Patterns of Interactions in a Synchronous Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) Collaborative Activity in the Saudi EFL Context

Muna Al-Mutairy, Nadia Shukri


This study explored patterns of interaction in a synchronous Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) collaborative activity in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) setting in the Saudi Arabian context. The study focused on the use of synchronous Chat in teaching and learning. Collaborative learning is considered to lead to a deeper level of learning, enhanced critical thinking, shared understanding and long-term recognition of the learned material. A qualitative approach was used in the data collection process. Participants were 20 high school students, native speakers of Arabic, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The study examined participants’ English usage in conversation, a quiz, and a discussion, all of which took place online, in a CMC format. There was also a paired work presentation of 25 minutes’ duration. Results revealed that CMC enabled learners to further their understanding of instructional content and to better apply what they had learned when they were placed in a group. The results from the online discussion showed that participants’ linguistic performance improved, including better utilization of words. Although grammatical usages lack certain accuracy, the use of CMC to a larger extent contributed to enhanced communication skills and autonomy. Based on the findings some suggestions and recommendations were provided as to aid teachers as well as students in implementing the Internet technology in EFL classrooms.

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