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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


Dan WuFollow

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type




Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

John Madden

Second Advisor

Michael Schwartz

Third Advisor

Matthew Barton

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

CMC, ESL, Language Learning Anxiety, asynchronous discussion


The importance of computers and the Internet in schooling have never been so significant since the breakout of COVID-19 because online courses have been widely adopted as a substitute for face-to-face classes. Therefore, the study compared students’ responses concerning online and offline courses. The study interviewed two Chinese students enrolled in a Midwest university in the U.S. regarding their perceptions towards themselves, peers, and instructors, and how the discussions are different from face-to-face courses. Participants were asked thirteen semi-structured questions.The findings of the study suggest that the feature of sufficient time allowed in asynchronous discussions could benefit students as they could take time and have their turn to publish ideas, but its lack of non-verbal clues and physical interactions could be seen as a hinder that makes courses less attractive and involved. The teachers’ role in online discussions is depicted differently from face-to-face discussions because the latter requires instructors to be more focused on managing classroom discipline while the former is more flexible and gives the instructor more time to respond. Students’ perceptions towards their teachers suggest that well-designed discussion activities prompting opinion exchange and productive output should be integrated into the courses.



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