IN PURSUIT OF ALTERNATIVES IN ELT METHODOLOGY: WEBQUESTS
Although the Internet has opened up a vast new source of information for university students to use and explore, many students lack the skills to find, critically evaluate and intelligently exploit web-based resources. This problem is accentuated in English-medium universities where students learn and use English as a foreign language. In these cases, the task of finding and extracting relevant and useful information is daunting for students. Also, they spend too much time looking for information and become demotivated or end up copying and pasting without enough time to think critically about the issues.
In response to the challenges faced by students in effectively exploiting web-based resources, the School of Foreign Languages, Eastern Mediterranean University, has recently begun using a new approach developed in the late nineties in America known as WebQuests. The Modern Languages Division of the SFL provides service English courses for students studying in various departments, and one of its aims is to link English language with concepts used in the departments by benefiting from the resources on the Internet. The underlying principles inherent in the design and implementation of WebQuests provide a reason and motivation for students to use and produce English with real tasks relevant to their departments while exploiting the richness of the Internet. It can be further surmised that the use of WebQuests has broader implications in helping students develop better digital literacy, even when English is not their native language.
This study introduces the idea of WebQuests and the adaptation of this approach using sample tasks which were developed and piloted at the Modern Languages Division, SFL, EMU. In this article the details in the preparation, design, implementation of WebQuests and the results obtained from teacher and student questionnaires are presented.