Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Rebecca Adams

Committee Member

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Lyn Wright

Committee Member

William Duffy


The writing-to-learn the language (WLL) dimension in L2 writing argues for the language learning potential of written language production (cf. Manchn, 2011). This perspective has been supported by empirical research demonstrating that collaborative writing in peer groups can be an effective way to help language learners build both linguistic knowledge and writing skills (Storch, 2013; Swain, 2001). These studies generally investigated dyads collaborating in face-to-face environments. Limited research suggests, however, that the benefits of collaborative writing may be greater in small groups (e.g., Fernndez Dobao, 2012). Despite growing imperative for the use of technology in collaborative writing (Li & Storch, 2017), research to date has not considered how group size could influence learning in the synchronous online modality. Effective teaching with technology requires understanding of how pairs and small groups could influence attention to language, quality of co-authored texts, and learner experiences when they collaborate online. The current study involved one intact class of undergraduate students from a public university in the Philippines (n=42) in determining whether group size affects the L2 learning benefits accruing from collaborative writing online. Using a counter-balanced design, students worked in pairs and small groups (four/six) to write narratives of short commercials. All writing and interaction activities took place via Google Docs. The majority of the participants (n=31) completed all three group writing sessions. The results of this study suggest that when students work in groups of four, they generated significantly more language-related episodes (LREs) and successfully resolved these emerging linguistic problems. Texts produced in groups of four and six are significantly more grammatically accurate than in dyads. The pair texts, however, were more lexically complex. Students rated their experiences in pairs and groups of four as satisfactory but noted that they preferred to collaborate dyads for similar future projects. This study provides empirically based understanding of the ways that the number of collaborators affect peer group writing benefits in real-time online collaboration, as well as pedagogical implications on using pairs and small groups in technology-assisted language learning.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest