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“Are you still breathing?”- Investigating students’ participation through the lens of chat box of the online English learning courses during the pandemic in Taiwan

Hui-Ling Lang
National Taipei University, New Taipei City, Taiwan


Since the outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19, a large number of students at the university level in Taiwan have experienced to acquire the knowledge within the distance learning environment. Whether students participate in the lecture can perhaps be seen through the messages from the chat box of the online learning platform. Although some previous studies indicate that the real-time data from the chat box of online learning medium can reflect the vigorous nature of students’ participation and also deliver the timely information about their learning condition (Hrastinski, 2008; Dewan et al, 2019 and Kim et al, 2021), studies analysing the authentic chats from the chat box seem to rather scarce. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate how actively and frequently students had participated online in class and attempts to show what types of themes can be drawn from their chats through the content analysis and coding procedure. The analysed texts from the chat box were from 150 students in a public university during the length of two semesters long when students in Taiwan were all required to learn at home. Findings of this study reveal that students’ online chat texts can fall into six types: students’ direct responses to instructor’s teaching materials, students’ extensive discussion on instructor’s lecture, social interaction, politeness (greetings; showing gratefulness), technical issues and pandemic-related concerns. Moreover, the results also indicate that students participate more extensively and frequently and they seem to be more relaxed to share their ideas when they do not need to have the face-to-face lectures. Implications of this study may shed light on the research studies related to distance learning and provide certain pedagogical suggestions to teachers of distance learning.


distance learning, student participation, online chat data

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023