Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Michael Barcomb, Education

Teachers as Customizers of CALL Resources: An approach to teacher developed digital L2 learning materials

Thursday, March 25, 2021 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Daniela Ferrer



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


It is estimated that 1.2 billion students around the globe are currently not attending school in-person due to COVID-19 (World Economic Forum, 2020), an issue that has called attention to the importance of teachers being able to locate and develop digital learning materials that meet the specific needs of their students during this health crisis. In second language (L2) teaching, instructors suddenly find themselves in an unprecedented situation where they need to quickly learn to teach with digital resources (Oskoz & Smith, 2020), regardless of their prior experiences with technology. Though COVID-19 has accelerated this process, it had already been well documented that language teachers were struggling with overcoming the anxiety associated with teaching with technology (e.g., Kessler, 2010; Son, 2018). Given the immediate need for L2 teachers to develop computer assisted language learning (CALL) resources for their students to use, they are likely to remain anxious or confused about how to achieve this without an approach to guide them. Therefore, an approach to CALL customization is needed in order to: (1) enable L2 teachers to conceptualize and develop their own technology-enhanced materials, based on their time, resources, and comfort with technology; and (2) afford these teachers’ students a variety of ways to use the target language in interactions with and through technology, in digitally-facilitated exchanges. To this end, the three interconnected manuscripts in this dissertation aim to: (1) propose an approach that recognizes teachers as customizers of CALL resources directed at stimulating L2 use, based on their expertise and comfort with technology (manuscript #1); (2) investigate the effect that materials made according to this approach have on the development of L2 pronunciation (manuscript #2); and (3) assess the implementation of the proposed approach from a pre-service teacher’s perspective (manuscript #3).

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