115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Large-group Peer Review in an Online Course

Lin Zhou, "University of Hawai'i, Manoa"

This research project studies a fully online second language writing course with ten Chinese high-school students from an ecological perspective. The focus of analysis is the large-group peer-review/peer-response activity that students engaged in for ten sessions, and the study investigates what the affordance networks (Swain, 2013) of this fully online course are and how students’ effectivity sets (Swain, 2013) were activated through the online activity.


This study entails ethnographic case studies of ten Chinese high-school students in an online course of English Writing which was designed based on the ecological (van Lier, 2000), dialogical and distributed framework (Linell, 2009). The synchronous sessions including their textual conversations and responses to whole-class discussions were screen-recorded for multi-modal discourse analysis to investigate how multi-modal synchronous communication affords students’ learning of second language writing. The results show that an online platform offers students more communication opportunities which make the large-group peer response activity feasible, and the multimodal analysis also demonstrates that this online platform helps students build a community of practice in which each member serves as reservoirs of resources for others. This online course also investigates how this particular online course scaffolds students’ translanguaging (Canagarajah, 2011) and practice of multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009). Through the multimodal analysis as well as students’ surveys, it concludes that the online platform is a more flexible and embracing ecology in which students are engaged in more multidirectional dialogs with each other and pick up more resources within this online ecology.