With the development of Internet and online technology, educators nowadays have been thinking about how to use technology to facilitate English teaching as well as learning. Technology-enhanced language learning (TELL), thus, has become a prominent issue that worth investigation both in educational sites and academic research. As regards foreign language learning, while previous research has examined the effects of technology on the fours skills of general English (i.e., listening, reading, speaking, and writing) and has focused on higher education, few studies have addressed the use of technology in the field of English for Academic Purposes (ESP), specifically in academic text reading. Therefore, the current study aimed to examine the affordances of an online annotation system (BookRoll) on enhancing graduate students’ academic text comprehension by specifically investigating benefits offered by the functions of the system, frequency of function utilization, and perceptions of the annotation system.
The purpose of the study was to enhance graduate students’ academic text comprehension. The participants were 20 English-majored graduate students enrolled in one Research Method course in one private university in central Taiwan. In the course, the participants used functions of BookRoll (e.g., marker, bookmark, memo) while reading academic texts. Multiple data sources over six weeks included numbers of annotation, reflective journals, and in-depth individual interviews. Furthermore, the log files of BookRoll were also analyzed to yield a better understanding of students’ online reading.
The results indicated that markers showing students’ confusion while the students reviewed the academic text significantly decreased when compared with the pre-view reading task stage, suggesting enhanced academic text comprehension with the use of BookRoll. Furthermore, most of the students were positive about the integration of BookRoll in the Research Method course, indicating future intention to use this system for online reading. It is hoped that the functions of BookRoll could be further advanced so that graduate students and even teachers could benefit from using the online annotation system.