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Researching Online Foreign Language Interaction and Exchange

Theories, Methods and Challenges


Melinda Dooly and Robert O'Dowd

This book provides an accessible introduction to some of the methods and theoretical approaches for investigating foreign language (FL) interaction and exchange in online environments. Research approaches which can be applied to Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) are outlined, followed by a discussion of the way in which tools and techniques for data-collection in diverse online contexts can contribute to our understanding of online foreign language interaction. The compilation of chapters presents a comprehensive overview of key issues in virtual, intercultural and multimodal research contexts and gives insight into the particular challenges and situations which this area of language learning implies.
Researching Online Foreign Language Interaction and Exchange addresses the needs of researchers and newcomers to the area who are hoping to learn about the current state of the field by providing overviews of varying approaches and extensive literature review as well as extracts of real data to illustrate the theories, methods or issues in question.


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Section II. Key Areas of Research: Tasks, Culture, Multimodality and Virtual Worlds


Section II: Key Areas of Research: Tasks, Culture, Multimodality and Virtual Worlds Researching Multimodal Communicative Competence in Video and Audio Telecollaborative Encounters MELINDA DOOLY & MIRJAM HAUCK Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind. Marston Bates, 1906–1974 (American writer) Research in areas as diverse as educational psychology, applied lin- guistics, sociolinguistics, anthropology, sociology, communication and didactics (to name a few) has undertaken increasingly more complex investigations into the roles of language, literacy and learn- ing, especially as education in today’s society falls under rising scru- tiny. Among the key issues are the purpose of and appropriate ap- proach to language and literacy education in a world dominated by technological advances. The need for a different, new type of literate citizen is often highlighted in public discourse as well as among aca- demics. [T]he challenges that we face today in education are daunting […]. The world becomes more complex and interconnected at a lightning-fast pace, and al- most every serious social issue requires an engaged public that is not only tra- ditionally literate, but adept in a new, systemic literacy. (Seely Brown, 2008: xi) As Kramsch (2006) argues, educational needs of today go beyond knowing how to communicate meanings; learners must come to un- derstand the process of meaning-making itself. This implies sophisti- cated competence in the manipulation of symbolic systems -including the many variants of discursive modalities (spoken, written, visual, and electronic). Learners must be able to interpret meaning from discourse features, or...

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