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Vance's: Papers | Writing for Webheads | Webheads in Action

Webheads: online community building since 1998

Vance Stevens, Amideast UAE / MLI Project

CALICO 2002 Annual Symposium: Creating Virtual Language Learning Communities
Saturday, March 30th, at 19:00 GMT (11:00 a.m PST in Davis, California)

For introduction to these issues, click here

Communities online

I started teaching email 'online' courses with EFI in 1996

By 1997 English for Webheads, met in Palace, started developing community

1998 Writing for Webheads: LAN hyperlink | Internet hyperlink

Professional communities:

These are communities of practice. Communities of practice

This is interesting: Virtual communities might eliminate f2f 'norm and group behavior' that tends to 'suppress free expression of ideas and thus effective collaboration and problem solving."

These quotes from "Establishing an Online Community of Practice for Instructors of English for Specific Purposes" by Christopher M. Johnson, 2001,

An example of community of practice sharing expertise and 'bootstrapping' individuals is with video.

Some characteristics of chat:


Using graphics to compensate for limitations of text

Maggi can't explain the 'walker' she is using after an accident. The whiteboard was a feature at the Virtual Schoolhouse at the Palace.

Susanne couldn't explain an acrobatic performance she saw at Tivoli. The whiteboard is found at our Groupboard site,

Students DO occasionally attend to form when engaged in chat:

Here's a chat which the student initiated specifically for the purpose of requesting help with a text:

This was an email followup to a chat:

Hi Vance

I don't understand you said :" Ying, are you giving this a go?"

When we were talking about the web site :

2. Money is not an issue, this is free.

you mean it only take a little money to get these information?

3.Maggi said " My telephone bill is sometimes higher than my rent...and I don't surf."
What does "I don't surf" mean?
Maggi spent a lot of money on Internet?
Do you have the whole script of today's class?

What do people do online? What's a chat look like?

Chaos navigation in Webheads: here, we're listening to a story Ying Lan made into a Real Media file and emailed us. We've met at the Palace and Ying Lan and I are talking in Hear Me voice chat as well. Ying Lan is getting me to correct her pronunciation. Mysailing has just found us on Yahoo Messenger.

Here's a screen shot of an moment in a synchronous online conference presentation. In the top frame we're paging through the presenter's slides while discussing them in the text chat below. Links at the bottom allow access to further information about the presenter, the abstract for the presentation, etc. The names at right are chat participants.

This video explains the true nature of emoderation, or moderating online events.

It's like herding cats! <<- LAN link only; on Internet:

Implications for teachers:

Deborah Healey gave a Plenary address at the MLI's 2001 Teacher to Teacher conference (Dr. Healey did not attend the conference physically, but sent a video, and took questions after we played it from the audience via a live Netmeeting hookup).

One of the questions was, what could be done about students using online resources such as translators when they were writing conpositons in, say Spanish? How could a teacher assess such work when s/he could not be sure that students had composed it themselves?

What do you think?

Other ramifications of the mindshift required to successfully design and implement CALL in a tool-based constructivist environment:

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Last updated: February 20, 2004 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0