Support From A Distance: Perceptions Of Malaysıan 
Students On Computer Mediated Collaborative Learning

Siti Hamin STAPA
Maureen Shyamala RAJAMONEY

The aim of this paper is to report findings from an on-going research using Computer-supported Collaborative Learning in an ESL classroom in Malaysia. Collaboration is the act of working together to produce a piece of work. Collaborative learning deals with instructional methods that seek to promote learning through collaborative efforts among students working on a given task. Class based CL fits well with the philosophy of teaching: working together, building together, learning together, changing together and improving together. Computer-supported CL (CSCL) has an impact on the development of deep thinking about ideas as students are engaged in writing rather than talking. By doing so, they have more time to think about the responses; able to engage in developing arguments; have time to follow up references and read literature, etc. Selected students from Malaysia were asked to work collaboratively (through e-mail) with students from the USA. At the end of the collaborative activities they were expected to complete written projects. The students were interviewed on their perceptions on this innovative way of learning. The findings indicate that the students have responded positively towards computer supported collaborative learning.

KEYWORDS: Collaborative learning, Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, ESL Classroom, Class Based CL