App at a Glance event

Students in my ESL 5073 CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) Spring 2016 are presenting 9 apps that can be used for language teaching and learning this Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 at the JPL Group Spot B Second floor. They have shared their summaries and tutorials in our ESL 5073 class website. Please check it out, and if you can, come and join us during the demo sessions.

Apps demoI took this idea from the 12 Apps of Christmas #12appsDIT, which every year shares one app at a time to all interested and subscribed followers. Their goal is to share one app and explain their uses in education.

For this class, since I teach technology for language teaching and learning, I asked my students to share one app and explain ways in which language teachers and language learners could use it. Taking their basic idea, I wanted my students to explore common apps and create activities following the SAMR model, as one of the tenets of CALL is not merely to substitute what already works with technology but to modify and redesign tasks to take advantages of all that technology affords its users.

I hope you join us, and check out our ESL 5073 class website
. It will always be in the works, so come back and check the updates!!!!


Check out my new publication on Academia

My new paper  “Papers are never finished, just abandoned: The role of written teacher comments in the revision process” co-authored with Joel Bloch has been published in the Journal of Response to Writing edited by Dana Ferris.

This is the abstract:

The debate over the efficacy of written teacher comments has raised a variety of questions for consideration by both researchers and practitioners. Teachers can use written comments, in Vygotsky’s (1978) framework, to scaffold the development of student writing. By reflecting on their own commenting process, a teacher can assess and modify their comments as well as the method by which the comments are delivered. This study examines how four second language (L2) students responded to a series of comments to three papers. The results show that students overwhelmingly followed the strategy training on how to respond to teacher’s comments given during class; however, these changes did not always result in a positive revision. While students believed to have followed the teacher’s suggestions, they did not always pay attention to the paper as a whole, which resulted in problems with coherence or grammar, and even instances of plagiarism. Results indicate that strategy training does not guarantee an outcome of successful revision. This suggests that revision will be more effective for paper development if understood as part of the creative process of writing than mere correction of errors. Based on these results, several proposals are made for modifying the comment process.

MA-TESL student proposals accepted for the 2016 International Symposium on Second Language Writing

CbsBemJUMAAKx4U.jpg-largeCongratulations to our MA-TESL students Marie-Louise and Aurora for having their papers accepted for the 2016 International Symposium on Second Language Writing in Arizona State University in October!!!!

Marie-Louise will present her work on digital literacies, and Aurora will present findings9932787_orig on her upcoming MA thesis on multilingual tutors in writing centers!

Good job Marie-Louise and Aurora!!!!

UTSA MA Student Marie-Louise awarded travel grant

One of our MA TESL students, Marie-Louise Koelzer, was awarded a travel grant to attend the 2016 TESOL International Convention in Baltimore, MA.  She will present a poster during the Graduate Student Forum. Her research areas of interest include CALL, Digital storytelling, digital literacies, and social media. Congrats, Marie! #CALL


My new publication: Appearances can be deceiving when doing #online #ethnography #research

Christiansen, M. S. (2015). Appearances can be deceiving: Risks interpreting data in online ethnographic research. In M. Lengeling & I. Mora Pablo (eds.), Perspectives on Qualitative Research, (pp. 437-456). Guanajuato, Mexico: Universidad de Guanajuato Press.

My latest publication is primarily a methodological piece advocating for a concurrent traditional and online ethnography when interpreting data from online contexts. Online social network sites have become an intricate part of people’s lives, posing new challenges for studying the construction of identities. Despite plentiful studies, researchers still grapple with how to analyze and interpret online data. While some studies are conducted entirely online, other researchers call for the contextualization of online data through limited offline interviews and observations. By conducting a two-year ethnographic research both offline and on Facebook of a social network of transnational Mexicans living in Chicago, my study demonstrates that participants’ identity construction online did not always match and, in some cases, contradicted what happened offline, but in some others, it fully reflected and brought to light what was tacit in face-to-face contexts.  Findings suggest that while certain topics such as language use can be studied effectively using existing approaches, a full concurrent online and offline ethnography is needed to study identity construction to avoid skewed interpretations.

My argument in this paper is not to say that a single method is better than the other (i.e. traditional ethnography is better than online ethnography), but that both are needed in order to get the full picture.


Why writing with an accent? About my new #article in #sociolinguistics

Christiansen, M. S. (2015) ‘A ondi queras’: Ranchero Identity Construction by US Born Mexicans on Facebook. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 19(5), 688-702.

Writing with an accent is an idea that I’ve had since I first began studying Rhetoric and Composition during my master’s degree back in 2005. I first wondered about the idea since I was told much of my writing (not to mention my speaking) in English sounded “weird.” I believe now they were talking about my (non- or mis-) use of collocations-phrases and words that should be together. For example I will say (or write) things like ‘it’s raining dogs and cats’ instead of ‘cats and dogs.’

When I learned about style, I then wondered, how style differs from voice. Then, I realized that as native speakers, everyone had their own way of saying things depending on the variety of English, Spanish, or whatever language they spoke. In other words, I figured, everyone has an accent. It was only logical for me to assume everyone also writes with an accent.

This notion was further complicated when I learned about sociolinguistics and regional accents, or language and gender, class, ethnicity, etc. It’s often obvious when speaking, but in writing, where language is more monitored, would accents still be noticed? It turns out they are. With the rise of digital media and the blend between orality and writing, one can now see how people write as they speak (Crystal has called this way of writing “textspeak” for example). Other words to describe the way we communicate digitally are netspeak and text-talk, both of which allude to the idea of putting our speech into text. Eisenstein and his colleagues have already shown that Twitter users shorten their words differently depending on the variety of English they speak (links to several sources here). Another study that merges the variety of speech and writing is Barbara Johnstone’s study of Pittsburghese accent in t-shirts.

Part of my research agenda is the intersection between sociolinguistics, digital media, and writing. Thus, in my latest publication, I describe how transnational second-generation Mexican bilinguals use “ranchero” Mexican Spanish to communicate on Facebook and construct an identity. Historically, ranchero is an ambivalent identity for Mexican society in general. On the one hand, ranchero culture is a positive reminiscence of Mexico’s agrarian past, while on the other, rancheros, along with indigenous Mexicans, are at the bottom of the social hierarchy in Mexico (they are discriminated against socially and linguistically -they are made fun of and associated with negative educational and social traits). A discourse-centered, ethnographic analysis of digitally mediated conversations demonstrates how language use allows participants to simultaneously reminisce about their collective past, maintain Mexican identities tied to their ancestors, fit their identities to contemporary U.S. Mexican culture, and distance themselves from the stigma associated with the ranchero background.

So, why writing with an accent? Well, in short, to construct and showcase our identities… but it’s much more complicated than that.


Links to web resources

As part of my agenda to foster digital literacy in academic contexts, I always ask my students to develop multimodal projects to either present, synthesize, or summarize the readings for the week. I also ask students to create digital multimodal projects to present their research and other kinds of papers. Below is a list of the digital sources that I commonly use, and that my students widely use. The list is not exhaustive. At the end, there are some links to other lists that are more exhaustive than this one. I hope this helps you also find new ways to present your projects.

Challenge yourself by learning a new resource today!

All of these resources are hyperlinked to their home pages. If for some reason you click on the resource and it does not take you to its home page, please Google it.

To make videos my to go tool is iMovie, in which I can incorporate any of the tools below to create cool projects.

& & &

Want to learn more? There is so much more than these sites. Go here and explore! See for yourself.