Friday, August 28, 2009

* Article Review *


Kessler, G. (2009). Student-Initiated Attention to Form In Wiki-Based Collaborative Writing. Language Learning & Technology. 13(1), pp 79-95. Retrieved August 21,2009 from

  1. Title : Student-Initiated Attention to Form In Wiki-Based Collaborative Writing
  2. Language Learning & Technology – Volume 13, Number 1
  3. Greg Kessler is an Assistant Professor of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and interim director of the language resource center (LRC) at Ohio University. He is active in developing instructional materials for use with new technologies and preparing teachers and students to use these materials in ways appropriate to their teaching contexts. He has taught and consulted in many places across the US as well as in China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Montenegro, Serbia & Turkey.

(E-mail: )


Summary of the article

Technology has been implemented in second or foreign language teaching and learning because of its effectiveness. One of the advantages of using technology in the classroom is the potential to develop autonomous learning. Therefore, the aim of the research is to identify students’ autonomous language learning ability, specifically focusing on their attention to grammatical accuracy throughout the task. There are three research questions listed which are : 1) To what degree will NNS (Non-Native Speakers) EFL teacher candidates perform autonomously as they attempt to correct their own and other’s grammar errors in along-term collaborative writing task? 2) How accurate will they be in making these peers and self corrections? 3) What can these postings tell us about students and long-term web-based collaborative writing?

As for the methodology of the study, the researcher used an academic course (cultures of the English Speaking World) for the students to participate in the required tasks such as weekly discussion, access to static and dynamic web-based content, live video lectures, student video presentation and on-going collaboration on a wiki. The participants will be observed over a period of a sixteen week semester related to this online content-based course. The subject/sample used in this study were 40 final year students of a BA programme in English Language Teaching in Mexico. Moreover, they ranged in age from 21-23 years old. All of them were at the same level of language proficiency, received passing grades and participated extensively throughout the class. Additionally, they demonstrated comfort and familiarity with the technology.

The findings revealed that the participants have the tendency to focus on meaning rather than form. A total of 233 edits were made by the students in an overall history of 160 total iterations of the wiki. They considered this web-based collaboratively activity to be less demanding and tended to defer to meaning rather than attend to grammatical concerns. Based on the high frequency of peer-edits, the students appear confident in their collaboration. A total of 130 of the iterations were devoted to contributing to others’ previous contributions. Thus, the nature of peer-edits suggests that students were not afraid to critique one another. Other than that, all of the 40 students demonstrated at least one incident of self-correction of some sort. Self-correcting in such an environment may be support for the notion that public display of texts instills a sense of responsibility and obligation. In conclusion, the students are willingly to collaborate in such autonomous environments, but may not willingly strive for total accuracy. Thus, certain tasks and environments need more explicit practices and related expectations.

My reaction

I chose this article as it implements the use of wikis to promote collaborative writing. In my opinion, this is an effective method of teaching instead of just asking the students to write an essay of a given topic. Furthermore, wikis is a tool which already there in the Internet. It depends on one’s creativity and innovation to make use of it by designing activities that can capture the students’ interest. Besides, the research is understandable and consists of a few numbers of pages to be reviewed. Based on the result of the study, I would say that the research is well conducted. Besides the methodology mentioned before, the researcher also conducted follow-up interviews with participants to provide insight into the perception of the importance of grammar in the context of collaborative technologies.

This research proved that methodology of teaching writing can vary with interactive activities such as by using wikis. Instead of the traditional way of teaching writing, this can increase the students’ interest to participate in writing activities. Most of the schools have been equipped with computer labs where teachers can implement this method. Teachers can play an important role by giving instructions and providing feedbacks as there will be writing interactions between students and teachers, and among students. Besides, this can be an outside classroom activity where students can collaborate doing this activity at home. Furthermore, this can promote autonomous learning as students are willing to take over their own responsibility for learning. All in all, technology really helps the teachers in improvising their teaching methods as well as making the lesson more meaningful to the students.