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Individual feedback on writing in online environments
This paper is based on a university course for Japanese learners of English which migrated online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The presenter seeks to offer practical teaching suggestions to language instructors in CALL environments. The scope of the initial classroom research was broad, concerned as it was with how to set up and organize an online writing course, teach the language and structure of interpretive texts, and achieve the outcome of improved student writing as a product. The focus of this presentation is the first of those aims: teaching writing online in an emergency situation while, crucially, giving students individual attention and feedback. The notion of an emergency online course differs markedly from that of a planned synchronous or asynchronous one (Hodges, Moore, Lockee, Trust, & Bond, 2020). Taking advantage of freely available screen capture applications (Monosnap, TechSmith Capture), the instructor collected student work on Google Forms and gave feedback orally, providing spoken comments on student work via links to the audio and video files. The instructor’s reactions, based upon student film reviews as the object of discussion (Bezemer, Diamantopoulou, Jewitt, Kress & Mavers, 2012), helped in reaching out to students personally, even while they inhabited isolated, virtual classroom spaces. Emerging from the research was the realization that spoken feedback differs markedly in character from written feedback. The instructor is not only correcting but also commentating, more inclined to make encouraging and supportive comments, applying lessons from appraisal theory to the work of the student author (Martin & White, 2005).
Roger has been active in CALL for several years. He was among the first authors of a blended learning textbook series (iZone, Pearson ELT, 2009) and was site chair in 2012 when JALTCALL was held at Konan CUBE in Nishinomiya. He is one of the founding members of ELT-Tech and serves on the organizing committee for their annual conference in Indonesia. He is co-delegate leader of the THT seminars in Kyrgyzstan, which in 2020 were held as an online conference for the first time. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has been looking for ways to use technology to reach out to and support students.