Seokyeong University, South Korea
Writing instructors often face problems when it comes to designing an effective peer-to-peer review interface. Limited contact hours, learners’ hesitation to offer criticism in a face-to-face peer-editing session, and writing complexity are the main reasons why most EFL learners fail to make the most of peer-to-peer feedback situations. This study explores the benefits of using online discussion boards to meet these challenges and compares the attitudes of university students in Korea and those in Pakistan towards the use of online discussion boards for writing development. In this age of digital technologies, most students own some sort of smart device, whereas the rest have access to computers or a digital device at their school library. Of the various types of internet resources, microblogging and social networking interfaces have most frequently made their way into ESL education. Feedback comments provided through online discussion boards facilitate substantive improvements in three important aspects: Writing skills, Critical analysis, and Social Interaction. Data was collected in the form of an attitudinal survey, writing samples, and feedback comments for the duration of one academic semester. A mixed method approach was adopted for data collection and analysis. A comparison was performed to see the difference between participants’ attitudes towards writing enhancement at a Korean university and a university in Pakistan with 103 and 86 participants respectively. The findings on writing samples and peer feedback from students in both universities supported the conclusion that online discussion boards were helpful for improving students’ writing, most likely due to the hesitation in face-to-face encounters to give feedback that could be taken as criticism. In addition, the study offers some recommendations for ESL instructors regarding setting up online discussion boards for effective peer feedback and online communication.
Online discussion boards, feedback comments, peer review, writing cycles, control and experimental group