Exploring university student's academic writing performance and collaborative learning skills in a blended learning environment

Yau, Jaclyn Xiang Ruei (2017) Exploring university student's academic writing performance and collaborative learning skills in a blended learning environment. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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Research studies reveal that for ESL/EFL students entering tertiary level studies, academic success is dependent on successful academic writing. The purpose of this research is to examine the affordances of a Blended Learning environment in supporting the development of Collaborative Learning Skills to enhance academic writing in the context of a Higher Education Institution. The study involves 30 secondyear students from various degree courses in Universiti Malaysia Sabah. The subjects are given short and long written tasks that are done individually and in groups, via in-class activities and online platform. The research design involves quantitative and qualitative data collection. Quantitative data is analysed using SPSS Version 22 and qualitative data is Atlast Ti Version 8. Quantitative data is collected via Pre- Essay Test and Post- Essay Test. Qualitative data is generated from observation and focus group interviews, and are used for data triangulation. The first research question looks at how Blended Learning promotes Collaborative Learning Skills in the writing process. Collaborative Learning Skills is measured via Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Affordances Model (Wang, Woo, & Chai, 2010), which analyses the affordances of ICT tools from three perspectives - (i) pedagogical, (ii) social and (iii) technological. Results showed that students are able to apply their pedagogical skills and knowledge in their academic writing. Google Docs analysis showed that students preferred to interact and socialise with their peers in producing writing assignments. From the observations done by the facilitator and interview transcripts, results showed that students were able to apply various Web 2.0 tools to communicate with their peers and to complete their writing tasks. Excerpts from the focus group interviews displayed evidences that supported the application of Collaborative Learning Skills amongst students in their writing process. The second research question explores to what extent does Blended Learning help in improving students' academic writing. Results from their writing assessments showed that there are improvements in terms of achievement score. The mean for pre-writing score is 8.07 (SD= 1.99), while the mean for post-writing score has improved to 14.4 (SD=2.11). A paired-sample t-test analysis showed that the improvement is significant (t = -5.471, p<.05). The third research question looks at the potential issues in the implementation of Collaborative Learning Skills in the writing process. Results from focus group interviews showed that poor internet connection, the lack of response from peers during group work, and limited range of English vocabularies are the factors that influenced the students' motivation in conducting collaboration with peers. Based on the findings, in order to improve students' Collaborative Learning Skills, it is recommended that the practice of process writing should be done in groups or with peers starting from elementary level in order to curb the fear of student in understanding process writing alone. Future research should focus on the approach of getting students to explore process writing with their peers in their Zone of Proximal Development - to prepare them the fundamental skills required to produce writing task, before embarking on higher level of writing.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Keyword: Academic writing, Collaborative learning skills, Learning environment
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB5-3640 Theory and practice of education > LB2300-2430 Higher education
Department: FACULTY > Faculty of Psychology and Education
Depositing User: DG MASNIAH AHMAD -
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2023 10:16
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 10:16
URI: https://eprints.ums.edu.my/id/eprint/37634

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