Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number2  June 2021        Pp. 93- 108
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Synchronous and Asynchronous English Writing Classes in the EFL Context: Students’ Practices and Benefits

Nada Bin Dahmash
College of Applied Studies and Community Service
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Received: 3/3/2021                 Accepted: 4/29/2021               Published:6/24/2021

Synchronous and asynchronous classes were implemented by universities around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) engaged in multiple practices when attending English writing classes in both modes. However, the practices they engaged in and the benefits they perceived were reportedly of limited benefit. This study asks: What are the practices of students that emerge during synchronous and asynchronous English writing classes? What are the benefits of synchronous and asynchronous English writing classes from the student’s perspective? Group and one-to-one interviews were conducted with twelve students majoring in computer science and information technology at a Saudi university. Thematic analysis revealed that students engage in practices including using the split view on iPads, opening additional windows to search for information, searching using smartphone apps, and writing notes and highlighting key concepts when attending English writing classes regardless of learning mode. It also revealed that synchronous classes offered students real-time communication and provided immediate feedback, while asynchronous classes allowed students to navigate the challenges of distance learning, complementing the synchronous English writing classes and providing students with a sense of security. This paper concludes by advising language teachers to record synchronous classes, raise students’ awareness of the benefits of attending both types of classes and encourage students to apply practices reported by previous students to maximize their English language learning.
Keywords: asynchronous class, benefits, English writing, practices, synchronous class

Cite as:  Bin Dahmash, N. (2021). Synchronous and Asynchronous English Writing Classes in the EFL Context: Students’ Practices and Benefits.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (2) 93-108.


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Received: 3/3/2021 
Accepted: 4/29/2021  
Published: 6/24/2021 

Nada Bin Dahmash is an assistant professor at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She obtained her PhD degree in 2019 from the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, United Kingdom. She is interested in second language practices, use of English outside the classroom, online learning and the effects of technology on language learning. 0001-5918-5124