Academic literacy development supported by learning teachnologies in the post-secondary context

A series of projects were conducted across various post-secondary institutions to examine the impact that various online tools (online discussion forums, wikis, online corpora) had on the academic literacy development of university prep, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Valia Spiliotopoulos

What's Proposed

The project aimed to analyze the nature of academic literacy development using online tools  from a sociocultural perspective. Findings revealed that it is not the online tools, but the selection and effectiveness of pedagogical strategies used with the tools that supported students' development.

How This Project is Carried Out

Adult university (or university-bound) students who had English as an additional language were given access to online discussion forums and wikis, and online corpora to use as part of classroom assignments that encouraged collaboration and intereaction.  Through discourse analysis using a sociocultural lens, the researcher analyzed the nature of students' online participation, interactions, and collaboration.

Why This Project Matters

This project is of importance as it examines the impact and increasing role that technology plays in language and literacy development, as well as social and cultural development.

How This Project is Put into Action

A variety of online communication and resource tools are part of the curriculum in programs/courses in which I have taught, and I have held numerous workshops and training sessions to colleagues in this area.

Where to Learn More

Abraham, N. & Spiliotopoulos, V. (2009). From periphery to participation: Examining Post-secondary students' online communication in a collaborative writing project using wikis. Readings in Education and Technology, pp. 152 - 164.

Spiliotopoulos, V. & Carey, S. (2005). Investigating the role of identity in L2 writing using electronic discussion boards. Canadian Modern Language Review, 62 (1), 87 – 109.

Spiliotopoulos, V. (2003). Developing multiliteracy in adult ESL learners using on-line forums. International Journal of Humanities, 1, 1 – 15.

Spiliotopoulos, V. (2003), Fostering interactive academic writing using electronic bulletin boards. Contact: Special Research Symposium Issue, 29 (2), 48 - 68.