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Crossing Wires: Swedish Language Learning Online & On-Land: 

Crossing Wires: Swedish Language Learning Online & On-Land Shannon Sauro University of Pennsylvania Ethnography Forum February 26, 2005

Internet-based Language Learning: Research Perspectives: 

Internet-based Language Learning: Research Perspectives

Computer Assisted Language Learning: 

Computer Assisted Language Learning Increasing interest in the use of Internet-based language learning Collaborative projects Use of multimedia components Distance education alternative

Research Trends: 

Research Trends Most research documents Technical issues (Zähner, Fauverge & Wong, 2000) Student use of technology (Möllering, 2000) Effectiveness for language learning (Chen, Belkada & Okamoto, 2004) Socio-cultural factors affecting collaboration (Belz, 2002) Student attitudes toward technology (Felix, 2001;2003) Evaluation is mostly from the perspectives of the researcher, teacher or administrator

Second Language Learning: A Student’s Perspective: 

Second Language Learning: A Student’s Perspective

SLA Diary Studies: 

SLA Diary Studies Psychosocial factors affecting individual language learners in various contexts Comfort at home (Schumann & Schumann, 1977) Competitiveness and anxiety (Bailey, 1983) Noticing of learned forms in input (Schmidt & Frota, 1986)

Diary Study 5 Step Process: 

Diary Study 5 Step Process Personal account of diarists language learning history Systematic recording of events, details and feelings about the language learning experience Revision of journal entries for public perusal Analysis of journal entries to identify trends Illustration and discussion of factors important to language learning (Bailey, 1983)


Autoethnography Encompasses a broad range of self-reflective research which blurs the line between observer, author and reader (e.g., native ethnography, self-ethnography, memoir, autobiography, fiction). “Autoethnographers vary in their emphasis on the research process (graphy), on culture (ethnos), and on self (auto)” (Ellis & Bochner, 2000: 740).


Purpose Examine the language learning possibilities of an online Swedish course from the student’s perspective Contrast the student’s Swedish language learning experiences in two contexts (online and on-land) with respect to opportunities to interact in and use Swedish

The Current Study: 

The Current Study


Researcher/Participant Previous language learning experience Formal (German, Latin, Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese) Informal (French, Japanese) As a foreign language only (Latin, Russian, Chinese) In the TL culture (German, French, Japanese) Relatively successful (German, Japanese, French) Completely disastrous (Russian) Motivation for learning Swedish - personal

Online Setting: 

Online Setting Lingua2: Svenska Online Swedish language course sponsored by the Swedish Institute. 6 thematically related modules Demo 2 CD-ROMS (pronunciation, songs, videos) Weekly online meetings with a teacher guide using voice-chat (Yahoo!Messenger) Collaborative activities with other students taking the class remotely March 2004 – June 2004

On-Land Setting: 

On-Land Setting Sources: and

On-Land Setting: 

On-Land Setting Skåne County in Southern Sweden Population 1.118.430 (as of 1999)åne Major cities: Malmö, Helsingborg, Lund Lomma (pop. 8300) Non-instructed naturalistic learning Bilingual Swedish-American social network Travel July – August 2004


Data Language learning journal Video-recordings of 3 online chat sessions made using Camtasia Studio Transcripts of text component of chat sessions Notes and homework Written artifacts from Sweden Newspapers Television schedule Food labels

Sources of Input and Opportunities for Swedish Production: 

Sources of Input and Opportunities for Swedish Production

Sources of Input: 

Sources of Input Online CD-ROM Weekly voice/text-chat session Lingua2 website Textbook Chat transcripts E-mails from instructor Corrected assignments On-land Swedish television programs Service encounters Overheard conversations Sight-seeing tours Metro Street-signs Travel brochures Product labels

Online Input: Chat Sessions: 

Online Input: Chat Sessions (May 12, 2004)

On-land Input: Newspapers & TV: 

On-land Input: Newspapers & TV


(July 12, 2004)


(July 12, 2004)

Opportunities for Swedish Production: 

Opportunities for Swedish Production Online Weekly voice/text-chat session Lingua2 website activities E-mails to instructor End of unit writing assignments On-land Service encounters Attempted question with members of social network Brief conversation with monolingual Swede Grocery list

Topics of Conversation: 

Topics of Conversation Online Greetings and partings Weather Family Plans for the day or week Weekend activities Travel plans My brother’s wedding Easter Travel advice on Sweden Japan Research interests On-land The cost of items Whether I wanted an additional item (e.g., bag, stamps, mustard) The country of destination for a letter Direction of travel What I wanted to eat Family *

On-land: Perfection of the Service Encounter: 

On-land: Perfection of the Service Encounter “When he totaled my groceries (23kr), I completely didn’t understand what he said.” (July 16, 2004) “I also need to find a way to open a service session with something more polite than shoving my money at a person.” (July 20, 2004) “I also am thankful that this exchange was conducted entirely in Swedish.” (August 3, 2004)

Correction and Feedback: 

Correction and Feedback

Online: Grammar Feedback: 

Online: Grammar Feedback “The almost exclusive online nature of this course, while allowing me clever opportunities to receive feedback on my fill-in-the-blank exercises, also has huge draw-backs.” (March 5, 2004) “For some reason, the Flash activities didn’t seem to work quite right. I couldn’t clear the answers and the feedback seemed wrong. Some of the Flash pages didn’t even seem to be working.” (March 15, 2004)

Online: Correction of Spelling & Pronunciation During Chat: 

Online: Correction of Spelling & Pronunciation During Chat (May 26, 2004)

Online: Recast During Chat: 

Online: Recast During Chat (May 26, 2004)

Online: Returning the Conversation to Swedish: 

Online: Returning the Conversation to Swedish (May 26, 2004)

On-land: The Least Helpful Feedback: 

On-land: The Least Helpful Feedback It seems most Swedes, upon noticing an error or misunderstanding on my part, automatically switch to English, and so there is no more opportunity to practice and receive feedback on my Swedish, except the most negative feedback – a response in English which emphasizes my failure in Swedish and my failure to convince my interlocutors that I can figure things out if they simply repeat themselves. (August 3, 2004)

On-land: A Special Exception at a Pizza Stand: 

On-land: A Special Exception at a Pizza Stand “I ordered one Margarita and one Vesuvio, and said in my best approximation of Swedish – med gepresst vitlok. The man, who was also not a native Swedish speaker based on his own accent, said something back and I believe corrected me or supplied the right word and wrote down the request.” (August 3, 2004)

On-land: Winding Up in English: 

On-land: Winding Up in English After I handed the woman my money , she asked me another question to which I responded ‘vad’ and looked puzzled. Not very polite at all, but it beat nothing. She then asked me if I wanted to buy stamps too – something I was completely not expecting. It also seems that once we moved into English, I couldn’t or wouldn’t regain my footing in Swedish, so I simply responded with ‘no, thanks’, something I perfectly capable of saying in Swedish. (July 19, 2004)

Concluding Comments: 

Concluding Comments Further studies on web-based courses from the learner’s perspective Uncover patterns and trends based on the students’ experiences Generate context specific questions that can be used to evaluate the quality and relevance of web-based learning

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