Perspectives: Raising the Quality of Discourse Using Local Area Networks in Returnee Classes

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John Herbert, Ritsumeikan University

A well-designed computer local area network (LAN) can act as a valuable tool in
the second language classroom. This paper looks at the ways in which one such
LAN has been put to use in a returnee class in a Japanese university. The paper
asserts that the quality of discourse is raised in the computer-assisted classroom
discussion for several reasons. These reasons include: (a) Students can work at
their own pace; (b) many students can take part in a synchronous discussion;
and (c) students are more willing to self-disclose in a computer-assisted discussion
than might be expected in a traditional oral setting. The results of a series of
LAN discussions conducted in a returnee class, along with feedback from students,
are used to provide analysis of this technique.