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Computer-Mediated Scaffolding in L2 Students' Academic Literacy Development

CALICO Journal Volume 28, Number 1, ISSN 0742-7778


Learning to perform academic writing in university content classrooms is a major challenge facing nonnative-English-speaker (NNS) students. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) offers new possibilities for bidirectional peer-to-peer scaffolding in which students interact and negotiate meaning concerning academic writing and thus represents a new pathway to academic literacy development. This case study examined how CMC influenced a group of NNS graduate students' development of academic literacy in applied linguistics courses. Data were gathered from multiple sources: questionnaires, online discussion posts, students' written assignments, and general as well as discourse-based interviews. The data were analyzed qualitatively using different methods and allowed substantial data triangulation. Results of the data analysis indicated that CMC allowed two-way collective scaffolding, which played an important role in facilitating the participants' development of academic literacy skills. Specifically, computer-mediated collective scaffolding helped the participants orient themselves to the writing tasks, provided them with opportunities to rehearse writing and negotiate revisions of writing, and allowed them to develop an understanding of academic citation conventions. (Contains 7 figures.)


Cheng, R. (2010). Computer-Mediated Scaffolding in L2 Students' Academic Literacy Development. CALICO Journal, 28(1), 74-98. Retrieved October 17, 2019 from .

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