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Title: Wiki-Mediated Collaborative Writing (WMCW) : an investigation of learners' perceptions and the impact of WMCW on preparatory year medical students studying English language in a university in Saudi Arabia
Author: Al Khateeb, Ahmed
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 8817
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Many learners of English as a second or foreign language at university, especially preparatory year students, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere struggle to achieve a satisfactory level of English language writing. Writing in English with control of accurate mechanics of writing and vocabulary and syntax, logical flow of ideas and clear structure of organisation and coherence is a condition for students’ academic success and vital for effective written communication. Despite its importance, the majority of such learners fail to meet these requirements and they have difficulties in composing texts with a logical sequence of ideas and persuasive content (Roberts and Cimasko, 2008). Part of this problem is said to occur because many writing instructors still follow traditional teaching methodologies such as the grammar-translation method and use of repetitive exercises. Such practices may seem demotivating to many learners, particularly the young generation of learner writers. However, there are a number emerging technologies such as social networking tools (e.g. wikis), which if included in normal classes can help and are therefore relevant. Many such tools utilise writing and written messages. There is now a mismatch between what learners do in the traditional class and what they actually spend most of their time on outside class (web 2.0 technologies). A compromise between two environments: formal (in class) and informal (outside class) could offer solutions. The current study aimed to fill a gap in the research by addressing the specific problems related to learning writing. It will suggest that a process-oriented wiki-mediated collaborative writing (PWMCW) approach can assist learners in practising writing in second/foreign language. The research also aimed to provide a formal learning setting for writing outside the classroom, to train the ESL/EFL learner writers to target a new audience other than their instructor. In this way, they will learn to develop their abilities to share knowledge and to respond to peers and their own feedback. The study addressed three main questions (eight sub-questions): to explore how the students perceive the PWMCW, how the learner writers process it and how it impacts on their collaborative and individual texts. The study takes a quasi-experimental case study design (one single pre-and-post-experimental group) in order to contribute to the continuity of development of learner writers regardless of place-related restrictions (Green et al., 2011). It was carried out with a mixed-research design. The quantitative analysis provided robust statistical operations to identify the significance level for certain issues, e.g. e feedback, authentic tasks and peers interaction. The qualitative analysis showed how collaborative planning and revision are achieved during the PWMCW. The data were collected from pre-and-post questionnaires, initial-and-follow-up focus groups, delayed interviews, wiki-based contributions and samples for written texts. A purposive sampling was applied and a group of university level, preparatory year, language learners were chosen in one of the universities in Saudi Arabia. This procedure is held to ensure that writing can be socially processed in an online learning environment. The findings revealed significant and insignificant changes in the perceptions of the learners along with emerging specific themes which contributed to understanding the topic of the PWMCW. The findings also explored the nature of how the collaborative writers worked together to establish a good start for better written texts, by emphasising collaborative planning and collaborative revision. Finally, the findings showed the impact of the PWMCW on the texts produced collaboratively (that used collaborative planning and collaborative revision) and individually (those texts produced by the individual learners before and after the course).
Supervisor: Wright, Vicky Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HE Transportation and Communications ; LB2300 Higher Education ; PE English ; QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science