Investigating Online Dialogue Journal Writing Impacts on Low Proficiency Students’ Writing Anxiety
This mixed methods case study was conducted in a Malaysian public university and it investigated the impact of online dialogue journal writing (ODJW) on low proficiency ESL undergraduates’ writing anxiety levels and types of writing anxiety. The ODJW intervention project was conducted as a supplementary writing activity outside the regular contact hours of the Preparatory English Course. This case study required students to write dialogue journal entries to the researcher and to their partner based on topics provided in the university’s e-learning portal (eLearn@USM). The participants were 26 first year Social Science undergraduates who were involved in this 12 week study. Purposive sampling technique was utilised to select the respondents who belonged to an intact group. The Second Language Writing Anxiety Inventory (SLWAI) was employed in the study to measure students’ writing anxiety and also types of writing anxiety, namely somatic anxiety, cognitive anxiety and avoidance behaviour. The findings revealed that students’ writing anxiety levels were significantly reduced and most of them experienced a shift in the type of writing anxiety, from somatic anxiety to cognitive anxiety. It is recommended that the ODJW be used as a tool to alleviate writing anxiety among low proficiency ESL undergraduates.