Multiplying modalities: Opening up the fourth dimension to the online learner
Computer-mediated communication in educational settings has come a long way in the last decade, culminating in pedagogically sound communities of inquiry. However, oral activities (the fourth dimension) are still conspicuously absent in these environments, and students’ complaints about this usually head the list of disadvantages associated with Web-based language learning (Felix, 2001). Addressing this problem, practitioners have begun to incorporate sophisticated audio-based applications in the form of voiced bulletin boards (Wimba), voiced chats (Traveler) and audiographics (Lyceum). This paper explores what these applications have to offer in the context of creating meaningful social constructivist activities in online language education and their potential role in addressing the fundamental problem of performance anxiety in language learning. The paper provides practical examples of establishing contexts for communities of enquiry in which participants move between real and imaginary worlds and are engaged in authentic tasks and interactions.
Felix, U. (2005). Multiplying modalities: Opening up the fourth dimension to the online learner. The JALT CALL Journal, 1(3), 17-32.