Dr. Olga N. De Jesus Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY

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1 Dr. Olga N. De Jesus Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY

2 Purpose of Research The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to investigate: Undergraduate international English language learners perceptions of and experiences with; Academic and language acquisition through online courses taken at this four year New York state college.

3 Significance of Study The research may: Allow experts of the field to make recommendations as to what stage of second language acquisition an undergraduate international student is proficient enough to take an online course and if so, Determine what strategies or techniques are necessary to ensure both second language development and academic success and, Help the international English language learners better understand their individual process of learning academic and the English language through an online course.

4 Theoretical Framework The literature review was based on four central theories: Bendura s (1986) Self-Efficacy Theory Knowles (1980) Adult Learning Theory Kolb s (1993) Learning Style Theory Krashen s (1988) Second Language Acquisition Theory

5 Research Questions How do select English language learners describe their perception of and experiences with academic and language acquisition through online undergraduate course at this 4 year New York state private college? How, if at all, do the perceived experiences of English language learners at this 4 year New York state private college affect their language acquisition? How do the perceived experiences of English language learners at this 4 year New York state private college affect their general academic skills?

6 Methodology Phenomenological Approach Creswell (2012) defined it as, an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem (p.59). Procedure Build a complex holistic picture, Analyze words, Report detailed views of informants, and Conduct the study in a natural setting.

7 Data Collection Participants Screening Questionnaire Individual Interview Focused Group Interview

8 Participants The participants in this study consisted of: 4 males and 6 females Aged years TOFEL scores were all in the passing range of 70s Number of years in the United States ranging from 1-3 From different countries with various native languages

9 Setting A New York State private four year college that was founded in 1950 Its tuition and fees are $17,556 ( ) Total undergraduate enrollment of 7,968, with a gender distribution of 32.9 % male students and 67.1 % female students Ethnic make-up of 28% African-American, 3% Asian, 31% Hispanic, 0% Native-American, 29% Anglo, 6% unknown, and 1% International At this college, 4.0 % of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 96.0 % of students live off campus This college is part of the NCAA II athletic conference

10 Data Analysis Epoche Transcription Horizontalization Meaningful Unites Textual and Structural Descriptions

11 Trustworthiness Content Validity Triangulation Peer Review Member Check Researcher s Bias Audit Trail

12 Ethical Consideration Obtaining appropriate approval from program chair and IRB committee from the New York State private 4 year college, Maintained the confidentiality agreement; all participants were assigned a pseudonym name for identification, and All data was stored in a file which was backed up into computer files and safely stored.

13 Findings Results of participant screening questionnaire Results of individual participant interview Results of focus group interview

14 Results of Screening Questionnaire Table 1 Individual Interview Participants Profile Pseudonym Gender Age TOFEL Score Years in U.S. Language Native Abigail F Spanish Bruno M German Catalina F Spanish Don M Mandarin Emily F Spanish Frank M Mandarin Gabriela F Spanish Helen F Russian Ian M French Jennifer F Farsi

15 Results of Individual Interview Table 2. Individual Interview Items and Responses Pseudonym Place of Birth Studied English in ESL Strength Weakness Native Country Abigail Guatemala very little speaking writing Bruno Germany yes writing speaking Catalina Colombia very little speaking reading & writing Don China very little speaking reading & writing Emily Ecuador yes writing speaking Frank China very little speaking reading & writing Gabriela Mexico very little listening speaking, reading & writing Helen Russia yes reading & writing speaking Ian France yes reading & writing speaking Jennifer Middle East no speaking reading & writing

16 Results of Focus group Interview Four overarching themes were consistently present throughout all steps in the phenomenological data analysis: Perception of online learning Perception of cultural differences Perceptions of SLA Perceptions of academic content acquisition

17 T1. Perceptions of Online Learning Likes: Don, 19: I have liked the luxury of learning at the comfort of my home. Dislikes: Emily, 23: I really don t like it when I ask a question and it takes a day or days for the professor to answer. Technology Competency: Frank,20: When I first took an online course, I had to become familiar with the computer system and the first week I missed an assignment because I did not know where to upload it. Time Management: Don, 19: It made me work faster and motivated me to do work on time.

18 T2. Perceptions of Cultural Differences Cultural Differences: Jennifer, 23: I find it difficult to communicate with the professor because I feel silly writing to someone I don't see. Lack of Cultural Responsive Teaching: Helen, 22: I felt that I could not understand others well, nor could I be understood by others. I prefer to take the classes where professors and students can meet and discuss. Age and Gender Differences: Catalina, 28: Yes, I feel like he was not culturally sensitive and responsive to me Bruno, 19: I have no complaints about any of my online professors.

19 T3. Perceptions of SLA Vocabulary: Abigail, 18 At the beginning was difficult because I didn t know the meaning of words. Reading & Writing: Helen, 22: I always have a dictionary with me at all times, especially when your classmates knew English and professor assume you knew English. Gabriela, 21: I write things in English that doesn t make any sense but I feel like they make sense in Spanish. Listening & Speaking: Don, 19: To speak in English is much harder because it has many difficult sounds to pronounce that are not the same as my own language.

20 T4. Perceptions of Academic Content Acquisition Learning Style: Jennifer, 23: I have learn that I learn better in person than online. Academic Achievement: I did ok, but I feel that I could have done better in a face-to-face class, online classes is more intensive.

21 Summary of Findings Overall, all of the participants agreed that both language and cultural differences presented challenges in online learning situations, and all reported that they avoided taking more than one online course at a time (i.e., or per semester) because of these challenges. In general, attitudes toward online learning tended to be more positive among participants with more: (a) proficient language skills, (b) online course experience, and (c) time spent in the United States.

22 Implications of findings The findings of this study noted the following theoretical implications: Academic Content Acquisition Second Language Acquisition Course Instructional Delivery Cultural Differences

23 Limitations The research study was a very focused and limited to: Data collection of 10 participants Single small private college Results cannot be generalized

24 Recommendations Future Research A more extensively study with larger population on the causes and effects of online learning on international ESL graduate and undergraduate students, who have come to the U.S. for education, while simultaneously or consecutively examining ways to eliminate or at least alleviate identified or perceived challenges and consequent stresses of online learning. Research should be conducted to investigate how international students transfer knowledge with the use of different technological applications as learning tools.

25 Recommendations Instructional Designers should anticipate and consider the possibility of cultural differences in students, and Incorporate diversity and cultural understanding into lesson plans. Audio and visual features of online learning technology could be more usefully employed in order to foster ESL listening and speaking skills. Syllabi should be detailed to include schedules for assignments, suggestions, and other information to help with time management.

26 Recommendations Online Instructor Should Instructor should provide information and direction for learning technology Instructor should also remind all students in an online course to use standard English at all times Encourage students posting of photographs and other benign personal information at the beginning of the course Allow students to journal online when possible Provide alternative forms of communication and opportunities to meet in person when needed and feasible.

27 Recommendations Administrator Determine when it would be recommendable for an international student to take their first online course Closely monitor the number of online courses these students are allowed to take in a given semester Continue to promote cultural diversity awareness and provide opportunities for students, faculty and the administration to build a culturally responsive community

28 Reference Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design Choosing Among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Creswell, J.W. (2012). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design Choosing Among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P., & Borg, W. R. (2007). Educational research: An introduction. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3 rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

29 Researcher s Background New York City Public School Teacher Bilingual & Special Education Specialist Assistant Professor, Department of TESOL/Bilingual Graduate Education, Mercy College

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