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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An exploration of EFL teachers' and learners' lived experiences in a synchronous online VoIP -enabled cross cultural language learning environment
by Barrett, Kerrin Ann, Ph.D., The University of New Mexico, 2008, 230; 3318114
Abstract (Summary)

This grounded theory study explored the lived experiences of teachers and learners in a synchronous VoIP-enabled online cross-cultural language learning environment. Eight interrelated themes emerged: (1) the role of synchronous voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) combined with multimedia enriches online language learning; (2) teacher characteristics that form the basis of a thriving online language learning community; (3) characteristics that enable students to overcome innate shyness to become full participants in the online community; (4) interactive, dynamic sessions encourage participation and enhance the quality of the teaching and learning experience in the online synchronous VoIP-enabled environment; (5) innovative technology delivering Teaching English as a Foreign Language classes and material needs constant support and a dedicated staff to support an online learning environment; (6) the positive impact of synchronous VoIP on language developmentā€”improvement in communicative competency in both Taiwanese and American participants; (7) conflict stemming from disagreements based upon nationality, behavior issues, and cultural differences are disruptive to the online class environment and must be dealt with in a culturally-appropriate manner; and (8) transformational learning can occur in a cross-cultural VoIP-enabled environment as the result of human connectedness brought about by participant sharing of lived experiences that in turn build a tightly knit community of practice. A process framework was developed based upon the chambered nautilus that describes teaching and learning another language and culture in this unique online environment.

The themes that emerged will inform the practice of distance educators, foreign language instructors, and those involved in intercultural training and education programs. The most significant outcome of this study is that transformational learning can occur in an online language learning environment across distance and culture using VoIP. Participants reported that their perspectives and world views were changed as the result of sharing their lived experiences with one another, building the human connection as it strengthened their trans-national community of practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gunawardena, Charlotte (Lani)
School: The University of New Mexico
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Educational technology
Keywords: Distance education, English as a foreign language, Language learning, Online, Transformational learning, VoIP-enabled, Voice over Internet Protocol
Publication Number: 3318114
ISBN: 978-0-549-67307-1
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