Public Internet Forums: Can They Enhance Argumentative Writing Skills of Second Language Learners?

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Abstract

Improving university students’ writing skills is always a challenge. In a third-year French composition course, the researchers introduced the use of public Internet discussion forums to see if that would help achieve the argumentative writing skills goals that were set for this study. The results show that participation in the forums had a positive influence on students’ argumentative skills. The forums forced them to choose a topic, read about it, obtain different points of view, and develop their own, therefore entering a community of practice where language accuracy was important. Students felt that it was beneficial to their intercultural competence and that it had a positive impact on their confidence to use their second language because they were able to interact with native speakers.

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