reason. If yes, please specify _______________________________________________ (7) How many years have you learned Eng lish before you are enrolled in ELI? less than 1 year 1-3 years 3-5 years more than 5 years (8) Have you taken any Englis h academic writing course be fore you register for this course? Yes (please continue with question 9) No (Please go to question 12) (9) How many English academic writing courses have you taken? 1 2-3 more than 4 (10) What kinds of class activities were conducted in those English academic writing courses? (Please check on major activities in which you participated in those courses) lectures from the instructor

PAGE 431

415 writing practice instructor provides feedback on a sample writing instructor provides individual feedback peer feedback multiple drafts others, please identify what othe r activities you pa rticipated in _______________ ________________________________________________________________________ (11) What were you expected to achieve in the English academic writing courses? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ (12) Do you know what peer response is? Yes No II. Computer Use (13) Do you have personal computer? Yes No (14) How long have you been using the computer? less than six months less than 1 year 1~3 years more than 3 years (15) How do you feel when using a computer? enthusiastic very comfortable just fine hate it (16) Do you use computer to co mmunicate with other people? Yes No (17) If your answer to qu estion 16 is yes, what kind( s) of technology do you use? email discussion board chat room instant messenger other technology. If yes, please specify ________________________________ (18) Do you enjoy using computer technologi es to communicate with other people? very much it’s ok. not at all hate it, but have to (19) If you use instant messenger, fo r what purpose(s) do you use it? exchanging academic information with colleagues or classmates exchanging entertainment information with friends exchanging information with family members other. If so, please specify ___________________________________________

PAGE 432

416 (20) What type of messenger do you usually use? MSN messenger Yahoo! messenger AOL messenger other messenger. If yes, please specify _______________________ (21) How often do you communicate with other people via instant messenger? daily weekly monthly occasionally (22) If you use instant messenger daily, on average, how long do you chat with people every day? less than 1 hour 1~3 hours 4~12 hours more than 12 hours (23) If you use discussion board, for what purpose do you use it? exchanging academic information with colleagues or classmates exchanging entertainment information with friends exchanging information with family members other. If so, please specify ___________________________________________

PAGE 433

417 Appendix H Sample Interview Questions with Student Participants Questions about CMPR: 1. Could you tell me what you and your partne r did during yesterday’s (or any other day) peer response session? Questions about Goals: 2. Can you tell me why you participated in the online peer response? 3. What did you plan to lear n or obtain when you partic ipated in the online peer response? 4. If you could choose, what would you do rather than participating in the online peer response? Questions about mediation of CMC: 5. What kind of relationship do you think you and your partner had when you two were exchanging comments on your writing online? 6. How do you think of your pa rtner? Do you think there coul d be different relationship between you if you two could talk face-to-face? 7. How do you think of online communication? Do computer techno logies change the way you interact with your classmates? Questions about the social cultural context: 8. What do you think your institute expects you to do when you take this course? Do you think they expect you to obey some ru les when you are par ticipating in online activities? 9. What did your instructor expect you to do during the computer-mediated peer response session? 10. Did you do everything your instructor asked you to do? Why or why not? 11. What did your instructor do during th e online peer response session? 12. What did your classmates do during th e online peer response session? 13. Did they influence your communication with your partner? 14. How do you think of the interaction be tween you and your partner? Was there any problem during your communication? If ye s, what did you and your partner do? 15. Was your partner helpful? Why or why not? Questions about prior experience: 16. What do you think of this peer response session? Did you have any problems in the session? If yes, what were they? Wh y do you think you have these problems? 17. What did you do to deal with those pr oblems you had during this peer response session? 18. How do you think your prior experience of peer response influences your participating in this peer response session? 19. Did you have problems with computer t echnologies during th is peer response session? If yes, what were they? Wh y do you think you have these problems? 20. If you used this technology before, do you th ink you still have these problems in the peer response activity?

PAGE 434

418 21. What did you do to deal with the tec hnology problems you had during this peer response session? Questions about revisions students make in the 2nd draft: (questions will vary according to the revisions each participant has made) 22. Can you tell why you made revisions here?

PAGE 435

419 Appendix I Observation Protocol Date and Time of Observation: Objectives of the Class: Student Observed: Event Observed: Length of Observation: Observation Focus Time Description Field Notes 1. Context and Atmosphere of the class 2.1 What did the student say to other students? 2.2 What body language did the student have during interaction? 2. Interactions with other students in class 2.3 What did the student do during interaction? 3.1 What did the student say to the instructor? 3.2 What body language did the student have during interaction? 3. Interactions with the instructor in class 3.3 What did the student do during interaction? 4.1 What facial express and physical movement did the student have during CMPR? 4.2 Whether and/or what did the student talk to his/her peer? 4.3 Whether and/or what did the student talk to other students? 4. Interaction between pairs during CMPR 4.4 Whether and/or what did the student talk to the instructor?

PAGE 436

420 Appendix J Coding Scheme for Revision Analysis Level Example Clause We sat down and took a long rest. After reaching the top of the mountain, we sat down and took a long rest. Paragraph I find that this movie is not making light of one of the most horrific events in human history at all. It shows us simply how horrible this was and how it tore families apart, and shows the determined strength and great love of a father in a dire situation. I don’t know whether it is right or wrong to depict war comically. However I appreciate this movie making us rouse such opinions. Phrase Jesse waited for the call. Jesse waited in her office for the call. Punctuation Then he admitted what he did; he killed his horse. Then he admitted what he did. He killed his horse. Sentence He got off the bus slowly. Word Look at the ball. Look on the ball. Look on the mirror Type Example Add Salome went out the door. When she heard the gun shots, Salome went out the door. Combine Debra was looking for the keys to the house. She found them under the plant. Debra was looking for the keys to the house and found them under the plant. Delete Jeff took his shoes off all by himself. Jeff took his shoes off by himself. Move The old man walked slowly off the ramp. The old man slowly walked off the ramp. Replace Thomas runs to the phone. Thomas ran to the phone. Rewrite I got angry at my father when I learned what he had done. Having discovered the terrible crimes he committed, Alice became enraged at her own father. Split Jill liked the new home well enough, but she had a strange feeling because it was in the middle of the woods. Jill liked the new home well enough. But she had a strange feeling becau se it was in the middle of the woods. Purpose Example Grammar We try to hit the ball over the fence. We tried to hit the ball over the fence. Impact My father read quickly through the manual to find out what to do next. My father raced through the manual to find out what to do next. Meaning Why do athletes do doping anyway? Why do athletes take drugs and steroids anyway? New info Swimming was lots of fun for the kids. Swimming was lots of fun for the kids. But they did not know an enemy was lurking under the surface—a snake Not needed A particular section is dele ted because the contents changes or are

PAGE 437

421 redundant making the section unnecessary. Structure My father had many reasons for not trusting us. First of all we all had a criminal record. Surface We tried to hit the ball ove the fence. We tried to hit the ball over the fence.

PAGE 438

422 Appendix K Coding Scheme for Language Function in Online Chat Language Function Definition Structure The speaker structures th e movement of the conversation, or announce a new topic, e.g. Let’s talk about X Summarize Essay The speaker summari zes or interprets the essay. Express intention The writer expresses hi s or her intention with reference to revising or drafting the essay, e.g. I want/wanted to do X Indicate difficulty The speaker indicates difficulty with reference to a. writing the essay, b.his or her own unde rstanding of concepts related to the essay, c. understanding the essay. Complete interlocutor The speaker completes an idea that the interlocutor began, but did not finish. Interlocutor The speaker asks the othe r person to clarify what he or she has said, e.g. what do you mean by X? Clarificatio n request Essay The speaker asks the other person to clarify what has been written in the essay, e.g. what do you mean in paragraph 3? Clarify The speaker clarifies what he or she has said earlier, in response to a clarification-request. Interlocutor The speaker asks the inte rlocutor to confirm that he or she understands what has been said, e.g. Do you mean…? So what you mean is…? Confirmati on check Essay The speaker asks the interloc utor to confirm that he or she understands what is written in the essay, e.g. do you mean that …? Confirm The speaker confirms what ha s been said or gives a negative confirmation, in response to a confirmation request. Ask suggestion The speaker asks for a suggestion for revising the essay. Give suggestion The speaker gives a s uggestion for revising the essay. It can either be direct, e.g. you should do… or indirect, e.g. ask rhetorical questions to indicate possible ideas Ask opinion The speaker asks for an opinion, an evaluation, or a perspective about the essay Give opinion The speaker gives an op inion, an evaluation, or expresses his or her perspective about the essay. Disagree The speaker disagrees with what the interlocutor has said. Accept The speaker clearly and explic itly accepts or agrees with the interlocutor has said, e.g. I see your point or I agree Accept/Phatic a. utterances that have no content, but serve to maintain the flow of the conversation, e.g. oh, yeah to show he or she is still following the conversation, or prompt for more information, e.g. really? b. utterances that are ambiguous as to whether the speaker agrees with the interlocutor or whether the speaker is suppl ying a phatic expression. Compliment The speaker tries to comp liment the interlocutor’s writing or suggestions, e.g. your essay is great! or your comments are

PAGE 439

423 really helpful! Ask for permission The speaker asks fo r permission to give comments or suggestions on another speaker’s essay, e.g. I was wondering if you'd mind letting me offer you some addional things Check for readiness The speaker checks wh ether the online partner is ready to offer or ask for feedback, e.g. so,,,,did you read mine? Comment on topic The speaker comments on the easiness and difficulties of a topic of an essay, e.g. that's a easy topic to understand it. Encourage The speaker encourages the online partner to be more confident in him or herself or in providing feedback, e.g. you are easy to understand. trust your essay was good Express appreciation The speaker apprecia tes the help from the online partner, e.g. thank you for you help. Indicate lack of selfconfidence The speaker talks about hi s or her own weakness and indicates incompetence in doing something, e.g. haha actually,,,, I am not a good writer so i afraid to give you any suggestion. Inform action The speaker informs the online partner what he or she is doing off-screen, e.g. I am reading your essay about learning style now. Linguistic self-correction The speaker remedies the linguistic mistakes in his or her earlier message, e.g. Rocky: my advice to you is that you have read Rocky: have to read Permit The speaker permits the online partner to offer opinions or suggestions upon the partner’s request, e.g. of course, i am glad if you can gine me some suggestion.

PAGE 440

424 Appendix L Beyond-screen Behavior Matrix Beyond-screen Behaviors Matrix: 1st CMPR Task Particip ants Interaction with the Instructor Verbal interaction with peers Body movement Facial expression Anton Informed the instructor of her situation at the end Returned Iron’s paper at the end 1.concentrated on typing; 2.checked Iron’s essay; 3.paused to wait for response; 4.checked Iron’s behaviors smiled once Iron none 1.Chatted with Anton shortly at the beginning; 2.chatted with Anton at the end 1.concentrated on typing with one hand; 2.checked Anton’s essay, CMPR worksheets and teaching materials; 3.typed with one hand; 4.wrote down words on the worksheet smiled while reading a message Beyond-screen Behaviors Matrix: 2nd CMPR Task Particip ants Interaction with the Instructor Body movements Facial expression Verbal interaction with peers Anton Came late and obtained the instruction about the task 1.Checked Iron’s status; 2.looked at her essay to check the appropriate of the comments; 3.filled up the reader’s worksheet; 4.marked down mistakes in Iron’s essay’ 5. checked the location of the instructor; 6.put on earphones to listen to music 1.smiled constantly and laughed a couple of times;2.mad e face toward other students 1.checked whether Iron was online; 2. chatted briefly with neighbors at the beginning; 3. confirmed a web link with a neighbor Diane The Instructor came over to help Diane find her partner online 1.read Jillil’s essay using the CMPR worksheets; 2. marked out mistakes on the paper and filled out the worksheet; 3. did not type frequently. 4. laughed out loud several times while chatting with a friend online. After chatting online for a while, she took out the essay and started to read it. But once there were messages coming from friends online, she started to chat. She looked around to check whether the instructor was watching her. smiled while chatting online 1. showed Francia how to use IM; 2.chatted with Francia; 3. Percy walked over to check what she was doing. 4. showed Francia what she chatted online Iron none 1.typed intensively with both hands; 2.compared the essay with the worksheet while waiting for responses; 3. paused to read the essay and wrote down notes on the worksheet Seriouslooking, frowned occasionally none Nicky Nodded when the instructor checked her 1. typed and occasionally paused to wait for responses; 2. occasionally checked the worksheet; 3. checked No facial expression none

PAGE 441

425task completion. vocabulary in the portable electronic dictionary;4. paused for a long time to wait for response. 5. took notes while reading the comments from the screen on the worksheet; 6. checked her watch. Rocky Informed the instructor of his completion of task 1.occasionally checked Nicky’s essay while chatting; 2. occasionally looked around to checked what other students were doing and whether the instructor was observing him; 3. continued chatting with friends after telling the instructor that he finished the PR task. Occasionally smiled in chat; laughed out loud once walked over to Nicky to make sure she had him on her contact list at the beginning Beyond-Screen Behaviors Matrix-3rd CMPR Task Participant Interaction with the Instructor Verbal interaction with peers Body Movement Facial expression Anton none 1.briefly chatted with classmates passing by; 2.talked to Diane about the essay and exchanged her essay 1.smiled at other students in the lab and listened to their talk; 2. read Diane’s essay and constantly checked the messenger while waiting for response; 3. read messages on the screen for a long time. Smiled for the majority of time Diane Saved the chat records with help from instructor 1.walked over to ask her essay back from Anton; 2. discussed with Anton for a PR meeting after class; 3. chatted briefly with a neighbor 1. read Anton’s essay at the beginning; 2. put on earphone to listen to music; 3.occasionally checked whether th e instructor was observing her. 4. read Anton’s essay while waiting for response. Smiled during the chat Iron spent ample time logging into IM with the help from the instructor Informed Nicky what problem he had and what he was doing when Nicky checked 1.read Nicky’s essay while the instructor was helping him solve the problem; 2. constantly checking the CMPR worksheet; 3. typed intensively when the IM was on; 4. constantly checked Nicky’s essay, the worksheet, the messages. Constantly smiled in chat Nicky Instructor checked Nicky’s ability to chat to Iron at the beginning Walked over to check Iron’s problem and helped him. 1.took out her essay to read while waiting for responses from Iron; 2. constantly checked the screen for new messages; 3. constantly checked Iron’s essay; 4. filled up the worksheets while waiting for responses from Iron; 5. occasionally looked at Iron’s direction to check his status. none Rocky Explained to instructor why he 1.discussed with Francia where her problems were when 1.typed without checking the worksheet; 2.read Francia’s essay while waiting for responses none

PAGE 442

426could not chat with Francia at the beginning she walked over; 2; walked over to help Francia log into IM; 3.explained verbally to Francia; 4. joked with Francia; 5. walked over to tell more about Francia’s essay Beyond-Screen Behaviors Matrix-4th CMPR Task Participants Interaction with instructor Verbal interaction with peers Body Movement Facial expression Diane none 1.told Rocky her IM username when he came over; 2. chatted briefly with someone in the lab; 3. got her essay from Rocky at the end of class chatting and surfing on the Internet throughout the time. She put on the earphone to watch online video. Smiled throughout the chat Nicky none Nicky talked briefly with her partner to see whether her partner was ready. Nicky’s partner didn’t finish his essay. Nicky spent the first half lab time reading her own essay while waiting for her partner to finish his essay.She also used the worksheet to help her identity any problems in her essay. She used her e-dictionary to check some words. She used the worksheet while discussing her essay with her partner. smiled in the middle of her talk with her partner. Rocky checked 4 times with instructor some grammar mistakes in Diane’s essay. 1.walked over to ask for Diane’s essay and IM user account. 2. talked to Diane to confirm one word she used in her essay. 1. took out Diane’s essay and the worksheet;2. put on the earphone while reading the essay; 3.wrote down notes in Diane’s essay ; 4. sent messages; 5. concentrated on typing without using the worksheets;; 6. brought out his portable drive.7. occasionally he turned over to confirm with the instructor sitting behind him. none

PAGE 443

427 Appendix M On-screen Behavior Matrix On-screen Behavior Matrix: 1st CMPR Task Participa nts On-task/ Off –task e-turns Language Function Emoticon use Online Resource check Multiple chat window Notes Anton 26/0 Greeting: 2 Compliment: 2 Give suggestion: 8 Indicate intention: 1 Phatic: 5 Structure: 5 Ask suggestion: 2 Express appreciation: Ask clarification: 1 4 none none Anton initiated most topics. Iron 14/0 Greeting: 2 Indicate intention: 3 Give suggestion: 3 Give opinion: 3 Phatic: 1 Agree: 1 Inform action: 1 none none none On-screen Behavior Matrix: 2nd CMPR Task Participa nts On-task /off-task eturns Language Functions Emotico n use Online Resource checking Multiple Chat windows Notes Anton 7/2 Disagree: 5 Phatic: 1 Clarification request: 1 none 1.Check email 2. Check online music video 3. online poker 3 other windows Initiated 2 chat windows Diane 5/5 Give opinion 1 Give suggestion 1 Ask opinion 1 Express appreciation 2 Confirm 1 2 1.Checked online music video 2.Played online poker with Anton 1 with Anton Initiated the chat window with Anton Iron 8/1 Give opinion: 4 Give suggestion: 2 Indicate intention: 2 Clarify: 2 Agree: 1 none none none Initiated chat with Anton Nicky 36/5 Greeting: 2 Ask opinion: 3 Structure: 1 Confirmation check: 3 Ask suggestion: 2 Check readiness: 2 Phatic: 7 Comment on topic: 1 Linguistic selfcorrection: 1 Indicate lack of 1 Using Internet languag e: cc, jiji, haha, ummm, oh 0 1 before the chat; closed 2 chat windows during the chat. Nicky initiated most topics during the chat

PAGE 444

428confidence: 1 Agree: 1 Disagree: 2 Indicate difficulty: 1 Give opinion: 4 Give suggestion: 2 Indicate intention: 1 Inform action: 1 Rocky 39/5 Greeting: 2 Confirm: 4 Confirm readiness: 2 Compliment: 3 Give opinion: 3 Give suggestion: 4 Agree: 4 Phatic: 8 Disagree: 1 Clarification request: 2 Encourage: 2 Express appreciation: 2 3 0 1 Initiated one chat window in the middle of chat with Nicky; immediat e response On-screen Behavior Matrix—3rd CMPR Task Participa nts On-task /off-task e-turns Language Functions Emoticon use Online Resource checking Multiple windows Notes Anton 34/12 Structure: 3 Express intention: 1 Indicate difficulty: 2 Compli: 6 Give opinion: 1 Disagree: 1 Agree: 2 Give suggestion: 4 Ask for suggestion: 1 Clarify: 5 Clarify request: 1 Encourage: 2 Self-correct lapse: 1 Self-identify problem: 1 Express gratitude: 1 Phatic: 7 7(happy, unhappy, “you got it”, wink) Phatic None 2 windows: one with boyfriend, the other with a classmate Initiated one offtask window; Initiated chat with Diane Diane 25/9 Express appreciation: 3 Compliment: 3 Phatic: 4 Ask opinion: 2 Give opinion: 3 Ask suggestion: 1 Agree: 6 Disagree: 1 Clarification request: 2 Clarify: Express intention: 1 Indicate difficulty: 2 Express appreciation: 3 Wink Nudge Online Game request 4 emoticons 1. checked email 2.reviewed own essay 3. watched online music video none Iron 8/0 Greeting: 1 none none none Spent

PAGE 445

429Inform action: 1 Ask suggestion: 1 Express intention: 1 Give opinion: 1 Give suggestion: 2 Clarify: 1 Ask for permission to give suggestion : 1 long time logging into MSN IM, then changed to Yahoo! Nicky 15/0 Greeting: 1 Compliment: 2 Agree: 1 Phatic: 4 Ask suggestion: 1 Clarification request: 2 Ask opinion: 1 Permit: 4 Express appreciation: 1 3 Revised another assignmen t before Iron got online,. Initiated the chat with Iron Rocky 23/0 Greeting: 2 Phatic: 4 Give opinion: 6 Give suggestion: 4 Linguistic self-correction: 2 Confirm: 1 Accept:2 Disagree: 1 Encourage: 1 3 did some editing in his own essay before talking with Francia 1 Rocky seemed enjoying playing the instructor ’s role in PR. On-screen Behavior Matrix—4th CMPR Task Participa nts On-task /off-task e-turns Language Functions Emotico n use Online Resource checking Multiple Chat windows Notes Diane 38/0 Greeting 1 Check for readiness 2 Indicate difficulty 1 Phatic 6 Comprehension check 2 Express appreciation 2 Ask suggestion 5 Accept 4 Explain 1 Information request 2 Give suggestion 1 Clarification request 1 Confirmation check 3 Clarify 5 Confirm 3 2 emotico ns. 1 wink 1.first checked her email, then checked an egreeting card website to send an e-card to a friend; 2.she checked her online album. 3.checked an online MTV site during the chat with Rocky 0 Initiated the chat with Rocky Nicky 25/0 Compliment 2 Give opinion 5 Give suggestion 1 Clarification request Ask for opinion 3 Ask for suggestion 3 Express appreciation 2 Confirm 1 Clarify 2 2 emotico ns None None Initiated the chat with Percy

PAGE 446

430Agree 2 Agree 1 Express appreciation 2 Rocky 35/0 Compliment 1 Linguistic self-correction 4 Inform action 1 Give opinion 5 Give suggestion 9 Confirmation check 2 Confirm 1 Clarification request 3 Phatic 1 Provide information 1 Agree 1 1; Intende d to use another one, but didn’t find an appropri ate one. none none

PAGE 447

431 Appendix N The Profiles of the Participants Anton Diane Iron Nicky Rocky 1 Gender F F M F M 2 Age 20-30 30-40 43 20-30 23 3 Original Country Belgium Colombia Turkey Taiwan Saudi Ara 4 Native Language French Spanish Turkish Chinese Arabic 5 Degree obtained Bachelor ma ster master certificate High school 6 Purpose at ELI Improve English Grad school Improve English Graduate school undergrad 7 Years of English before ELI 3-5 years 1-3 years 1-3 years Less than 1 year More than 5 years 8 Exp of Eng AW no no no no no 9 # of AW course 1 10 Activities in AW Lectures, writing practices 11 Expectation AW Express self in a correct way 12 Know PR? yes yes no yes no 13 own PC? yes yes yes yes yes 14 Years of Com More than 3 years More than 3 years More than 3 years More than 3 years Less than 6 months 15 Feel about Com enthusi Very com enthusiasticVery com Very com 16 Communicate yes yes yes yes yes 17 What technology Email, IM, VOIP Email, chat room, IM email Email, IM Email, chat room, IM 18 Enjoy degree Very much Very much Very much Very much Very much 19 IM purpose Entertain with friends, com with family Entertain with friends Com with family No (academic exchange with class mates) Academic exchange, entertain with friends Entertain with friends 20 What IM tech MSN MSN & Yahoo! Yahoo! MSN MSN & Yahoo! 21 How often IM daily daily occasional daily daily 22 Time/day Less than 1 hour Less than 1 hour Less than 1 hour 4-12 hours Less than 1 hour 23 CELT & MTELP Pre-test 200 147 135 112 190

PAGE 448

432 24 CELT & MTELP posttest dropped 163 dropped 137 190

PAGE 449

433 Appendix O Scale for Quantifying ESL Partic ipants’ Performances in the CMPR Tasks Performance Score Negotiate suggestion with the partner e.g. Nicky says:so,,,the summary was similary ot article or...how do you think? Rocky says:it was related Nicky says:but, this assignment is about summary-analysis... Rocky says:i know Nicky says:i don't know it was wrote the right way or not 5 Ask for and receive suggestion or provide opinions and suggestions e.g. give suggestion : Just one thing... in your first paragraph... you should specify that you are talking about the ELI ask for suggestion: I am waittting you suggestions abbout my essay. Thank you 4 Ask for opinions or provide opinions e.g. ask for opinion: what do you think about... my topic... is better studi englis abroad give opinion: your introduccion is really original 3 Read the essay or worksheets 2 Maintain conversation e.g. Anton says: :-p Diane says: ok. see you later :’( Anton says: byebye! Anton says: ;) see you in grammar! Diane says: bye 1 Have verbal communication with the instru ctor or have technical difficulties 0 Provide no feedback and object opinions and suggestions e.g. You shoudn't make any judgement concerning my ideas -1 Discuss off-task topics online and/or off-line -2 Open multiple chat windows and/or surf on the Internet for non-task purposes -3 have verbal communication with clas smates on off-task topics over 2 minutes -4

PAGE 450

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Li Jin received two Bachelors Degrees: one in English and the other in Financial Management from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Peoples Republic of China. She has taught English as a foreign language in college-level programs in China. While being a Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida, Li Jin was a graduate assistant in the Institute fo r Instructional Research and Practice in the College of Education as well as an instruct or in the ESOL Endorsement Program in the College of Education. She was also an ESL in structor in the Englis h Language Institute and an instructor of Chinese in the World Language Department in the College of Arts and Science. On weekends, she taught Chines e to heritage speakers in a local Chinese community school. She developed several te acher-training software and websites and was the content expert of the Tune-In to Mandarin software, an interactive multimedia Mandarin-learning software. She actively pres ented papers and delivered workshops in international and national conf erences of professional organi zations in the fields of applied linguistics and educational tec hnology such as AAAL, AERA, ACTFL, CALICO, and TESOL. She published one article in the CALICO Journal and one book chapter. She has two more peer-reviewed book chapters in press.