Bridging the cultural gap through computer-mediated cross-cultural communications: A case study of Chinese college students in Taiwan
Ai-Ling J. Wang, New York University, United States
New York University . Awarded
This qualitative study uses ethnographic techniques to describe college students from three different countries involved in a computer-mediated cross-cultural exchanges project. Students from National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan, Obirin University in Japan, and University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the U.S. are participants of this study. The present study, with its focus on the Chinese students learning English as a foreign language in Taiwan, investigates the students' attitude toward computer-mediated cross-cultural exchanges, their specific cultural patterns and their cultural awareness in participating in the cross-cultural exchanges, and possible changes in their writing in different contexts and their audience or reader awareness in communicating with their foreign partners.
This project features its computer-mediated communications. There are six activities included in the computer-mediated communications. Topics of the six activities are introduction of the students and the campus, word story, special usages of words or phrases, tag questions, word-formation and word-borrowing, and final remarks. The students are assigned to write on these topics and post their findings, responses, and comments on an electronic discussion group, EXCHANGE, created exclusively for this project. Other activities involved in this project include lecturing, videotaping, and so on.
Some ethnographic techniques, such as classroom observations, documentation, and interviews are employed in the process of investigation. Findings of the present study shows that the students hold a positive attitude toward computer-mediated cross-cultural exchanges. Their cultural awareness is enhanced through communicating with native English speakers and fellow English learners. They also shows a heightened audience or reader awareness in their writing to their foreign partners and an attitude toward writing different from that of their writing to the classroom teacher.
The present study employs Lincoln and Guba's alternative criteria of trustworthiness to ensure the validity and reliability of this study. That is, anonymity, hidden agendas, appreciation of participants' interests, and triangulation are taken into consideration in the process of investigation.
Wang, A.L.J. Bridging the cultural gap through computer-mediated cross-cultural communications: A case study of Chinese college students in Taiwan. Ph.D. thesis, New York University.
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