Development of an Online English Writing System for Supporting Autonomous and Collaborative Learning


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  • 自律及び協調学習を支援する英語ライティングシステムの構築


We have studied how Japanese learners of English interact with each other within the learning communities which have been developed and managed on a Web-based English writing environment. An online discussion forum was set up as a platform with the aid of CSCL (Computer Supported Collaborative Learning) technologies. The use of online discussion forums develops a learner-centered model on the basis of social constructivist approaches. earners create a learning community in the online discussion forum, where they explore ideas, provide content expertise and feedback, and share feelings among participants. To put it another way, learners play active roles in their own learning process. On the other hand, the role of teachers is to be facilitative and supportive. In this study, a virtual member, or a bot, participated in the writing system, which automatically presents model writing, in order to lead students to follow steps properly in their writing processes. Additionally, some expressions are provided based on the analysis of the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English when learners want to refer to them as hints. Consequently, learners can refer to writing from real or virtual members and expressions from parts of the two corpora in the system. The system was used in three English writing courses at a Japanese university. A comparative analysis of the learners’ and the bot’s writing has shown that the bot’s writing helps learners increase their awareness of expressions and sentence structures and promotes writing activities as scaffolding as well as the peer writing. These considerations lead us to believe that our online English writing system supports autonomous and collaborative learning.


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