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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2004


Research on networked language learning is now entering its second decade. While earlier research tended to focus on the linguistic and affective characteristics of computer-assisted discussion in single classrooms, more recent research has increasingly focused on long-distance collaboration. This type of learning environment is challenging to arrange, because it involves diverse learners who operate with different cultural backgrounds, communicative expectations, and rhetorical frameworks. These features, as well as the fact that the communication takes place both inside and outside of class and on students' own schedules, also pose special research challenges. This chapter summarizes what knowledge has been gained about learning and instruction in long-distance online exchanges, focusing on three key themes: (a) linguistic interaction and development, (b) intercultural awareness and learning, and (c) development of new multiliteracies and their relations to identity. In each area, research has indicated that there is no single effect of using online communication, but rather that processes and results vary widely depending on a range of logistical, pedagogical, and social factors.

© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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