• community-building;
  • computer-mediated communication;
  • essay writing;
  • heritage language learners;
  • WebCT discussion board
  • Chinese (Mandarin)

Abstract: This article reports on a classroom-based study on the use of a Mandarin Chinese WebCT discussion board to support essay writing in a second-year Chinese language class consisting of mostly heritage learners at a midwestern U.S. university. The researcher describes the design and the implementation of essay writing and evaluates its effectiveness. The results indicate that essay writing in the Chinese WebCT discussion board is effective in terms of creating a supportive learning community among diverse Chinese language learners and being instrumental in students' Chinese language acquisition.