Description: This exploratory case study aims to develop a set of best practices for integrating online discussion forums into the foreign language curriculum, focusing specifically on a group of learners in an advanced French grammar course at a large, public U.S. university. During a period of two months, 26 participants completed a series of tasks designed to provide three different types of data: 1) exploration and analysis of interactional, linguistic, and social features of Web forum discourse; 2) participation in Web forums; and 3) feedback from students. Since the feedback received from two questionnaires was ultimately the most consistent and reliable type of data collected, this study focuses on students' participation patterns and their perceptions of Web forums as a communication space having the potential to provide opportunities for learning French. Although some students indicated that they would neither consider visiting a French-language Web forum nor actually visit one, in both cases, more than half of the participants who completed these questionnaires indicated that they would both consider visiting a French-language Web forum and might actually visit one. Since encouraging students to use French beyond the classroom and to engage in the lifelong use of French for personal enrichment (following the Communities standard of the U.S. Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century), at least one goal of this study-the main goal-has been partially achieved.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Mbuye, Kanku Lisette
Item Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Partner: UNT Libraries