Effects of computer-mediated communication and face-to-face communication on the quantity and quality of discourse produced by English as a second language students /
Epp, Katherine E.
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The effects oftwo types of small-group communication, synchronous computer-mediated and face-to-face, on the quantity and quality of verbal output were con^ared. Quantity was deiSned as the number of turns taken per minute, the number of Analysis-of-Speech units (AS-units) produced per minute, and the number ofwords produced per minute. Quality was defined as the number of words produced per AS-unit. In addition, the interaction of gender and type of communication was explored for any differences that existed in the output produced. Questionnaires were also given to participants to determine attitudes toward computer-mediated and face-to-face communication. Thirty intermediate-level students fi-om the Intensive English Language Program (lELP) at Brock University participated in the study, including 15 females and 15 males. Nonparametric tests, including the Wilcoxon matched-pairs test, Mann-Whitney U test, and Friedman test were used to test for significance at the p < .05 level. No significant differences were found in the effects of computer-mediated and face-to-face communication on the output produced during follow-up speaking sessions. However, the quantity and quality of interaction was significantly higher during face-to-face sessions than computer-mediated sessions. No significant differences were found in the output produced by males and females in these 2 conditions. While participants felt that the use of computer-mediated communication may aid in the development of certain language skills, they generally preferred face-to-face communication. These results differed fi-om previous studies that found a greater quantity and quality of output in addition to a greater equality of interaction produced during computer-mediated sessions in comparison to face-to-face sessions (Kern, 1995; Warschauer, 1996).