||Embedding Digital Literacies in EFL Writing Course: Affordances of Writing on WeChat Moments
||Department of English
investments in writing
||As a consequence of recent developments in digital technologies, new genres as well as new contexts for communication are emerging. The scope of English language teaching has been expanded beyond the traditional focus on speech and writing to the production of multimodal ensembles, drawing on a range of other semiotic modes. This article investigated a college EFL writing course with two groups of participants, the experimental group (for whom the issuance of writings on WeChat Moments was required, accompanied by elements of digital literacies: pictures, videos, website links etc.), and the control group (submitting normal paper-printing writings only). Both groups took part in the pre and post writing tests and finished the questionnaires for statistical detection and evaluation of the developments of their writing performance and autonomy. The results of comparison reveal that the experimental group had a better writing performance, and fostered better learner autonomy than the control group. The findings support the significant role of digital literacy practices in richer exposure to the target language resources, interaction learning, and social communication.
A qualitative inductive analysis was conducted to three focal participants to investigate their investments in English writing and their changes through the WeChat Moments Posting program. The results suggest that while WeChat Moments Posting program expanded the range of their writer positions, students differed in responding to these positions, leading to varied impacts on their investment. The findings also reveal that these individualized responses were directed by students’ commitment to various positions in their self-valued identities and mediated by larger ideological structures associated with the high-stakes testing regimes.
||Table of Contents
Chinese Abstract ........................ii
English Abstract ........................iii
Table of Contents ........................v
List of Tables ..........................viii
List of Figures ..........................ix
Chapter One Introduction ...................1
1.1 Background of the Study ..............1
1.2 Purpose of the Study ................5
Research Questions ..................6
1.3 Definition of Terms ...............6
1.4 Significance of the Study .........10
1.5 Organization of the Dissertation .............13
Chapter Two Literature Review ................15
2.1 An Ecological and Sociocultural View on Second Language Acquisition ....................15
2.2 Digital Literacy and Its Analogues ...18
2.3 Social Technologies for Learning ..........20
2.4 Affordances of Digital Tools ........24
2.5 Social Network Sites (SNSs) and Second Language Writing ................26
2.6 Theoretical Framework of Learner Autonomy ........27
2.7 Learner Autonomy and Technology .................31
2.8 The Synergy between Research on Digital Literacies and Autonomy ...34
2.9 Investment in Writing and Identity ...........37
2.10 Interrelationship between Autonomy, Agency, and Identity ...................38
Chapter Three Methodology................44
3.1 Pedagogical Context ...........44
3.2 Research Design ...............54
3.2.1 Course Design and Participants ..............54
3.2.2 Instructors ..................56
3.2.3 Raters .......................57
3.2.4 Instruments ..................57
3.3 Research Procedures ...........61
3.4 Data Analysis .................63
Chapter Four Results ...............66
4.1 Research Question One .........66
4.2 Research Question Two .........69
4.3 Research Question Three .......73
4.3.1 Gu: from Resistant Writer to Active Composer ..74
4.3.2 Su: from Exam-oriented Writer to Academic Researcher ...............78
4.3.3 Jiang: Unchanged ......................84
4.4 Other Results of Comprehensive Analysis ....86
Chapter Five Discussion ..................101
5.1 Writing Performance ................101
5.2 Learner Autonomy............107
5.3 Learner Investments and Writer Positions ..........115
Chapter Six Conclusion .....................121
6.1 Summary of the Major Findings ....121
6.2 Pedagogical Implications .........123
6.3 Limitations of the Study ......127
6.4 Suggestions for Future Research ............................................128
Appendix A: A Consent Cover Letter .....151
Appendix B: IELTS Writing Band Descriptors ..........152
Appendix C: LAP Short Form .......154
Appendix D: Semi-structured Interview Questions (English Version) ....161
Appendix E: Semi-structured Interview Questions (Chinese Version) ....162
Appendix F: Writing Topics for Pre- and Post- tests .......................................163
Appendix G: Components of LAP-SF Constructs ..........................................165
List of Tables
Table 1. Dimensions of autonomy (Based on Benson, 2011) .................................29
Table 2. Demographic information of subjects ...........................................55
Table 3. Paired samples t-test of the pre- and post- writing test scores ..................67
Table 4. Paired samples t-test of the wiring tests for the experimental group ....68
Table 5. Paired samples t-test of the pre- and post- LAP-SF scores .......69
Table 6. Paired samples t-test of LAP-SF scores for the experimental group.........71
Table 7. Three patterns of investment changes recognized ....................................73
Table 8. Biographical vignette of the selected cases...............................................74
List of Figures
Figure 1. A model of convergence (Reinders and White, 2016)......32
Figure 2. Relationships among identity, agency and autonomy (Huang, 2009) ….42
Figure 3. Three functional hierarchies of a pyramid structure for WeChat Moments (Nie, Fu & Cheng, 2013) ...46
Figure 4. Snapshot of “like”s on WeChat Moments ....47
Figure 5. Snapshot of “comments” on WeChat Moments ......................................48
Figure 6. Interface samples of QQ Zone .......49
Figure 7. Interface sample of a content list page on WeChat Moments ……….....50
Figure 8. Interface sample of the exact time of each feedback being given on WeChat Moments ....51
Figure 9. Interface sample of a holistic view of posting on WeChat Moments ....52
Figure 10. Interface sample of the essay with an accompanying picture on WeChat Moments .........53
Figure 11. Snapshot of WeChat Moments Postings from Su ..81
Figure 12. Snapshot of comments list .........87
Figure 13. Snap of showing regret for grammatical mistakes .....90
Figure 14. Snapshot of varied semiotic resources in WMP .92
Figure 15. Snapshot of interaction and feedback in WMP ..95
Figure 16. Snapshot of posting list in WMP .............98
Figure 17. Snapshot of ingenious designs in WMP ………………………99
Figure 18. Interpretation to the three functional hierarchies of a pyramid structure for WeChat Moments ...122
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