The Educational Review, USA

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Article http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/er.2023.02.004

Engaging ESL Students by Online Discussion Forum and Gamification: Teaching Social Sciences to BA Students in a Chinese Transnational University in the Covid-19 Context

Yanning Huang

Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China.

*Corresponding author: Yanning Huang

Published: February 27,2023

Abstract

In recent years, transnational education (TNE) has seen a surge in numbers across the world and especially in Asian countries. Although student participation is underlined in TNE universities, it can be difficult to achieve due to local students’ lack of confidence in English speaking and other locally socio-cultural reasons. Reflecting on the author’s teaching practice in a TNE university based in China for two years, this paper discusses the use and value of combining online forum discussion (ODF) with gamification to engage English-as-second-language (ESL) students in a BA-level social sciences module. Combining qualitative in-depth interviews, longitudinal observation and quantitative data analysis, the research explores students’ motivations for ODF participation, the contribution of ODF to classroom discussion, as well as the correlation between class participation (including ODF participation) and academic performance. It argues that instructors’ facilitation, involvement and the establishment of a learning community are pre-conditions for an active discussion forum to take place, which in turn improves ESL students’ class participation and strengthens a sense of connection particularly valuable in the current context of Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, gamification mechanism such as badges and rewards can help to maintain students’ engagement and meet their desire for recognition. In addition, ODF participation is found positively correlated with a student’s academic performance on a statistically significant level.

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How to cite this paper

Engaging ESL Students by Online Discussion Forum and Gamification: Teaching Social Sciences to BA Students in a Chinese Transnational University in the Covid-19 Context

How to cite this paper: Yanning Huang. (2023). Engaging ESL Students by Online Discussion Forum and Gamification: Teaching Social Sciences to BA Students in a Chinese Transnational University in the Covid-19 Context. The Educational Review, USA7(2), 137-151.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/er.2023.02.004