On Line English Discussion (OLED) via Facebook

On Line English Discussion (OLED) via Facebook to Provide Learners with more Opportunities to Use English Language in an Academic Setting)*

By Hartono
English Education Department of Sultan Agung Islamic University (UNISSULA)
E-mail: hartonotgo@gmail.com
)* The paper was developed from the research entitled “Pengembangan Model E-Learning Berbasis Blog dan Jejaring Sosial Facebook untuk Meningkatkan Kualitas Pembelajaran di Perguruan Tinggi” funded by the Directorate General of Higher Education in 2012 & 2013)


Abstract
The application of Web 2.0 technologies, particularly on the use of social networking tools such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter has exponentially risen among youth in recent years (Omar, 2012). The number of facebook users, for example, has grown up from time to time, and this has made facebook the most popular platforms for online social networking among youth, and university students (Petrovic, at al. 2012). Studies showed that social network tools support educational activities by making interaction, collaboration, active participation, information and resource sharing, and critical thinking possible. (Selwyn, 2007). This study was aimed at seeing how on-line English discussion (OLED) via Facebook- in a blended learning- could provide language learners with more opportunities to use the target language in an academic setting. The study was conducted in the English Education Department of Sultan Agung Islamic University (UNISSULA) in the even semester of 2012/2013. The subjects of the study were the students taking the course of The Introduction to Second Language Acquisition (SLA). A facebook group was created and the students were added as members. The teacher who also acted as the administrator posted some issues related to the course and asked students to discuss or comment. The result was very amazing. Most members actively took part in the discussion and presented very elaborated arguments or comments in English; the ones that never happened in classroom discussions. The activities of the students were observed and analyzed. At the end of the program, a questionnaire inquiring students’ perception on the advantage and disadvantage of the media was administered. It was found that the students improved not only their competence on the content of the course but also on the language they were learning.

Key words: web 2.0 technologies, facebook, on line English discussion, English use in academic setting.

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