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Title: A mixed-methods study of exploring and explaining the impact of the use of educational blogging on Saudi EFL students' writing development
Author: Almalki, S.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The dominance of technology in many learners' lives is inescapable and is an opportunity upon which educators could capitalize. Using educational blogging in language teaching, this study aimed to explore and explain the nature impact of the use of educational blogs on EFL students' writing development. The study used a mixed-methodsdesign to analyse the impact of the educational blogging. The first phase was a quasi-experimental study with an intervention and comparison group, with 90 participants in total (45 in each group). Participants were undertaking an English Language writing course during the Preparatory Year Programme at a higher education institution in Saudi Arabia. The comparison group was taught using traditional teaching methods and the intervention group was taught by using educational blogs both individual and class blogs. Both groups had the same course materials and teaching hours. The sentence variety, syntactic complexity, vocabulary, paragraph organisation and the coherence and cohesion of student pre and post writing tests were measured in order to compare the groups. Mann-Whitney tests were used to investigate whether there was a significant difference. In the second phase, a sequential mixed-methods case study focused on the intervention group was developed to explore and explain the participants' attitudes towards the use of educational blogs. Attitudes were measured using a closed questionnaire, and then this data was supplemented by open-ended questions, focus group discussion and semi-strucured interviews designed to explain the nature of the impact of the intervention in more detail. This phase also investigated the first blog and last blog entries on the class blog using the same procedure used in investigating the pre and post tests. Statistical findings reveal that the intervention group outperformed the students in the comparison group who were given similar lessons but using traditional methods (pen and 4 paper). Qualitative findings suggest that the use of educational blogging seems to have increased these students' motivation to practise writing, and that this resulted in more sophisticated and syntactically complex texts after the intervention. The study supports the theory of using educational technology as a pedagogical teaching method in English classes, based on the socio-cultural and cognitive theory of social interactional learning. In so doing, it extends the relation of educational blogging affordances and writing development context, particularly in the context of HE students taking a non-English major, who might be expected to be possibly less motivated or invested in developing their English writing skills than those students who have typically formed the sample for similar previous studies. This study is significant in investigating the pedagogical use of blogging a new context, revealing how educational blogs can be used in a context which traditionally hinders pedagogical approaches which are collaborative or student-centered: one with large class sizes, a tradition of transmission-style teaching and limited opportunities for peer interaction. The findings suggest how and why blogging can be an effective pedagogical approach for supporting writing development in similar context.
Supervisor: Watson, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available