Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education; World Languages

Major Professor

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Camilla Vasquez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Yi-Hsin Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Glenn Smith, Ph.D.


blog, computer-mediated communication, EFL, online collaborative writing, writing anxiety, writing performance


Compared with first language (L1) writing, writing in a second or foreign language (L2) is considered to be more challenging and difficult. The challenges and difficulties may result from both the cognitive and the affective aspects of writing. To mitigate the difficulties of L2 writing and help students master L2 writing, teachers could consider using the pedagogical strategies which can help enhance students' cognition in writing or students' writing performance, and also can help reduce students' fear of L2 writing. One of the pedagogical strategies is online collaborative writing supported by CMC. Collaborative learning helps enhance students' cognitive outcomes, such as academic achievement and cognitive development, as well as produce less anxiety in learning. CMC facilitates collaboration, and also provides more chances for interaction which could result in more thoughts. The more thoughts would facilitate to compose. Therefore, it is assumed that online collaborative writing is more effective than traditional collaborative writing in terms of writing performance and writing anxiety.

The present study is a quasi-experimental study. Participants were 101 first-year college students from two intact classes of a private university in Taiwan. One class was randomly assigned as the control class. Participants were engaged in traditional collaborative writing. The other was the experimental class. Students wrote collaboratively via blogs. Before the treatment, both classes were asked to completed a background survey, a pre-test L2 writing anxiety questionnaire, and a pre-test individual writing task. The treatment lasted for ten weeks during which each collaborative group in both classes completed five collaborative writing tasks. After the treatment, a collaborative writing questionnaire, a post-test L2 writing anxiety questionnaire, and a post-test individual writing task were administered to all participants. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted to the students who made the largest, medium, and lowest gains in both classes. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted to analyze the data.

In terms of the quantitative results, there were no significant difference in collaborative writing performance and the quantity of individual writing between classes. The experimental class only significantly performed better than the control class in the quality of individual writing. Concerning the writing anxiety measured, the control class was significantly lower than the experimental class. Regarding students' perceptions, the results of the questionnaire showed that the control class made much more positive responses than the experimental class. As for the qualitative results, students' interviews revealed (1) the function of collaborative writing, (2) the features of the media, (3) the difficulty they encounter during collaborative writing, (4) the positive and negative factors influencing their motivation to write, and (5) their suggestions for teachers. The qualitative results support the quantitative results.

Overall, this dissertation study found that, based on statistic results, traditional collaborative writing seems to be more effective than blog-supported collaborative writing in decreasing the writing anxiety of the EFL college students with weaker English ability and little writing experience. In addition, according to students' perceptions and interview results, traditional collaborative writing also appears to be more acceptable in this context. Although the statistic results suggest that the effect of blog-supported collaborative writing on writing performance and writing anxiety seems to be limited and little probably due to the use of blogs as individual and synchronous tools, its effectiveness can not be completely denied because students' perceptions and interviews suggest its positive influence and outcome. L2 teachers are suggested to provide more training sessions, employ the collaborative writing activity as an out-of-class assignment, and carefully monitor the process of collaborative writing if they do use blogs in L2 writing instruction.