Online and face-to-face activities of non-native English speakers

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to examine non-native English speaking students' activity in face-to-face versus online learning environments. The amount of foreign students in the United States increased by 3% in the academic year 2009-2010 (Open Doors, 2010). Adding close to $20 billion to the USA economy, "higher education is among the United States' top service sector exports" (Open Doors, 2010, ¶ 13). Globalization and "academic mobility" (Gürüz, 2011, p. 20) need a common language. English has developed as lingua franca for higher education (Björkman, 2011; Ferguson, Pérez-Llantada, & Plo, 2011; Kaur, 2010; Matsuda & Friedrich, 2011). The social and economic globalization as well as new technology influence education. This research is embedded in multiple fields, the global environment and "academic mobility" (Gürütz, 2011, p. 20), trends and requirements in education, and intercultural communication and languages. The researcher chose a mixed method approach to address the multiple dimensions of this topic. Four research questions and two hypotheses evaluated the activity of non-native English speakers in English based courses. The researcher observed and collected data in online and face-to-face courses. This researcher had the unique opportunity to observe two graduate courses with the same topic (Statistical Data Management), one online and one face-to-face, taught by the same instructor in the same semester. Participants were graduate students and included native and non-native English speakers. The findings of this study indicate that the activity of non-native English speakers increases in the online environment compared to the face-to-face education environment. Asynchronous online education offers advantages, especially for non-native English speakers. Nevertheless, non-native English speaking students preferred face-to-face courses for higher education. Higher education must find ways to motivate students toward new ways of education to teach global skills. Global education should balance content, pedagogy, technology, and culture. This study provides recommendations for those in international higher education to engage students actively in English-based education independent of their native language. The goal is to incorporate the rich opportunities of international diversity for all students, and to contribute to the education of global citizens.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Educational technology, Instructional design, English as a second language