Internet-based textual interventions and interactions: how language learners engage online in a written task

Written by
Language: English

© 2013


Computer and Internet literacy is often taken for granted in the case of young adults born into the digital world; it is generally assumed that they can all use technology effectively. However, as mentioned by Fowley (2011), "it is easy to forget that in Ireland for example, many of the young people whom we routinely call digital natives have only lived online since 2005 or 2006" (p. 20). This situation is considered a drawback, especially when making use of Internet-based applications such as word processors in an educational setting. This chapter investigates learners' use of Google Drive, and more precisely Google Documents, an Internet-based word processing tool, while engaging in a written task. More specifically, it observes how twenty learners of French at university level intervened and interacted with their teacher, after being provided with comments on their written performance, while completing a "bilan", i.e., a written account of their autonomous learning activities and a reflection on their learning outcomes. Findings show that although Internet-based tools are useful in theory to assist learners during a written task, in practice, their functionalities are not systematically exploited by learners who are occasionally reluctant to engage and collaborate.

Keywords: internet-based word processing tool, intervention, interaction, language learning, corrective feedback.


Eneau, J., & Develotte, C. (2012). Working together online to enhance learner autonomy: Analysis of learners’ perceptions of their online learning experience. ReCALL, 24(1), 3-19. doi:10.1017/S0958344011000267

Felix, U. (2004). A multivariate analysis of secondary students’ experience of web-based language acquisition. ReCALL, 16(1), 237-249. doi:10.1017/S0958344004001715

Ferris, D. R. (2002). Treatment of error in second language student writing. Ann Harbour: University of Michigan Press.

Fowley, C. (2011). Publishing the confidential: an ethnographic study of young Irish bloggers. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Dublin City University, Dublin.

Garratt, D. A. (2012). Students’ perceptions of the use of peer-to-peer ESL text chat: an introductory study. Unpublished PhD dissertation. The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hillman, D. C. A., Willis, D. J., & Gunawardena, C. N. (1994). Learner interface interaction in distance education: an extension of contemporary models and strategies for practitioners. American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 30-42. doi:10.1080/08923649409526853

Hubbard, P., & Romeo, K. (2012). Diversity in learner training. In G. Stockwell (Ed.), Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Diversity in Research and Practice (pp. 33-48). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hunter, R. (2011). Erasing “Property Lines”: A Collaborative Notion of Authorship and Textual Ownership on a Fan Wiki. Computers and Composition, 28(1), 40-56. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2010.12.004

Hwang, A., Ang, S., & Francesco, A. M. (2002). The Silent Chinese: The Influence of Face and Kiasuism on Student Feedback-Seeking Behaviors. Journal of Management Education, 26(1), 70-98.

Jelfs, A., & Colbourn, C. (2002). Do students’ approaches to learning affect their perceptions of using computing and information technology? Journal of Educational Media, 27(1/2), 41-53.

Kárpáti, A. (2009). Web 2 technologies for Net Native language learners: a “social CALL”. ReCALL, 21(2), 139-156. doi:10.1017/S0958344009000160

Lam, F. S., & Pennington, M. C. (1995). The computer vs. the pen: a comparative study of word processing in a Hong Kong secondary classroom. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 8(1), 75-92. doi:10.1080/0958822950080106

Lee, I. (1997). ESL learners’ performance in error correction in writing: Some implications for teaching. System, 25(4), 465-477. doi:10.1016/S0346-251X(97)00045-6

Lee, I. (2003). L2 writing teachers’ perspectives, practices and problems regarding error feedback. Assessing Writing, 8(3), 216-237. doi:10.1016/j.asw.2003.08.002

Levy, M., & Hubbard, P. (2005). Why call CALL “CALL”? Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(3), 143-149. doi:10.1080/09588220500208884

Lockley, T. (2012). Native Speaker “digitalians”, we just don’t speak your dialect. Yet. “digital/keitai native” Culture and CALL in Japan. In J. Colpaert, A. Aerts, W.-C. V. Wu, & Y.-C. J. Chao (Eds.), Fifteenth International CALL Conference, The Medium Matters, Proceedings, 24-27 May 2012 (pp. 473-476). Taichung, Taiwan: Providence University.

Moore, M. G. (1989). Editorial: three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-7. doi:10.1080/08923648909526659

Moran, C. (1983). Electronic Media: Word Processing and the Teaching of Writing. The English Journal, 72(3), 113-115. Retrieved from

Nassaji, H., & Swain, M. (2000). A Vygotskian Perspective on Corrective Feedback in L2: The Effect of Random Versus Negotiated Help on the Learning of English Articles. Language Awareness, 9(1), 34-51.

Rahimpour, M. (2011). Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 8(1), 3-9. Retrieved from

Reeves, T. C. (1998). The Impact of Media and Technology in Schools: A Research Report prepared for The Bertelsmann Foundation. The Bertelsmann Foundation, 1-44. Retrieved from

Terrell, S. R. (2002). The effect of learning style on doctoral course completion in a Web-based learning environment. The Internet and Higher Education, 5(4), 345-352. doi:10.1016/S1096-7516(02)00128-8

Thouësny, S. (2011). Modeling second language learners’ interlanguage and its variability: A computer-based dynamic assessment approach to distinguishing between errors and mistakes. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Dublin City University, Dublin. Retrieved from

Thouësny, S., & Bradley, L. (2011). Introduction on views of emergent researchers in L2 teaching and learning with technology. In S. Thouësny & L. Bradley (Eds.), Second language teaching and learning with technology: views of emergent researchers (pp. 1-8). Dublin: Research-publishing. net. Retrieved from

Tremblay, N. A. (2003). L’autoformation, pour apprendre autrement. Montréal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal.

Woods, R. H., & Baker, J. D. (2004). Interaction and immediacy in online learning. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 5(2). Retrieved from

How to cite

Citation is provided in standard text format below. For full citation export options, click Export citation.

Thouësny, Sylvie. (2013). Internet-based textual interventions and interactions: how language learners engage online in a written task. In Cathy Fowley, Claire English, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), Internet research, theory, and practice: perspectives from Ireland (pp. 349-366).

Request permissions

This article is published under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives International 3.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) licence. Under this licence, the contents are freely available online (as PDF files) for anybody to read, download, copy, and redistribute provided that the AUTHOR(s), EDITORIAL TEAM and PUBLISHER are properly cited. Commercial use and derivative works are, however, not permitted.

Permission is not required for the republication of tables, figures or illustrations, as long as they are reproduced accurately and the source material is fully cited. It may be the case that the licence does not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. If this is your current situation, please do feel free to ask at

From the same author

Notes on contributors and acknowledgements
Thouësny, Sylvie; Bradley, Linda.
Introduction on views of emergent researchers in L2 teaching and learning with technology
Thouësny, Sylvie; Bradley, Linda.
Dynamically assessing written language: to what extent do learners of French language accept mediation?
Thouësny, Sylvie.
Bradley, Linda; Thouësny, Sylvie.
Scoring Rubrics and Google Scripts: A Means to Smoothly Provide Language Learners with Fast Corrective Feedback and Grades
Thouësny, Sylvie.
Notes on Contributors
Fowley, Cathy; English, Claire; Thouësny, Sylvie.
Fowley, Cathy; English, Claire; Thouësny, Sylvie.
Introduction on Internet Research, Theory, and Practice: Perspectives from Ireland
Fowley, Cathy; English, Claire; Thouësny, Sylvie.
Applying dynamic assessment principles to online peer revisions in written English for specific purposes
Thouësny, Sylvie; Bradley, Linda.
Computer-mediated synchronous and asynchronous corrective feedback provided by trainee teachers to learners of French: a preliminary study
Vidal, Julie; Thouësny, Sylvie.