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Title: Use of online peer review in ESL eNews writing
Author: Wong, Dora Ling Fung
ISNI:       0000 0004 6056 684X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Use of online peer review in teaching and learning writing is commonly practiced in the ESL classroom. Digital tools such as the weblog increase transparency in learning as it promotes information sharing and facilitates peer review. Online peer feedback through the digital platform can therefore be combined with teacher feedback and students' self-reflection to meet the needs of the ESL writing curriculum. It fulfills the notion of "sustainable assessment" (Boud & Molloy, 2013) and also meets at least two of the five challenges of assessment raised by Dysthe (2008:15): accountability and aligning theory of learning with assessment. The present study examines how online peer review affect the quality of e-news writing among ESL undergraduate students at a university in Hong Kong. A mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches was used to conduct online surveys and collect grades, student news writings, peer comments and self-reflections. Interviews, focus groups and case studies were also employed to investigate students' perception of peer review and their use of peer comments. In addition, a corpus-based study of student news writing benchmarked with professional news provides a detailed study on the quality of ESL news writing, student peer comments and self-reflections. Three research questions were raised to investigate the effectiveness of online peer review in ESL news writing: 1. What are students 'views on conducting online peer review using a news blog? 2. What is the impact of online peer review on the quality of news writing in an ESL classroom? 3. What language proficiency factors are taken into account in online peer review? Datasets of surveys, interviews and case studies reflect a very positive view from the students on the use of online peer review in learning news writing. However, almost all students ranked teacher feedback higher than peer comment and self-reflection. Levels of confidence in their own and peers' ability and influence of culture may explain the student preference. Overall, the online peer review practice demonstrates a positive impact on the student performance in their final work. This is shown by an upward move in the grade distribution curve and improvements made in the final writing based on samples of self-reflections in response to the peer comments. More importantly, critical and reflective thinking skills are demonstrated in self-reflections which include justification of students' use of peer comments. The statistical summary of peer comments and self-reflections indicates that the students focused on categories of content, organization, and layout & design of news writing. Grammar and style & tone remained to be challenging categories for the ESL peer reviewers. Factors like individual competency and group dynamics could be reasons affecting the results. It can also be argued that the students chose to avoid error identification due to peer pressure. However, the high percentage of agreement with the peer comments on category of grammar and concordance findings of peer comments on the style & tone of news writing suggest the peer comments are of good quality. A comparative study of the student and professional news corpora also indicates that the students have obtained a sound understanding of the online news genre and demonstrated satisfactory acquisition of news writing skills. However, the corpus study also reveals problematic use of the past participle, preposition, punctuation, and subject-verb agreement which are grammatical errors common among ESL learners. The findings therefore indicate the limitation of the peer review practice especially in grammatical accuracy
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available