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Topics - Ali Fuad

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1
WEekly - THE ONLINE COLLABORATIVE STUDENT NEWSPAPER PROJECT

hi folks,

Here is the CMC unit I have designed as a final project. Rather than preaparing a curriculum-bounded unit which could be employed only once a year, I have tried to come up with an extensive ongoing project that could be replicated throughout the year within the thematic scope of each unit. ;)

WEekly - The online collaborative student newspaper project consists of six major components:

* This week in Weekly,
* Travel Spot,
* Culture Exchange,
* News Center,
* I Learn X 
* EFL (which stands for English as a Fun Language) Corner

WEekly -The newspaper is designed to be published on a weekly basis. Therefore, I thought, WEekly would be a clear and understandable choice. As you might notice, the title has an unconventional spelling; because I wanted to emphasize the word “WE” which I thought it would reflect the collaborative nature of the unit.   8) 8)

Kind regards..
Ali Fuad

p.s: I would like to make use of this opportunity to thank Dr. Sadler and Eroz for giving us opportunity to become part of this course and enabling us to have experience to work our 'friends' (if I may) in Urbana-Champaign. We'll sure meet again..  :'(

2
Video for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / What does SKYPE mean??
« on: April 26, 2006, 09:23:16 AM »
"One of the names they came up with was “Sky peer-to-peer”, which got soon shortened to “Skyper”. But as happens in the Internet world, some of the domain names associated with “skyper” were already taken, so they thought what the heck, let’s just drop the “r” and make it “Skype”. It sounded good and the domains were available."

Source: http://share.skype.com/

3
hello all,

all these failures in installing the necessary hardwares, during the online meetings (if they could be called 'meetings'), software problems, and other countless problems happened during the course of vide chat tool evaluations lead me to come up with another acronym for CMC:
                               
CMC ==> Computer-Mediated Chaos..

Let's see, who is gonna agree with me?? ??? 

4
hello all,

While working on video conferencing tools, I remembered a good, old friend of ours: MS NetMeeting..(as far as I remember, NetMeeting is used for videoconferencing purposes) I wonder, why did not we mention anything about it?

p.s: Anyone could answer this question (not only Dr. Eroz or Dr. Sadler)..

5
General Links / User-friendly Internet Speed-o-meter
« on: April 12, 2006, 09:33:44 AM »

6
hello folks..

here's my critical review on the Voice of America's Special English..

Regards,
Ali Fuad

7
(A)Synchronous Computer-Mediated Audio/Video Communication

The use of audio/video in CMC could be either synchronous or asynchronous.

Asynchronous audio - The popular voicemail option could be regarded as an example for asynchronous kind of audio use. In asynchronous voice interaction, users could leave messages for one another by using a computer and a microphone. Such kind of interaction could be achieved between students-students and teacher-students.

Applications :   Wimba ---> http://www.horizonwimba.com/
You could import or export individual audio files into a Voice Board in a number of supported formats (spx, mp3,cwav), or import or export an entire board and you could share Voice Board messages via iTunes / iPod.

Asynchronous Video - Just like asynchronous audio transfer, asynchronous video transfer could also be employed by the users; though it is not regarded feasible. (Iis there anything called videomail??). Asynchrnous video is closely related to video transfer and therefore could be integrated and mentioned as a different (enhanced) version of audio voice transfer. Briefly speaking, audio and video transfers go hand in hand and comprise asynchronous A/V transfer in CMC.

Synchronous Audio/Video - The one to one as well as group (conference) discussions for synchronous audio transfer is actualized by using audio telephony or internet telephony (VoIP - voice over IP). This term is redefined by Cziko and Park (2003)  as "synchronous, computer-mediated audio communication" (SCMAC). They highlight the importance of such tools "when there is increasing agreement among L2 researchers and educators concerning the importance of second language input, output, and interaction for second language acquisition" and thus; "the use of SCMAC programs that allow verbal communication between L2 students who are learning each others' languages appear to provide particularly rich contexts for L2 acquisition with opportunities for L2 input, output, and communicative interaction along with the possibility for focus on L2 form".
Just like video transfer, this technology faces with sound quality and bandwith problems as well. One should be aware of the fact that delays in transfer or some data loss might occur in such interactions. The idea of internet/audio telephoning could be enhanced by integration of video by means of a webcam and a mic; thus, it turns out to be video conferencing.

Applications : NetMeeting, MSN Messenger, Skype

:: Teaching Ideas ::
==================
There are certain points that I would like to mention:

- The use of audio/video telephoning in language classroom requires high-level of expertise. Therefore, a teacher should be equipped with the all necessary knowledge.

REMEMBER!!
IT IS THE TEACHER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO TRANSFORM TECHNOLOGY INTO TE(A)CHNOLOGY IN CLASS..


- A teacher who intends to integrate audio/video telephoning into his/her language classroom needs to be aware that technological failure is very likely. (Remember Murphy's Laws - "If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.")

- A teacher should have a backup:a survival plan B. The most desirable and at the same time difficult option is to have the paper-and-pencil form of your CMC-lesson. If not, a teacher needs to prepare a lesson to achieve the primary objectives of that lesson.

Here are a couple of ideas related to classroom implications of Audio/Video telephoning:

- A teacher could make use of Audio/Video telephoning to develop students pronunciation skills. By  asynchronous listening and watching how the speech sounds are articulated in English (students are both exposed to real examples of articulatory anatomy as well as the sounds themselves), students will gain an awareness of pronunciation. By using synchronous Audio/Video telephoning, they could practice it.

Website: Phonetics: The Sounds of Spoken Language (by Iowa State University)
                            http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/

-Audio/Video telephoning could be used in testing students' oral abilities. Imagine while you are online at 7 pm, your teacher appears on Skype and tells that you are going to have an oral quiz. This would provide a great advantage for both students and teachers as long as the technology permits.

- Finally, students' oral performances could be collected and the data (in terms of mistakes and needs of students) could be examined to determine the emphasis of the forthcoming classes.

References:

Cziko, G.A. and Park, S. (2003). Internet Audio Communication for Second Language Learning : A Comparative Review of Six Programs. Language Learning & Technology Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2003, pp. 15-27. Retrieved from the following www: http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num1/review1/

8
Text Chat for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / how do you chat???
« on: March 29, 2006, 08:20:04 AM »
here is our new poll..  ;D

9
Text Chat for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / CHAT & CMC
« on: March 29, 2006, 06:52:43 AM »
Although the world’s biggest information database, Internet consists of static presentation of information, synchronous communication with other individuals from all over the world is becoming available day by day in parallel to development in real-time communication tools like chat (text-based messaging like IRC with lots of different topic-specific channels for users), videoconferencing (Microsoft Netmeeting, Skype, CUSeeMe), instant messaging softwares (MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ).Then, it is the ‘responsible’ language teacher’s responsibilities to derive the most benefit from these hi-tech tools for the development of his/her students.

Benefits of Chat to language learners (Mynard, 2002):
•   They allow learners to interact in an authentic context with native speakers (Skinner & Austin, 1999; Carey, 1999) without being restricted by location (Wilson & Whitelock, 1997).
•   They allow communication to take place in real time.
•   Chat activities promote active involvement (Bump, 1990; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Warshauer, 1996b; Carey, 1999)
•   Chat activities promote learner autonomy due mainly to the fact that the teacher role is minimized (Bump, 1990; Chun, 1994; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Warshauer et al, 1996).
•   Transcripts are generated which are useful for studying the language used (Carey, 1999).
•   Some studies suggest that computer chatting improves interactive competence (Chun, 1994).
•   Students have the opportunity to notice language used by native speakers (Schmidt & Frota, 1986; Schmidt, 1990 cit Brett, 1998).
•   Students are given the opportunity for skills development and practice (Sullivan & Pratt, 1996, Pica & Doughty, 1986 cit Brett, 1998; Chun, 1994).

Drawbacks of Chat for Language Learners :
   Being a powerful synchronous tool, chat could be applied to language classrooms for a variety of different purposes; however it also posits certain shortcomings.
Computer & Keyboard Skills - To begin with, even though students might have the potential to express themselves accurately in a foreign (target) language, they may not be computer literate. Since basic computer literacy is a must for the idea of chatting, students are to be equipped with the knowledge beforehand. Even if they are computer literate, the synchronous nature of chatting requires students to have ‘manageable’ keyboard skills in English in order to ensure smooth flow of conversation. Students are supposed to use the keyboard quickly and efficiently because (especially with multi-user chatting environments with native speakers) while constructing the ideas in a foreign (target) language, students are to read number of lines that is being scrolled down on their screen. It both highlights the importance of high-level keyboard skills as well as high-level comprehension skills.
Language Content - Another point to be considered about chat in respect to language learners is the language content. I preferred not the label this point as a drawback since it may be both an advantage and disadvantage for language learners. If the chat room is not specifically designed for language learners, as is the case most of the time, the language that is used by chat room participants frequently include slang, jargon or abbreviations which language learners have no idea about. Consequently, such language use might lead to serious comprehension and communication problems on the side of language learners. On the other hand, the participants who use such language (both native speakers and high-level non-native speakers) may feel demotivated hearing about questions like “what does XYZ stand for?”, “what do you mean by that?” and so on. Here are my potential solutions for this problem:
•   Design or create a chat room specifically for language learners, so that students feel secure to ask any questions without interrupting the flow of communication.
•   Maintain rules for your chat room that ensure security of language learners and foster language development. By this, you could lead native speakers (proficient non-native speakers) to help lower-level non-native speakers.
Advanced language learners(especially the ones who are eager to move one step forward in terms of language proficiency), on the other hand, might very well enjoy the high-level language content of the chat room with lots of abbreviations, phrases and so on because they view this as a chance to learn something new.

Lesson Plan Idea :
As for the lesson plan idea, I still insist on the fact that CMC tools are the best tools for enhancing or facilitating language learning, especially outside the class. The rationale behind this is that since students and the teacher are available during the class time, it would not be wise to allocate valuable class time for chatting (although i admit that chatting is used for academic purposes). The whole point is to make use of the tool to get in touch with each other synchronously. That is to say, when everyone joins the chat room, the chat room would become something more than a room but the classroom itself. Therefore, using chatroom for weekly follow-up discussion purposes at a specific time outside the class period seems to me the best option for this. Just like conversation clubs which are founded to maintain extensive speaking purposes to facilitate students’ speaking ability, chatrooms could be used for productive skills.
Language games could be maintained in a chatroom as well. The teacher could set up a #trivia chat room in which students are asked questions and supposed to provide the correct answer in seconds.

References :
Brett, P. (1998). Using multi-media: A descriptive investigation of incidental language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning. 11(2) 179-200.
Bump, J. (1990). Radical changes in classroom discussion using network computers. Computers and the Humanities. 24, 49-65
Carey, S. (1999). The use of WebCT for a highly interactive virtual graduate seminar. Computer Assisted Language Learning. 12 (4), 371-380.
Chun, D. (1994). Using computer networking to facilitate the acquisition of interactive competence. System. 22 (1), 17-31.
Mynard, J. (2002) Introducing EFL Students to Chat Rooms. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 2, February 2002
Pica, T. & Doughty, C. (1986). Making input comprehensible: do interactional modifications help? ILT Review of Applied Linguistics 72, 1-25
Schmidt, R. & Frota, S. (1986). developing basic conversational ability in a second language: a case study of an adult learner of Portuguese. In R. Daly (ed.) Talking to learn: conversation in second language acquisition. Rowley. MA: Newbury House.
Skinner, B. & Austin, R., (1999). Computer conferencing - does it motivate EFL students? ELT Journal. 53 (4)
Sullivan, N. & Pratt, E. (1996). A comparative study of two ESL writing environments: A computer-assisted classroom and a traditional oral classroom. System. 29 (4), 491-501.
Warschauer, M., Turbee, L. & Roberts, B. (1996). Computer learning networks and student empowerment. (1), 1-14.
Wilson, T. & Whitelock, D. (1998). What are the perceived benefits of participating in a computer-mediated communication (CMC) environment for distance learning computer science students? Computers Education. 30 (3/4), 259-269.


10
Critical Reviews of Technology / Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia
« on: March 25, 2006, 06:39:19 PM »
hello everyone,

here is my critical review about Wikipedia, - the free encyclopedia..

Regards,
Ali Fuad


11
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Blogging in Turkey
« on: March 08, 2006, 05:06:22 AM »
Hello all,

2.460.000 - the number of hits when you type "blog" and make a search on Google Turkish pages..  8) I know this is not a statistics however, it might give an idea about blogging in Turkey..

As stated in Wikipedia (Turkish version) that "although it has been an important phenomenon in the world, the weblogs in Turkey has not received considerable attention until 2005." The weblog provider Blogcu.com has 57.520 blogs registered..  8)

Ali Fuad


12
BLOG STATISTICS (as of July 2005)
According to BlogHerald, here is the conclusion as of July 2005: there are now at least 70 million blogs in existence with 63 million blogs having been created on 8 leading blog hosting sites that host 1 million or more blogs alone.

Stats by Country:
Australia: approx 400,000
based on report in the Australian Newspaper 19 May 05 and allowing for growth since. Like other members of the Anglosphere though its hard to quantify blog numbers due to the dominance of US blogging firms

Austria: approx 20,000
Ref: Loic Le Meur

Belgium: approx 100,000
Skynet: 60,000, Loic suggests more again. There are problems with a definite Belgium count because of the split between French and Dutch speakers. It’s likely that some Belgium bloggers use services in the Netherlands and France, + naturally the Anglosphere offerings.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: less than 3,000
LJ: 1200. Rest unknown

Brunei: less than 3,000
LJ, Blogshares and others.

Canada: approx 700,000
approximation, difficult to ascertain due to the Anglosphere problem, LJ shows 260,000

China: 5 million and growing
ref: South China Morning Post.

Croatia: approx 40,000
Hugo Martin points to blog.hr which now has just short of 30,000 blogs + a little more for other sites.

Czech Republic: approx 5,000
LJ and others.

Denmark: approx 5,000
Loic Le Meur

Finland: approx 100,000
Media=blogi

France: approx 3 million
Loic and others. Skyblog has nearly 2.5 million alone.

Germany: 280,000
Hugo Martin

India: approx 100,000
Financial Express

Ireland: approx 75,000
Loic says 9,000, I don’t believe the figure could be low considering the “Irish economic miracle” of the 1990’s and Irelands continued status of growth and IT friendliness, although the population of just over 4 million people is always going to produce a fairly low figure. Problem again that most Irish bloggers would use Anglosphere blogging sites.

Israel: approx 100,000
thanks to Jariv

Italy: approx 200,000
Loic Le Meur, Hugo

Japan: approx 4 million
Original link lost but as per my report here + allowed for some growth. Joi Ito has some interesting general stats here.

Malaysia: approx 10,000
The Star

The Netherlands: approx 600,000
Loic Le Meur + comments to previous blog counts here indicating similar figures on Marketing Facts (although there is some suggestion that it may be closer to 750,000 but I’m going with Loic’s figure for now)

Philippines: approx 75,000
LJ + Pinoy

Poland: approx 1.4 million
I started at Loic but a quick look at the leading Polish blogging sites onet.pl (700k+), Tenbit (200k+) , Blog.pl (100k+) and Mylog (100k+) gives at least 1.1 million (Loics figure) + ad in minor services and Anglosphere services to 1.4m. The figures also indicates Poland is one of the fastest growing blog markets in Europe

Russia: approx 300,000
source: Mosnews refers to LJ as the most popular Russian service with around 185,000 users. Add figures from other sources. Loic claims 800,000 then provides evidence for 250,000. There is probably more than 300,000 but I’m yet to find some decent evidence.

South Korea: approx 15 million
There is little dispute that there is at least 15 million blog like sites in South Korea, the only question is whether they all count as blogs: Joi Ito doesn’t think they do, and states that there are 10 million “hompy” sites which “are personal home pages with photo albums, guest books, avatars, background skins, and background music” and 5-6 million blogs. However The Korea Herald reports (no longer available) have previously included these “hompy” sites as blogs. BlogCount.com reports on the same Korea Herald report here back in January but calculates 11.9 million blogs. The IHT refers to the Cyworld service as hosting “mini-blogs” in December. I’m siding with the MSM on this one, but have decided to note that there may be some doubt to the figure based on format. It should also be noted that at least 3 million are hosted on Yahoo! Blogs Korea and another 6 million on Planet Weblog Service (as at Jan 05)

Spain: 1.5 million
Terra.es reports 1 million MSN Spaces blogs in Spain alone, but no figures are available for Blogger. Loic reports 1.1 million but you’d have to think there would be blogs of Spanish origins on Blogger and other sites as well.

Ukraine: 50,000
Loic

United Kingdom: 2.5 million
difficult to count because of the Anglosphere problem with tracking country of original but we know there are 1.5 million UK residents using Spaces as of the end of June (Terra.es ). We know there are 200,000+ UK users on Live Journal. Traditionally Anglosphere blogs have flocked to Blogger as well so lets say at least 200-300,000. Thats 2 million. Then there’s the DIY bloggers and those using smaller services including Xanga, MySpace….could be more again. I also don’t think the British will like being beat by the French so expect more growth here.

United States: approx 15-30 million
Its impossible to put an exact figure on the number of US based bloggers because, lets face it, US based blogging services have members from all around the world, and there are thousands of them at that. There are 3.7 million on Live Journal, and other sites would be dominated by US blogs. US bloggers would also be more likely to have multiple blogs and abandoned blogs as well mainly due to the length of time the US has been blogging.

13
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Handbook for Bloggers
« on: March 08, 2006, 04:22:36 AM »
Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents

Here's a handbook for bloggers!! I also include the Contents below. 8)

Ali Fuad



Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical principles.

Contents:
  * Bloggers, the new heralds of free expression
  * What’s a blog ?
  * The language of blogging
  * Choosing the best tool
  * How to set up and run a blog
  * What ethics should bloggers have ?
  * Getting your blog picked up by search-engines
  * What really makes a blog shine ?
  * Personal accounts:
       - Germany
       - Bahrain
       - USA
       - Hong Kong
       - Iran
       - Nepal
  * How to blog anonymously
  * Technical ways to get around censorship
  * Ensuring your e-mail is truly private
  * Internet-censor world championship

Source (and for those who encounters problem in downloading) :
http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

14
hello,

that's a nice piece of writing appeared in Guardian TEFL.

Ali Fuad


A Teacher's Guide to Blogging by Jimmy Leach

If you think everyone else in the world has a blog, you may well be right. The bloggers' website Technorati estimates that there are currently around 70,000 new blogs created around the world every day - little short of one a second. A Guardian/ICM poll last year estimated that one third of all 14-21 year olds had their own web presence, be it a website or a blog. So if you haven't got a blog, the chances are that some in your class have. But if you're not part of the weblog action, it's not too late to catch up.

First of all, let's clear up the terminology: a blog (or more formally, a weblog) is basically an online diary or journal. If you have an opinion that you want the world to hear or you just have an urge to get something published quickly on the web, then a blog is the ideal way to do it. They're much quicker to create than a more traditional website; they are more interactive and fast-moving - and best of all, you require relatively little technical ability.

Once your blog is up and running, you can cheerfully witter away about anything from serious political polemic to what you taught today and your best lesson plans. But bear in mind that anyone in the world with web access can find and therefore comment on your musings, ideally creating informed discussion - or opening yourself up to some harsh criticism. The web can sometimes be an unforgiving place.

To get started, the first thing you must do is decide whether you want to host a blog on your own website (which tends not to involve free webspace, and if you have your own site, why are you reading a beginner's guide?) or whether they want to set up a new blog on an existing blogging site. For most people, the latter option is the more likely and there are a number of sites that offer hosted blogs - some of which are free, while others charge a fee. The type you choose is down to personal requirements. If you want more control and less ads on your blog, you might have to stump up

If you want to pay for a professional site, the most widely used platform is Typepad, where the cost varies dependent on the number of features you require. If you're just starting out and aren't sure how much commitment you've got then a free site should do fine - most allow you to upgrade to paid-for space anyhow.

However you do it, you'll doubtless be provided with your very own blog space, and a blog address such as http://yourname/blogspot.com or http://yourname/blogger.com. You can choose a title for your blog and you will have the option of changing the look and feel of your text, the page background and sometimes the overall layout.

Once you're up and running, there's no secret to writing a blog. If you can type an email, you can write a blog. Just remember to keep it short, interesting and relevant. No-one wants to hear about your shopping trip to Tesco unless something remarkable happened. Most people start with simple text entries, but as you get the hang of the different blog-writing tools available to you, you can add graphics, links, and, once you start to get a little cocky, even a webcam. The only real way to make the most of your blog is by blogging, by reading the contributions of your readers and responding to them (and this is where the rough corners get knocked off your ideas and the concepts you've discusssed become refined), and by reading the blogs of others.

But the lifeblood of blogs are links. The purpose of the internet is to make connections; between sites, between people. Increasingly the web is a conversation rather than a series of separate monologues. Increasingly, sites and blogs allow people to comment on what they read there and your blog will become more than just one person pontificating in a corner, it will become an area for debate or discussion. A conversation chaired by you. To get that debate going, you need to to write interestingly (about more than just your sock collection, although someone will connect even with that) and by posting regularly. You don't want the conversation punctuated by silences.

And as for content - it can be shared classroom experiences, teaching philosophies, lesson plans or just old-fashioned griping. But if you're going to whinge about your employers, do the decent thing and keep anonymous. Recent web history is littered with people sacked for revealing too much on their blogs. Keep it clean, legal and discreet and you'll be fine

Source: Guardian TEFL
http://education.guardian.co.uk/appleeducation/story/0,,1682441,00.html

15
BLOGGING, VIRTUAL E-XISTENCE AND AFFECTIVE DOMAIN
Hello all,

I really wondered what sort of impact that Blogging has on students as individuals. Therefore, I would like to reflect my
personal ideas here:

One of the primary reasons why blogging is a powerful tool for EFL classes from the perspective of students' affective domains is becuase weblogs are essential tools that give "a space" to students on the web. The space mentioned here, though has a virtual nature, highly contributes to the students' identity. The students who are involved in blogging would consequently feel motivated and have a higher self-esteem because they felt the joy of being part of Internet, they occupy a space which provides them with "a virtual existence", they would have e-identities (term made up by me). they are now xyz.blogspot.com. Not very much different than google.com OR eslweb.com   8) That's the whole point!! Then, they would have a number of hits when any does googling1. They would gain dot com identites. This brings a new dimension and a positive contribution to their self-identites. By getting involved in blogging, students would become part of the Internet and consequently; this provides them with a real audience from all over the world. Instead of creating a piece of writing may be for a single person (the teacher) or a group of people (Classmates + The teacher), now students have an inestimatable audience.


As for the lesson plan idea, I like the idea of assigning students in small groups based upon their interest and assigning them a project for which they are responsible for editing/updating weekly throughout the semester. Maybe at the end of each week, the students who are responsible for editing/updating could post weekly questions for the visitors. A final assignment could be a preparing group presentation which describes their blogging site and its contents.

Ali Fuad

1The term Googling is using the popular search engine Google.com to look up someone's name in an effort to find out more about them. You might Google your neighbor, your old college roommate, or someone you've recently met to see what information is available about them on the Internet. Because Google has a ranking system, there is an unsubstantiated belief that the more Google returns a person has, the more important they are.
To Google someone, enter their name enclosed by quotation marks in the Google search box like this: "Person's name". If you Google yourself, it is called autoGoogling or egosurfing. (Source: Whatis.com)

16
hi folks,

it's good to be back to CMC Forums. :) Hope, everything is cool and quiet.. 8) As for the discussion, I would like to share an article named "Blog Assisted Language Learning (BALL): Push button publishing for the pupils" by Jason M. Ward that appeared TEFL Web Journal in 2004.

Abstract :
This paper examines the definitions of ‘weblog’, explains the weblog’s history and discusses how weblogs develop writing, reading and communication skills. The positive and negative potential of weblogs for language teachers is discussed, the use of weblogs in a writing class for non-native English speakers in the first year of university study is demonstrated, and feedback from these students is considered.

17
Some Terms to Know :
MOO: MUD Object Oriented or less commonly, Multi-User Object Oriented systems
MUD: Multi-User Dungeon/Domain/Dimension
MUSH: Multi-User Shared Hallucination
MUVE: Multi-User Virtual Environment
VEE: Virtual Educational Environment, a MOO for educational purposes
OOP: Object Oriented Programming
MOOCode: the language that MOOs are written in, a cross between C++ and LISP
WWW: World Wide Web (you're on it now!), referred to here as the Web or the Net
WOO: Web-MOO, a MOO that has been put on and can be accessed from the Web
WTP: WOO Transaction Protocol
VR: Virtual Reality
IRL: In Real Life
RPG: Role-Playing Game
IC: In Character; refers to RPGs
OOC: Out Of Character; refers to RPGs
CMC: Computer Mediated Communication
CHIME: Collaborative Hyperarchical Integrated Media Environment
moobie: A newbie (new person) on a MOO
cyberspace: a virtual area for programming, chatting, and/or interaction created on the internet
chatting: real time "talking" by typing between people
sci-fi: science-fiction, a popular genre of usually futuristic, science-based fiction

Source: http://moolist.yeehaw.net/moo.html

18
Activities for Using Junk Email in the ESL/EFL Classroom BY Michael Ivy
Michael_Ivy @ compuserve.com
Naples, Italy



Subject: Opportunity of Global Proportions!
FINALLY!!!! The answer to supplementary MATERIALS and lesson PLANNING problems!

Stop being one of the 97% who can't think what to TEACH in their next lesson! READ THIS before you throw it away.

THIS IS NOT A SCAM. I will deliver you a series of exercises based on GENUINE Junk Mail that I have received over the past few weeks! Believe me, these lesson plans work like GANG-BUSTERS!!! And no longer will you have to RACK your brains before going into the classroom.

Send your checks, precious stones, etc, to...

 



And so it goes. Most of us regularly get messages which are perhaps not quite like the above, but which nonetheless are all too familiar to those who use the Net. Most of us don't even bother to read them, but delete the offending messages as soon as look at them.

But perhaps, if we are TEFLers, we shouldn't act so hastily. I propose to demonstrate that quite a lot of mileage can be made out of junk mail, and that it's always worth filing away a few of those unsolicited messages back from time to time.

Almost as soon as I signed up to my ISP, I began getting junk mail, so I created a folder entitled "Scams", into which, from time to time, I would divert the occasional missive. Soon I had twenty or more.

The time then came to make some sense of them, and I hope the following exercises illustrate the kind of material anyone can create, given adequate time. I have created six different types of exercise. Here they are:

Matching Types: there's a list of categories (Sex, Get Rich Quick, Your Fears, etc) and the student has to match each type with the extract to which it corresponds. (See types.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/types.txt)

Typical Language: read through three junk e-mails, and determine what sort of phrases and expressions are typical of junk e-mail. (See typical.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/typical.txt)

Comprehension Exercise: I took a chain-letter proposal and added a few questions at the end: what's potentially wrong with the offer; summarise what the punter has to do in under fifty words; how does the perpetrator of the scheme make money. (See comp.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/comp.txt)

Paraphrases: read a sample junk mail message, then match the extracted sentences to their paraphrases. A bit obvious as an exercise, but I think it gives the students a flavour of the language of scams.
(See paraphra.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/paraphra.txt)

Cloze: Short cloze exercise based on an advertisement received in a junk mail message.
(See cloze.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/cloze.txt)

Howlers: spot the mistakes made by junk-mail writers. I have composed this from a British English standpoint, but most of the mistakes would, I think, be unacceptable on either side of the pond.
(See howlers.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/howlers.txt)

And finally, once the students have familiarised themselves with the language...

Write Your Own! In this exercise, use the list of expressions provided to help you compose your own junk mail messages. Change and adapt the phrases to suit your own imagination.
(See write.txt - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/write.txt)

Exercises 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 would be best used by students at Intermediate level (say Cambridge First Certificate in English) as a minimum; number 1 and 5 might be tackled by pre-intermediate students. The beauty of computer-based texts is, of course, that they can be worked on to suit students at most levels.

In addition, short texts of up to 2,000 characters can easily be imported into a CALL program such as WIDA's StoryBoard or GapMaster.

A final suggestion. When saving junk mail texts, get as wide a range as you can. By far the majority seem to fall into the Get Rich Quick category and their vocabulary is rather limited. Those offering sex can sometimes contain entertaining slang and colloquialisms, but explaining "burned-out strippers", "Internet smut" or "some skank laying on a sheet" may best be kept for relatively advanced classes, all other things, such as local cultural considerations, being equal.

A warning needs to be made about copyright: I have changed the names of products and services, and deleted names and addresses, as I am told that the publication thereof could break the law. So any resemblance between product or service names appearing in this article and any person, product or organisation, whether in existence or defunct, is purely coincidental.

TAKEN FROM:
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 5, May 1998  - http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ivy-JunkMail/

19
Email for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / email..email..email..
« on: February 22, 2006, 03:35:45 AM »
hi folks..

What do we understand of the concept email?? Is it just an electronic letter in which you simply jot down whatever you have in your mind or is it a real communication tool used for a wide range of purposes? well, i guess both purposes have some kind of relevance with the concept however i would like to focus on for the second one. in today's globalized and technologically endowed world, emails are indispensable parts of daily life. and just like every piece of writing, it does have certain etiquette, style and register. therefore, writing an email is not different than writing an argumentative essay in the sense that there are certain procedures that the writer needs to follow considering the concepts like auidience, purpose, formality, use of language and so forth. Therefore, before asking students to write emails to your penpals, it is necessary to familiarize them with the procedure that is involved in writing email.


WRITING EFFECTIVE E-MAILS :
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- "A Beginner's Guide to Effective E-Mail," by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood (1999-2001). 
www.webfoot.com/advice/email.top.html

- "E-mail Abuses Cost UK Firms Millions," by Frances Gleeson (electricnews.net, 21 July 2003).
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/07/21/email_abuses_cost_uk_firms/

- "E-mail Etiquette," by Dawn Rosenberg McKay (About.com, 2002).
http://careerplanning.about.com/od/communication/a/email_etiquette.htm

- "Email Etiquette: Tips for Professional Email," (About.com, 2003).
http://longisland.about.com/library/weekly/aa072502a.htm

- "How Is Your Wiring Firing?" by David Allen (2002).
http://www.3m.com/meetingnetwork/articles_advice/david/arc_1.html

- "Top Ten Most Important Rules of Email Netiquette," (About.com, 2004).
http://email.about.com/cs/netiquettetips/tp/core_netiquette.htm


and, here is a good start for the procedure of writing email and it could be accessed online as well.

10 Tips for Effective E-mail by Ellen Dowling, PhD
http://www.mindtools.com/email.html

1. Think before you write. Just because you can send information faster than ever before, it doesn’t mean that you should send it. Analyze your readers to make certain that you are sending a message that will be both clear and useful.

2. Remember that you can always deny that you said it. But if you write it, you may be held accountable for many many moons. You may be surprised to find where your message may end up. (As an example of “What Not To Do” in Ellen Dowling’s Writing Strategies class?)

3. Keep your message concise. Remember that the view screen in most e-mail programs shows only approximately one half of a hard-copy page. Save longer messages and formal reports for attachments. On the other hand, do not keep your message so short that the reader has no idea what you’re talking about. Include at least a summary (action or information?) in the first paragraph of your message.

4. Remember that e-mail is not necessarily confidential. Some companies will retain the right to monitor employees’ messages. (Refer to #1 and #2, above.) Don’t send anything you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing published in your company’s newsletter (or your community’s newspaper).

5. Don’t attempt to “discipline” your readers. It’s unprofessional to lose control in person—to do so in writing usually just makes the situation worse.

6. Don’t “spam” your readers. Don’t send them unnecessary or frivolous messages. Soon, they’ll quit opening any message from you.

7. DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS! IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING AT THE READERS! Remember, if you emphasize everything, you will have emphasized nothing.

8. don’t type in all lower case. (unless you’re e.e. cummings.) if you violate the rules of english grammar and usage, you make it difficult for the reader to read.

9. Use the “Subject” line to get the readers’ attention. Replace vague lines (“Information on XYZ Project,” or “Status Report Q1”) with better “hooks”: “Need your input on Tralfamadore Project,” or “Analysis of recent problems with the new Veeblefetzer.”

10. Take the time to poofread your document before you sent it. Rub the document thru the spell checker and/or the grammer checker. Even simpl tipos will make you look sloppie and damage you’re proffessional credubility.
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AS FOR ITS PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS,
having studied the effective email strategies, students might be asked to engage in formal or 'serious' communication instances via email. Students might be asked to write emails for a variety of purposes like application for a school or a post (this idea could be integraetd into writing a CV), getting contact with a professor abroad, sending an email to a famous person and so forth.

Celebrities
Douglas Adams: 76206.2507@compuserve.com
Tom Clancy: tomclancy@aol.com
Quentin Crisp: HRHQCrisp@aol.com
Macaulay Culkin: culkin@writeme.com
Clint Eastwood: rowdiyates@aol.com
Bob Hope: bobhope@bobhope.com
Bob Hoskins: 75300.1313@compuserve.com
Courtney Love: lilacs00@aol.com
Madonna: Madonna@wbr.com
Demi Moore: Demim2@aol.com
Toni Morrison: morrison@pucc.princeton.edu
Bob Mortimer: bobmortimer@hotmail.com
Michael Stipe: : stipey@aol.com
Oprah Winfrey: : harpo@interaccess.com

Government
Tony Blair does not have an email address for public disclosure, but there is a
discussion area on the Number 10 site. http://www.number-10.gov.uk/public/interact
Bill Clinton: president@whitehouse.gov
Hillary Clinton: first.lady@whitehouse.gov

a last point: this idea of writing email could be integrated into not only for ESL/EFL context but also into TEFL students contexts.

BIG SHOTS IN TEFL/TESOL/LINGUISTICS:
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Noam Chomsky: chomsky@mit.edu
Henry Widdowson: henry.widdowson@univie.ac.at
William Labov: labov@cis.upenn.edu
Rod Ellis: r.ellis@auckland.ac.nz
Muriel Saville-Troike: msaville@u.arizona.edu
Suresh Canagarajah: suresh_canagarajah@baruch.cuny.edu
David Nunan: dcnunan@hku.hk
Robert Phillipson: rp.eng@cbs.dk
Betil Eroz: beroz@metu.edu.tr
Randy Sadler: rsadler@uiuc.edu

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