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Chapter One INTRODUCTION

Listening has gained much attention both in research and in language pedagogy as it has changed its role from a passive activity which deserved less class time to an active process through which language acquisition takes place (Vandergrift, 2004). Listening is now widely accepted as an essential skill that enables language acquisition to take place, both in mother tongue and in second or foreign language (Rost, 2002). The learning environment in second language acquisition (SLA) or foreign language learning is not as supportive as first language acquisition, though. It is stressed that for a person to learn a second language, three conditions were required: 1) motivation to learn the language, 2) speakers of the target language who are able to provide support and input, and 3) a social setting which provide the learners with sufficient exposures to the target language (Wong-Fillmore, 1991). As listening is required in two of the three requirements, it is evidently that it is worth to be taught explicitly in its own right. To help the students become proficient in listening, taxonomies of listening skills that underlie the process of listening comprehension were proposed. While the taxonomies of listening skills help us understand the mysterious listening comprehension process, it also sheds light in listening pedagogy (Buck, 2001). Following the taxonomies of listening skills, the teachers are able to know which part of listening process is emphasized by the researchers and will pay more attention to it in their teaching. With the help of advanced computer technology and the advent of Internet, it is now easier for both the teachers and learners to have access to spoken input of the target language, in our case, English. Many listening websites and multimedia CD-ROMs are now available for teachers to include as teaching materials and for the
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learners to use as self-study aids. There have been studies investigating the usefulness of incorporating CALL and listening instruction. Cheng (2006), for example, after implementing a listening website (Randall’s ESL cyber listening lab) into her listening instruction, it was found that the learners held very positive attitudes to the website and also became motivated to learn. Likewise, Ramirez and Alonso (2007) incorporated digital stories in the language course of a group of young learners, attempting to investigate how the technology can enhance the learners’ listening comprehension. A positive finding was obtained in a pretest and posttest comparison. Students who had access to digital stories performed significantly better than those who did not. These studies warranted the benefits that CALL are able to bring to language teaching and learning, especially in the field of listening. CALL is not enough to make language learning and teaching effective, though. To be so, a proper learning syllabus has to be designed. That is to say, the materials should be sequenced in an appropriate order and systematic training should be carried out. While grading mechanisms are available for selecting reading texts (e.g., Flesch reading ease score in Flesch, 1949 and Textladder in Ghadirian, 2003), and are even extended to foster vocabulary acquisition (i.e., Text Grader in Haung, 2004), those specifically for ‘listening texts’ are still virtually unavailable. Without such a mechanism, some studies adopted readability measures to determine the difficulty levels of listening texts. Smidt and Hegelheimer (2004), for example, used Flesch reading ease score to grade the difficulty levels of three academic lectures, which were used as assessment tools in their study to ensure text comparability. It seems that to adopt the approach in reading research to audio materials is feasible. Given the importance of listening in terms of second language acquisition, the advantages CALL brings to language learning and teaching, and the pedagogical needs of a grading mechanism for listening texts, this study attempts to address the
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following issues: first of all, the development and the assessment of a grading formula manipulating the weights of three difficulty measures (i.e., speech rate , academic word ratios, and syntactic complexity); secondly, the impact of incorporating graded online listening materials with a listening course on the students’ development of listening ability; and thirdly, the students’ attitudes towards the use of the online listening materials. A grading formula for listening texts was thus developed, and with its help, a website was constructed in which sixty-six graded listening texts were sequenced from easy to difficult with their MP3 files, transcripts, and comprehension check questions. Meanwhile, the comprehension questions were designed to provide the learners with systematic training of five target listening skills: listening for main ideas, listening for details, interpreting the speaker’s intent, making inferences, and summarizing. Each of them was considered an important element underlying successful listening comprehension (Buck, 2001; Weir, 1993). Then, we infused this website into a listening and speaking course for a group of EFL college level learners to do self-study. It is expected that this study could shed a dawning light on grading listening texts, and provide a preliminary understanding of how online graded listening materials could help development of listening skill, and how CALL can benefit listening instruction.

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With a multimedia computer equipped with internet service. identifying the factors that affect listening comprehension (Brindley. Anderson. 1994. Mendelsohn. this. 2002). 1998. the access to listening materials increases substantially. Due to the growing emphasis on communicative competence in language learning and teaching in recent decades. In terms of the teaching of listening. 1988. Vandergrift. Along the same vein.1 Overview Listening is the most essential skill of language learning as virtually all children learn to listen as part of their first language (L1) acquisition process.Chapter Two REVIEW OF LITERATURE 2. 2004.g. more reflective to the real-world spoken language. 1990. In addition. creates considerable chances for the learners to learn and practice. learners can have access to listening materials anytime and anywhere 4 . Just as the fundamental role listening plays in L1 acquisition. At the same time. & Inbar. & Dunkel. Shohamy. Hinkle. in turn. availability of various websites also makes it much easier for instructors to get supplementary listening materials. 1991. Rost. much research effort has been devoted to exploring the process of listening comprehension (e. & Lynch. 1992. & Slatyer. the computer technology has brought several benefits to the teaching and learning of listening. 2002). 2002). Lynch. Secondly. with the rapid development of technology. computers and the World Wide Web have been applied to language courses in various ways. 2002. First of all. and finding efficient teaching approaches of listening (Berne. 1998. more and more studies were carried out to enhance the teaching and learning of listening. it is by no means less important in second language (L2) learning (Rost.. listening materials become more authentic. Chiang. learners can engage in their learning more actively. Teng. 2006. Flowerdew. 1999). Fianlly.

Brown and Yule (1983) explained listening comprehension as a process of understanding. 1983. a discussion on material selection of listening materials will be presented. lexis.. syntax. & Yule. How these two types of knowledge and their sub-knowledge are applied 5 . Last. Brown. compared to traditional listening courses where instructors play tapes or CDs. computer-based and web-based listening instruction can obviously create a more meaningful and active learning environment that can in turn contribute to better listening. and learners listen and answer comprehension questions. repeating what was heard. Rost (2002) described listening comprehension as a process of trying to understand what spoken language refers to in one’s experience or in the real world. Hence. & Lynch. 1990. In order to understand an utterance.g. and personal experience). 2002). 1988. Buck (2001) concludes that the knowledge involved in the listening process is of two types: linguistic knowledge (i. 2. various types of knowledge must be applied to decode and interpret the incoming information. Rost.as many times as they wish. semantics. knowledge of the listening context. Anderson. Then.. Additionally. the recent effort of incorporating computer technology and the teaching and learning of listening will be introduced. and then knowing what an expression refers to.2 An Overview of Listening Comprehension Many researchers have given their definitions of listening comprehension (e. For example. In this chapter. figuring out the meaning of an exact word. followed by a discussion of factors that contribute to listening difficulties and thus affect listening comprehension. and discourse structures) and non-linguistic knowledge (i.e.. general knowledge of the world.e. a brief introduction of listening comprehension will be offered. an overview of the changes in listening instruction will be given.

rather. Under this view. In the bottom-up view. 6 .to the acoustic information has aroused much debate. we only take what we need and what is necessary. which is not changeable. At the same time. In addition. Among various perceptions. the order of the knowledge applied in the bottom-up listening process is like a one-way street. Thus. To illustrate. they are all capable of interacting and influencing with one another. the order in which different types of knowledge come into play is not in a fixed manner. when hearing a sentence such as ‘It’s raining heavily. listening for details is usually trained by teachers. and we know that when it is raining. the bottom-up view and the top-down view are the most important and classic. as the example shows. On the other hand. remember to take an ________’ we can confidently expect that the next word being umbrella. In other words. they may appear in any order or even simultaneously. then it is identified as an individual word. we do not have to process everything in the acoustic input to get its idea as opposed to the bottom-up view in which listeners have to process every sound to comprehend the information. our general knowledge of the world comes into play. the listeners pull in their own experience or the communicative context and understand what the input refers to. followed by the sentential level and then semantic level. our linguistic knowledge tells us ‘an’ is the article for vowel-initiated words. listening comprehension is seen as a process of passing information from stage to stage. we use umbrellas to avoid getting wet. While we are applying our linguistic knowledge to comprehend the utterance. These two perspectives are different mainly in their beliefs of the order in which different types of knowledge are applied during the comprehension process. Finally. Acoustic input is first decoded into phonemes (the smallest sound unit). In the top-down view. in the top-down view.

g.g.. as a result. “any very fast delivery will therefore place an extra strain on the learner” (p. text types.g. 2004. and English proficiency (e. Teng. and fast—measured in the unit of 7 . 1998a). listeners would have less time to process the incoming information. Chiang & Dunkle. syntactic complexity. This notion is easy to understand in the sense that with faster speech rate. Teng. average.3 Listening Difficulties As have been noted by Rost (2002).g. Yet. Rixon. Vandergrift. hence. 1986. the better comprehension level listeners would be able to achieve. both Teng (2002) and Flowerdew (1994) noted that the slower the speech is. topic familiarity (Carrell. syntactical complexity (e. 1994. listening is essential to language development. Brindley. Dunkel. Cheng. Su. 1983. text types (e. speech rate (e. 2003. speech rate. 1979.. Griffiths. 58). To examine how speech rate can affect learners’ comprehension. 1986). Shohamy. 2006). L2 learners need more time than the native speakers to process each piece of information even when they have no difficulties in understanding. Concerning temporal factors such as speech rate and pausing time.3.. 1992. 2.1 Speech Rate Speech rate has profound effect on listening comprehension (Flowerdew. 2002. & Inbar. 2002). are discussed. To help learners to become skillful listeners. 1988). results in unsuccessful comprehension. 1983. and also task types. it has been very challenging for L2 learners to learn. 1992. Griffiths (1992) compared the comprehension levels of 24 low-intermediate Japanese EFL learners who were assigned to listen to three passages each in three different speech rates—slow. factors contributing to learners’ listening difficulties have been identified in many studies... Blau. for example. Connor. and the more pauses a passage has. 1990.2. Flaherty. 2003). Based on Rixon’s (1986) remark. and task types (e. Rixon.g. 1991. & Slatyer. In this paper. Carrell & Eisterhold. 1984).

For example. as they contain information of lower density compared to 8 . and 250 wpm is fast. Su. rather than the number of people involved in. & Slatyer. 1994). Based on Rixon. most research accepts 165 to 180 wpm as the normal speech rate (Rubin. & Inbar. on the other hand. 2003). noted that most research accepts 165 to 180 wpm as normal speech rate. Griffiths (1992) adopted the criteria in which an average rate 125 wpm is slow. Rubin. whereas in an interactional passage it is on the use of language for establishing or maintaining social contact. To answer the question of at what rate a listening text is regarded as fast. average from 188 to 189 wpm. 2. to distinguish interactional and transactional. 1986). “conversation” is defined as “any series of spoken exchanges among a small group of people in which the contributions are reasonably balanced in terms of quantity and are reasonably coherent. However. regardless of different interpretations of speech rate.“words per minute” (wpm). and fast from 245 to 257 wpm. The lower rates ranged from 126 to 128 wpm. or dialogues. 185 wpm is normal. Listening texts are often categorized into conversation and monologue. or interactional and transactional (Rixon. Brown and Yule (1983) maintained that the emphasis of a transactional passage is on the exchange of information or the use of language to get things done. 6).2 Text Types and Syntactic Complexity Text type has also been noted as a factor affecting listening comprehension (Brindley. Shohamy. Rubin (1994). different listening specialists have proposed different standards for distinguishing fast speech from slow speech. is “a speech by a single person” (p. The results showed that learners who listened to the slow version of the passages obtained significantly higher scores than those who listened to normal and fast versions in the post-listening test. However. the purpose of the speech is the focus. Conversations. 1991. in her well-known review.” monologue. 1994. 2002.3.

One factor that comes along with text type is syntactic complexity. In their study. For each topic. 2004). the easier it will be for the listeners to comprehend. lecture and consultative dialogue. Along this line.’ which is defined as a ‘function of orality in language. are considered to be easier to listeners than monologues. 1994.’ or the degree to which a passage exhibits features common in oral language. it is assumed that texts similar to written texts are of higher difficulty level than texts similar to spoken texts (Rubin. While written texts generally contain more syntactically complex sentences and less redundancies or repetitions compared to spoken texts. Rubin and Raforth (1984. it seems to suggest that the more listenable or orally-oriented a text is. Chang. which is also documented as an attribute of listening difficulty. 1991) introduced the notion of ‘listenability. Accordingly. Similarly. lecture at the middle and consultative dialogue close to the oral end (see Figure 2. three different text types were prepared: news broadcast.1 below). news broadcast is near to the literate end. Shohamy and Inbar (1991) conducted a study investigating to what extent the ‘orality’ elements could affect learners’ performance in listening comprehension tests. it is disclosed that dialogues are easier than lectures as well as news broadcast. cited in Shohamy & Inbar. 9 . 150 secondary school EFL learners were randomly assigned to listen to passages of two different topics. Of these three types of texts.monologues such as lectures or news broadcasts. In Brindley and Slatyer (2002).

Figure 2. Hence. and vice versa. 29). Brindley. 59). 2. on the other hand. concludes several guidelines of controlling task difficulties (p. & Slatyer. when considering factors influencing the listeners’ performance.’ (Shohamy & Inbar. & Inbar. 1994. namely. regardless of the topical differences. the more oral a text is. as oral texts are syntactically less complex. 2002. Shohamy. 1991). 1991. p.g. Buck (2001).. got the lowest scores. Accordingly. Teng. the easier it will be. Rubin. the learners were given an immediate posttest to measure their comprehension level. learners who listened to the dialogue version of the topic got the highest scores in the posttest. The results showed that.3 Task Types Anderson and Lynch (1988) maintain that “[d]ifferent tasks present the listener with varying degrees of complexity” (p. the news broadcast group. 1998a.1 Correspondence of text types and the degree of ‘orality. 151): Tasks that require processing less information tend to be easier than tasks which require processing more information. for example. and vice versa. LITERATE ORAL news broadcast 1 lecture 2 consultative dialogue 3 After listening. the finding also seemed to suggest the notion that higher syntactic complexity contributes to higher difficulty level of listening text. the amount of ‘orality’ in a text does seem to be an important factor concerning the difficulty level of listening texts. Therefore. the nature of the task itself is also one that we need to bear in mind (e. Tasks that require processing information from just one location in the text tend to be easier than tasks which require integrating information scattered 10 .3.

in their investigation of the influence of text type and task type. or making a summary. For example. or making inferences (‘global questions. Likewise.g. Several studies have also confirmed this proposition (e. drawing conclusions. Cheng. based on the third guideline “tasks that require recalling exact content tend to be easier than tasks which require extracting the gist. or making a summary”. it is logical to assume that multiple choice questions are easier than short answer questions and questions requiring listeners to summarize the text. they also help us to see how different types of task may affect listening difficulties. 2002. 1991). Tasks that require recalling exact content tend to be easier than tasks which require extracting the gist. Shohamy. 1998a. Brindley & Slatyer. Tasks that require immediate responses tend to be easier than tasks which require a delayed response. Brindley and Slatyer (2002) also suggest that “items requiring only recognition are easier than those requiring retrieval and production” (p.. found that regardless of the topic differences. & Inbar.throughout the text. Shohamy and Inbar. Similarly.’ Shohamy. Tasks that require information that is relevant to the main theme tend to be easier than tasks which ask for irrelevant detail. 2002) than questions requiring synthesizing information. understand words with contextual support. & Inbar. Teng’s (1998a) investigated how task type affected 186 low-intermediate level college students’ listening performance. listeners performed significantly better on questions requiring them to locate details. Teng. 2002). 2004. The students were randomly assigned to listen to two types of 11 . 377).’ Shohamy. and recognize facts (‘local questions. & Inbar. Tasks that require simply selecting information tend to be easier than tasks which require separating fact from opinion. While these guidelines offer directions for test developers.

and sound combination. 2. Among the three types of questions investigated.texts. and cloze questions. 2004. Then. none of these two teaching foci was proved to obtain 12 . individual sounds. (Morley. activating their background knowledge such as topic familiarity. and were assessed their comprehension using a three-version posttest: multiple-choice questions. From the “listening to repeat” audio-lingual approach. Now listening is recognized as an active process. In the 1970s. that is. listening was assumed to be a passive activity. students who did the multiple-choice version were found to get the highest score. 3) As the role of listening changed.4 Teaching Listening As communicative competence has been underscored in language teaching and learning. sentence boundaries. cited in Vandergrift. namely. the teaching of listening changed its focus to learners’ development of top-down process. critical to L2 acquisition and deserving of systematic development as a skill in its own right. discourse clues. in the following decade. 2004). and pragmatic conventions. 1999. p. listening instruction largely emphasized learners’ development of the bottom-up process. short answer questions. The note from Morley below can describe the change of the status of listening in language learning and teaching: At one time. the ability to identify words. meriting little classroom attention. However. listening instruction has become to underscore the ‘process’ (learning to listen) instead of the ‘product’ (listening to learn) of listening (Vandergrift. listening has received increasing attention in language classrooms. “question-answer” comprehension approach. and those who did the cloze version got the lowest. so did the approach applied to teach listening. to “real-life listening” communicative approach. because of the shifted view of second language listening from language-based to schema-based.

In recent years. As the strategy-based approach has become more active in language teaching. The strategies are classified to two groups: direct strategies and indirect strategies. Rost (2002). 2004. listening pedagogy has come to underscore the instruction of learners’ use of strategies to enhance their learning process (Hinkel. 2004. responding. 1995). Regarding listening strategies. monitoring. summarized five most commonly recognized strategies used by successful second language listeners: predicting.4. Smidt. 2006). 1998b). a number of theorists have attempted to describe listening in terms of taxonomies of skills (Buck. 2. and socio-affective strategies. 2. the learners process the linguistic information 13 . At the first stage. for example.1 Listening Strategies Since the early 1990s.successful consequences by itself.g. and evaluating. 2001). metacognitive strategies. identified and categorized the general language learning strategies. Vogely.g. many researchers have tried to identify efficient and beneficial strategies used by more proficient listeners in order to enhance strategy-based listening instruction (e. Berne. 1999. Teng. Oxford (1990). clarifying. for example. Mendelsohn. 2004. more and more studies started to highlight the importance of strategy teaching in listening courses (e. & Hegelheimer. Vandergrift.2 Listening Skills Listening is perceived as a complex and multidimensional process. On the other hand. 1972. 1995. research on strategy training of second language learners has become very active.4. O’Malley and Chamot (1990) had different categorizations: cognitive strategies. 1977).. Clark & Clark. To understand the complex process.. One common taxonomy is dividing listening into two stages: comprehending and application (Carrol. inferencing. 1998.

in the message. result. 2001. cause. pp. cited from Buck. Given the growing interest in the communicative approach in language teaching. and distinguishing that from supporting detail. These taxonomies are important because they tell us what are considered important in listening comprehension. degree etc. or examples Listening for specifics. While many of the components in the taxonomies are essential in listening. 54-55) Direct meaning comprehension Listen for gist Listening for main idea(s) or important information. including recall of important details Determining a speakers’ attitude or intention towards a listener or a topic Inferred meaning comprehension Making inferences and deductions Relating utterances to their social and situational context Recognizing the communicative function of utterances Deducing meaning of unfamiliar lexical items from context Contributory meaning comprehension Understanding phonological features Understanding grammatical notions such as comparison.1). there has not been evidence suggesting that any of the taxonomies contains a complete description of listening process. especially lexical set membership and collocations Understanding lexis Listening and taking notes Ability to extract salient points to summarize the text Ability to select relevant key points 14 . Weir’s classification (1993) seems to be more comprehensive (See Table 2. Compared to the available taxonomies to date.1 A list of listening skills (Weir. there are also many taxonomies of listening skills described in communicative terms. Understanding discourse markers Understanding the main syntactic structure of clauses or idea units Understanding cohesion. 1993. Table 2. and hence shed light in the teaching of listening. especially reference Understanding lexical cohesion. they utilize the information in a communicative context. and in the second stage.

With the rapid technology improvement.As shown in Table 2. & Miller. and each with further detailed description: direct meaning comprehension. Behaviorist CALL. 2005).5 CALL and listening instruction Since 1960s. but also a comprehensive checklist of operations for listening tests. and thus learners become more active in their language learning. aims at integrating the four skills and pulling in fuller technology support into learning process.1. and listening and taking notes. computers have been used in language education. Weir (1993) divided listening process into four main sections. The list is not only a description of listening process. Where the tasks learners were required to perform via computers were repetitive drill practices. learners can free themselves from the constraints of learning time and space as opposed to traditional learning. 1998). Communicative CALL. Learners can download audio or video clips from the World Wide Web (WWW) into their computers. communicative CALL. World Wide Web has become the most popular facilities available to students to obtain information and help them in their learning process (Flowerdew. on the other hand. which is derived from the communicative teaching approach. and integrated CALL (Warschaur. The use of computers could be divided into three types: behaviorist computer assisted language learning (CALL). allowed learners more freedom to engage in the learning activities whenever they want via their own computers in their own houses. 2. & Healey. contributory meaning comprehension. Under this circumstance. as the name suggests. was derived from the behaviorist language learning theory. inferred meaning comprehension. they are also granted more opportunities to learn. Integrated CALL. The tasks in communicative CALL mainly focused on manipulations of linguistic forms. The type of CALL in this current study is between the communicative CALL and the integrated CALL as the study 15 .

Cheng (2006). there have been some examples of integrating technology into language classes (e. there were also studies which incorporated listening websites into listening classes. To move further. Participants were 162 freshmen who enrolled in a listening course at a private university in Taiwan. Ramirez & Alonso. In Grgurovic and Hegelheimer. A positive finding was obtained in a pretest and posttest comparison. Regarding listening instruction. and scripts of the audio clips along with several multiple-choice comprehension questions. 2007). for example. Likewise. integrated an existing topic-based listening websites—Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab (http://www. 16 .concerns the training of a single skill.com) —into a listening class as supplementary materials after class. While the results showed that learners tend to use subtitles more than transcripts. The website offers a considerable amount of audio clips for listening practice.. attempting to investigate how the technology can enhance the learners’ listening comprehension. 2007. The purpose of the integration was to understand how learners of different proficiency levels perceive the role of such CALL materials in their learning of listening.esl-lab. yet. Grgurovic & Hegelheimer. the CALL materials offered via the internet is meant to provide learners with more opportunities to learn and practice. Students who had access to digital stories performed significantly better than those who did not. multimedia learning materials were infused into an EFL course to help learners comprehend academic lectures. These learners were categorized into three groups—high.g. Ramirez and Alonso incorporated digital stories in the language course of a group of young learners. These studies warranted the benefits that CALL are able to bring to language teaching and learning. the researchers further warranted that instructors should actively encourage and train their students in using such help options to become more proficient. Two types of text support were provided: subtitles and transcripts.

they had to tape-record the scripts with their peers. While the online materials offer the learners with considerable learning opportunities. Another similar study was conducted by Chen (2004). most of the participants express positive attitudes toward the use of the website. learners could adjust the speech rate of the audio clips. Chen also suggested that his listening website be incorporated into language classes.6 “Listenabiliry”—selecting appropriate listening materials Computer and internet have brought about many advantages to learners in their learning of listening. regardless of learners’ proficiency levels. And post to the listening passage. When listening. The results showed no significant differences among the learners’ attitude toward the CALL materials with respect to their proficiency levels. and low—in accordance with their scores of the listening section of intermediate General English Proficiency Test (GEPT). In addition to listening to the passages. A questionnaire was used to measure learners’ attitudes toward the supplementary learning materials. Despite that everal 17 . they would be presented a set of comprehension questions and a vocabulary quiz. Also. Most users found themselves satisfied with the system. Participants were required to go to the website once a week and listen to the passages assigned by the instructor that were related to the weekly topic of the course. 2. learners were also asked to complete the comprehension questions on the website. Nonetheless. who also set up a web-based listening center for learners to practice.average. These studies warranted the benefits CALL are able to bring to language teaching and learning. Some learners reported that using such CALL materials after class was less stressful than doing exercises during class and thus enabled them to enjoy the learning process more. they also pose a challenge to the instructors of selecting suitable materials for learners in different proficiency levels.

The reading program was used by 38 EFL college learners at home for a period of 12 weeks. choosing materials that is suitable for a particular group of learners is of great importance. Ghadirian did not use the materials on learners to look at the effectiveness. named Text Grader (http://candle. under Reading).g. Griffiths. 1998a. Teng. The results suggest that the reading 18 . The articles were sequenced from easy to difficult with another control of times of targeted word exposure. Shohamy & Inbar. very few of them are operationalized as measures for material selection. The module was developed based on an earlier and similar program named Textladder (Ghadirian. With modification and a test on real EFL learners in Text Grader. in her study of the effects of graded reading on vocabulary learning. difficulties in comprehension.cs. a local Senior High School Students’ Word List.edu. When learners are faced with overwhelming complex authentic texts in extensive reading. 1992. Huang (2003). Familiar words and unfamiliar targeted words are identified for the study. as a self-access basis for 38 college participants in Taiwan to investigate their vocabulary gains through the program. 1992. can be expected. indicated that preparing suitable reading texts is often a challenge for teachers as the materials chosen will significantly affect the learners’ learning results.factors affecting the difficulty levels of listening texts have been identified (e. For example. With the help of word lists research and quantitative corpus analyses using word frequency computer programs. let alone vocabulary acquisition. 2003).. the University Word List. Hence. Textladder was able to screen a large number of texts and choose appropriate materials that meet learners’ levels. Chiang & Dunkel.tw. 1991. For the teaching of vocabulary through extensive reading. Huang designed an extensive reading module. Huang (2003) filtered the texts with four word lists and selected 16 articles: the General Service Word List. Some initial efforts have been devoted to addressing the problem. 2002).nthu. a similar problem has also been identified. However. and an Exposed Word List.

we attempt to investigate the benefit of CALL. and the benefits brought by computer technology to language learning.7 Purposes of the Study Given the importance of listening in terms of second language acquisition. And. while factors contributing to listening difficulties have been identified in much literature. The two studies provided preliminary but useful methods of manipulating learning materials based on word frequency and sequencing of texts. in addition. to investigate the learners’ perceptions of using online listening materials in enhancing listening ability. there is virtually none. Last. the purposes of the present study are as follows: first. even though online listening materials are easily accessible. to our limited knowledge. 19 . specifically the Internet use. the same mechanisms for listening texts are still unavailable. learners also held a positive attitude toward the program. attempting to operationalize the factors for pedagogical concerns. and finally. 2.materials facilitate learning of vocabulary in an extensive reading context. Additionally. to provide a pedagogical model for listening teachers to choose supplementary listening materials. on the development of listening skill. In light of the pedagogical needs and the research gaps. second. to examine to what extent online listening materials could benefit the learners’ listening ability. as grading mechanisms are available for reading texts. their quality poses a question to language teachers who are motivated to apply such materials.

This chapter presents the research method we used to construct the website. the other one was a 20 . research instruments. With assessment data and the learners’ logs.1 Overview In the present study. and the design of the experiment we adopted to probe into the research questions. The details of the participants. Learners in this study were asked to visit the website to practice their listening skills by doing the listening tasks provided in the website. instructional materials. Thirty of the learners were freshmen who just graduated from high schools and started their first semester in the university. namely. each lasting for 100 minutes.Chapter Three METHOD 3. a listening website (called Freshmen Listening. we hope to understand the feasibility of sequencing listening materials with the help of a proposed formula as a criterion of “difficulty” of texts by manipulating the weights of three difficulty measures.tw/moodle2) using a free course management system was constructed and infused into a freshmen listening and speaking course for eleven weeks in the fall semester of 2006. the usefulness of the online training program. as well as methods of data analyses are reported. a one-group pretest and posttest research design was adopted. process of data collection. The class met once a week. In this study. Also. http://formoosa.2 Participants Participants involved in this study were thirty-one EFL learners enrolling in a freshmen listening and speaking course given by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in a local university. 3.fl.nthu.edu. we hope to understand the change the learners might show after using the website for an eleven-week period. The goal of the course was to enhance the learners’ speaking and listening abilities.

The websites they used were mainly international and local news websites such as CNN. In a questionnaire which tapped into their former experience about listening websites. MOODLE. the school dormitory. only five of them reported having such experience. Moreover. BBC. an e-learning platform designed to help material developers create online course. which was infused into the listening and speaking course was set up on an open-source course management software.junior student in the same department. 21 . can provide a user-friendly interface for both the instructors and the learners as the links were well constructed and clearly described (see Figure 3.1 for a screenshot of the website). 3. English learning websites like Studio Classroom were also included. More. yet.3 Development of the Listening Website The listening website. at which all first-year students stayed. Learners were fairly familiar with using computer and connecting to the Internet. their previous experience of using listening website differed substantially. The access to computer and Internet was easy as the majority of the participants had their own personal computers or notebooks. MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment). was equipped with broadband Internet service. and ICRT. Proficiency levels of the learners ranged from low-intermediate to advanced as everyone of them had received formal English instruction in high school for at least 6 years. Freshmen Listening.

Thompson Learning. those which were too easy or too difficult for the participants were weeded out. Among the materials that were collected. 2006. They included English learning magazine (CNN Interactive English Magazine. and The official guide to the new TOEFL iBT.com). 2004.esl-lab. an online listening website (Randall’s cyber listening lab http://www.Figure 3. To gather the 66 passages. and TOEFL CBT and iBT preparation books (Master the TOEFL 2005. Live ABC. Educational Testing Service). so did those whose topics were not interesting enough. Inc. Live ABC). With these 66 listening passages and their MP3 files. more than 66 listening texts and their MP3 files were collected first from various resources. ALL plus Interactive English Magazine. a formula formed based on a pre-service English teacher’s perspective to generate a difficulty score representing 22 . sixty-six listening texts were uploaded for the use of the eleven-week training project.1 A screenshot of “Freshmen Listening”—the listening website In the listening website.

to reading texts.. to our limited knowledge. As mentioned in the previous chapter. it is hypothesized that the more 23 . For example. It is suggested that by learning the AWL words.the difficulty levels of the listening texts was developed and adopted to arrange the texts in proper order. the average word number spoken in a minute. a readability measure. making its speech rate 107. yet. The AWL has around 10% occurrences of the total words in written academic texts. is the basic index reporting how fast a text is spoken. the rate of each listening text was computed by dividing the total words by the total time—in the unit of minute—of the listening excerpt. and the Flesch Reading Ease score—to develop a formula that could serve as a grading mechanism for our listening texts as in Flesch Reading Ease score. In this study. The rate range for the 66 texts was between 90 to 242 wpm. for the participants to practice. Flowerdew (1994) noted that the speech rate of a listening passage has profound effects on listeners’ comprehension level in the way that higher rate results in worse comprehension while lower rate contributes to better comprehension. the learners can develop their academic literacy more efficiently (Nation. In the current study. Academic word ratios: As the name suggest. this measure is an indication of the density of academic word in the texts. i. very little. 160/89*60). Speech rate: Speech rate. namely. In the present study. factors that cause listening difficulty were identified in the literature. Coxhead. the first or the easiest passage had 160 words in total. 2000). the academic words were defined using the Academic Word List (AWL. namely. and one minute and twenty-nine seconds duration. from easy to difficult.87 words per minute (wpm. Our study attempted to bridge the gap by operationalizing three difficulty measures—speech rate. 2001). tried to operationalize them for pedagogical concerns. The three measures as well as the formula are discussed in detail in the following section. academic word ratios.e.

. which can be found in grammar/spelling check under Tool.2 for the readability computation). Therefore. 1/106). the more difficult it becomes.e. thus its ratio was 0. In the case of English.academic word a text contains. Flesch reading ease score: Flesch Reading Ease Score (Flesch. and 0-30 for college students (for more detailed information. the first/easiest passage on the website has one academic word out of its 116 words (Note what we mean by ‘word’ here is word ‘type’ instead of word ‘token’). 60-70 for eighth and ninth graders. and sentences. The score. For example.6 using MS WORD (see Figure 3. of each listening passage.wikipedia. The scores for the 66 passages ranged from 32 to 92.94 % (i. 24 . ranges from 0-100. words. the percentage of academic words was computed. The scores for the 66 texts were calculated with the help of the inherent function in Microsoft WORD. For example.org/wiki/Flesch-Kincaid_Readability_Test). The range for the 66 texts was from 1% to 12% approximately.’ http://en. This was done by dividing the number of academic words in a passage by the number of total words. with higher score indicating easier passages and vice versa. are computed with considerations of the number of syllables. refer to ‘Wikipedia. 1949) is a well-known readability measure which generates scores for reading texts indicating how easy or difficult a reading text is to comprehend. texts that score from 90 to 100 are believed to be considerably easy for average native fifth graders. the first/easiest passage among the 66 obtained an ease score of 51.

Figure 3. Table 3. academic word ratio.2 The readability computation of the first/easiest passage Each of the sixty-six passages was computed concerning its speech rate. the ‘difficulty score’—a composite variable by weighting differently on the three measures—was generated by using a proposed formula: Difficulty score=speech rate × 0.1 The ranges of the three measures of the 66 listening texts Speech Rate 90 .5+academic word ratio × 0.92 3. and reading ease score using the aforementioned methods.2 25 . we tried to operationalize the concept of difficulty in a listening text with the three measures. With the three measures.1 The Proposed Formula—“Difficulty Score” In the present study.3-reading ease score × 0. Table 3.1 summarizes the ranges of the three measures of the sixty-six listening texts.12% Flesch Reading Ease score 32 .3.242 (wpm) Academic Word Ratios 1% .

In the formula, speech rate was assigned 50% of the weights as it was the measure better supported in the literature (Flowerdew, 1994; Griffiths, 1992; Teng, 2002). As academic word ratios and reading ease score were borrowed from readability measure, they were assigned 30% and 20% of the weights respectively (see Figure 3.3 below for a summary of the manipulation of the weights of the three measures). Even as a readability measure, one study (Smidt & Hegelheimer, 2004) adopted Flesch Reading Ease score as a mean to ensure the comparability of three different listening texts. Smidt and Hegelheimer used Flesch reading ease score and Flesch-Kincaid grade level—another well-known readability measure—to verify the comparability of different video lectures used in their pretest, posttest and delayed posttest in their study which aimed at examining the effects of online academic lectures on ESL learners’ listening comprehension. As the scores for the three texts were similar to each other, the researchers concluded that the different videos used in the three tests were comparable. Difficulty scores generated from the formula ranged from 0 to 100, with higher difficulty scores signifying harder texts, and lower, easier. After we computed the score for each of the 66 texts, the texts were sequenced from 1 to 66—easy to difficult—and presented to the learners on the website every week, six for each, based on the sequence. Table 3.2 presents the computation results for all the 66 passages in terms of the three measures.

26

Figure 3.3 The manipulation of the weights of the three measures

Flesch Reading 20% Ease score

50% 30%
Speech rate Academic word ratios

Table 3.2 The computation results of the three measures of the 66 texts
Reading ease score TXT.69 TXT.18 TXT.25 TXT.48 TXT.30 TXT.23 TXT.21 TXT.36 TXT.26 TXT.52 TXT.28 TXT.17 TXT.54 TXT.22 TXT.24 TXT.57 TXT.29 TXT.13 TXT.20 TXT.16 51.6 61 62.5 92.3 56.9 52.4 59.3 44.9 50.1 80.4 54.7 41.7 75.9 42.9 59.7 68.8 35.7 70 42.4 50.4 Speech rate 107.87 112.44 112.81 173.29 100.79 106.56 105.96 121.40 101.75 177.09 115.77 97.71 177.25 104.58 105.21 184.52 90.27 167.42 103.92 101.60 Adjusted Academic Adjusted rate 44.29 46.46 46.62 71.61 41.65 44.03 43.79 50.16 42.05 73.18 47.84 40.38 73.24 43.21 43.48 76.25 37.30 69.18 42.94 41.99 word ratios 0.94 1.88 2.46 0.00 3.14 2.84 4.09 2.17 4.49 1.37 4.66 5.30 1.53 5.07 6.45 0.79 6.10 2.68 5.78 6.74 ratios 7.93 15.79 20.72 0.00 26.42 23.86 34.43 18.28 37.80 11.52 39.22 44.60 12.87 42.63 54.26 6.62 51.28 22.53 48.61 56.70 Difficulty score 14.21 15.77 17.02 17.34 17.37 18.69 20.36 21.59 22.34 23.96 24.75 25.23 25.30 25.82 26.08 26.35 26.90 27.35 27.58 27.92 Presentation sequence No.1 No.2 No.3 No.4 No.5 No.6 No.7 No.8 No.9 No.10 No.11 No.12 No.13 No.14 No.15 No.16 No.17 No.18 No.19 No.20

27

TXT.5 TXT.51 TXT.35 TXT.2 TXT.66 TXT.34 TXT.10 TXT.9 TXT.27 TXT.42 TXT.47 TXT.7 TXT.53 TXT.70 TXT.50 TXT.65 TXT.56 TXT.37 TXT.8 TXT.43 TXT.49 TXT.11 TXT.41 TXT.40 TXT.63 TXT.1 TXT.38 TXT.3 TXT.45 TXT.4 TXT.6 TXT.12 TXT.68 TXT.67 TXT.44 TXT.J TXT.JJ

55.5 73.5 37.8 60.1 77.7 61.8 57.9 87.7 50.3 83.2 84.5 52.2 64.3 77.5 77.3 79.4 77.9 47.4 60.2 79 80.4 82.4 89.7 82.2 84.9 83.3 53.7 44.7 55.4 45.6 84.6 84.7 49.3 63.1 64.8 58.2 44.6

148.24 176.79 133.41 166.10 153.42 169.30 154.81 213.88 99.81 201.82 215.29 160.27 195.69 198.98 222.86 226.40 214.52 133.48 175.46 203.89 199.57 225.63 242.00 224.57 235.00 207.57 167.55 160.00 144.31 142.25 222.71 224.48 158.21 223.40 197.87 144.00 135.00

61.25 73.05 55.13 68.64 63.40 69.96 63.97 88.38 41.25 83.40 88.96 66.23 80.86 82.22 92.09 93.55 88.64 55.16 72.51 84.25 82.46 93.24 100.00 92.80 97.11 85.77 69.24 66.12 59.63 58.78 92.03 92.76 65.38 92.32 81.77 59.50 55.79

3.50 2.81 3.62 2.78 5.26 2.75 3.80 1.47 7.95 2.22 1.24 3.43 1.75 2.70 0.81 0.74 1.69 5.99 3.66 2.88 3.40 1.52 0.85 1.74 1.80 4.46 5.60 5.71 8.02 7.42 4.72 4.90 7.76 4.38 6.64 10.68 10.42 28

29.44 23.62 30.43 23.36 44.27 23.11 31.94 12.37 66.90 18.69 10.45 28.84 14.76 22.73 6.78 6.23 14.25 50.34 30.77 24.20 28.61 12.74 7.13 14.63 15.15 37.55 47.07 48.06 67.49 62.44 39.67 41.23 65.25 36.80 55.84 89.82 87.61

28.36 28.91 29.13 29.31 29.44 29.55 29.99 30.36 30.63 30.66 30.72 31.32 32.00 32.43 32.62 32.77 33.02 33.20 33.44 33.59 33.73 33.96 34.20 34.35 36.12 37.49 38.00 38.54 38.98 39.00 41.00 41.81 42.40 44.58 44.67 45.06 45.26

No.21 No.22 No.23 No.24 No.25 No.26 No.27 No.28 No.29 No.30 No.31 No.32 No.33 No.34 No.35 No.36 No.37 No.38 No.39 No.40 No.41 No.42 No.43 No.44 No.45 No.46 No.47 No.48 No.49 No.50 No.51 No.52 No.53 No.54 No.55 No.56 No.57

The sample questions for each skill are shown in Table 3. containing texts.83 166.3 47. there were three to six comprehension questions probing into the participants’ comprehension levels.1 54.7 32.38 No.28 47.58 No.90 67. For each listening passage. As for the last skill.56 11.29 49.48 163.66 54.26 88.64 No.79 48.3 below.97 67.78 52.61 10.24 8.62 No. interpreting the speaker’s intent.4 218.14 TXT.14 77.88 152.63 No.1 59.11 69. listening for details. Comprehension questions of each passage were written based on these target skills. the 66 listening texts with their MP3 files and comprehension check questions were presented to the learners based on their difficulty levels.3.8 50.95 77.ii TXT.44 9.23 99.65 No. and summarizing the listening texts—were chosen from the text book of the listening and speaking course in order to tie in the online resources with the course.98 93.61 No.72 62.86 54.44 213.1 70.nn TXT.11 42.91 46.TXT.74 163.70 11.kk TXT.23 48.59 No. comprehension questions).B TXT.69 72.46 67. For the first four skills.5 42.45 45.2 The Online Listening Exercises In the eleven weeks. the question type was in multiple-choice format. The five target listening skills—listening for main ideas. making inferences.89 11. summarization.60 No.54 53.Y 60.71 90.65 5.66 3.13 130.27 9.4.K TXT.00 97.5 36.25 47.06 68. and also aiming at training the five target listening skills of the learners (see Appendix A for a sample of online listening task.43 90. The total number of the questions for each skill across the eleven weeks is presented in Table 3.21 168.07 6.46 TXT.09 164. 29 . the learners were asked to write a summary of 120 to 150 words that included both the main idea and detailed information.H TXT.

both important information and details should be included.3 The number of questions for each skill Listening for main ideas 72 Listening for details 118 Interpreting the speaker’s intent 26 Making inferences 79 Summarizing 11 Total 306 Table 3.Table 3. Sample questions for each target listening skill Listening skills Sample questions Listening for main -What is the passage about? -What is the main idea of this listening excerpt? ideas Listening for details Interpreting the speaker’s intent -According to the conversation. Summarizing -Please write a short summary in about 150 words. The MOODLE system was able to provide instant feedback every time after the participants submitted their answers. select correct statements below.4. Each week. The learners were required to perform the required set in which one summary task was embedded. what didn’t the speaker buy? -What are the experts’ suggestions mentioned in the excerpt? -What’s the speaker’s attitude toward student credit cards? -What does the man imply by saying “That’ll be a long time?” -What does the speaker imply how she is going to pay back Making inferences the money? -Based on the excerpt. The learners had to finish the exercises in one week as the system was set to reject attempts once the exercises were closed. the 30 . While doing the exercises. Access for each set of exercises was available for one week. with three required and three optional. the learners were able to download the MP3 files and listen to it as many times as needed before they virtually submitted their answers. a set of six listening texts were presented. In your summary. For multiple-choice questions (MCQs).

and the second part is the idea units.93. The first block is the summary written by the learner. After the two versions were finished.4 The instant feedback for MCQs Note. For the summary tasks in the pretest and posttest. The idea units of each summarization text were written independently by the researcher and a master student majoring in TEFL independently. The highlighted item was the correct answer. respectively. Figure 3. Figure 3. and the final block is the sample summary.5 show the instant feedback of MCQs and summary task given by the system. 31 1 . As for the summary tasks.83 and 0.4 and 3.5 The instant feedback for summary tasks Note. respectively. the idea units1 of the listening passage and a summary model which were written by the research and a master student majoring in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) were also shown immediately after the submission as a reference for the learners to learn and improve.system would highlight the correct answer. a discussion was carried out to finalize a version for grading. the ratings of the two writers reached a Cronbach alpha of 0. Figure 3.

also their strengths and weaknesses in terms of the five target listening skills. the participants’ logs and scores on the weekly exercises on the website recorded by the tracker program during the eleven-week period were used to understand the usefulness of both the online materials and the grading formula. Despite the identical multiple-choice questions used in the two versions of the test. As for the posttest. a listening test was designed and used in the pretest and posttest in order to assess the participants’ listening ability before and after the eleven-week practice.3. For the complete version. which aimed at measuring the participants’ overall listening ability.4 Research Instruments Three types of instruments were designed in this study. see Appendix B. Secondly. which presented a discussion on the good and bad of the technology. The test comprised five listening passages with twenty-four items taken from the last four units of the course book which would not be covered until the second semester of the school year.4. In the pretest.1 Pretest and Posttest An English listening test was designed to serve as the pretest and posttest. twenty-three of them were true/false and multiple-choice questions under four listening passages. Among the twenty-four items. 32 . two sets of questionnaires. First. different prompts for the summarizing task were used in the pretest and posttest. and the other one was a productive task that asked the participants to summarize one listening passage. a video clip under the topic of “The Age of E-mail” was used.5. the weekly questionnaire. 3. A sample of the test items is shown Table 3. and a final evaluation questionnaire were developed to understand the participants’ perceptions of the difficulty levels of the listening materials and their attitudes toward the usefulness of the website as well as the online listening exercises. Finally.

the test papers were collected immediately after the pretest.” he means ________. also. Table 3. a. 1. B. Hence. Circle the answer that best completes each sentence. _____ 3. watch his employees closely c. exercising by running an extra time b. items in the posttest were identical with those in the pretest but with different order. The speaker is an employer. The speaker does not trust the people who work at his business. Listen to the excerpt.5 An excerpt of the pretest A. being “Big Brother” is ________. a.another video clip which concerned the harmful consequences of tobacco use—Smoking—was used (see Appendix C and D for the video scripts). an ineffective management strategy c. an employer should ________. correct answers to all the items were not reported. Listen to the excerpt again. a. neither effective nor ineffective 3. Due to the shortage of language labs in the university. According to the speaker. To avoid practice effects. an effective management strategy b. According to the speaker. The posttest was designed to assess the participants’ listening ability concerning the five target skills after receiving the eleven-week online practice. _____ 1. _____ 2. tell his employees what is right and wrong b. working extra hard 33 . learners did not have chance to have access to the test items until eleven weeks later. To ensure the comparability of the two versions used in the pretest and posttest. the tests were administered in a traditional paper-based format. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). When the speaker says “go that extra mile. Trusting his employees gives the speaker satisfaction. getting satisfaction and rewards c. let his employees decide what is right and wrong 2.

As can be understood. each representing one aspect of difficulty level of the listening passage: vocabulary. topic familiarity. The questionnaire contained five items. after submitting the required listening tasks. syntactic complexity. could respond to the questionnaire immediately. For the complete version.6 for an excerpt of the questionnaire. attitudes towards the website as well as the usefulness of the sequencing and the 34 .2 The Weekly Questionnaire The weekly questionnaire probed into the participants’ receptions of the difficulty level of the easiest passage each week. hence.4. the learners. speech rate. there were eleven questionnaires across the practice period. refer to Appendix E). I think the speed of this listening is ______. previous experiences of using online listening websites.6 An excerpt of the weekly questionnaire 1. and overall difficulty (see Table 3.3 The Final Evaluation Questionnaire The final evaluation questionnaire was designed to tap into the participants’ background information.3. it was expected that the learners’ grading could serve as a mean for us to understand the correspondence of the designed sequence and the learners’ perceptions. □ Too fast to understand □ Fast but understandable □ About right for me □ Slow □ Too slow 3. □ almost 100% □ More than 80% □ 50% to 80% □ Less than 50% □ Less than 20% 2. The questionnaires were uploaded to the website each week. Table 3.4. I can understand _____ percent of the words in this listening task.

online training. The questionnaire comprised twenty-three items and was divided into two sections. the role it played in their learning of listening. and the usefulness of the material sequencing. the quality. The first section (from items 1 to 6) probed into the learners’ background information such as self-rated listening proficiency and previous experiences of using listening websites. SA A U D SD The topics of the online listening tasks are interesting and motivating. The other section (from items 7 to 23) concerned the learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of the website. including the layout. SA A U D SD The website and the online listening tasks are useful to improve my overall listening ability. Primary Low-intermediate Intermediate High-intermediate Advanced I am eager to improve my listening ability SA A U D SD I have practiced English listening via other listening websites like the one used this semester. SA A U D SD I would like to use such a listening website to enhance my listening ability in the future. Table 3. SA A U D SD The online tasks are more and more challenging from the beginning to the end of the 11 weeks. Table 3. Yes 。 No (skip Q5 and Q6) I think the layout of the website (the color and the arrangement) is clear and easy to follow.7 An excerpt of the evaluation questionnaire 。 My English listening proficiency is at _____ level.7 presents a sample of the evaluation questionnaire (The complete version can be found in Appendix F). SA A U D SD The first section 。 。 。 The second section 。 。 。 35 .

every learner’s logs of usage (i. also each learner’s scores across the eleven weeks. the records were scattered in the database. At the first class meeting.e.6 The usage and score of the learner recorded by the system MOODLE was very powerful in recording the learners’ activities on the website. yet.4 Logs of Usage and Scores of the Online Tasks During the semester. Moreover. Also. we invited a programmer to help us do the data mining. a consent form (see Appendix G) was distributed to the participants. we were also able to track the learners’ performance on the website in terms of the five target listening skills. and the pretest was administered. we were able to get the learners’ average score of each of the 66 tasks. With the help of the programmer..6). and pull useful data together. 3. These data helped us understand the learners’ changes in terms of their listening ability during the eleven weeks.5 Procedures The experimental procedures proceeded from September to December of 2006. 36 . The learners were told that the 11-week online practice would account for ten percent of their final grades for the course. To obtain usable records.3. In addition. it was also expected that the records could offer clues to the question of the usefulness of the materials in the way they were designed. the duration of time and frequency of use) as well as their scores on the online tasks were recorded automatically as an index of their progress toward the tasks with the help of the tracker program embedded in MOODLE (see Figure 3.4. Figure 3.

Then. A summary of the research procedures is shown below (Table 3. the server where the website was constructed went down. learners followed the same pattern to the last week of online listening practice. the schedule was postponed for one week. The breakdown cut all the connection to the website for a few days. and the online listening tasks would not affect their final course grade. the learners started their first weekly listening practice on Freshmen Listening. In the following weeks. and then responded to the weekly questionnaire.8 The summary of the research procedures Time/Period 。 。 Preparation 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 。 Research Procedures Collected materials Developed the formula and sequenced the materials Designed comprehension questions Designed pretest and posttest Designed the questionnaires Distributed the consent form Distributed the pretest Instructed the learners to use the website Online listening practice started Weekly questionnaire Distributed the posttest Distributed the final evaluation questionnaire 37 Week 1 (9/11) Week 2 to 13 (9/18 to 12/4) Week 14 (12/11) . because in that week. post to the online training project.8). in week 14. to grant the learners more time to perform the tasks. the learners were instructed to use the website and were informed that the time available for each set of exercises was one week. and so did the online training project.they were acknowledged that their performance on the pretest. The third week was an exception. Learners did the required exercises and optional exercises. In the second meeting. Hence. the learners were distributed the posttest and also the final evaluation questionnaire. the system worked steadily. After the class was dismissed. posttest. Table 3. In the following weeks.

with the learners’ weekly questionnaire responses and scores on the tasks. How did the learners perceive the role of the materials in their learning? – Were the learners’ perceptions of the material difficulty congruent with their performance? 4. we investigated to what extent the online listening practice was useful or helpful to the learners in their development of listening ability. Second. the research questions we attempted to answer are phrased as follows: 1. did the students perform better in the posttest than in the pretest in terms of the overall scores and items for each skill? 2. we tried to examine the usefulness of the proposed formula and the sequencing of the listening materials. Was the proposed formula useful based on the learners’ weekly performance? 38 . Were there learners differences found in this project? – Were the materials equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels? – Were there differences in achievement. After learning from the online listening materials. with the learners’ report in the final evaluation questionnaire. given the unequal number of passages finished? – What type(s) of skill practice could best predict the learners’ posttest performance? 3. we attempted to explore the learners’ attitudes toward the online listening exercises. Third.3. Hence.6 Data Analysis There were three main research directions in this study. First.

How did the learners perceive the role Descriptive statistics of the materials in their learning? Correlation 4.To answer the first question. correlation among the five skills and the posttest scores was computed to see if the skill practice across the eleven weeks could predict the learners' performance in the posttest. Was the proposed formula useful based on the learners’ weekly performance? Correlation 39 . Also. We computed correlation between the predefined "difficulty scores" and the learners' scores of the online tasks. For the second research question. the learners' pretest and posttest performance was compared. learners' responses to the final evaluation questionnaire were reported using descriptive statistics by assigning 0 to 5 to indicate the level of agreement among the learners. Did the students perform better in the posttest than in the pretest? Methods Pretest and posttest comparison 2. and then group performance was compared. the learners were further classified into two groups based on their proficiency level and diligence level. Were there learner differences found Pretest and posttest comparison based on in this project? the learners’ proficiency and diligence levels Correlation 3. to examine the congruency between the learners' perceptions and their weekly performance in terms of the difficulty levels of the texts.9 The summary of data analysis methods of each research question Research Questions 1. To analyze data for question three. correlation was adopted again. Question four tapped into the usefulness of the proposed formula. Additionally. Table 3.

students who failed to complete more 40 . this study addressed the following research questions: 1. Were there learners differences found in this project? Were the materials equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels? Were there differences in achievement. Was the proposed formula useful based on the learners’ weekly performance? Subjects in this study were thirty-one EFL college freshmen who were taking a listening and speaking course.Chapter Four RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 4. In the study. To ensure the validity of the data.1 Overview By constructing a MOODLE based listening website and infusing it into an EFL college listening and speaking course. given the unequal number of passages finished? What type(s) of skill practice could best predict the learners’ posttest performance? 3. After learning from the online listening materials. the subjects were required to do at least three out of the six listening exercise each week across the eleven-week period during the semester. How did the learners perceive the role of the materials in their learning? Were the learners’ perceptions of the material difficulty congruent with their performance? 4. did the students perform better in the posttest than in the pretest in terms of the overall scores and items for each skill? 2.

a non-parametric analysis should be applied.2.than thirty-three tasks were excluded from the following analyses. twelve as intermediate. Regarding English and English listening proficiency level. the weekly questionnaire. the learners’ attitudes to the online materials. However. the posttest. and the results of the questionnaire responses were recorded anonymously. and the feasibility of the proposed formula are discussed. According to Hatch and Lazaraton (1991). Then the usefulness of the online materials. three of them rated their own English proficiency level as at high-intermediate level. learners’ weekly task scores. the results from the pretest. In this chapter.2 Results 4. the results reported in the following section were all based on such analysis. Consequently. the attitudes to the learning of listening (item 3) and their experience in using listening websites to enhance listening ability (item 4 to 6). findings related to the weekly questionnaire are therefore reported in the original group manner. and three as low-intermediate. Among the eighteen students. Hence. Concerning listening proficiency. The valid subject number in this study therefore dropped to eighteen. and the final evaluation questionnaire were analyzed and presented first. when the subject number is smaller than 30. the data of the valid eighteen subjects were unable to be identified. the thirty-one students were asked to fill in a weekly questionnaire. 4. Learners’ logs on the listening website showed that eighteen out of the thirty-one students completed more than thirty-three listening tasks. hence. two out of the eighteen students rated themselves as 41 .1 The Learners’ Background Several questions in the final evaluation questionnaire were designed to elicit the learners’ background information (items 1 to 6) concerning their English proficiency levels (item 1) and English listening proficiency levels (item 2). the majority of the subjects rated themselves as at intermediate level.

and ICRT. and English learning websites such as the Studio Classroom. the websites they had used were not able to provide comprehension check questions and instant feedback. Therefore. Table 4. Table 4. BBC. 42 . The results showed that more than half of the subjects lacked experiences of learning English listening via internet.at high-intermediate level in listening. six of them (33.7% 66. twelve as intermediate. The websites used were mainly international and local news websites such as CNN.7% 16. For those who did use listening websites.7% 11.1% 100% % 16.3%) reported having used such websites to learn about English listening before they were introduced to Freshmen Listening. using the MOODLE website to practice listening skills seemed to be a comparatively new experience to the subjects.7% 100% Concerning the learners’ experience of using listening websites. and four as low-intermediate.2% 66.1 The learners’ self-evaluation of their English proficiency and English listening proficiency levels English Proficiency Level High-intermediate Intermediate Low-intermediate Total High-intermediate Intermediate Low-intermediate Total N 3 12 3 18 English Listening Proficiency 2 12 4 18 22.1 summarizes the distribution. the website used in this present study.

Listening for main ideas 10 2. Table 4.2). the sum of the five scores). Making inferences 5.e. Interpreting the speaker’s intent 6 4. Last..2 The Results from the Pretest and Posttest Prior and post to the eleven weeks of online listening practice. The tests were designed to tap into the learners’ beginning level and their end-of-project level of their listening ability and of their five target listening skills after the 11-week practice. an independent listening test containing twenty-four items was administered. In order to know whether different learners benefited distinctly from the listening practice. Comparisons of the total scores and the individual scores of the five skills were made. 10. The full scores for skill 1 to 5 are “10. 22. both tests were graded by the researcher. Listening for details 3. 6.2. 8. twenty-three of them were in true/false or 43 .” making the full overall score 56 (see Table 4. and an overall score (i. Summarizing Skill Total Full score 22 8 10 56 To investigate the changes the learners made in terms of their overall listening ability and the five listening skills. Of the twenty-four items in the tests. For both listening tests used in the pretest and posttest stages.2 The full scores for the five target listening skill 1. every learner had five individual scores for each of the five skills. the question of which skill performance across the eleven weeks is more strongly associated with the posttest performance was also examined. The question of whether more diligent students benefited more from the online practice was also explored by operationalizing “diligence” as the total listening passages they completed throughout the eleven weeks.4. they were classified according to their listening proficiency and their diligence level.

2. As to the rating of the summaries. a non-parametric alternative test to the t-test for dependent samples) was applied.17) than in the pretest (42. the Wilcoxon matched pairs test (i. A higher mean score was obtained in the posttest (45. we compared the subjects’ performance in the pretest and the posttest in terms of: (1) the overall score. Ten units were written for each of the two summaries.1 The Usefulness of the Online Materials To answer the question of the usefulness of the online materials. 4. and in the posttest 0. see Table 4. another rater.. With the finalized idea units. To examine the significance of the difference. Then. Learners’ grades were computed by averaging the scores given by the two raters.05. 1990) of the two summaries were written by the two raters independently based on their listening comprehension of the passages. the two raters graded the learners’ summaries independently. and (2) the individual scores of the five listening skills. with the researcher (both were MA-TEFL students) was invited to grade in order to ensure the rating reliability. In the pretest. Cronbach alpha reached 0.83. making the full score of each task 10. 44 .multiple-choice format whose answer keys were readily available.93. Idea units (Johns & Mayes.2. the two raters discussed on the units to finalize a version for each of the summaries as the answer keys (see Appendix H and I for the complete version of the idea units and the sample summaries of the tests). Thus.e. Results showed that the learners’ change from the pretest to the posttest reached a statistically significant level (p<0.75). Both alphas indicated fairly high reliability.3).

05* 45 .5 Z 1.22 Skill 5 4. the Wilcoxon matched pairs test demonstrated that the learners improved significantly in skill 2 and 5 (p=0.05 Table 4. In terms of the learners’ change in the five skills.11 5.02.89 8. respectively). as shown in Table 4.4 displays the learners’ scores on the five listening skills—1) listening for main ideas. 3 and 4.39 18 T 34. Table 4. whereas no gain was found in skill 1.89 Skill 2 18.Table 4.33 Skill 3 4. The improved listening skills were listening for details and summarizing.04.67 5.78 20.33 Skill 4 6. p<0. p=0. 2) listening for details.3 The Wilcoxon matched pairs test of the learners’ performance in the pre-test and post-test Valid N Pretest-posttest Note: *Sig. 4) making inferences.31 5. and 5) summarizing—in the pretest and posttest.5.99 P level 0. 3) interpreting the speaker’s intent.4 The learners’ score of the five target skills in the pretest and posttest Skill 1 Pretest Posttest 8.

00 Z 2.2.5 Z 0. the learners were found to make progress in (1) their overall listening proficiency.09 P value 0. learners who got a score 46 .34. and also in (2) specific aspects of listening skill—listening for details and summarizing. and SD being 5.27 P value 0.0 Skill 5 Summarizing Valid N Pretest-posttest Note: *Sig. With the mean score of 42.00 Skill 2 Listening for details Valid N Pretest-posttest 18 T 7. the learners were categorized into a high proficiency group (high-pro) and a low proficiency group (low-pro) based on their performance in the pretest.2.0 Z 2. 18 T 20.02* Z 1.2 Proficiency Level and the Final Achievement To understand if the online materials were equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels.09 Skill 4 Making inferences Valid N Pretest-posttest 18 T 26.75. after using the online materials for eleven weeks.5 The Wilcoxon matched pairs test of the learners’ performance on each skill in the pretest and posttest Skill 1 Listening for main ideas Valid N Pretest-posttest 18 T 22.Table 4.10 4.66 P value 0.0 Z 1.04* Skill 3 Interpreting the speaker’s intent Valid N Pretest-posttest 18 T 11. p<0.68 P value 0.00 P value 1.05 To sum up.

75-5.34) were in the low-pro group.higher than 48..09 (i. In this study. Yet. mean=35. neither were statistically significant. in spite of the requirement. as shown in Table 4. every learner was required to complete at least three out of the six required online tasks every week.88 Posttest 49.80 1.25 Table 4.41 (i.7).88) were compared of the progress they made from the pretest to the posttest. The Wilcoxon matched pairs test indicated that in spite of the score gain in the posttest of both groups (see Table 4.00 Z 0. Table 4.50 0.6 A summary of mean scores of the pretest and posttest of the high-pro and the low-pro groups Pretest The high-pro group The low-pro group 49 38. The high-pro group (N=4.83 p-level 0.6) and the low-pro group (N=4. Namely. our online materials seemed to be equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels. To classify 47 .42 0.2.. mean+1 SD=42.34) were placed into the high-pro group and those who got a lower score than 37. the number of completed tasks differed from one to another depending on the learners’ motivation and interests. mean-1 SD=42. mean=49.2.3 Diligence and Posttest Performance To address the question concerning the relation between the learners’ diligence level and their posttest performance. the learners were divided into two groups based on the number of tasks they completed during the eleven weeks.e.5 42.07 4.05 4 4 T 1.7 The Wilcoxon matched paired test of the posttest performance of each group Valid N High proficient (pre & post) Low proficient (pre & post) P<0.75+5.e.

8).0 44.9).6).6 in the pretest and 44. The less diligent group.6 (SD=11. mean number=33. The more diligent group obtained a mean score of 44.1 for the learners’ completion rates.5 in the posttest.4). Though the scores increased from the pretest to the posttest. obtained a mean score of 41. the Wilcoxon matched pairs test showed that the improvement was not statistically significant (see Table 4.7 Posttest 45. learners who were above the average were classified as the more diligent group (N=7. despite the score gain. Table 4.8 for the summary of the mean scores of each group). The same with the more diligent group. 8 A summary of the mean scores of the pretest and posttest of the more diligent group and the less diligent group Pretest More diligent Less diligent 44. The calculation obtained an average number of 43. Using this number as a criterion. mean number=60. the average numbers of the passages finished by all the participants were calculated (see Figure 4. A detailed picture of the learners’ task completion condition can be found in Appendix J).5 48 .the learners based on their diligence levels. on the other hand.1 41. while those below the average were put into the less diligent group (N=5. the matched pairs test did not find significant improvement.1 in the pretest and 45 in the posttest (see Table 4.

Figure 4. if there were 10 questions in “listening for main ideas.00 4. To illustrate.” and student A did five of them and answered each one correctly.18 0.10 displays the learners’ mean scores2 of each skill across the eleven weeks. the mean score for student A was 10 (5/5*10) instead of 5 (5/10*10).1 The distribution of completion rates among the 18 learners 12 Number of learners 10 8 6 4 2 0 60-66 50-60 40-50 33-40 17% 3 11% 2 17% 3 55% 10 Number of finished tasks Table 4.4 Skill Performance and the Final achievement The learners’ scores of each of the five skills across the eleven weeks were retrieved from the tracker program and analyzed using correlation analysis to probe into the relations between the learners’ posttest scores and their scores of each skill across the eleven weeks.2. and Table 4.24 1. 49 .9 The Wilcoxon matched pairs test of the pretest and posttest performance of the less diligent and the more diligent group Valid N Less diligent (pre & post) More diligent (pre & post) 7 5 T 7.00 p-level 0. Table 4.2.00 5.11 presents the mean scores of each learner across the eleven weeks. 2 The mean score here indicates the average number of items correctly answered by the learners.00 Z 1.

99 5.94 7.09 8.55 7.46 6.80 3.50 7.08 1.57 7.98 7. As shown in Table 4.36 8.58 7.06 8.41 8.57 7.71 6.11 The learners’ mean scores of the five target skills and their posttest scores across the 11 weeks S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 Skill 1 7.97 7.28 Skill3 7.93 6.87 8.89 7.40 7.40 3.88 4.27 6.88 6.5 41 40 50.79 6.53 7.08 8.86 7.79 8.77 7.29 Skill 4 6.24 8.32 7.59 5.50 8.69 6.11 8.44 6.42 6.68 5.39 8.64 Skill 2 6. it was found that the learners’ performance on skill 3 (interpreting the speaker’s intent) and skill 4 (making inferences) were significantly related to their performance on the posttest.12.62 6.12 6.92 6. a non-parametric alternative test of correlation analysis) was performed to explore the relations between the learners’ performance on each of the five skills and on the posttest.90 7.33 8.49 7.72 Skill2 6.97 6.09 9.82 8.95 Skill 3 4.56 4.92 1.08 8.70 5.39 Skill 5 3.39 7.63 6.Table 4.13 4.56 5 4.67 8.12 8.30 9.93 6.5 48 41.33 9.39 7..50 8.38 7.5 Spearman correlation (i.67 7.5 42.39 6.38 8.08 7.54 8.89 3.17 7.13 5.34 5.27 7.97 7.88 8.14 6.62 6.61 7.61 8.14 6.78 * 5 5.5 50 50 38 40 49 48 42.30 5.42 7.60 7.11 8.58 4.11 7.16 7.89 7.46 2.5 45 41.98 5.67 6.78 7.79 7.88 6.78 4.74 6.74 3.79 Posttest 48 51 46.87 8.50 5.06 7.50 7.97 8.79 7.96 6.35 8.17 8.10 5.29 8.41 8.33 * * Skill4 8.94 6.83 8.06 9. In 50 .44 9.81 Table 4.42 6.96 6.74 8.57 6.46 7.42 9.65 6.48 7.03 6.69 7.10 The learners’ performance on the five target skills across the 11 weeks Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Skill1 9.88 6.e.67 9.11 Skill5 5.77 7.

and strongly disagree.. was about the learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of the website and online materials. items 7 to 23. the first section. the learners’ ratings were computed by dividing the sum of points given by the learners by the total number of the learners (i.2.” For each item.05 -0. As a result. p<0. learners’ responses to the evaluation questionnaire containing twenty-three items were gathered and analyzed. higher ratings signify more positive attitudes from the learners.05). p<0. items 1 to 6. undecided. “a” to “e” represents the number of the learners choosing a particular option).05). The questionnaire was divided into two sections. And the second section.3 Results from the Final Evaluation Questionnaire In this section. interpreting the speaker’s intent (r=0. Table 4.01 Skill 2 0. agree.58. 5 to 1 point was assigned to each option for data coding. learners’ performance on skill 3. across the eleven-week training period was found helpful in predicting the learners’ posttest performance. The majority of the questions were in 5-point Likert scale format in which the five options were “strongly agree. 51 .12 Spearman correlation between the learners’ performance on each of the skill and on the posttest Skill 1 Corr.other words.55* Skill 5 0.34 4. concerned the learners’ background information. and skill 4. disagree.55. making inferences (r=0.e. For each Likert-scale question.58* Skill 4 0. rating=5×a+4×b+3×c+2×d+1×e/a+b+c+d+e. with the posttest Note: *Sig.34 Skill 3 0. p<0.

13 The learners’ attitudes toward the design of the website Item #7 #8 #9 Statement I think the layout of the website is clear and easy to follow. “the website and the online listening tasks are 52 . Table 4. “the topics of the online listening tasks are interesting and motivating. Namely. In item 9.0 4.0 was obtained. For item 7. The topics of the online listening tasks are interesting and motivating. % of Rating agreement 15/18 (83.2.2.” Item 8 also got a rating of 4. neither interesting nor boring. For item 13. indicating that the learners felt fairly positive about the statement. The website is easy to use. Table 4. and 22 concerned the learners’ views of the helpfulness of the website in improving their overall English ability. a rating of 4. items 7 to 23 elicited learners’ perceptions about the usefulness of the website.13 below presents the statements as well as the percentage of agreement and the rating of each item.8%) 9/18 (50%) 4. and I get used to it very easily.4.” a rating of 3. 21. implying that the learners were indecisive about the statement.0.1 Design of the Website In our evaluation questionnaire.2 The Usefulness of the Online Materials Items 13 to 22 in the evaluation questionnaire were designed to probe into the learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of the online materials in terms of improving their overall listening ability as well as the five listening skills.3.0 3.00 was obtained. “I think the layout of the website is clear and easy to follow. indicating that most learners agreed on the statement that the website was easy to use. our learners found the topics of the listening tasks neutral to them.0 4. Item 13.3.5%) 14/18 (77.

and item 22. respectively (see also Table 4. All these comments given by the learners provided strong evidence of the learners’ positive attitudes toward the online materials and the website. as shown in learners’ responses to item 7—the layout is clear—and item 8—the website is easy to use (both ratings are 4.4). The learners’ supportive view was also evidenced from their responses to item 21.14 provides a summary of these findings.0. More supportive attitudes to the material usefulness were found in the learners’ comments which were also reported in the final evaluation questionnaire. Table 4. 4. Items 14 to 18 explored learners’ attitudes of the usefulness of the materials concerning the five target listening skills.8. The ratings for the other four skills were 3.useful to improve my overall listening ability. there was even one learner asking where she could find free listening website like Freshmen Listening for her to practice. Item 14 concerned the skill of listening for main ideas.0). “I would like to use such a listening website to enhance my listening ability in the future” (rating=4.” Many other stated that “the materials did help enhance their listening ability. For all the five items. The findings suggest that the learners did agree that the online materials were useful for them to enhance their ability of the five individual skills.1).” a fairly high rating (4. “It is beneficial to have resources like this listening website accompanying with listening courses” (rating=4.14). 3. One of the learner reported that “the website gave her extra opportunities to practice her listening. 4. 53 . and 3.” Furthermore.1.0) was obtained.7. These findings may be due to the friendly online environment of the website.6. and another asking if we could keep Freshmen Listening open so that she could have extra practice in the future. the ratings were satisfactory. indicated the learners found the materials fairly useful in terms of enhancing this specific skill. the rating.

1 4. I would like to use such a listening website to enhance my listening ability in the future.8%) 16/18 (88.4%) 15/18 (83.3 The Learners’ Perceptions about Attributes to Listening Difficulty Items 10 to 12 tapped into the learners’ perceptions about factors causing their listening difficulties. “the summary task is more difficult than all the multiple-choice questions.7 3.8%) 17/18 (94. 4. The online practice improves my ability of listening for detailed information of the passages.3%) 12/18 (66. 77.3.7%) 17/18 (94.8 4. The learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of the online materials % of Item Statement Rating agreement #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #21 #22 The website and the online listening tasks are useful to improve my overall listening ability.” A very high grade.4 4.2.6. Item 10 dealt with text type.8% of them considered lectures and news reports more challenging than conversation.4%) 4. was obtained from this item.0 4.0 3. The online practice improves my ability of understanding the implied information of the passages.14. It is beneficial to have resources like this listening website accompanying with listening courses. indicating that the learners did regard task type—specifically multiple-choice questions and essay questions—a factor influencing their performance. 14/18 (77.4%) 14/18 (77.1 3.Table 4. The online practice improves my ability of listening for the main idea of the passages.9%) 13/18 (72. “There were two types of texts during the eleven weeks—conversation between people and lectures/ news reports by one person—which one do you find more challenging?” Among the thirty learners. 54 .6 4. On the question regarding “task type. The online practice improves my ability of summarizing the listening content. The online practice improves my ability of understanding the speaker’s intention or thoughts.” item 12 asked the learners to grade their level of agreement to the statement.

Item 11 investigated how the learners rated the importance of the potential causes of listening difficulties.6). To verify the usefulness of the proposed formula. With the difficulty scores generated from the formula.3+reading ease score×0. Five difficulty factors were listed in the item: speech rate. the 66 listening passages in Freshmen Listening were sequenced from easy to difficult.2 In the formula. b) items concerning the usefulness of the formula in the final evaluation questionnaire.8) and sentence structure as the least influential (rank=3.4 Results from the Weekly Questionnaire and Weekly Tasks One of the main goals in this study was to propose and test a formula which generated a “difficulty score” that determined the difficulty levels of our listening materials. and c) the learners’ performance on the required exercises 55 . Findings showed that the learners generally regarded speech rate as the most influential factors causing listening difficulties (rank=1.2. the more difficult the passage would be. data was gathered from three sources: a) the learners’ perceptions of the difficulty levels reported in the weekly difficulty questionnaire.6). topic familiarity. followed by text types (3. The learners’ rankings were averaged to understand how they perceived the five factors. For the other factors. text types. the higher the score was.2) and topic familiarity (3. The range of difficulty score was from 1 to 100. syntactical complexity.7).5 + academic word ratio×0. three listening difficulty factors—speech rate. and vice versa. The learners were asked to rank them from the most important to the least important. The formula was as follows: Difficulty score = speech rate×0. vocabulary was ranked as the second place (2. rank 1 indicated the most important and 5 the least important. vocabulary. 4. and sentence structure. and vocabulary—were involved.

9. Table 4. it was not possible for us to identified the responses of the 18 learners from the whole class. I performed better on the listening tasks at the beginning than at the end in the past 11 weeks 7/18 (38. item 19. 56 . suggesting that the learners were indecisive on or slightly disagreed with this statement. 4. Item 20.across the 11 weeks. Based on these data sources. an analysis of the usefulness of the formula is presented in the following sections. “the online tasks are more and more challenging from the beginning to the end of the eleven weeks” was assigned a rating of 3. In the questionnaire.15. “I performed better on the listening tasks at the beginning than at the end in the past eleven weeks” was given an average grade of 2. indicating slightly positive attitudes from the learners.) After the learners completed the weekly required tasks.2. a weekly questionnaire was provided.4. As is clear in Table 4. it seemed that the formula was not as useful as we expected in determining the difficulty levels of listening texts.4. as far as the weekly questionnaire is concerned.9 Another way we used to probe into the learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of formula was the weekly questionnaire (Note that. item 19 and 20 examined whether the learners’ perceptions of the difficulty levels of the 66 texts corresponded to the pre-determined sequence.9%) 3/18 (16.15 The learners’ perceptions of the usefulness of the predefined difficulty scores % of Item Statement Rating agreement #19 #20 The online tasks are more and more challenging from the beginning to the end of the 11 weeks. due to the anonymous nature of the questionnaire.4 2. hence.7%) 3.1 The Learners’ Perceptions In the evaluation questionnaire. Based on the learners’ report in the evaluation questionnaire. the analysis was based on the responses of the 31 learners.

Transformation of the learners’ ratings of the easiest passage across the 11-week period to a curve diagram is shown in Figure 4. we did hope that the learners could gain progress with the help of the practice. A pattern moving from a lower score to a higher score was not found. syntactical complexity. we expected that the learners’ perceptions could correlate with the pre-determined sequence. The curve seems to suggest that the learners’ ratings of the selected passages fluctuated across the eleven weeks. it may also show that the proposed formula needs further adjustment or revision. vocabulary. Figure 4. the learners’ responses to the surveys were collected and analyzed.the learners were asked to rate the difficulty level of the easiest passage of the week from five perspectives—speech rate. we expected that the learners could rate the texts more and more difficult across the eleven weeks. Namely. The findings may be in part due to the learners’ maturation and improvement during the practice period. which would then lead to a reverse consequence—disagreement between the learners’ perceptions and the predefined sequence. topic familiarity.2. However. and overall difficulty. Throughout the eleven-week practice.2 Learners’ ratings of the easiest passage each week throughout the practice period5 4 points 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks 7 8 9 10 11 vocabulary speech rate grammar topic familiarity overall difficulty 57 . however. On the other hand. On one hand.

39 40.00 20.3. Throughout the eleven weeks.2.4.74 39. The eleven scores were presented in Table 4. As in the figure of the learners’ weekly ratings.28 34. To investigate whether the online tasks were beneficial for the learners in enhancing their listening ability.00 40.41 35.14 42. Table 4.00 30.00 0.16 and were plotted into Figure 4.16 The learners’ mean scores of the weekly required exercises Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Task 37. the learners were required to complete three out of the six listening tasks.18 31. the learners’ scores on the required tasks each week were averaged. eleven mean scores were obtained.4.82 34.00 10.61 32.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 Week 7 8 9 10 11 Score 58 .77 scores Note: Maximum score=50 Figure 4.04 38.2 The Learners’ Weekly Performance Each week.3 The learners’ mean scores of the weekly required exercises Weekly Task Performance 50. there was no clear pattern regarding the learners’ weekly performance.32 40.

4 3.8 2.5 3.3 3.17 Grammar 2.4.2 2.18. 0.5 2.6 3.4 2.54 31. respectively.8 2.3 2.9 2.04 41.1 2.63 33. correlation was also computed.3 The Relationship between Learners’ Weekly Rating and Weekly Performance To understand whether the learners’ perceptions of the difficulty levels of the texts were congruent with their weekly performance.2 2.6 3 4 3.40) as well between grammar and the weekly performance (r=0.5 2.18 for speech rate. For the other three factors. Table 4.2 2. From the table.3 0. correlation between the learners’ ratings of difficulty levels and their weekly scores of the online tasks was computed.4 2. 36.6 0.6 0.7 3.17.69 3.41).9 3.4. topic familiarity.14. Table 4. Moderate correlation was found between vocabulary and the weekly performance (r=0. Overall.28 33.6 4. and overall difficulty.18 To tap into the relations among the five difficulty factors from the learners’ perspectives.14 Overall difficulty 2.4 2.8 3.6 2.9 2.69 40.17 below depicts the learners’ grading from the five perspectives and the results of the correlation computation.8 3.1 3.1 2.9 0.8 3.6 3.3 3 0.2 4 3.49 37.7 2.1 2.41 Topic familiarity 3.3 3 3.05 35.17 Pearson correlation between the learners’ rating and their weekly performance Weekly Vocabulary Speech rate performance 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Corr.40 2.85 36.7 1.1 3. The correlation matrix is shown in Table 4.4 3.7 2.6 2.5 2.8 2.92 39.2 4 3.2.7 2.7 3.4 2. it is clear that learners’ grading on vocabulary was highly related 59 .70 41. fairly weak relations were found: 0. the correlation was not strong. and 0.

45 0.84* 1.00 60 .59 0.88* 0. was not found significantly related to any of the other four aspects.4 The Relation between the Predefined Text Difficulty Score and the Learners’ Weekly Performance To tap into the usefulness of the proposed formula or the predefined sequence of the 66 listening texts.95* 0. we further looked at the relation between the predefined text difficulty scores and the learners’ scores on the tasks using Pearson correlation.18 The correlation among the learners’ rating from the five perspectives Vocabulary Vocabulary Speech rate Grammar Topic familiarity Overall difficulty Note: *Sig.95* 0. grammar.4.00 0.2.84* 0.84* Topic familiarity 0.26 0.82* 1. Table 4. however.92* Speech rate 0. and topic familiarity. and the learners’ performance on the weekly tasks. The grading on topic familiarity was highly related to that on grammar and overall difficulty.88* 0.to that on grammar.49 1.82* 0.84* Overall difficulty 0. the computation of the two variables—the predefined difficulty scores and the learners’ weekly scores—was 1.00 0.00 0. grading on grammar was also highly related to that on topic familiarity and overall difficulty.92* 0. and the grading on overall difficulty was found to be highly related to vocabulary.05 4. we have looked at the learners’ perceptions reported both in the weekly questionnaire and the final evaluation questionnaire.00 0.59 Grammar 0. Further.49 1. p<. Speech rate. As only thirty-three required tasks were completed by more than half of the learners. and overall difficulty. To explore the question in more depth. topic familiarity.49 0.26 0.

when taking learners’ performance as an indication of the difficulty levels of texts. in learners’ performance. difficulty scores and the learners’ scores and attempts of the thirty-three required online tasks were displayed. In other words.273. Higher score had different meanings in each variable. a negative value was expected in the computation. In predefined text difficulty score. The computation obtained a correlation value of -0.19). it meant a more difficulty text. it meant an easier text. In the Table. 61 3 . The finding showed that very weak correlation existed between the two variables.based on the thirty-three tasks (as listed in Table 4. the predefined sequence did not seem to be useful. Consequently. Yet.

23 33.26 31.18 18 TXT.92 17 TXT.94 16 TXT.2 15.NN No.46 16 TXT.71 7 TXT.48 No.3 41.50 6 TXT.64 18 TXT.45 36.90 18 TXT.54 18 TXT.7 20.48 18 TXT.37 17 TXT.44 34.41 18 TXT.66 31.63 38.38 33.31 30.30 18 TXT.42 No.73 18 TXT.B No.Table 4.24 29.02 38.27 No.67 34.4 17.20 No.56 45.2 No.78 18 TXT.06 16 TXT.63 No.51 41 49.17 No.28 18 TXT.6 No.2 31.13 No.45 No.32 44.65 No.61 47.9 42.35 35.21 32.30 30.49 17 TXT.43 34.47 No.32 31.1 14.75 44.42 16 TXT.55 44.35 29.35 No.79 18 TXT.77 35. N=18 62 .18 No.41 17 Note: Maximum score for each text=50.7 No.40 No.19 A summary of the difficult scores of the required tasks and the learners’ performance on the tasks Number of Text Text difficulty Ss scores students who did Presentation score the text TXT.13 25.59 18 TXT.50 39 38.15 16 TXT.06 32.12 38.49 38.76 17 TXT.II No.11 18 TXT.82 17 TXT.17 26.JJ No.79 31.77 44.29 39.72 37.2 35.11 24.44 No.66 No.33 18 TXT.23 29.36 46.25 No.41 No.25 29.48 18 TXT.29 No.13 40.12 25.21 No.98 38.62 48.37 No.69 No.23 36.4 No.13 16 TXT.63 48.58 32.30 17 TXT.28 No.02 42.00 17 TXT.19 27.34 45.3 17.13 16 TXT.57 45.89 18 TXT.31 38.36 32.56 No.54 No.J No.29 30.44 35.18 27.37 33.

interpreting the speaker’ intent. 63 .2. the differences were not large enough to reach the significance level. Namely. we found that the learners became better at the skill of listening for main ideas and summarizing. Both the more diligent group and the less diligent group improved in the posttest. Hence. and making inferences. 2. Were there learners differences found in this project? a. the answers to the research questions are summarized as follows: 1. did the students perform better in the posttest than in the pretest in terms of the overall scores and items for each skill? As far as overall listening ability is concerned. given the unequal number of passages finished? There was no difference found concerning the learners’ diligence level. As to the specific listening skills. the online materials seemed to be equally beneficial to the learners regardless their proficiency levels. yet. After learning from the online listening materials. the learners indeed made progress from the pretest to the posttest after using the online materials for eleven weeks. Were there differences in achievement. b. learners who completed more tasks did not improve more than those who completed fewer tasks.—no significant improvement was identified. the differences were not statistically significant in either group. Concerning the other three target skills—listening for main ideas.5 Summary of the Results Based on the data analysis. Were the materials equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels? Although the low proficiency group made more progress in the posttest than the high proficiency group did.4.

This indicates that the formula needs further refinement. Concerning rating from the other two aspects—speech rate and topic familiarity.” “listening for main ideas.” and “interpreting the speaker’s intent. when the learners were good at these two skills. Was the proposed formula useful based on the learners’ weekly performance? Because no clear pattern was found in the learners’ weekly performance across the eleven weeks.” a. the learners’ perceptions were found moderately related to their weekly performance. Moreover. Also. their posttest scores were also higher.c. the majority of the learners considered that the materials were beneficial to their learning of listening. many of them reported their willingness to the use of listening websites as the one used in the study. Were the learners’ perceptions of the material difficulty congruent with their performance? Overall. 64 . and vice versa. when rating the difficulty levels in terms of vocabulary and grammar (or syntactic complexity). 4. How did the learners perceive the role of the materials in their learning? The learners expressed very supportive view to the use the online materials as supplementary resources in listening courses. What type(s) of skill practice could best predict the learners’ posttest performance? Based on Spearman correlation. especially in “overall listening ability. the relation between perceptions and performance was very weak. 3. In other words. However. the formula did not seem to be useful in determining the difficulty levels of the listening texts used in this study. skill 3 and skill 4—interpreting the speaker’s intent and making inference—were found to be able to predict the learners’ posttest performance. the learners’ perceptions were not very congruent with their weekly performance.

2003). p<0. a maturation effect. we constructed a listening website in which the graded listening texts were sequenced based on difficulty scores generated from the formula for our participants to enhance their listening ability. The usefulness of the online materials was first demonstrated by comparing the learners’ scores in the pretest and the posttest.05). Freshmen Listening. To reiterate.5. a discussion on the findings is given. Analyses were carried out in two directions. Z=1. The data analysis showed that the learners improved significantly in their overall listening ability in the posttest after the eleven weeks (45.75 in the pretest.3 Discussion In this study. additionally.3. it also offered instant feedback for the learners to check their learning after each attempt on the tasks. or the combined effect of the materials and the classroom teaching that led to the progress. learners’ overall listening performance and their performance in the separate listening skills. and with its help.4.1 The Usefulness of the Online Materials Based on the implications drawn from previous listening studies. 4. In this section. we proposed a formula to grade our listening texts. Freshmen Listening was able to track the learners’ activities on it. Although it is not clear whether it was the online materials themselves. The findings of the study were presented in the previous section. had provided the learners extra opportunities to learn about listening with the help of several useful functions embedded in the chosen MOODLE platform.17 in the posttest and 42. we constructed a website containing 66 listening texts with their MP3 files and comprehension questions and incorporated the website to a listening and speaking course for the purpose of eleven-week listening training. Moreover. T=34. The website. transcripts of the listening texts were also provided to promote comprehension and language acquisition (Chapelle. 65 .99.

Measurement of the learners’ performance after they have used the CALL material is essential to effect evaluation research. though their learners’ attitudes were positively reported. which some of the previous studies were not able to do.” and “summarizing. For the other three skills—listening for main ideas. For the other four skills. the progress they made in summarizing in the posttest should not be too surprising. Concerning their improvement in listening to details. In addition to the overall listening ability. which made it possible for the 66 . and making inferences—significant improvement was not found.” Namely.20 for detailed information). it may be attributed to the reinforced short-term memory due to the extra listening opportunities provided by the website. their performance was not measured in the study. the two studies conducted in a similar context as that of the current study.this finding still provided supportive evidence to the use of such a supplementary website as learning and teaching aids.com) for her learners as extra practice opportunities.9%. “summarizing” was arranged in the required tasks in each week. While the learners were found to be highly motivated about the use of the website. For example. a similar situation was also found. and summarizing the texts after listening. the learners became better at locating and memorizing detailed information. Cheng (2006) applied a readily available listening website (Randall’s Cyber ESL Listening Lab http://www. In other words. In the online tasks. the learners were also found to benefit in the skills of “listening for details. see Table 4. hence the learners were more likely to finish all the summarizing exercises throughout the eleven weeks (the completion rate was 88. the advantages of using listening websites in terms of enhancing listening ability were not confirmed. And as the learners were able to recall detailed information better from the listening. such arrangement was not practiced. The finding here may be in part due to the uneven arrangement of the online tasks and the unequal distribution of the question number for each skill. In Chen (2004).esl-lab. interpreting the speaker’s intent.

This is another explanation for the significant progress the learners made skill 2 in the posttest.8 11 12 66. the achievement of the more-proficient group and the less-proficient group were compared. The assumption is based on a belief of the amount of practice on the training effects. Skill 2—listening for details—was an exception because it has the largest number of practice items. namely.20 The number of learners who did the summary tasks across weeks Week Number % 1 18 100 2 18 100 3 17 94.21 for the distribution of question number of each skill).3 Note: The total student number=18 Table 4. The findings 67 .9 83. to understand whether the online materials were equally beneficial to learners of different proficiency levels.9 8 15 9 15 10 14 77. which enabled the learners to practice on it every week. Table 4. The finding here also indicated one limitation in the design of the tasks. Significant progress in the unimproved three skills may be found once equal number of skill questions was assigned to the required tasks each week.4 4 18 100 5 16 88.7 Ave 16 88. the unequal distribution of the skill questions.3 83. First of all. we looked into the learners’ performance in the pretest and posttest in many other ways in addition to comparing the learners’ pretest and posttest scores as a whole and in individual skills.learners to miss questions of certain skills of the week and thus fail to improve in those skills (See Table 4.21 The distribution of question number of each skill Skill 1 Question number 72 Skill 2 118 Skill 3 26 Skill 4 79 Skill 5 11 Total 306 To explore more deeply the usefulness of the online listening materials.9 6 18 100 7 16 88.

suggested that neither group improved significantly in the posttest, implying that the materials were equally beneficial to both groups. Regardless the fact that our learners were all college level EFL freshmen, individual differences still existed. Among our eighteen participants, there were some who were very advanced, and also some below average. Our online listening materials were selected based on the researcher’s experience to fit the level of college level EFL freshmen in general. Since there were both easy and difficulty materials in the website, the online materials seemed to meet the levels of students in both groups. A more in-depth investigation of the material usefulness was carried out by looking at the relationship between the learners’ diligence levels (i.e., the number of listening tasks completed throughout the practice period) and their posttest achievement. Based on the learners’ logs on Freshmen Listening, every learner completed 43.5 tasks on average across the eleven weeks. The learners were divided into two groups based on their diligence levels. Despite that more improvement from the diligent group was expected, statistical analysis did not show a significant difference between groups. The finding indicated that regardless the number of tasks finished by the learners, their achievement in the posttest did not vary as a function of diligence levels. This may be ascribed to the small subject number in the study. As the total subject number was not big (only 18 learners), further grouping made the sub-group number even smaller, hence their performance is difficult to reach significant differences. Moreover, looking closer to the achievement differences between the two groups, more achievement was actually found in the less diligent group, which was totally contradictory to our expectation. One explanation for this finding may be the different start points of the both groups in the pretest (the more diligent group=44.1, and the less diligent group=41.7, p<0.05). As the diligent learners’ were relatively high in their pretest scores, there was less room for them to
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improve to a statistically significant level. On the other hand, while some of less diligent learners had a lower start in the pretest (28.5 and 38.5), it was more likely for them to show greater improvement. Another way to assess the material usefulness was by means of the learners’ performance on the online tasks throughout the eleven weeks. A dilemma was posed here: on one hand, we expected to see a descending curve as conditioned by the texts’ increasing difficulty throughout the eleven week. Yet, when the difficulty levels of texts were held as constant, an ascending curve could signify the learners’ learning, on the other hand. The finding reported in the result section indicated that neither condition was identified; instead, a more complicated curve was found. The finding was not surprising because learners’ scores on the tasks may not be determined only by the difficulty levels of the texts, but also by the students’ learning either from the online tasks or the classroom-based teaching, their motivation, and other environmental or learner factors. To reiterate, the texts across weeks were arranged in accordance to their difficulty levels, namely, from easy to difficult. Hence, as the texts became difficult, the learners were likely to perform worse. However, while learners were practicing during the eleven weeks, they were also receiving classroom-based instruction; and their learning from both sources was doubtlessly another factor influencing the learners’ performance. This may also explain why the learners’ performance did not go down as the materials became more difficult. Based on the findings in the part, it is clear that learning of listening skills is more complicated than we have understood. All in all, we have tried to probe into the usefulness of the online materials via various means. Whereas pretest and posttest comparisons concerning the learning listening performance had revealed the usefulness of the online materials, comparisons of learner performance regarding proficiency and diligence grouping did
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not show significance possibly due to small subject numbers. In addition, strong evidence was not found in the learners’ weekly performance, either. This may be due to other learner or environmental factors, or the combined learning effect from the class and the website. 4.3.2 The Usefulness of the Proposed Formula or the Predefined Sequence of the Materials Material development is a critical issue in language teaching and learning. As in all area of language learning, it is important that the materials presented to the learners meet the learners’ proficiency levels. To measure difficulty levels of listening texts, we had proposed a formula to determine the difficulty levels of our listening texts, and by putting our materials into use, we tested the feasibility of using the formula in grading listening texts. The usefulness of the formula was demonstrated in three ways. First, we looked at the learners’ performance on the online tasks in the website. Secondly, we examined the learners’ report in the weekly questionnaire and in the final evaluation questionnaire. Last, we looked at the relation between the learners’ weekly performance and the predefined sequence of the texts. The learners’ weekly performance, as have been mentioned, was not supportive enough to approve of the usefulness of the formula since a steadily descending curve was not found. To repeat, a descending curve, which stands for the learners’ scores across weeks, was expected in order to prove that the predefined sequence of the texts indeed followed the manner—from easy to difficult. Nevertheless, as have been noted previously, difficulty was not the only factor that could influence the learners’ performance. Instead, learner factors (e.g., the learners’ interests, their motivation, their familiarity to the materials), and environmental factors (e.g., noise, time), may also play roles in determining the learners’ scores. To illustrate, when listening to a text with a boring or unfamiliar topic, the learners may not be able to concentrate as
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One straightforward reason contributing to the finding may be that our sequencing using the formula was indeed ineffective. topic familiarity. Moreover.2 in the result 71 . bearing in mind the expectation of seeing improvement from the learners. indicating needs for further refinement of the proposed formula. and practicing listening online was a fairly new experience for them. speech rate.much as when listening to a text with an interesting topic. In addition to the learners’ weekly performance. In the final evaluation questionnaire. Also. that is. which indicated that the learners were more indecisive than positive to the effectiveness of the predefined sequence. Results in this part were similar to those in the learners’ performance across weeks. almost all of them (except one) were fresh out the senior high school. we expected the learners’ grading showed a descending tendency which indicated the texts’ increasing difficulty. Several reasons may provide explanation to the finding. Nevertheless. the learners graded the easiest text of each week from five aspects—vocabulary. a descending curve was absolutely a finding we did not wish to obtain. This may explain why the learners graded the texts in the first two weeks as difficult compared to those in the following few weeks (see Figure 4. In the weekly difficulty questionnaire. A moderate rating was given by the learners to the question (3. on one hand. syntactic complexity. no clear pattern was found to approve of the effectiveness of the sequence. A similar dilemma was also found when dealing with this question. their reports in both the final evaluation questionnaire and the weekly difficulty questionnaire also provided insight into the usefulness of the formula. as when the learners started to participate in the online training project. it is possible that the learners might have been less willing to do the exercises during certain period of time such as the mid-term week and at the end of the semester.4 out of 5 in 5-point Likert scale question). and overall difficulty. the learners were asked if the texts across the eleven weeks were more and more difficult from the beginning to the end. that is.

Yet. by looking at the learners’ grading and weekly performance. as speech rate that is too slow comparing to the normal speech may also hinder comprehension (Griffith. 1994. when the learners graded a text as difficult in vocabulary and syntactic complexity. even though the grading within the weeks was also turbulent. they thus graded the texts from week 3 to 7 as easier than week 1 and 2. The finding suggested that even though we did not find a curve supporting the effectiveness of the sequencing in a week-by-week manner. It may be in part due to that the speech rate in some of the texts was too slow to be beneficial to the learners. In terms of syntactic complexity. 1994. One interesting finding worth mentioning is that. Teng. Rubin.40) as well as syntactic complexity (r=0. On the other hand. Rubin. Griffiths. 1992. whereas the learner may have graded a text as 72 . it is undeniable that there was a tendency of grading the texts in the last few weeks as more difficult than in the previous weeks. by zooming out the curve.section). And as the learners became more experienced in online listening. As is clear in the figure. syntactic modified texts (less syntactic complicated) were beneficial to comprehension (Chiang & Dunkel. they actually did worse on the task. These findings were found to confirm but also contradict some previous research concerning listening difficulties. with much literature indicating speech rate a profound factor affecting listening comprehension (Flowerdew. 2001). our finding confirmed previous studies in that. learners’ grading on speech rate. a moderately positive correlation was found between the learners’ performance and their difficulty rating in terms of vocabulary (r=0. topic familiarity. our finding showed no clear relation between speech rate and task performance. and overall difficulty was not found to be related to their task performance. 1992). Namely. Hence. 1990. 1994). or looking at it in a more general way. it was demonstrable that the texts in the last few weeks were indeed more difficult than those in the previous weeks.41).

they were not necessarily able to show the benefit they got from the lower rate in their task performance because the perceived slow rate was actually a factor that hindered their comprehension. However. in the current study. satisfactory ratings were given by the learners to the statement “the website and the online listening tasks are useful to improve my overall listening ability. we have tried to test the feasibility of the proposed formula via various means.3 Learners’ Perceptions of the Online Materials Additionally to the satisfactory findings concerning the usefulness of the online materials obtained based on the pretest and posttest comparison. learners also reported very positive attitudes toward the use of Freshmen Listening as supplementary practice materials to the classroom-based learning. in which the learners expressed highly positive attitudes to the use of online listening materials.” and statements concerning the usefulness of the website to their five listening skills (see Table 4. either. however. The finding was coherent with the findings in Cheng (2006) and Chen (2004).easy because of slow speech rate. 4. suggested that the proposed formula may need further refinement to be effective. More positive attitudes were reported when being asked.4) and in “would you like to use such listening website to enhance your listening ability in the future?” 73 . by looking at learners’ grading from a more general view. As to the weekly questionnaire.3. Either case. a supportive pattern was not found in a week-by-week examination. “is it beneficial to have resources like the listening website accompanying with listening courses?” (rating=4. To sum up this section. Based on their report in the final evaluation questionnaire. the learners’ grading seemed partially congruent with the sequencing.16 in the result section). Strongly supportive attitudes to the effectiveness of the predefined sequence (or the formula) were not found in the evaluation questionnaire.

1 for listening for main ideas. With the easily accessible materials. and they indicated in the evaluation questionnaire that they had became aware of the potential benefits embedded in this kind of listening websites. 4. and wherever there were computer facility.” One learner even asked in the questionnaire where she could find free listening websites like the one used in this project for her to practice. the learners were able to attend to the extra practice whenever they have time. The learners’ reports are incontestably encouraging to the use of online listening materials to supply regular listening courses. the beneficial of CALL to the learners’ learning process was further confirmed.” and “the online materials did help enhance my listening ability.0 for overall listening ability and interpreting the speaker’s intent. 74 . From the learners’ background information. The fairly high rating given by the learners suggested that learners believed that by practicing on the website their listening proficiency would improve in time.(rating=4.8 for listening for details). Based on the learners’ reports from the evaluation questionnaire. To the questions asking whether the learners improved their overall listening ability and the five target listening skills. In the project. the learners were introduced a listening website. The learners’ awareness of the benefits of the website was also evidenced from their comments reported in the questionnaire: “the website did give me extra opportunities to practice my listening. we found that though all of the learners showed high motivation in improving their English listening proficiency. yet about two-thirds of the learners have not tried to use listening websites as a practice tool.1). fairly high ratings were given by the learners (4. and 3.

Chapter Five CONCLUSION 5. the study also takes an interest in exploring the learners’ attitudes toward the website and the online materials after the use for eleven weeks. a pretest. a weekly difficulty questionnaire and a final evaluation questionnaire were used as instruments for data collection. another concern in this study is to understand if there were learner differences that had impacted on the learners’ final achievement. Concerning the learners’ achievement after the eleven-week practice.e.” and based on it. a posttest. The results of this study showed that it is useful and beneficial to infuse online listening materials into listening and speaking classes in two ways. it also attempted to develop a grading mechanism specifically for “listening texts.. a listening website consisting of sixty-six graded listening texts sequenced from easy to difficult and their comprehension questions was constructed and infused into a listening and speaking class. they improved not only in their overall listening ability. but in specific listening skills as well (i.1 Overview With regard to the importance of listening and the pedagogical need of a grading mechanism for listening texts. Apart from the usefulness of the online listening materials and the proposed grading formula. Additionally to the weekly tasks. Additionally. which the learners’ performance was automatically recorded by an embedded tracker program. In terms of their perceptions of material usefulness. listening for details and summarizing). most learners 75 . this study tried to address the issue of how useful it can be to infuse online listening materials into a listening and speaking course with the purpose of enhancing the learners’ listening ability. Eighteen EFL college freshmen were recruited as participants of this study and were asked to do three out of six listening tasks each week for eleven weeks. Finally.

Moreover. In the questionnaire. This was because. regardless their proficiency levels. definite answer to the materials usefulness was not found. time). and the different proficiency levels of the learners in both groups. In other words. by grouping the learners based on their proficiency and diligence levels. which we used to concretize the text difficulty. and the pedagogical implications are presented. directions recommended for the future research. the online listening materials seemed to be equally beneficial to all of the learners. familiarity. the learners not only regarded that the materials were beneficial for them to improve their listening skills.g..g. the learners’ scores on the weekly tasks. Regarding learner differences.agreed that the online materials were beneficial in enhancing their overall listening ability and specific listening skills. In terms of the relation between the learners’ diligence levels and their achievement. The finding indicates that learning of listening skills is more complicated than we have understood.. 76 . we did not find apparent differences that affected the learners’ achievement in the posttest. motivation. With regards to the learners’ attitudes to the online materials. In the following section. no definite answer was found either from the learners’ weekly performance on the website or from their weekly rating of the texts’ difficulty levels. but also expressed high motivation of using listening websites to get extra learning opportunities. interest) and environmental factors (e. the limitations of this study. no conclusive answer was found due to the small subject number in this study. based on the learners’ weekly performance throughout the eleven weeks. were actually not precise enough to reflect the difficulty levels of the materials. the learners’ performance on the tasks may also rely on other factors such as learner factors (e. first. very positive responses were found from the evaluation questionnaire. However. To the question of the formula usefulness. Finally.

and making inferences. learners may not be able to encounter every question type in the required tasks each week with equal amount of practice. That is to say. comprehension questions representing each of the five skills were designed. To address how online materials may affect their development of listening skill. the questions representing each skill were not distributed equivalently in the required tasks and optional tasks.2 Limitations of the Study The participants recruited in this study were from an intact class of college level EFL freshmen. Apart from the concerns in the materials development phase. the decision of which texts to include was based on the researcher’s experience exclusively. because the experiment started at the very beginning of the teaching year of 2006. the texts used in the listening websites were selected depending on our specific learners’ proficiency levels. the subject number was small. by gathering target texts before knowing the learners. To begin with. to train the learners of the five target listening skills. interpreting the speaker’s intent. during the selection of target texts. Additionally. we actually ran a risk in the materials selection process in that we may have included texts of inappropriate difficulty levels and topics. Accordingly. the tasks in the website may not be readily usable for learners of other proficiency levels.5. incompleteness of research design may also in part contribute to some of the insignificant findings regarding the learners’ improvement. 77 . Secondly. However. and the learners were all first-year students. as the development of the skill questions largely depended on the nature of the texts. Therefore. equal question numbers for each skill was not achieved. we were not able to know their proficiency levels until the administration of the pretest. This limitation therefore resulted in the learners’ insignificant achievement in some the skill of listening for main ideas. Moreover. Since such selection should rely on the teacher’s understanding of the learners’ proficiency levels.

concerning the research design. Moreover. Further. as there were many factors that play roles in listening difficulty other than speech rate. In other words. a period of eleven weeks thus did not seem to be sufficient enough to make differences in some specific listening skills. However. and topic familiarity. text type. since uneven 78 .3 Directions for Future Research Given the limitations of the current study mentioned in the previous section. 5. a control group which served as the baseline for comparison was not included. There were many other factors that should be taken into consideration such as accents of the speakers. we recommend some directions for future research. Finally. in order to achieve a more conclusive answer to the question of how online listening materials could benefit EFL learners’ learning of listening. in other words. hence. This condition suggested that most learners had access to the website only once a week. and vocabulary. in this study.making it hard to achieve statistical significance. the training syllabus should be able to engage the students in practicing for a longer period. During the training period. our formula. this study adopted the one-group pretest and posttest design. and a control group should also be included as a basis of comparison. syntactic complexity. Based on the learner logs in the website. which concerned only these three factors. a more intensive training syllabus is recommended. it was found that more than half of the learners did the weekly required tasks at the time when the tasks were about to be closed. may seem too shallow. Secondly. we made a pioneer effort in developing a grading mechanism specially for listening texts. A more influential limitation was the non-intensive nature of the online training project. intonation. more participants should be recruited. First of all. the learners were asked to do three tasks each week.

the test itself did not consist any of the texts from the 66 online practice texts.distribution of the item number of each listening skill may in part account for the learners unimproved performance in some of the listening skills. regardless that the items in the test were also measuring the five target listening skills as the eleven-week practice. Thirdly. especially one that is reflective to the training materials. syntactical complexity. The unmatched content between the test and the practice was in fact a threat to the validity of the test and thus to the findings in this study. For example. one independent listening test adopted from the course book of the listening and speaking class was used in the pretest and posttest. and overall difficulty. questions may be phrased as “please rank the texts from easy to difficult using 1 to 3. Hence. it is suggested that a listening test containing the materials used during the eleven-week period be used in the pretest and in the posttest. instead of asking the difficulty level of a certain text. Since the perceptions of difficulty is comparative by nature. as we did not reach a conclusive answer concerning the usefulness of the proposed formula. However. Our weekly difficulty questionnaire asked the learners’ perceptions of the difficulty level of the easiest text each week from five aspects: vocabulary. it is suggested that future studies try to reach a balance in item number among the target skills. such questions may not be specific and concrete enough. future studies were encouraged to adopt more tests as a measurement of the learners’ achievement. Secondly. it may be better to ask the learners to rank the difficulty levels of the required texts each week.” or “please mark the easiest text of this week.” 79 . and the incomplete design of the weekly difficulty questionnaire seemed to play a role in such findings. speech rate. In this study. it is encouraged that a refined version of questionnaire be used. topic familiarity. Hence. We recommend that future researchers who are interested in this issue use more concrete questions to elicit the learners’ perceptions.

That is to say. an orientation session will be necessary before letting go the project in order to familiarize the learners with the online learning environment. we may be able to figure out the importance of each difficulty measure. and academic word ratios. This indicated that learners enjoyed learning via online materials which are accessible anytime and anywhere. 5.4 Pedagogical Implications In the present study. and then. transcripts. And comprehension questions should also be offered for the learners to check their comprehension level and to locate listening problems. refine the current formula. a paradigm of incorporating listening websites as supplementary learning materials and listening instruction was recommended. listening exercises. and downloadable MP3 files) in 80 . learners should be informed explicitly which elements (i. syntactic complexity. a website equipped with a tracker program should be constructed to enable the teachers to hold control on the students’ learning.Finally. appropriate listening materials with their MP3 files and transcripts should be gathered. And by examining the relation between the learners’ performance throughout the practice period and the three different sequences. positive attitudes to the online materials and the listening website were found in the learners’ responses to the final evaluation questionnaire. it is recommended that future studies try to figure out the importance of each difficulty measure. To begin with. based on the understanding. and weights assigned to each difficulty measure in the formula were also tentatively proposed. Thirdly. Secondly. Future studies which are interested in the issue may try to sequence the materials from easy to difficult separately based on their speech rate. As we were not certain about how influential each difficulty measure was in determining listening difficulty.e. Accordingly. the formula proposed in this study was a pioneer effort we made on the development of grading mechanism for listening texts..

it is certain that the learning of listening is more complicated than we have understood. Based on the findings of this study. it is strongly suggested carefully selected online materials be used to supplement with the formal classroom-based instruction to the purpose of enhancing the learners’ listening ability. Yet.the website to use to foster their learning. there are so many factors influencing the learners’ performance and achievement other than the materials’ difficulty levels. 81 . as online listening materials or listening websites did seem to motivate the learners in their learning of listening skill.

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88 . In February of that year. A small amount of foam did come loose from the fuel tank on the Discovery. The plan also calls for traveling to Mars. the space shuttle Discovery flew to the International Space Station as NASA struggles to meet an important date. This week. NASA. Also. A plan to complete the station by 2010 is at risk. there had been some concerns about the safety of the foam protective material on the external fuel tank. The piece weighed more than seven hundred grams. But officials decided it was not enough to be dangerous. It put a hole in the heat shields and the shuttle came apart on re-entry. It lifted off with a crew of seven on Tuesday from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. an emergency plan calls for the astronauts to remain on the station. the space shuttle Columbia broke apart as it prepared to land. Also. just short of a year has passed since the return to flight. If any damage were serious. has fallen behind in its effort to reach that goal. Fifteen other nations are also involved in the space station. Now. the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA plans to retire its three remaining shuttles once the station is completed. NASA would then send up another shuttle to return them to Earth. to study the long-term effects of living in space.APPENDICES Appendix A A Sample of the Online Task Discovery’s space mission This week. Government money would finance a new spaceship that could take people to the moon by two thousand twenty. The accident killed the seven crew members. The goal is part of a plan that President Bush announced two and a half years ago to send astronauts to the moon again. astronauts are examining the heat shields while at the space station. During the Columbia launch. Plans call for sixteen shuttle flights by two thousand ten. Discovery became the first shuttle launched on America’s Independence Day. a piece of material fell off the fuel tank and struck a wing. The last time anyone went there was in nineteen seventy-two. This is only the second shuttle flight since two thousand three. But Mister Bush said the first goal was to finish the space station by two thousand ten. Bad weather had delayed the launch.

The shuttle also brought a German astronaut who will remain on the station for six months. Based on the passage. what is the main goal of Discovery and NASA’s space plan by 2010? (Making inferences) Taking people to the moon Taking people to the Mars Finishing the space station Building more spaceships 4. 89 . On Friday. The Italian-made container is called Leonardo. but only ONE attempt on the task is allowed. 1.Discovery carried up thousands of kilograms of equipment and supplies. crew members connected a big storage container to the station. According to the passage. Listen carefully and answer the following questions. The loading was too heavy for the shuttle. what caused Columbia to crash? (Making inferences) The crew members were not well trained. How many shuttles does NASA plan to send to the space by the year of 2010? (Listening for details) 13 14 15 16 3. The shuttle was not well built. The arrival of Thomas Reiter means a full three-person crew for the first time since May of two thousand three. The other two crew members. Comprehension Questions In this listening task. The connection between the shuttle and NASA was in a mess. What is the main idea of this passage? (Listening for main ideas) Recent NASA space project Discovery’s flight to the moon NASA’s plan of traveling to Mars Columbia’s crash during their returning flight 2. you will hear a passage talking about a space mission. Pavel Vinogradov of Russia and American Jeff Williams. arrived on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in March. You can download the file and listen as many times as you need.

(Summarizing) 90 . Discovery was the second shuttle launched on the Independence Day. NASA will send another shuttle to pick up Discovery’s crew members no matter what. According to the passage. which of the following statement(s) is/are true? (Making inferences) Columbia broke apart in the year of 2003. In your summary.5. both important information and details should be provided. Please summarize the passage in a short paragraph in less than 120 words. The long-term goal of NASA’s recent space project is to study the effects of living in the space. 6.

Don’t shoot prisoners b. use barbarism in war c. _____ 1. According to the speaker. should never use war to free themselves b. 1. According to the speaker. exercising by running an extra time F. Listen to the excerpt. Trusting his employees gives the speaker satisfaction. working extra hard TEST 2 H. According to the speaker. war is sometimes desirable. According to the speaker. being “Big Brother” is ________. an employer should ________. watch his employees closely c. The speaker is an employer. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). Don’t kill people 91 . an effective management strategy b. D. I. 1. Listen to the excerpt. _____ 2. When the speaker says “go that extra mile. _____ 3. oppressed groups ________. A rule that the Red Cross does NOT try to enforce is: ________. a. the Red Cross believes that war can be abolished. Listen to the excerpt again. Listen to the excerpt again. a. Circle the answer that best completes each sentence.” he means ________. let his employees decide what is right and wrong 2.Appendix B The Pretest and the posttest TEST 1 C. _____ 3. getting satisfaction and rewards G. The speaker does not trust the people who work at his business. an ineffective management strategy c. The Red Cross equates war with barbarism. tell his employees what is right and wrong b. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). a. According to the speaker. sometimes must use war to free themselves 2. _____ 1. E. a. neither effective nor ineffective 3. _____ 2. Circle the answer that best completes each sentence.

singing and piano 3. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). ethnic groups f. geometric 2. Broadcasters trust the public to use the V-chip. to copy geometric shapes c. _____ 1. Circle the answer that best completes each sentence. a. The wiring for mathematics and music is located ________. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). on the right side of the brain b. to solve mazes b. Broadcasters support the V-chip/ratings system. Listen to the excerpt. war and barbarism TEST 3 J. a. _____ 2. highly mathematical c. is hypocritical c. Circle the answer that best completes each sentence. on the left side of the brain c. The speaker describes music as ________. K. Listen to the excerpt again. Broadcasters think the public ________. at the base of the brain TEST 4 L. Listen to the excerpt. wants less sex and violence on TV 92 . 1. _____ 1. M. can be trusted to use the V-chip consistently b. oppression and war e.c. it is important to distinguish between ________. Supporters of freedom of speech feel that V-chip/ratings system is censorship. Listen to the excerpt again. Don’t make war on noncombatants 3. 1. Children are born with mathematical ability. Preschoolers were taught ________. a. d. Exposure to music helped preschoolers with their spatial reasoning. _____ 3. According to the speaker. not very logical b. _____ 2. a.

set up its own ratings system c. a. reject the Telecommunications Act 93 . control the pretests of free speech supporters b. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) can ________. ordered the establishment of a TV ratings system b. ordered the establishment of the V-chip system 3.2. a. The Telecommunications Act ________. ordered broadcasters to control their own programming c.

our letters. Man 3: I think it's the perfect way of communicating because you don't have to reach people. messages. kids or seniors. Despite the positive aspects of using e-mail at work. It’s replaced—what we call those things?—teletypes. (mail) mail. you know. moved out of states or friends that go away to college and stuff like that. like. I probably get 150 garbage mails that I have to go through. instead of trying to voice-mail back and forth and play telephone tag. What seemed like a very small invention currently has more than 125 million users and has profoundly changed the way we lived and work. snail mail. Woman 1: I spend a couple of hours a day doing e-mail. They can get there. But I also can communicate with twenty-seven people at one time and either give or collect information very quickly. And we can get the answers we need immediately. We’d sometimes wait days or even weeks for a reply. At work and at home. but it is a downside. Nowadays. we are all able to keep in touch with co-workers. friends. quixes. Woman 1: It’s replaced the telephone. There are very few people who can tell you who invented e-mail or exactly when it became such a permanent part of our lives. at least when I do. Man 4: You can spend your whole day responding to e-mails and you really get anything done that you want to get done. get your e-mail when they want to download it— Narrator: But why is it so popular? In the last ten years e-mail has caught on in a big way. Man 5: When you come in on a Monday morning. you can reach a person pretty quickly. some professionals have complaints.Appendix C Pretest Video Script The Age of E-mail (3:27 minutes) Narrator: When did it happen? How did it happen? It seems like just yesterday we put a stamp on an envelope and sent it off in the mail. Man 1: On the positive side you can. you have to go on vacation ‘cause there’ no way to just shut all that off. and business transactions are instantaneous. so you’re like. Man 2: I guess it makes everything easier even when you can’t get in touch with someone. even if they’re. It’s a small downside. But in 1971 an engineer created the first system for sending an e-mail between computers. get each one of them out there. It’s changed quite a lot. 94 . you can always e-mail them. and family in over 150 countries. (mail) faxes.

95 . I think that. you know. when little things make a big difference in out lives. it's not what you say.Man 4: Well. there is no way to escape it. it's how you say it. As e-mail becomes more rooted in today’s society. I think it replaces some of the real personal communication. I think things can be misconstrued.” With access to e-mail available almost anywhere. it isn't as effective as having a conversation. So when you are typing. we will have to accept the good and bad that go along with its growth. that constitutes “the tipping point. it’s hard to get across what your true feeling is. Narrator: According to journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell. He might even call e-mail a “social epidemic. If I say something to you with a laugh in my voice that might—you know.” Gladwell’s book explains why change can happen quickly and unexpectedly.

Narrator: But. chewing tobacco. Jack Dillenberg: We find that the amount pain and suffering in illness that tobacco causes is extraordinary. They consider smoking a thing of the past that has damaged the health of their parents and older relatives. cardiovascular disease. These can be deadly. Another 53. Smoking contributes to about one in every seven deaths in the United States—all of them unnecessary. and snuff. with all the evidence about the hazards of tobacco. Each year over 419. and smoker’s breath. gum disease. What’s the attraction? Why did we start? And how do we stop? As you know. About 25 percent of the adult population in the United States continues to smoke. just to name a few. Nicotine is found in all tobacco products including cigarettes. Dr. is virtually impossible to avoid if you use tobacco regularly. It is—that is statistically above everything else. Today many college students have gotten the message about harmful effects of tobacco. “I won’t get addicted. and emphysema.000 die of illnesses caused by secondhand smoke. cancer. There is no one thing that a human being can do to hurt their health more than to use tobacco. The risks associated with tobacco are not limited to the physiological or emotional addiction. Of more serious concerns are the long-term effects of tobacco use. addiction is an unhealthy continued involvement with a mood-altering substance or activity in spite of harmful consequences. the drug that is found in tobacco products. And 3000 teenagers start smoking every day. interference with blood flow and airflow to the lungs. They include heart disease. I saw what he had to go through and I don't think anyone should have to go through that. but a lot of us smoke anyway. pipe. unfortunately.” But addiction to nicotine. and 96 . stroke. Girl 1: I had an uncle who died from lung cancer. Narrator: People who start using tobacco sometimes think. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States.Appendix D Posttest Video Script Smoking (3:31 minutes) Narrator: We all know that smoking can ruin your health. respiratory disease.000 people in the United States die of smoking related illnesses. smoking has not yet gone the way of the dinosaur. cancer. cigars. Short-term effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure. tobacco.

If you use tobacco.premature death. It calms me down. and especially minority teenagers. get the message that using tobacco is not cool? One strategy is anti-smoking ads and slogans aimed at educating preteens and teenagers about the health consequences of tobacco. 97 . The evidence is clear. Girl 2: Cause I started and I couldn't stop. Narrator: What can be done so that teenagers. it’s worth it to quit and it’s worth it to quit right now. why do so many people continue to take up the habit? Boy: It takes my mind off other things.

□ almost 100% □ More than 80% □ 50% to 80% □ Less than 50% □ Less than 20% ii. Too difficult Difficult Intermediate (about right for me) Easy Too easy 98 . □ □ □ □ □ I think the speed of this listening is ______. Too fast to understand Fast but understandable About right for me Slow Too slow I think the grammar in this listening text is ______. □ □ □ □ □ iii. Too complex to understand Complex to understand About right for me Easy to understand Very easy to understand The topic of this listening text is ______. Appendix E The Weekly Questionnaire I can understand _____ percent of the words in this listening task. Very familiar to me Fairly familiar to me About right for me Unfamiliar Very unfamiliar to me Overall. □ □ □ □ □ v.i. □ □ □ □ □ iv. I think this listening text is ______.

clearness of instruction. I am eager to improve my listening ability High-intermediate Advanced SA A U D SD 4. I think the layout of the website (the color and the arrangement) is clear and easy to follow. The layout of the website (color.Appendix F The Evaluation Questionnaire Thank you very much for completing the online tasks in the past 11 weeks. Primary Low-intermediate Intermediate High-intermediate Advanced 2.) 7. How often do you use those websites? _____________________________________________________________________ Part B: The usefulness of the website we designed I. SD=strongly disagree Part A: Personal Information 1. and I get used to it very easily. Please circle the answers that best describe your thoughts. A=agree. Yes No (skip Q5 and Q6) 5. Studio Classroom. U=undecided.) _____________________________________________________________________ 6. ICRT. My English listening proficiency is at _____ level. Now we would like to know about what you think about the online materials in order to help us revise them in the future. etc. My overall English proficiency is at _____ level. SA A U D SD 8. We appreciate your efforts. The website is easy to use. user friendliness. etc. D=disagree. I have practiced English listening via other listening websites like the one used this semester.g.. Primary Low-intermediate Intermediate 3. arrangement. Name: _______________ Student ID: ______________ Male/Female Age:________ SA=strongly agree. SA A U D SD 99 . What websites did you used to improve your listening? (e.

(Note: ‘1’ indicates the most influential and ‘5’ the least influential) □ speech rate □ text types (dialogue or lectures/news report) □ vocabulary □ sentence structure □ topic familiarity 12. There are two types of excerpts during the 11 weeks—conversation between people and lectures/ news reports by one person—which one do you find more challenging? Conversation between people Lectures/ news reports 11. SA A U D SD 17. The online practice improves my ability of summarizing the listening content. SA A U D SD 13. SA A U D SD 18. The online practice improves my ability of listening for the main idea of the passages.II. SA A U D SD 100 . Based on the listening materials that we have used in this semester. The online practice improves my ability of listening for the detailed information of the passages. The website and the online listening tasks are useful to improve my overall listening ability. The online practice improves my ability of understanding the implied information of the passages. The online exercises 9. The online practice improves my ability of understanding the speaker’s intention or thoughts. SA A U D SD 14. please rate the following five factors from 1-5 according to the level of their influences. SA A U D SD 15. SA A U D SD 19. There are some factors that may influence the difficulty level of the listening materials. SA A U D SD 10. SA A U D SD 16. The summary task is more difficult than all the multiple-choice questions. The topics of the online listening tasks are interesting and motivating. The online tasks are more and more challenging from the beginning to the end of the 11 weeks.

SA A U D SD 21. SA A U D SD 22.20. I performed better on the listening tasks at the beginning than at the end in the past 11 weeks. Please write down you comments or suggestions about the website or the online listening materials for our future revision. It is beneficial to have resources like this listening website accompanying with listening courses. I would like to use such a listening website to enhance my listening ability in the future. SA A U D SD 23. _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ Please make sure that you answer EVERY question before you submit the questionnaire. Thank you again for completing the questionnaire! 101 .

We will be happy to answer any questions concerning data collection. Later. Thank you in advance for the attention.edu.Appendix G The Consent Form Dear students: Welcome to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature in Tsing Hua. We need your help and agreement of doing this. is conducting her thesis project and need to use your online performance and some in-class tests for the research. 102 . Thank you very much. By the time of reporting the research. Lo Hsien-Chin Liou. 2006 Signature______________ Cell phone________________ Date _______________ If you have further questions about this project. we will provide a small gift as a token reward for you. you are welcome to send emails to Judy at g935251@oz.nthu.tw. my advisee. Judy. no participants' names or the institution name will be revealed. Judy Lo. Sept.

Email allows people to communicate with more than one person at the same time. Check if you include all these in your summary. at least 25 million people are use emails regularly. Today. No matter what. 9. It replaces the older forms of communication such as telephone. However. Over 100 million people are using email to contact people in life. In 1971. 7. 4. The email system has profoundly changed the way we live and work. Summary: Ever since a group of engineers created the email system in 1971. making it hard to get the true feelings of the interlocutors. Email replaces older forms of communication. checking emails can be very time-consuming. First of all. there’s a tremendous growth in its use. Email has been rooted into contemporary life. 5. a group of engineers invented the first system of sending email through computers. 6. Most of all.Appendix H Answer Key (Idea Units) to the Pretest Summary Your summary should cover the following points. People need to accept both the good and bad of email. email replaces face-to-face communication and makes it hard to get across our true feelings. This excerpt talks about the use. email is here to stay and we have to accept both its advantages and disadvantages. People are spending too much time checking and responding their emails Email seems to replace real personal communication. The positive side of email is that it enables us to easily contact friends who live far away and get instant reply. 10. 8. and it lets us approach anyone without direct contact. 3. 103 . 1. email also has several down sides. Email has made it easier to contact people (far away) and get instant reply. and regular mail. it allows us to talk to many people at the same time. We also get too many garbage mails that need to be erased. / Email has profoundly changed the way we live and work. fax. and the good and bad of email. 2.

We all know that smoking can ruin one’s health. More seriously. (Lily) 9. many people continue smoking anyway.000 teenagers start to smoke everyday. stroke. Many teenagers start to smoke everyday. many people die of smokingor secondhand smoking-related diseases each year. Everybody knows smoking is harmful to health. many college students have come to realize that smoking is bad. However. In the US. stroke. but many people smoke anyway. 5. 8. Yet. Regular tobacco use will cause tobacco addiction inevitably. People continue smoking because they think it makes them feel relived. Nowadays. and smoker’s breath/ Tobacco use has long term and deadly effects such as heart disease. blood pressure. To solve this problem. Many college students have come to realize that smoking is bad. more deadly diseases such as heart disease. it caused illnesses like increased heart rate.Appendix I Answer Key (Idea Units) to the Posttest Summary 1.and secondhand smoking-related diseases. 4. in short term effect. 2. It’s worth for Smokers’ to quit smoking as soon as possible. (Judy) Summary This video clip showed a serious problem American society now faces: smoking addition. Some people start smoking because they think they won’t get addicted. it is suggested anti-smoking ads and slogans be made so that teenagers and preteens would not regard smoking cool anymore. it is reported that 3. and because they just couldn’t stop. and smoker’s breath. many people die of smoking. Teenagers and preteens should be properly educated through anti-smoking ads and slogans. There is still 25% of American adults continues smoking either because they think it makes them feel relieved or because they just couldn’t stop. and in long term. smoking is not gone. the poisonous substances like nicotine found in tobacco would inevitably make people addicted to it if tobacco is used regularly. Tobacco use has short term effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. In the US. and cancer are expected. Tobacco is found more harmful than other substances. 7. Still. and cancer. 6. 3. (Judy) 10. 104 .

00 50.09 50.00 Number of Completion finished tasks rate (%) (n=66) 57 39 33 60 39 37 66 42 53 83.36 59.64 80.15 50.00 65.00 90.00 71.91 59.55 50.09 56.06 100.00 51.30 Ss S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 Ss S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 105 .00 63.Appendix J The Task Completion Situation of the Learners Number of Completion finished tasks rate (%) (n=66) 66 43 33 33 47 33 34 36 33 100.21 50.52 54.