Date of Award

6-8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gary J. Dean, Ph.D.

Abstract

Previous studies in the field of e-tutoring dealt either with asynchronous tutoring or synchronous conferencing as modes for providing e-tutoring services to English learners. This qualitative research study reports the experiences of Arab ESL tutees with both asynchronous tutoring and synchronous conferencing. It also reports the experiences of tutors who provided tutoring services asynchronously and synchronously using moodle as a platform. Each one of the nine tutees submitted a writing draft through moodle and received feedback asynchronously first and then synchronously. This study is the first study to incorporate both modes of e-tutoring to Arab ESL writers. At the end of the e-tutoring process, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant, whether tutee or tutor, to report their experience with the service. The study reveals that the use of asynchronous tutoring and synchronous conferencing together yields positive outcomes to tutees and that these stages complement each other. It also reveals that training and coaching tutors are important factors to the success of an e-tutoring service. Also, providing adequate technical support to tutees and tutors is deemed important. The study also reveals that e-tutoring can be beneficial in Arab conservative societies provided that such a service is well established and closely monitored. E-tutoring is also believed to open the door for learners to freely discuss their writing without the fear of losing face which may be a hindering factor in face-to-face conferencing.

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