Volume 21 Number 2

Asynchronous group review of EFL writing: Interactions and text revisions
Murad Abdu Saeed
Kamila Ghazali

The current paper reports an empirical study of asynchronous online group review of argumentative essays among nine English as foreign language (EFL) Arab university learners joining English in their first, second, and third years at the institution. In investigating online interactions, commenting patterns, and how the students facilitate text revisions, a three-level analysis of learners’ comments in terms of the language functions, nature and focus area, and connections to subsequent text revisions was conducted. The learners produced a number of 1792 comments which were exploratory, including scaffolding and non-scaffolding (72%), procedural (11%), and social (17%) comments. In relation to the nature and focus area, 53% of the exploratory comments were revision-oriented comments—focusing on global (n = 799; 84%) and local (n = 149; 16%) issues of learners’ essays—whereas non-revision-oriented comments (47%) focused on learners’ socio-relational space (74%), task management (23%) and technical challenges (3%). The findings also showed that 46% of the overall global (n = 615) and only 10% of the overall local (n = 838) text revisions were connected to learners’ comments, indicating the value of global oriented comments in facilitating learners’ global text revisions. Differences of occurrence of these commenting patterns among the three groups were found. Such findings suggest that global text revisions need to be modelled by instructors.

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