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Vol 27, No. 2 (January 2010)

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The Influence of L2 Teachers' Use of CALL Modes on Language Learners' Reactions to Blended Learning

Kwang Hee Hong
Keiko K. Samimy
Ohio State University

Abstract:
Previous research on blended learning (BL) implementation in L2 instructional settings considers L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes and learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes as critical factors, among other factors, for achieving successful BL implementation. In the literature, these two factors are suggested to be strongly associated. Although these findings have laid the foundation for us to see what happens in the process of BL implementation, few studies have examined the relationship between the two factors while simultaneously considering other factors which potentially influence learners' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes. Given the multidimensional aspects of BL implementation, the relationship between the two cardinal factors and their interrelation with other factors involved in BL implementation needs to be further examined. The present study addresses this gap in the literature. It examines the relationship between 244 Korean EFL students' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes under BL and the teachers' use of the CALL modes while taking into account students' other characteristics, such as computer literacy skills, gender, age, time spent on internet surfing and devoted to English study online, and prior BL experience.

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KEYWORDS

Blended Learning (BL), BL implementation

INTRODUCTION

The idea of using computer technology in harmony with traditional foreign and second language (L2) classroom instruction is no longer new. Blended learning (BL) has drawn the increased attention of both L2 researchers and L2 educators over the past decade (see Goertler & Winke, 2008; CALICO Journal volume 23 issue 3; ReCALL volume 17 issue 2). The principal idea of BL in L2 education is to achieve more effective and efficient ways of L2 teaching and learning by combining two different but complementary modes: computer-assisted language learning (CALL) technologies and face-to-face (FtF) interaction (see Neumeier, 2005).1 In fact, research studies suggest that BL provides benefits for language learning which might be unthinkable in the traditional FtF-based classroom environment, for example, contributing to linguistic achievement (Deusen-Scholl, Frei, & Dixon, 2005; Hegelheimer, 2006; Kern, 1995; Payne & Whitney, 2002), promoting learners' motivation (Ushida, 2005; Warschauer, 1996b), expanding knowledge of the target culture (Dubreil, Herron, & Cole, 2004; Zeiss & Isabelli-García, 2005), and empowering learner autonomy (Blin, 2004; Luke, 2006).

Due to BL's appeal and pedagogical benefits, L2 educators are increasingly adopting BL approaches for various instructional objectives (Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Ducate & Lomicka, 2005;

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Hart, 2002; Toyoda & Harrison, 2002). Notwithstanding BL's popularity, however, L2 researchers remain confronted by substantial questions still not answered definitively: Do L2 teachers and learners under the BL environment actually benefit from the intended efficacy of BL (i.e., the efficacy derived from the principal idea of BL) on their teaching and learning? (Esch & Zähner, 2000; Harker & Koutsantoni, 2005; Scida & Saury, 2006); How can we achieve successful BL implementation in L2 instructional settings? (Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Neumeier, 2005; Stracke, 2007) Although answering these questions is a thorny undertaking to pursue, one way to contribute to answering them is to learn more about the relationship among critical factors involved in the process of BL implementation in L2 teaching and learning.

While empirical findings abound in the CALL research literature supporting the efficacy of various CALL modes on language learning (Kern, Ware, & Warschauer, 2004; Ortega, 1997; Pellettieri, 2000; Warschauer, 1996a), a small body of literature looks into variables involved in the process of BL implementation in L2 instructional settings (Ayres, 2002; Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Esch & Zähner, 2000; Neumeier, 2005; Stracke, 2007; Ushida, 2005). Much of this literature is limited in methodological, analytical, and contextual respects primarily based on qualitative research methods in small case studies, descriptive quantitative findings in relatively large-sample studies, English as a Second Language (ESL) contexts, or commonly taught foreign languages for learners whose native language is English. Nonetheless, the research based on qualitative methods sheds valuable light on the multidimensional aspects of the process of BL implementation by identifying critical factors involved in successful BL implementation, and descriptive quantitative findings provide informative pictures of understanding learners' reactions (e.g., attitudes and/or perceptions) to CALL modes under the BL environment.

Insightful and informative as these findings are for understanding the constitutive elements in modeling the process of successful BL implementation, it is necessary to further expand them if we are to make them more meaningful for answering the question of how we can achieve successful BL implementation. That is to say, the interrelation among the factors found should be examined more systematically so as to provide a better understanding of the process of BL implementation. In the process of successful BL implementation, L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes and learners' reaction to them are deemed cardinal factors (Esch & Zähner, 2000; Stracke, 2007); and the former is considered to be an important predictive variable for the latter (Ayres, 2002; Ushida, 2005). Common sense may also suggest that if L2 teachers were to actively use the incorporated CALL modes under BL, students' attitudes toward the use of the CALL modes would be more positive.

In light of the limitations in the literature and the multidimensional aspects in the process of BL implementation (i.e., L2 teachers' use of CALL modes is not the only predictive variable associated with learner's attitudes; Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Felix, 2001; Ushida, 2005), at issue are the following: (a) Does L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes under BL influence learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes, taking into consideration other variables found to be relevant to the learners' attitudes? (b) If yes, what is the magnitude of the effect of L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes on the learners' attitudes? (c) What is the relationship between L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes under BL and learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes in a highly technology-enhanced EFL (English as a Foreign Language) context in which both L2 teachers and learners are relatively familiar with computer technology? A clear understanding of the mechanism of the interrelation among the variables involved in BL implementation will serve as a foundation for L2 researchers to conceptualize the complex process of BL implementation in L2 instruction (Beatty, 2003), which, in turn, will help to develop better BL design for various pedagogical purposes (Neumeier, 2005).

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In the present study, we address these gaps by examining the presence and extent of the relationship between collegiate Korean EFL students' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes under BL and their teachers' use of the CALL modes, taking into account students' other characteristics (e.g., general computer skills, gender, age, prior language learning experience under the BL environment, daily hours of internet use, and daily hours of English study on the internet) often found in the literature to be associated with learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes.

LITERATURE REVIEW

BL in L2 education, as Neumeier (2005) states, is "as old as CALL itself" (p. 163), although in recent years it has been increasingly common to apply BL to L2 instructional settings with the awareness of its synergistic benefits, that is to say, complementing instruction through sole reliance on one mode (FtF-only mode or CALL-only mode) by employing the other mode (Ducate & Lomicka, 2005; Harker & Koutsantoni, 2005; Hegelheimer, 2006; Hertel, 2003; Thorne, 2003). In addition to recognizing the efficacy of CALL technology on L2 learning (Chapelle, 2001; Chun & Plass, 1996; Kern, 1995; Kern et al., 2004; Warschauer & Kern, 2000), among many possible reasons for the popularity of BL are the easy accessibility of computer technology in and out of the classroom to both L2 teachers and learners (Kim & Santiago, 2005; Lanahan & Boysen, 2006); the continuous expansion of pedagogical potential of information and communication technology (ICT) for L2 teaching and learning (Godwin-Jones, 2002, 2003; Mishan, 2005); and, most important, the growing discontent among L2 teachers and learners with the efficacy of the CALL-only environment in which any FtF-based instruction is excluded or treated as negligible (Felix, 2001; Harker & Koutsantoni, 2005; Stracke, 2007).

Although the forms of BL in L2 education vary depending upon contexts and purposes, BL in L2 education generally refers to any language learning context that involves a "combination of FtF and computer assisted language learning" (Neumeier, 2005, p. 164).2 As indicated in the definition, the BL environment is indeed different from the traditional FtF-only classroom and e-learning context in that it is an inherently multimodal context in which L2 instruction is not necessarily restricted to either FtF-only or CALL-only modes.3 Further, this inherent nature, together with research findings about the efficacy of CALL technology on L2 learning, promotes various attempts to implement BL in L2 instruction for different pedagogical purposes, for instance, formal classroom instruction accompanied by (a) opportunities to communicate with native speakers via computer-mediated communication (CMC) (Stockwell & Levy, 2001; Toyoda & Harrison, 2002), (b) tasks to learn the target language culture through CMC (Ducate & Lomicka, 2005; Hertel, 2003; Zeiss & Isabelli-García, 2005), (c) a virtual classroom to promote learners' interactions in the target language out of the classroom (Heins, Duensing, & Stickler, 2007; Sanders, 2006), or (d) an electronic venue containing numerous authentic materials (Hart, 2002; Mishan, 2005).

Despite such popularity, however, the substantial question about whether L2 teachers and learners benefit from the intended efficacy of BL through its actual implementation is not fully confirmed. Some studies suggest that BL contributes to a pedagogical purpose of increasing the learners' interactions in the target language (e.g., Heins et al., 2007; Kern, 1995) and cultural learning (e.g., Ducate & Lomicka, 2005; Zeiss & Isabelli-García, 2005). Other studies, on the other hand, indicate that L2 teachers and learners do not seem to recognize the intended efficacy of BL in relation to L2 teaching and learning as much as expected (e.g., Ayres, 2002; Lam & Lawrence, 2002).

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Accordingly, research studies, albeit a small number, seek to find ways in which BL is successfully implemented in L2 instructional settings with a particular focus on factors involved in the process of BL implementation. Esch and Zähner (2000) underscore that what is essential for L2 teachers for achieving successful BL implementation is "a positive factor leading to dynamic self-motivation if the learners have sufficiently satisfying learning experiences and a factor leading to reduced interest if the learners have negative learning experience" (p. 8). Ayres (2002) also emphasizes the significance of L2 teachers' presence under BL by examining the post-BL response of students who participated in his study; he reports that the students do not consider incorporated CALL technology as a substitute for FtF-based instruction despite their acknowledgement of the useful aspects of CALL technology for L2 learning.4 Similarly, by using Bateson's (1977) metaphor of 'orchestra' for the discussion of best practices in online language learning, Felix (2003) alludes to the importance of language teachers' balanced role under BL between using incorporated CALL modes and FtF instruction:

An orchestra going through the process of learning a new piece with the ultimate goal of turning out a public performance is a useful analogy for the experience which a group of students and their teacher might share in an excellent online learning and teaching endeavour. A good conductor will facilitate and guide the enterprise, allowing players singly and in groups to shape the interpretation and ultimately share ownership of the creation. (p. 67)

Based on findings that different language teachers take different approaches to implementing CALL modes in the BL environment, Ushida (2005) maintains that language teachers' different levels of involvement in utilizing CALL modes can influence L2 learners' motivation and attitudes toward learning the target language in the BL environment. In addition, Stracke (2007) also finds from his case study that L2 teachers' "lack of support/complementarity" (p. 70) across FtF and CALL modes is an important factor in students' decreasing interest in learning in the BL environment, resulting in their dropping out.

This line of research on BL implementation indicates some commonality which points to important factors in the process of implementing BL in L2 instructional settings. The above-mentioned studies consider L2 teachers' role in BL (specifically, using incorporated CALL modes) and learners' reactions to the BL environment (attitude toward and/or perception of the CALL modes) as vital factors for achieving successful BL implementation. Moreover, they suggest that learners' reactions to incorporated CALL modes under BL are likely to be related to L2 teachers' use of CALL modes in a given instructional setting. The findings of these studies contribute not only to identifying key variables involved in the process of BL implementation, but also to laying the foundation for us to understand what happens in implementing BL in L2 instructional settings.

Nonetheless, the findings are not sufficient to answer further questions about the relationship between the two key factors (i.e., L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes and learners' attitudes toward those modes) within the process of BL implementation. This is because the focus of the studies is merely on the two factors in 'descriptive manners' without simultaneously considering other factors found to be associated with learners' attitudes toward CALL modes. These other factors include learners' computer literacy skills (Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Lam & Lawrence, 2002; Ushida, 2005), gender and age (Felix, 2001),5 and time spent on using computer technology (Coryell & Chlup, 2007).

To explain the use of the term 'descriptive manners' in the present study, it should be noted that discussion in previous studies about factors involved in BL implementation is usually derived from research based on qualitative methods, most of which are case studies

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with small sample sizes (e.g., Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Stracke, 2007; Ushida, 2005) or studies with relatively large sample sizes that provide only descriptive quantitative findings about learners' reactions to the use of CALL modes (e.g., Ayres, 2002; Harker & Koutsantoni, 2005). In addition, the study of BL implementation has been mostly conducted in the context of ESL (Ayres, 2002; Coryell & Chlup, 2007) or commonly taught foreign languages (e.g., Spanish, German, and French) and English speaking learners (e.g., Deusen-Scholl et al., 2005; Payne & Whitney, 2002; Scida & Saury, 2006; Ushida, 2005). Moreover, none of the previous studies concerned with BL implementation considered learners' previous BL experiences which potentially influence their attitudes toward CALL modes when examining the relationship between L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes and learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes. In light of these limitations, the findings of the previous studies need to be expanded by answering the following questions to have a better understanding of the relationship between the two key factors within the process of BL implementation in which multiple factors are involved.

First, if L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes under BL influences learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes, does the relationship hold even when we take into consideration other factors found to be associated with learners' attitudes? If yes, how much does L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes influence learners' attitudes?

Second, because learners' confidence in computer technology is considered to be another important factor related to their attitudes toward the use of incorporated CALL modes under BL (e.g., Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Lam & Lawrence, 2002; Ushida, 2005), are there any differences between the attitudes of language learners with high computer literacy skills versus those with low computer literacy skills, given equivalent L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes and other relevant factors?

Third, what is the relationship between L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes and learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes under BL in highly technology-enhanced EFL contexts where learners are familiar with computer technology in their daily lives? In the present study, we address these questions using data from collegiate EFL students in Korea.6

METHOD

Participants

The participants in the study were 255 undergraduate EFL students (38% female) enrolled in two large universities (hereafter School A and School B) located in the southeastern area in Korea during the second semester in the 2006 academic year. Using a convenience sampling method, students were recruited from a total of seven classes (six from School A and one from School B) whose instructors agreed to participate in the study based on their students' consent. Six instructors at School A were teaching a natural science course as a General Required Course (GRC), and the total number of participating students at School A was 195 (36% female); the instructor at School B was teaching an EFL class as a General Elective Course (GEC), and the total number of participating students at School B was 60 (46% female). All of the participating students in both schools were taking an EFL course offered on campus (either as GRC or GEC) at the time of the study.

The two universities were using a course management system which had been separately developed by each school, commonly called "the course-supporting system." Instructors and students in each school were strongly encouraged to utilize the course-supporting system as a means to support teaching and learning. Both instructors and students could

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access the course-supporting system on and off campus for their course via the internet. As with other course management systems widely used in North America (e.g., WebCT, Blackboard, etc.), the course-supporting system of both schools had features for instructors such as (a) demographic information about students who were registered in the course (e.g., age, major, grade years, and student's identification photo), (b) email access to the students individually or as a group, (c) a discussion board for the course, (d) course material folders (e.g., syllabus, additional materials, homework submission, and multimedia materials), and (e) synchronous communication tools such as online chat. The students who were registered in each course could access the course-supporting system specifically designed by the instructor of that course. The seven instructors cooperating in the study reported that the participating students were very familiar with each feature of the course-supporting system at the time when the study was conducted.

Instrument

A questionnaire booklet was developed that consisted of four parts (see questionnaire in the appendix) containing a total of 37 items relevant to the study here. The face validity of each instrument in the booklet was tested by five students at School A (two undergraduates and three graduates). Three instructors teaching EFL courses at School A reviewed the instruments for content validity. The internal consistency of the instruments was tested in a pilot study in which 27 undergraduate students at School A participated, all of whom had taken at least one English course offered on campus either as a GRC or a GEC. Each part of the questionnaire booklet and the individual items are detailed in the sections below.

Procedure

The survey questionnaire booklets were distributed to and collected from the students by the instructors during class time. A total of 255 questionnaire booklets were distributed, and all of them were collected. Among the 255 collected booklets, the responses of 11 students (4% of the 255 students) were excluded in the data analysis due to missing data. Statistics reported in the sections below are based on the answers provided by the 244 students for whom complete data sets were available.

Outcome Variable: Students' Attitudes Toward the Use of CALL Modes

Part I of the questionnaire booklet was designed to measure students' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes in the BL environment and consisted of 10 items on a 6-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree). Since there are few instruments available designed for measuring EFL learners' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes in the BL environment, we developed the items in Part I based on the features of the course-supporting systems at both schools and the context in which the systems were being used at both schools. Higher scores represent a more positive attitude toward the use of CALL modes in the BL environment (Cronbach's alpha = 0.73).

Primary Question Predictor: Student-reported Teachers' Use of CALL Modes

The focal question predictor in the analysis (i.e., student-reported teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes) was measured in Part II with 6 items on a 6-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree). We developed the items based on the features

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of the course-supporting systems intended to be used by the instructors at both schools. Higher scores imply that, according to the students' reports, the teachers used the CALL modes more actively for the course (Cronbach's alpha = 0.82).

Control Variable: Students' General Computer Skills

Part III of the questionnaire was designed to measure students' general computer skills. Previous studies have suggested that students are likely to have high anxiety about using CALL modes in the beginning of their exposure to the BL environment possibly because of their lack of knowledge of using the designated CALL modes (e.g., Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Ushida, 2005). Considering that students' knowledge of general computer skills can increase their confidence in using CALL modes in the BL environment, we regarded students' general computer skills as a particularly important variable.

Several researchers have defined the notion of computer literacy skills from different points of view. Logan (1995) viewed computer literacy on a continuum: "[computer literacy] is not a question of whether or not one is computer-literate, but to what degree one is." (p. 256). Warschauer (2002) proposed "electronic literacies" consisting of four relevant subliteracies: "computer literacy, information literacy, multimedia literacy, and computer-mediated communication literacy" (p. 455).7 In light of both perspectives concerning computer literacy skills, we adapted the Computer-Email-Web (CEW) scale (Bunz, 2004) to measure students' general computer skills. The original CEW scale was a set of 21 items designed to measure four constructs (computer fluency, email fluency, web navigation, and web editing) in the ICT environment (Cronbach's alpha = 0.72, 0.75, 0.64, and 0.79, respectively). Given the context in which the course-supporting systems were being used in both schools and the length of the questionnaire, we reduced the original 21 items (with modification) to 14 items on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = not at all to 5 = very well) and summed the scores to create a composite measure of students' general computer skills. Higher scores imply that students are relatively better at using computers and ICT in general (Cronbach's alpha = 0.85).

Control Variables: Demographics and Other Student Characteristics

Part IV of the questionnaire was designed to measure several standard demographic variables (gender, grade year, age), students' prior experience with BL (the number of English courses taken in a BL environment), daily hours of internet surfing for general purposes, and daily hours of internet use for English study. Felix (2001) reported that the gender and age of language learners were related to the amount of time that learners spent studying English online.8 In addition, Coryell and Chlup (2007) showed that the time adult ESL learners spent on computers was viewed by ESL teachers as an important factor in relation to successful implementation of e-learning elements in the BL environment. Given these findings, we included in the questionnaire students' demographic variables and daily hours of internet use for both general purposes and English study. The questionnaire contained two separate questions with regard to daily hours of internet surfing for general purposes (about 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours) and daily hours of internet use for English study (about 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours).

We also included items about students' prior experience in taking English courses taught in the BL environment because students' prior experience with BL may influence their attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes. In order to gather data on students' prior experience with BL for an English course, students were asked to indicate whether they had taken any other English courses which employed both FtF and CALL modes and, if 'yes,' how many times they had taken such a course.

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Data Analysis

To examine the unique contribution of language teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes in BL to students' attitudes toward the CALL modes, we estimated a series of multiple regression models (c.f., Cohen, Cohen, West, & Aiken, 2003; Dunkel & Zubovic, 1992; Zhang, 1992). Because the relationship between the question predictor and the outcome variable was nonlinear as revealed by the bivariate scatter-plot, the question predictor was log base 2 transformed.

In our analyses, we began by fitting a regression model composed of the question predictor of our focal interest (L2 teachers' use of CALL modes) and sought to reveal the relationship between the question predictor and the outcome variable (learners' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes). Then, we specified and fitted a series of regression models by including a set of control predictors in the model. Building on the regression model with only the question predictor, students' general computer skills were entered into the model; then, a set of control variables about students' demographics (gender, grade year, and age) were entered together; finally, control variables about students' prior experience of taking other BL English courses, their daily hours of internet surfing, and daily hours of internet use for English study were entered.

In each model, if the parameter estimates of predictors were not statistically significant at the level of 0.10, they were not included in the next step of model building. By excluding predictors whose parameter estimates were not statistically significant, General Linear Hypothesis was conducted to test a hypothesis of whether joint effect of nonsignificant predictors (i.e., estimated regression coefficients of all the excluded predictors) was equal to zero at the level of 0.05. In the process of model building, tolerance statistics were examined to test for multicollinearity. Cook's D and Hat statistics were also examined for atypical observations. We conducted exploratory data analyses and fitted all the regression models using a statistical software package, STATA (Intercooled version 9.0; http://www.stata.com).

RESULTS

Table 1 presents sample means, standard deviations, and range for the outcome variable, the question predictor, and the control variables. As shown in Table 1, students' scores on the attitude toward the use of CALL modes in the BL environment varied considerably from 10 to 56, with an average of 38.58 (SD = 6.28). Although some students reported either very low or very high scores on general computer skills, most reported that they knew how to use basic computer technology (M = 72.37, SD = 13.53). With regard to the amount of time spent on the internet, students responded that they spent about 2 hours, on average, on daily internet surfing (M = 2.38, SD = 1.31) and that they devoted about 30 minutes, on average, to English study on the internet (M = 0.70, SD = 0.52).

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Table 2 presents the intercorrelations between the variables. Looking at the correlation between learners' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes and their teachers' use of the CALL modes, it is apparent that students who showed a relatively positive attitude toward the use of CALL modes did, in fact, report that their teachers were more actively involved in using the CALL modes. In addition, learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes were positively correlated with students' general computer skills and negatively correlated with students' age. An examination of Table 2 also shows that, compared to the younger students, the older students had more experience with learning English in the BL environment and spent more time studying English on the internet. In order to examine the unique influence of language teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes under BL on students' attitudes toward the CALL modes, we estimated students' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes from the language teachers' use of the CALL modes in multiple regression models.

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~p < 0.10, *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001

Table 3 presents the estimates of a series of regression models that examine the relationship between students' attitudes toward the use of CALL modes and language teachers' use of the CALL modes in the BL environment, controlling for students' other characteristics. As shown in Table 3, even when students' other characteristics were taken into account (e.g., students' general computer skills, age, prior experience of taking EFL courses in a BL environment, and daily hours of internet use for English study), students taught by teachers who actively used the incorporated CALL modes exhibited, on average, more positive attitudes toward the CALL modes in BL (M4 in Table 3). Specifically, as the scores on student-reported teachers' use of the CALL modes double (i.e., 100% difference), the score on learners' attitudes is, on average, about 7 points higher (beta = 6.95; p < 0.001). This tells us that as the scores of L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes get larger, students' positive attitudes toward the CALL modes increase at a slower rate. In addition, students with better computer skills showed a more positive attitude toward the CALL modes (beta = 0.11; p < 0.001 in M4).

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Note. Cell entries are estimated regression coefficients and (standard errors). Log2 (L2 Teachers' use of the CALL modes) = log2 (Teacher's use of the incorporated CALL modes under BL). General computer skills = students' general computer skills. Number taking BL courses before = Number taking EFL courses in BL before. Hours on the internet = Daily hours spent on the internet for general purpose. Hours on the internet for English study = Daily hours spent on the internet for English-study purpose. RMSE = Root Mean Square Error.

ns = non-significant. ~p < 0.10. *p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. ***p < 0.001.

Although students' other characteristics (such as gender, grade year, age, prior experience of taking EFL courses under different BL environments, and daily hours spent on the internet for general and English study purposes) did not contribute to explaining the variation in learners' attitudes as much as language teachers' role and students' computer skills (R2 difference between M3 and M2 is 3.9%), some of the characteristics had a statistically significant association with students' attitudes. Not only did students who had more experience of learning English under the BL environment show more positive attitudes toward the use of CALL modes (beta = 0.47, p < 0.05 in M4), but those who spent more time studying English on the internet also exhibited more positive attitudes (beta = 1.27, p < 0.10 in M4). In contrast, attitude scores decreased by an average of 0.48 with each additional year of students' age (beta = - 0.48, p < 0.05 in M4).

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In order to display the magnitude and direction of the detected effect of language teachers' use of the CALL modes on students' attitudes toward the CALL modes, Figure 1 shows the fitted learners' attitude scores from Model 4 by the level of learners' general computer skills (high for one standard deviation above the mean, medium for mean, and low for one standard deviation below the mean).

Figure 1

Fitted Values of Learners' Attitudes Toward the Incorporated CALL Modes under BL Versus Their Reported Teachers' Use of the CALL Modes by the Level of Students' General Computer Skills (low, medium, and high score on general computer skills) from Model 4 in Table 3

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Students reporting teachers' active involvement in using CALL modes showed, on average, more positive attitudes toward the use of CALL modes, given equivalent other characteristics. The slope of the lines indicates the effect of language teachers' use of the CALL modes on the students' attitudes, which is about 7 points higher in students' attitude scores for every doubling of the score of language teachers' use of the CALL modes. Additionally, Figure 1 reveals that students' general computer skills were associated with students' attitudes toward the CALL modes. The vertical difference between the three lines indicates that students with more computer literacy skills showed more positive attitudes toward the use of CALL modes than did those with fewer computer literacy skills, given the students' other characteristics.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between collegiate EFL learners' attitudes toward incorporated CALL modes in the BL environment and their teachers' use of the CALL modes, taking into consideration other factors relevant to learners' attitudes in the process of BL implementation. A small body of literature on the implementation of BL in L2 education suggests an important link between language learners' responses to incorporated CALL modes and language teachers' use of the CALL modes for achieving successful

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BL implementation; however, there has been relatively little empirical research that examines the link under BL in highly technology-enhanced EFL contexts, while taking into account other factors found to be relevant to learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes. This study addressed this gap by examining the relationship between collegiate Korean EFL students' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes under BL and the student-reported teachers' use of the CALL modes.

Consistent with a small body of previous research on BL implementation in L2 instruction (e.g., Ayres, 2002; Esch & Zähner, 2000; Stracke, 2007; Ushida, 2005), we found that the participating Korean EFL learners' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes in the BL environment were positively associated with their teachers' use of the CALL modes even after we took into account the students' other characteristics relevant to their attitudes. Specifically, every doubling in the scores of student-reported L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes (i.e., 100% difference in the score) was positively associated with a 7-point difference in students' attitudes toward the CALL modes. This indicates that as L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes increases, students' positive attitudes toward the CALL modes increase at a slower rate. This finding suggests that students working with teachers who do not use the incorporated CALL modes very much seem to have more positive changes in their attitudes toward the CALL modes as their teachers' use of the CALL modes increases compared to students working with teachers who are already actively using the CALL modes. Our finding about the magnitude of L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes cannot be an absolute criterion for the relationship between learners' attitudes toward CALL modes under BL and L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes. However, it can give us a sense of how learners' attitudes change in relation to L2 teachers' use of CALL modes, given equivalent other characteristics of language learners.

In addition, our data showed that students with higher computer literacy skills were more likely to have positive attitudes toward incorporated CALL modes than did those with lower computer literacy skills, given equivalent L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes. This provides some support for previous findings and suggestions about the importance of learners' confidence in dealing with computer technology (Coryell & Chlup, 2007; Hubbard, 2004; Ushida, 2005). It is also important to note that learners' level of knowledge about (or familiarity with) computer technology does not necessarily guarantee successful BL implementation because even the attitudes toward the CALL modes of students with relatively higher computer literacy skills are positively associated with L2 teachers' use of the CALL modes. Moreover, learners' computer literacy skills seem to be another important predictive variable to be considered when accounting for learners' attitudes toward CALL modes on the grounds of the proportion of the variation in students' attitudes explained by the two variables (L2 teachers' use of CALL modes and learners' computer literacy skills).

None of the previous studies on BL implementation that have examined the relationship between L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes and learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes has considered learners' prior experience of language learning under BL as a variable which potentially influences their attitude toward CALL modes. Accordingly, an additional finding of the present study worth noting is that students with more language learning experience in the BL environment were more likely to have positive attitudes toward CALL modes. It is interesting to speculate on possible reasons why students with more BL experience expressed more positive attitudes toward the CALL modes than did those with less BL experience. One possibility is that students become aware of the synergistic advantages of CALL technology in BL through their multiple experiences of BL, leading to their understanding of CALL technology as a useful tool for L2 teaching and learning used with FtF-based instruction.

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We can draw a couple of implications from the present study. First, the effect of L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes on students' attitudes toward the CALL modes shows what language teachers need to do when they plan to (or have to) incorporate BL approaches into their L2 instructional settings. Of particular importance is that L2 teachers take the initiative in using incorporated CALL modes in order to enable their students to positively experience BL along the way, resulting in achieving the intended efficacy of BL for L2 teaching and learning.

Second, what L2 teachers need to do is also closely related to whether using incorporated CALL modes in the BL environment is only the language teachers' responsibility. L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes under BL cannot be guaranteed by their own instructional ability (e.g., teaching experience) or hands-on computer technology skills (Egbert, Paulus, & Nakamichi, 2002; Lam, 2000). L2 teachers' use of CALL modes could be promoted if school administrators and L2 teacher educators attended to furnishing sufficient support to language teachers regarding CALL modes before the teachers begin teaching in a multimodal instructional context. For instance, school administrators should provide support for solving technical glitches and training workshops for the incorporated CALL technology, and L2 teacher educators should provide both future and current L2 teachers with various opportunities to expand their understanding of the pedagogical potential and benefits of CALL technology under BL. Increasing effort has been made to improve CALL in teacher education in recent years to help L2 teachers enter a technology-enhanced language teaching and learning environment with more confidence (Hubbard & Levy, 2006). Still, the findings of this study suggest that L2 teacher educators need to pay more attention to helping L2 teachers "understand the empowering and limiting features of any technology, and what the technology can achieve in relation to the language skills and areas" (Levy & Stockwell, 2006, p. 190) so that L2 teachers can make informed choices about CALL implementation.

Although the current study found a positive relationship between language learners' attitudes toward incorporated CALL modes in BL and their teachers' use of the CALL modes, taking into consideration learners' other characteristics associated with their attitudes, this finding must be interpreted with caution. First, even though we tested a model controlling for students' other characteristics, the number of variables controlled for in the model was limited. In other words, there are many other variables that were not controlled for in the regression model, such as the level of technical problems facing the students in our sample occasioned by their general computer skills or the condition of computers used. Given that technology problems facing students potentially influence learners' attitudes toward CALL modes, our interpretation of the results rests on the assumption that the students in the sample had experienced an equal number and similar kinds of technical problems when they used the CALL modes.

Second, given the research design employed in the current study (i.e., not an experimental study), we were not able to make a causal inference about the impact of L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes on learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes. We tested the hypothesis that language teachers' active involvement in using the incorporated CALL modes under BL would influence language learners' positive attitudes toward the CALL modes. However, it is equally plausible that learners' negative attitudes toward the CALL modes frustrate language teachers' efforts to use the CALL modes, leading to their reluctance to use the CALL modes.

Third, since we relied on the data gathered through the convenient sampling method, generalizing our findings to all EFL contexts should be done with caution. Even in the highly technology-enhanced EFL context, different schools provide different levels of technology-enhanced language teaching and learning environments to both L2 teachers and learners.

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These varied environments may influence both L2 teachers and learners' use of incorporated CALL modes as well as their attitudes toward the CALL modes. In other words, it is unclear to what extent contextual difference might affect the results.

Based on the findings and limitations of the current study, future research on BL implementation can investigate the following:

1. How different are language learners' attitudes toward incorporated CALL modes in BL between those working with teachers who actively use the CALL modes and those using the CALL modes to a limited degree?

2. What factors lead some teachers to use incorporated CALL modes in BL more actively than their colleagues do? For example, do teachers' technology training experiences during pre- and in-service periods contribute to their use of CALL modes in the BL environment?

3. How different is the response to incorporated CALL modes in BL of language learners who have a lot of experience learning a language in the BL environment and of those who have little to no experience?

4. Is there a relationship between difference in context (e.g., the degree of support that L2 teachers receive pertaining to technology from school or school district) and L2 teachers' use of the incorporated CALL modes?

In closing, the current study contributes to the existing literature on BL implementation in L2 instructional settings by providing further support for the importance of L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes in order to achieve the intended efficacy of BL in L2 teaching and learning. Our data showed that L2 teachers' use of incorporated CALL modes in BL is relevant in predicting learners' attitudes toward the CALL modes. It is our hope that the current study has helped to furnish a better understanding of the factors involved in the process of successful BL implementation in L2 instruction.

NOTES

1 Some L2 researchers call this multi-modal learning environment 'hybrid learning' (e.g., Scida & Saury, 2006).

2 In the discussion of BL systems in generic learning contexts, Graham (2006) defines BL systems as combining "face-to-face instruction with computer-mediated instruction" (p. 5.

3 Neumeier (2005), quoting Kerres (2001, p. 276), emphasizes the importance of determining a lead mode (i.e., a mode that plays a primary role in delivering the instruction) in a BL environment because it is essential to establish "a clear layout and a transparent structure of the course design" (p. 166).

4 Although the focus of the study is on general subject teachers, An and Frick (2006) also call for subject teachers' active involvement in using the incorporated computer technology in BL environments for successful BL implementation, arguing that "classroom teachers should note that students believe that CMC will be more effective if instructors use it themselves and if there are practical consequences to students themselves" n.p..

5 See also Prinsen, Volman, and Terwel (2007) for further discussion of gender and CMC in general learning contexts.

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6 Korea is one of the highly technology-enhanced EFL countries. Referring to an Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) report published in 2003, Kim and Santiago (2005) state that "Korea is ranked as the first among the most Internet-wired countries in the world ... Internet broadband coverage is above 98% in small and medium cities and rural areas" (p. 108).

7 See also Warschauer (1999) for the discussion of electronic literacies in L2 education.

8 See also Prinsen et al. (2007) for further discussion of gender and CMC in general learning contexts.

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APPENDIX

Items on Part I (Students' attitudes toward the incorporated CALL modes), Part II (Student-reported English language teachers' use of the CALL modes), and Part III (Students' general computer skills). The original items were written in Korean and distributed to the students.

Part I: Responses are made on a scale of 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = somewhat disagree, 4 = somewhat agree, 5 = agree, 6 = strongly agree.

1) The use of a course website and internet resources should be compulsory for every English class on campus.

2) English language teachers' use of a course website and internet resources helps to provide authentic learning materials to students.

3) English language teacher's use of a course website increases students' interaction out of the classroom.

4) The communication features of a course website (e.g., email or web-discussion board) help students to better communicate with their English language teacher.

5) English language teacher's use of a course website helps to provide students with more supplementary materials for English study.

6) English language teacher's use of a course website and internet resources has a wide range of applications that help students with English language learning.

7) English language teacher's participation in the course website helps to motivate students to learn English.

8) English language teacher's use of course website and internet resources helps students to complement their classroom instruction.

9) English language teacher's use of a course website and internet resources is as important to students as classroom instruction.

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10) The use of course website features (e.g., web-discussion board) as a venue for communicating in English helps to improve students' communication skills in English

Part II: Responses are made on a scale of 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = somewhat disagree, 4 = somewhat agree, 5 = agree, 6 = strongly agree.

1) The teacher of my English class often uses the course website and email for communication with students.

2) The teacher of my English class actively participates in the web-discussion board of the course website.

3) The teacher of my English class often uses the features of the course website (e.g., web-discussion board and material-related sections) to supplement the classroom instruction.

4) The teacher of my English class often uses the course website for providing additional study materials.

5) The teacher of my English class updates the course website on a regular basis.

6) During the classroom instruction, the teacher of my English class encourages students to actively use the course websites.

Part III: Responses are made on a scale of 1 = not at all, 2 = not so well, 3 = okay, 4 = well, 5 = very well.

1) I can create a document.

2) I can open a Web address directly.

3) I can use search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

4) I can use "save as" feature when appropriate.

5) I can use the "reply" and "forward" features of email.

6) I can save text contents off Web pages to a disk.

7) I can save images off Web pages to a disk.

8) I can create a Web site.

9) I can open a previously saved file from any drive/directory.

10) I can attach a file in my email message.

11) I can use the file-compression feature in Windows.

12) I can use the web-discussion board.

13) I can upload/download files from Websites.

14) I can identify the host server from the Web address.

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ACKNOWLEMENTS

We gratefully acknowledge the instructors and the students for their willingness to participate in the study. Kwang Hee Hong thanks Yo-An Lee for helpful comments on an earlier draft and Judith Monseur for proofreading the final draft of the manuscript.

AUTHORS' BIODATA

Kwang Hee Hong received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Foreign and Second Language Education. His research interests include CALL in teacher education, the implementation of CALL technology in L2 classroom settings, and research methods in applied linguistics.

Keiko K. Samimy is Professor in Foreign and Second Language Education at Ohio State University. Her research interests include language learner's affective variables, communicative language teaching, nonnative English speaking teachers, and language learner's willingness to communicate. Her publications have appeared in TESOL Quarterly, Modern Language Journal, Language Learning, and JALT Journal.

AUTHORS' ADDRESSES

Kwang Hee Hong

Foreign and Second Language Education

Ohio State University

1945 Arps Hall

Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: 614 336 4205

Fax: 614 292 7695

Email: hong.143@buckeyemail.osu.edu

Keiko K. Samimy

Foreign and Second Language Education

Ohio State University

1945 Arps Hall

Columbus, OH 43210

Phone: 614 292 7597

Fax: 614 292 7695

Email: samimy.2@osu.edu

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