2006 Thursday Sessions


Conference Presentations
Day One: May 18, 2006

10:00 – 10:45

The impact of Learning Approaches: Language Proficiency and Attitudes towards CALL
Rong Yuag
Learning approaches and attitude have been gaining increasing attention as important cognitive and affective variables to influence the ultimate learning outcome in computer-assisted language learning (CALL). This presentation will report on a quantitative study carried out at the Defense Language Institute to assess the impact of learning approaches on learners language proficiency and attitudes towards CALL. Correlation and regression analyses will be presented to address the research questions; statistical results obtained from a cluster sample of 137 foreign language learners will also be presented. Finally, implications for instructional design, curriculum development as well as teacher training will be discussed. 

Serving Three Mistresses in CALL: Students, Instructors, Researchers
M. Christine O’Neill
Claire Bradin Siskin
Dawn McCormick
A research project for which CALL software was especially created will be described. The foremost challenge was to design software tools that served three distinct user groups: language students, their instructors, and researchers. Various stages of the software in development as well as the final product will be demonstrated. The rationale for deciding which user group should get precedence at each stage of the process will be discussed.

 Focus on Form during Task-based SCMC
Chomraj Patanasorn
Angkana Tongpoon
What is the occurrence of focus on form during task-based SCMC and learners uptake and acquisition of those linguistic targets? What are the roles of task instructions on learners focus on form? In order to investigate this, a case study was conducted. The preliminary results and suggestions for the use of SCMC in research and classroom will be provided and discussed.

 Blueprint for a Comprehensive Communicative Technology-based E-learning Course
Pablo Viedma
Mark Kondrak
Frances Matos-Schultz
The University of Minnesota has offered a hybrid first-year Spanish course since 1999. Over the summer of 2005, with experience gathered over the preceding 6 years, we redesigned the entire curriculum, taking into consideration student as well as instructor needs. As a result, the course content is now delivered mostly using an online environment. WebCT Vista is the course management tool used to bring together different components aiming at developing reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. WebCT Vista, Flash Communication Server, Quia online books, streaming video, and blogs are some of the technologies used in the course.

 A One Step Tool for Coordinating Online Peer Review
Caroline Coit
Over the past years, peer review has become recognized as a valuable part of the writing process in language classrooms. However, when teachers attempt to make use of the Internet to carry out this process, they are usually confronted with many organizational difficulties which involve extensive effort on their part. In addition, they are left without information or confirmation as to who has sent a text and when, whether it has actually arrived, or whether it has been corrected and sent back in time. This tool simplifies online peer review exchanges for both the student and teacher.

 POOLS: Producing Open Online Learning Systems
Sean Mehan
Pools is a Leonardo II (European Commission) supported 2-year (2005-2007) project developing copyleft materials for language teaching and learning as well as teacher CALL training courses based on pools of digital materials for nine languages: Basque, Danish, Dutch, English, Gaelic (Scottish), German, Lithuanian, Romanian, and Spanish. The project target group is teachers of the LWUTL (Less Widely Used and Taught Languages) in technical colleges. Due to the limited range of ICT materials for these languages, the teachers often have to develop materials themselves if they want to exploit the many advantages of eLearning.

 Learning Vocabulary with WordChamp
Daniel Blumenthal
WordChamp.com is a website which helps students of foreign languages learn vocabulary. It does this through customized vocabulary drills, an innovative automatic glossing feature, and tools to allow teachers to set up homework assignments and follow up on their students’ progress. WordChamp does not impose a particular curriculum or methodology upon teachers; its purpose is to help students prepare for class so that the limited time they have with their teachers can be used to the best possible effect. To this end, we customize materials (including audio) to each teacher’s specifications, with different drill types available for different pedagogical styles.

11:00 – 11:20

Online Scholarly Writing Template: A Case for Doctoral Students in Taiwan
Yu-Chih Sun
The importance of writing for scholarly purposes has increased in English as a foreign language. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, a needs analysis was conducted to determine learning difficulties encountered by Taiwanese doctoral students writing scholarly papers for publication purposes. Questionnaires were used to gather information about the needs of the students. Second, in response to the results of the needs analysis, a web-based Scholarly Writing Template (SWT) was designed and developed to serve as aid to guide and assist learners scholarly writing process. A framework for a scholarly writing template was also developed to highlight important factors that contribute to the success of the scholarly writing support system. A survey was conducted to evaluate learners’ perception on the effectiveness of the website. The findings indicated that the responses from learners were very positive. Implications and recommendations for future research will be discussed.

 Designing Websites for ESL Learners: A Usability Testing Study
Min Liu
T. Traphagan
Y. I. Koh
J. Huh
G. Choi
A. McGregor
Using websites as a teaching and learning tool is a common practice in ESL classrooms today. However, are currently available ESL websites effective? Are they well designed? And do they meet the needs of ESL learners? Little empirical research exists to respond to these concerns. To understand if the currently available websites meet the ESL learners needs, research is needed on how ESL learners actually use these sites and what they think of these sites as a tool to facilitate their learning. We therefore conducted a usability testing study on five carefully selected and popular ESL websites using a user-centered approach. We will report our findings in this presentation.

 Using Technology to Support Languages Across the Curriculum
Cindy Evans
This presentation will include an overview of the languages across the curriculum (LAC) program at Skidmore College, a discussion of its pedagogical goals and challenges, and a presentation of the technological solutions we are in the process of implementing using the Moodle course management system. The Moodle site will be implemented during the Spring 2006 semester; the presenter is teaching the LAC course in French. The presentation includes a demonstration of both the French and Italian LAC sites and a discussion of the results of our first implementation of the model.

 Is There a Place for Concordance Programs in the L2 Classroom?
Marta Gonzalez-Lloret
This paper presents research conducted to investigate whether the use of a concordancer on a minicorpus is an effective L2 teaching tool. A group of language learners engaged in the study of prepositions through concordance program was compared with a second group that received explicit instruction and practice. Students interviews and questionnaires point out their positive attitude towards the use of a concordancer. In addition, the quantitative analysis shows a significant higher gain by the group involved in the use of the concordance program. The study concludes that the use of a concordancer can be an effective tool in the collaborative L2 classroom.

 Assessing Oral Proficiency of Online Spanish Students
Chantal Lafargue
This qualitative case study may appeal to other online language teachers and researchers in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) who have a particular focus in sequential third-language acquisition at the secondary level. This study will examine the following questions: (a) What level of oral proficiency can students attain on an oral proficiency interview after two semesters of online Spanish? (b) What are the characteristics of the learners in terms of language backgrounds and use, technological competence, and use of new literacy skills? (c) What are teaching strategies used for oral output (production and interaction) in synchronous sessions?

 Explicit Versus Implicit Feedback in CALL
Nina Moreno
In SLA there is a consensus regarding the corrective character of feedback. SLA and CALL research seem to underscore the benefits obtained from explicit feedback (Carroll & Swain, 1993; Nagata, 1993; Nagata & Swisher, 1995; Rosa & Leow, 2004), although there is also evidence that implicit and explicit feedback are equally effective (Sanz & Morgan-Short, 2004). Limitations in previous research designs, however, call for a more careful task design in which feedback is isolated as a variable. This study investigates the effects of type of feedback on adult L2 learners development of a Spanish syntactic structure over time.

 Advocacy for the Cause of Languages on Capitol Hill: A Report from JNCL
Betty Rose Facer
What is the government doing to address foreign language learning issues, and what is being done to improve the foreign language and cultural capabilities of the nation? What policies are being discussed, and what legislation is being introduced by the House and the Senate? What progress is being made at the Department of Defense? This presentation will focus on the issues presented at the JNCL (Joint National Committee for Languages)-NCLIS (National Council for Languages and International Studies) Delegate Assembly in Washington, DC as well as the progress made since that time.


11:30 – 11:50

Communication Strategies in Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication: A Two-Way Information Gap Activity
Amanda V. Black
This study investigates the choice of communication strategies made by intermediate-level nonnative language students when completing a two-way information gap task in a synchronous computer-mediated environment. Findings demonstrate that this type of task can produce complex grammatical structures. Previous research about information gap activities has shown students demonstrate ability to produce single word structures unlike the findings in this study. This type of task lends itself to aiding students in reaching strategic competence and improving their ability to use communication strategies to complete linguistic tasks. Results also demonstrate the need for a more specific labeling of the communication strategy ‘Circumlocution’ to demonstrate the complexity of the use of this strategy by participants in this study. In subsequent studies with a larger testing base, the speed of completion will be tested.

 Latest Technology: Why Have It If You Can’t Use It?
Senem Yildiz
Cutting edge technologies and software can enhance language teaching and learning in numerous ways but only when used properly. Governments and schools invest millions of dollars to provide the latest technology to teachers and learners, but is there an adequate return of investment? Effective use of technology requires clear goals and competent users, whereas in many institutions the technology runs ahead of teachers, learners, and educational plans. This presentation will illustrate what barriers hinder some Turkish schools equipped with the latest technology from using technology in language classes and list suggestions for improvement.

 Haunted Technology or Taming Video Conferencing Now That It Has “Arisen from the Grave”
Robert Davis
Gabriele A. Wittig Davis
While video conferencing is hardly a new technology, in recent years it has achieved an amazing revival. With this rebirth has come a desire to expand the traditional uses of the technology (i.e., predominately providing access to lecturers from distant sites) and discover creative means to adapt it to respond to the nonlecture format pedagogy in the foreign language classroom. This presentation will document the semester-long attempts to mediate technology and pedagogy, to coerce a one to many approach to respect many to many interaction, and provide examples of those types of exercises which best suit the learner and instructor.

 The Use of Oral Computer-Mediated Communications: Student and Instructor Perspectives
Ted T. Liu
Hiromi Aoki
This study explores the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools for language instruction. Wimba is a suite of web-based voice communication tools for voice email, voice discussion boards, voice direct, and Oral Assessment Builder, which facilitates easy creation, management, assignment, and grading of oral assessments, and delivery of verbal feedback to students. See specific instances of how UCLA instructors successfully enhance the student learning experience by facilitating and encouraging interaction with instructors, native speakers, and other students using Wimba. The presenters will also report findings from interviews and surveys conducted with instructors and anonymous surveys conducted with students on the use of Wimba.

 We Can Finally Do It! The Use of Blackboard in Teaching an Advanced Hebrew Course
Hadassah Nemovicher
Rivka Halperin
This presentation will demonstrate the use of Blackboard in teaching Hebrew at an advanced level at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. The focus will be on the technological challenges as well as the methodological challenges that we faced developing the course. Some of the issues to be discussed include: handling the subject matter, building language activities, ongoing communication between instructor and students, and using multimedia. Another focus will be on the advantages and disadvantages of using the Blackboard technology in Hebrew versus the traditional face-to-face language instruction. We believe that we are pioneers in this endeavor and that other Semitic languages may benefit from our own experiences.

 A Simple Framework for Developing Language Tests on the Web
Alysse Weinberg
This demonstration will present a three-part framework of test HTML with JavaScript, WebTest7.cgi script, and output of results that easily permits the creation of web-based language tests. Parameters within the HTML pass information to the CGI script so that many different tests can all use the same script. The CGI script records the test scores to a daily log file and optionally sends them via email. The answers are stored in a file only available to the CGI script. This template has been used to successfully develop placement tests, proficiency tests for reading, listening and writing, and midterm and final exams.

 From HyperACE to FlashACE: Repurposing Listening Exercises for the Web
Kenneth Romeo
Phil Hubbard
HyperACE (HyperCard-based Aural Comprehension Exercises) was a set of listening activities developed in the 1990s for Macintosh computers involving picture identification and other activities for students in academic ESL settings. FlashACE repurposes this material in a web-based format for both Macs and PCs through Macromedia’s FlashMX, preserving the basic concept but adding new functionality, including data collection capabilities. This presentation demonstrates the basic functions of FlashACE, discusses methods for instructional implementation, and outlines the structure of the Flash application. In addition, a set of freely available web resources is provided, including several exercises and a downloadable template for the interface.

 2:00 – 2:45

Not All Errors Are Created Equal: Pedagogical Contextualization of Language Learner Speech Errors
Nicolaus Mote
W. Lewis Johnson
Abhinav Sethy
Shrikanth Narayanan
Not all errors in second language learner speech are created equal. Different errors sound more severe or harsh to native speaker ears and should therefore be treated with more emphasis in pedagogical interaction. The Tactical Language Training System (TLTS) is a speech-enabled virtual-reality-based computer learning environment designed to teach Arabic spoken communication to American English speakers. This paper addresses the ways the TLTS contextualizes nonnative speech errors and how this contextualization fits in the corrective exchanges between a nonnative learner and a pedagogical agent built to model a native listener.

 Developing and Validating a Web-based Assessment of Speaking Proficiency
Eric A. Surface
Reanna M. Poncheri
Speaking proficiency is typically measured using face-to-face or telephonic assessments. With the demand for language skills, the prevalence of web-based instruction, and the number of speaking tests administered only increasing in the future, the next logical step is the utilization of the Internet for assessing speaking proficiency. Our presentation will outline the development and validation of a web-based assessment of speaking proficiency. We will present the development process and the validation study design and results. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the importance and implications of web-based proficiency assessment as it relates to computer-assisted language learning (CALL).

 Learner Corpus Analysis: The Interplay of Theory, Method, and Design
Jonathon Reinhardt
Steve Thorne
Standing at the intersection of corpus linguistics and SLA, the young field of learner corpus analysis (LCA) promises new insights into theoretical and methodological debates in applied linguistics. Highly commensurate with usage-based approaches to second language learning, LCA offers a variety of methods for the analysis of learner interlanguage and development, from frequency-based contrastive interlanguage analysis to sociocultural microgenetic analysis. These issues are explored through presentation of data analyses and discussion of the challenges involved in the design and development of an ESL corpus of international teaching assistant computer-mediated learner language.

 Peer and Expert Communities of Practice in Teacher Education
Lara Ducate
Lara Lomicka
Nike Arnold
This presentation examines how technology assists in the development of peer and expert communities of practice, virtual community presence, and social practices between pre- and in-service language teachers. After investigating the topics of collaborative learning, target and native language use, and teaching vocabulary, students from two universities collaborated electronically and then interacted with a topical expert in SLA. Using empirical evidence (board transcripts), we examine participant posts in these six virtual discussions, noting the frequency of three key characteristics of the community of practice: mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. Both social practices and cognitive presence will be discussed.

 Creating an On-line Contextualized Grammar Diagnostic Exam
Jerry W. Larson
Harold H. Hendricks
During this session, we will discuss the disadvantages of the previous diagnostic exam used at BYU; the advantages of a contextualized exam; the procedures for planning, writing, and tracking items for the new exam; and the algorithm for test administration. We will demonstrate the authoring tools and a prototype exam.

 The Role of Context on CALL Effectiveness
Joan Jamieson
Carol A. Chapelle
This presentation addresses the issue of the transferability, or generalizability, of CALL evaluation studies through the question: What is the role of context on CALL effectiveness? The presentation will begin with an overview of the study. English language learners and their teachers in Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Japan, Thailand, and Chile used a CALL program, Longman English Interactive, during one term in 2005. CALL effectiveness was defined by Chapelle’s six criteria (2001, 2003). Results will be presented comparing the findings on each of the six criteria for effectiveness across teachers and learners at each of the six sites.

 New Strategies in Language Teaching
David Przybyla
Brigham Young University (BYU) continues to be the leader in language teaching. With over 45 languages taught each semester, and at times up to 63 languages, BYU works to find new strategies in language learning. One of the great needs in language learning is the capacity to speak and listen. With the help of SoftStudy, Inc., BYU is proud to present a variety of products now focused on speaking and listening. A quick demonstration of Talk-A-Film, OTS (Oral Testing Software), EFR (Electronic Film Review), and Sevgili Murat (online student and teacher training materials) will be given.

 3:00 – 3:45

Dynamic and Static Assessment: Towards a Fuller Understanding of Students’ Performance in Online Chat
Ana Oskoz
The collaborative nature of synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) requires evaluation tools congruent with its process orientation. Dynamic assessment (DA) focuses on process, thereby presenting a viable means of assessing students performance in online chat. DA, however, is elaborate and time consuming and does not provide full understanding of students language. There is a need to systematize DA and to combine it with static assessment (SA), or traditional forms of assessment that focus on the product, to obtain accurate information regarding students’ interlanguage. This study describes the application of both DA and SA techniques to assess learners language in the classroom.

 Developing Students’ Cross-Cultural Understanding: The Cultura Model, Uses and Adaptations
Gilberte Furstenberg
Started in French at MIT, Cultura–a web-based cross-cultural project–is now being developed in Chinese, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, connecting language students in the US with students in many different countries in the world. Using these different experiments as a base, this session will focus on ways of adapting the Cultura design to any institution and/or language. This presentation will (a) present the basic ideas behind Cultura and highlight its main features, (b) provide step-by-step guidance on how to set up such a telecollaboration project, and (c) present the new Cultura community website which will be useful to anyone interested in adopting and adapting the Cultura model. For information about Cultura, see http://web.mit.edu/french/culturaNEH

 Effects of Web-based Oral Activities Enhanced by Automatic Speech Recognition
Tsuo-Lin Chiu
Yuli Yeh
Hsien-Chin Liou
The teaching of speech acts is essential for learners to develop communicative competence. Recently the application of automatic speech recognition (ASR) in CALL has shown potential for assisting and judging learners in using language appropriately for various contexts. A web-based conversation environment, CandleTalk, supported by ASR, has been developed to help EFL learners receive explicit training on six speech acts. A study was conducted on college freshmen students to investigate the effectiveness of the learning units and learner perception towards CandleTalk. The results indicated that learners improved their use of speech acts to demonstrate communicative competence.

 When They Don’t Read: New Technologies to “Spread the Word”
Sharon Scinicariello
LRC directors and others involved in instructional technology spend hours developing newsletters and training materials, both print and electronic. They announce changes and new opportunities through posters on walls and online. But to the long-standing complaint that faculty “just don’t read their mail” is now added the frustration that the IM generation seems to lack the patience to read more than headlines. Can new technologies (e.g., podcasts, blogs, and wikis) bridge the communication gap? Can their use as information sources be a springboard for their integration into the curriculum? This presentation discusses a semester-long attempt to answer these questions.

 Oh Swami, “What are my students doing in the lab?”
Carol Wilson-Duffy
Dennie Hoopingarner
Courseware that allows students to record their voice and compare their production with a model assumes that students do, in fact, listen to themselves and make corrections to their language. But there is little, if any, empirical evidence that students take advantage of this capability. This study used specialized software that tracked users’ recording behavior, including prompting users for reasons why they chose to re-record themselves. The results of this study sheds light on users’ self-instructional behavior and offers suggestions for improvements to this feature of courseware.

 Automatic Evaluation of Fluency of Spoken Korean
Garry Molholt
Hyun Jeong Shin
Hyoung Youl Ahn
Sung Shim Choi
John Morgan
We propose to investigate the problem of using automatic speech recognition (ASR) to evaluate spoken fluency. We will extend the work presented last year at the CALICO 2005 conference from Mandarin Chinese to Korean. We are searching for those linguistic factors that are characteristic of fluent speech in native speakers and those factors in student speech that characterize nonnative speech at different levels of fluency. We will estimate statistics for the acoustic correlates of those factors from a corpora of read Korean speech and will consider the problem of how to incorporate this knowledge into an ASR system.

 Training Teachers to Use Learner Corpora
Brenda M. Ross
Diana McBurnett
The present study reports on the creation and analysis of an ESL student corpus by students in a TESL program. The corpus was created for the purpose of teacher training. Special emphasis will be placed on the attitude of the teachers in training towards the use of the corpus and on how they envision using the tool in their future teaching careers.

 A Model for a Technology Workshop Series with Lasting Results
Michael Jones
Hiroyo Saito
This presentation involves a model of a workshop series for language instructors with interest in integrating technology into classrooms. After a technology workshop, it often happens that the participants go home full of good ideas only to find that there is not sufficient support to carry them out, be it technical or otherwise. The model, a year-long workshop series for a small group, aims to lessen such frustrations by providing participants on-going support to carry through their ideas in a community atmosphere. In the presentation, we will report benefits and limitations of the attempt and offer suggestions for similar future attempts.

4:00 – 4:45

Computer-enhanced Information Gap Activities in the ESL Classroom: The Effect on Language Production and Language Learning
Theresa A. Antes
This paper examines the effect of computer enhancement on information gap activities used in the ESL classroom. It looks specifically at the extent to which ESL learners make use of sound files during information-gap activities, the effect that such use has on their tendency/ability to paraphrase, and the language learning effects of these enhancements, as measured by pre- and posttest results.

 Does it Really Work? Innovative Use of Speech Recognition Technology in ESL Instruction
Gunizi Kartal
This paper reports a study of read-aloud behaviors of ESL learners working with interactive software based on speech recognition technology, which provided reading practice with immediate feedback. All utterances recorded by learners at an ESL site in New York were retrieved and examined using various interrelated coding and analytical schemes. The analysis was done in terms of patterns of interaction and influence of reading practice afforded by the software. The findings showed metacognitive as well as word level patterns of interaction; most common user engagement was attempt at self-correction; and reading and/or pronunciation tended toward the target as practice ensued.

 Review of Conferencing Applications and Their Potential Use for Language Learning
Lily Compton
Maja Grgurovic
Anne O’Bryan
Dessie Bekrieva-Grannis
Elena Cotos
This presentation gives a review of five conferencing applications (Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Maratech, ICQ, and Paltalk) which were compared using several evaluation criteria such as interface design, feasibility, and practicality. The presenters provide a general summary of technical requirements and an overview of the basic set-up procedures necessary for using the applications. Based on previous research, recommendations for the use of these tools are given in addition to further readings on the topic. This presentation is helpful for anyone interested in learning about the potential conferencing applications have for second language acquisition.

 English Reading Online: Exploring EFL Learners’ Online Reading Strategies
Hsin-chou Huang
This study aims to construct a technology-enhanced reading program, English Reading Online, and to investigate EFL learners online reading strategies. The reading aids in the current program echo reading strategy patterns found in L2 reading literature so that the actual clicking on a certain strategy function button was an indicator of that particular strategy use. The navigation patterns of 30 participants in reading four online authentic texts with different difficulty levels were tracked and videotaped by the computer system. Results showed that students tended to use a fixed set of reading strategies that they had long been accustomed to regardless of the difficulty of the texts. Findings have important pedagogical implications for L2 reading classes.

 When Teachers Become Learners: Insights on CALL from the Other Side
Marinna Kolaitis
Phil Hubbard
Barbara Foley
This presentation reports on how a group of eight ESL teachers, some of whom had been teaching with CALL materials since the 1980s, decided to experience CALL from the learner’s perspective. Each studied a foreign language at a beginning or intermediate level, using CD-ROM or online materials over several months. They met monthly in person, kept learning journals, and posted comments on a discussion board. The results of this qualitative self-study include excerpts from meetings, the discussion board, and learning journals, commenting on the learning experience and the positive impact on the use of CALL in their ESL courses.

 Orchestrating Powerful Instructional Conversations Online
Carla Meskill
As the popularity of online instruction for language learning continues to grow, questions regarding best practices arise. Whereas a number of recent studies have examined the online discourse of language learners, few have explored the instructional conversations that language teachers orchestrate to affect learning. This study presents the online instructional strategies of three experienced language educators and discusses their grounding, impact, and relevance.

 Creating Online Diagnostic Tests and Feedback Vignettes for Dialects of Arabic, Chinese, Persian, and Modern Standard Arabic
Mary Ann Lyman-Hager
Minjuan Wang
We will present an innovative federally funded project that creates online diagnostic tests and feedback vignettes for speakers of Iraqi and Egyptian dialects of Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Persian Farsi. These online tests will function as computer-assisted screening tools to help test takers self-assess their oral language proficiencies and to better prepare for the ACTFL oral proficiency tests. These tests can assess the language skills of remotely located individuals, and they can also assist Title VI projects and government agencies, K-12 institutions, and institutions of higher education to evaluate large proficiency-based language programs. The objectives of this low-stake assessment are to: (a) elicit, online, a speech sample that establishes a baseline rating for an examinee, (b) serve as a reliable predictor of performance on an official OPI, and (c) provide positive feedback and multimedia materials for proficiency-based teaching.