The Effect of a Computerized Writing Program on the Quality of College Students’ English Compositions

By Chi-Yen Chiu and Mei-ching Ho.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study investigated the effect of a computerized writing program known as Criterion on the quality of college students’ writing in an intermediate English composition class. The students used Criterion to write two essays in multiple drafts in addition to a third essay provided with traditional human feedback. Quantitative analysis of paired sample t tests revealed that the quality of the students’ writing was significantly improved after they submitted their essays to Criterion for three times. The students were found to make greater improvement in content and organization than the improvement in grammar. Semi-structured interviews were further conducted to explore the perspectives of 12 students on the implementation of Criterion in this class. The findings showed that several students doubted Criterion’s capacity to evaluate their writings. Criterion seemed to favor lengthiness and could not provide individual-based score analysis. To gain good scores, some students would avoid making mistakes by using simple vocabulary and easy grammar. Although the incorporation of a computerized writing program could reduce teachers’ workload, we as educators need to be cautious with the impact machines might bring to the writings of our students.

Keywords: Computerized Writing Program, Criterion, Multiple-draft Composition, Writing Quality

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp.649-662. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.305MB).

Dr. Chi-Yen Chiu

Assistant Professor, Applied Foreign Languages, National Formosa University, Yung Kang, Yunlin, Taiwan

Chi-Yen Chiu is an assistant professor in the department of Applied Foreign Languages at the National Formosa (Huwei) University in Taiwan. He gained his Doctorate of Applied Linguistics from the Pennsylvania State University. He currently teaches English pronunciation, Phonetics, TESL, and writing courses. His research interests include uses of technology, practices of feedback, and teacher roles for learner autonomy in teaching English writing.

Mei-ching Ho

Assistant Professor, Department of English Instruction, Taipei Municipal University of Education, Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan

Mei-Ching Ho earned her doctorate in Rhetoric/Composition and Linguistics at the Arizona State University. Her areas of research interest include second language writing, technology and writing instruction, computer-assisted language learning, sociolinguistics, contrastive rhetoric, and discourse analysis. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Taipei Municipal University of Education, Taiwan.

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