Enhancing Student Engagement through Online Authentic Materials

  • Pierluigi Erbaggio
  • Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan
  • Sandra Hobbs
  • Haiyong Liu

Abstract

Students exposed to authentic materials in the foreign language
classroom are better able to process foreign language input in real-life
situations and have a more positive attitude towards learning the
foreign culture. However, exposure to authentic materials can also
result in reactions of anxiety and frustration on the part of the foreign
language learner. By providing access to authentic content online, the
pedagogical benefits of the use of authentic material can be maximized,
while some of the drawbacks inherent in such use can be mitigated. In
this article, we discuss how the use of online technologies offers
opportunities to provide access to authentic material that is engaging,
appropriate, and affordable. By using the multi-media capabilities of a
Course Management System (CMS) to deliver authentic materials
online, instructors of French, Italian, and Chinese were able to both
positively impact student attitudes toward the subject matter and to
design learning and evaluation activities that increased student
engagement. We find that using technology to deliver authentic materials can help alleviate student anxiety associated with being exposed to authentic foreign language. Furthermore, students become
active participants in the learning process and are able to employ their
own learning style. We conclude by discussing the limitations and
implications of our findings and making suggestions for future
research.

Published
2012-10-15