CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Gertrude W Abramson

Committee Member

Marilyn Olander

Committee Member

Miriam Schcolnik

Abstract

The international student population in higher education institutions in the United States has been increasing steadily in the last decade. A high percentage of these students enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses or in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs in many community colleges. These programs are faced with the need to integrate adequate instructional activities and performance-based assessments that help improve and accelerate language speaking skills to prepare students for the next academic level.

The goal of this exploratory and descriptive developmental case study was to develop a class project with performance-based learning activities for an ESOL advanced level conversational class at Houston Community College Southeast using podcasting technology and a constructivist instructional design approach. These activities were a series of five student-generated podcasts (scripted and unscripted) lab assignments the objective of which is to promote student engagement in real world conversation topics that can potentially affect their English speaking skills and attitudes in a positive manner. The project was named the ESOL PodZone conversational lab.

A mixed method research approach resulted in a triangulation of the results from quantitative and qualitative data analyses that served as corroborative evidence to answer three research questions: How do student-generated podcasts on real world conversation topics improve the learner's speaking skills? What are the students' attitudes toward student-generated podcast activities and the impact on their speaking skills? How should student-generated podcast learning activities be integrated into the ESOL instruction to enhance the students' speaking skills? The sample group had 22 students: 12 Vietnamese, 8 Hispanics, 1 from Kazakhstan, and 1 from Equatorial Guinea.

The findings documented that student-generated podcasts can affect conversational language skills in the pronunciation, fluency, grammar, and vocabulary domains at different levels over longer periods; that students have positive attitudes toward the use of podcasting for language learning; and that using a constructivist instructional design model (CIDM) framework facilitates an effective integration of student-generated podcast authentic activities into the ESOL conversational curriculum. Further research may be considered for similar case studies with different populations, using different podcasting and instructional applications.

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