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Volume 19 Number 3, Autumn 2022, Pages 740-1140   

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The Impact of Task Manipulation on Interactional Patterns during Video-Conferenced Collaborative Writing: A Classroom-Based Study

    Jookyoung Jung

This classroom-based study investigated how task manipulation would affect second language learners' interactional patterns in video-conferenced collaborative writing task. In Zoom-mediated courses in a university in Hong Kong, 22 students collaboratively wrote suggestions for improvements to their peers' lesson plans using Office 365. To examine the impact of different task features on learners' interactional patterns, the suggestion-giving task was manipulated in terms of discourse-structural demands (i.e., listing bullet-pointed sentences vs composing a coherent letter) and interactional demands (i.e., working in a pair vs working in a group of three or four). Data came from audio-recordings of the students' peer collaborations and responses to a post-task survey. The results revealed that students rated writing a coherent letter considerably more demanding than writing bullet-pointed sentences, resulting in fewer discussions on how to improve a given lesson plan. In addition, the students' discussions were predominantly meaning-based with very little focus on the target language use. The findings of this study cast light on the importance of careful task design when implementing video-conferenced collaborative writing tasks.

Keywords: video-conferenced interaction, learner collaboration, task manipulation, interactional pattern, classroom-based study