Collaborative Flipped Learning through CALL: A Recipe for Realizing Social Presence in Virtual Learning Environments

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Department of English, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 English Department, Faculty of Literature, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

From the dawn of the third millennium, the utilization of state-of-the-art technology for educational purposes, especially computers and the Internet, has become prevalent across the globe. In this regard, flipping EFL classes appears to be an effective approach to practicing second/foreign languages through computer-assisted language learning (CALL) in order to extend the class time to asynchronous activities outside the class, and make the students more autonomous and actively engaged in the painstaking process of language learning. However, this question merits consideration why many current CALL programs run and taught through flipped learning do not seem to take full advantage of collaborative learning and peer-assessment, specifically taking place in asynchronous channels of communication, namely threaded comment forms and discussion boards. The present study investigates the prospect of realizing social presence as a shared feeling of community among the learners by restructuring and optimizing the existing methods for flipping language classes. Employing a qualitative research based on grounded theory and data triangulation, the researchers recorded, transcribed and analyzed 41 semi-structured group and individual interviews with 44 participants attending an online IELTS preparation course on the first researcher’s website for over one year. Additionally, the same interview questions were posed in an open-ended questionnaire accessible to the participants from the website. The obtained results suggested that learner-centered flipped classes in which asynchronous student-driven content development and out-of-class peer-assessment through commenting and replying are adequately practiced can tremendously increase student interactivity, thereby fulfilling the sense of social presence.

Keywords


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