STUDENT RESEARCH


Project # 1: Performance with Website Analysis in an EFL Classroom: Exploring Consistency in Coding 

Student: 1170047:Takahide Ishii


Abstract 
Literature on computer assisted language learning is mostly silent on how web-based design analysis could be effectively used as a tool and framework for developing critical thinking skills and language proficiency in an EFL classroom. This article reported on how EFL learners perform with English website analysis tasks in a language reception and product context. English website analysis is challenging for an EFL learner with low-moderate English language proficiency. The website analysis experiment with the Belize tourism website as reported in this article was performed with a group of 16 students in an EFL classroom. The results mainly discussed students' preliminary understanding of the website content, design, navigation and usability, rather than the aspects of how their use of English (grammatically) for responding to design queries during website analysis was correct or deficient. Further, this study also analyzed how the three coders with non-native English language proficiency used for analyzing the responses to the open-ended design questions asked of the participants, interpreted responses based on the criteria grading rubric used for the purpose. Results show relatively higher levels of proficiency when answering questions related to overall website organization, design, layout and audience analysis. However, performance scores dropped for more inference-based queries related to overall use of technology, validity of content etc. Some relative variations in scoring could be observed between coders. Relatively large variation in the scores could be seen in case of Coder A, when compared to B and C. 

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Project # 2: EFL Student’s Ability for Website Information Comprehension and Perceptions on Website Usability

Student: 1170173:Makoto Yoshida


Abstract
There is scant literature in language studies suggesting the efficiency with which EFL learners with low English language proficiency are able to process English website content, and their opinions on the same. Structured website analysis has the potential to be a stimulating exercise because it addresses various types of questions that are very unique to the medium and might not be immediately applicable to other contexts. This article reported on an experiment where 59 junior-level Japanese EFL readers were asked to study an English tourism website closely, and then answer a set of questions which focused entirely on readers’ ability to excavate information by navigating through the website content. Further, several survey questionnaires (QUIS, CSUQ, and MPRC) were used wherein readers were asked to self report their levels of comfort with the website, and the words they would choose to describe their feeling about the website. Results suggested relatively higher levels of proficiency ordering the steps required to navigate and search for specific information from the given website. Moreover, readers were mostly comfortable searching for information from all over the website. Self-reports suggested relatively moderate levels of comfort with different tasks and access features (overall reaction to the website; webpage design, terminology and website information; learning; website capabilities) related to the website. Finally, data shows that the number of positive words chosen to describe the tourism website is way more than the negative words chosen.

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Project # 3: Metacognitive Reading Strategies for Website Analysis in an EFL Context

Student: 1170044:Masaya Watanabe


Abstract
Efficient use of cognitive and metacognitive reading strategies is important indicators of active learning outcomes. These strategies suggest the efficacy with which content is construed and outcomes are reached. Efficient use of these strategies are extremely important in an EFL context where the language proficiency is low, and ability for content comprehension in the target language is minimal to moderate at best. This article discussed a specific case study in this Japanese computer science context where readers were asked to comprehend the content in an English tourism website. This article documents the self-reported use of reading strategies used by participants while making an attempt to understand the content of the English website. Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory Questionnaire (MARSI) was used for the purpose of understanding readers’ preferential use of reading strategies and what it means for content accuracy. The self-reported use of strategies was classified into three groups: Global Reading Strategies, Problem-solving Strategies and Support Reading Strategies. Results for mean values on an average show that most strategies in GLOB and PROB categories have been used consistently at a higher level when compared to strategies in SUP section. The findings are consistent with the literature suggesting that readers with low reading ability (e.g., as in this EFL context as reported in the experiment) attached lower importance to support reading strategies when compared to L1 readers (Sheorey and Mokhtari, 2001). 

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Project # 4: Efficacy of Technical Illustrations in a Technical Communication Environment

Student: 1170033:Masato Nozawa


Abstract 
User manuals for physical performance help us understand how a task is actually performed in a 3-d space. Literature on spatial information comprehension is scant on the topic related to identifying factors which leads spatial comprehension of physical tasks. The literature on mental imagery and rotation has been discussed in this context of an experiment where body rotations, object height and action combinations have been studied to understand how mental rotation tasks are performed. The experiment reported in this thesis focused on matching body rotation-action-object height combinations shown from body height with overhead images. Two types of activities were used: holding a bat and swinging a bat. Five body rotations from full front to back views were used with the bat being held at chest and waist height. Results show that canonical viewpoints and angles across the display plane are somewhat preferred, although accuracy with non-canonical viewpoints and angles into the display plane were also high. The study thus goes on to show that with more practice and time spent, mental rotation tasks could be better performed. 

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Project # 5: Perception of Objects in Technical Illustrations: A Challenge in Technical Communication

Student: 1170002:Yu Arai


Abstract
Technical illustrations are important for understanding objects in space. Technical illustrations are used to communicate information of technical nature. This paper demonstrates that illustrations that show a performer’s point of view will be easier to understand with body position as a constant factor. Specifically, it is hard to understand movement of body positions described as an oral statement and in text, leading readers to mentally try and animate the performance. This paper argues that canonical body positions and depth perceptions across the fields of display are easier to comprehend. The experiment, as reported in this thesis aims to understanding how common people understand images that are shown from different perspectives and camera positions. The study remains inconclusive because no trend with the variety of the body tasks, height and angular combinations could be established. However, results show high levels of proficiency in identifying action-height-angular images when images from top views are matched with images shown from body height.