The number of students participating in online-based instruction has grown steadily over the past decade as improvements in Internet availability, speed, and bandwidth have enabled students from around the world to enroll in online courses rather than participate in onsite traditional college courses. Online courses have also provided educational opportunities for language learners that are more convenient and cost effective. With the growth occurring in online instruction, it is critical to ask about the effectiveness of online English language learning. Even though this type of instructional medium has been available for more than a decade, there has been little empirical research documenting the linguistic changes of English language learners as most research has focused on curriculum development or the structure of such courses (Moore and Kearsly, 2005 & Vai & Sosulski, 2011). Moreover, online language courses that have evaluated language development have focused on skills such as reading, writing, and listening (Blake, 2008). In order to investigate the benefits of English language courses taught completely online and the oral fluency gains that learners make within such a course, this study analyzed audio samples produced by intermediate level ESL students during the initial and final speaking tasks of the course. Instruction utilized asynchronous and synchronous interactions between the teacher, tutor, and fellow students. Results showed that fluency features for learners did change over the course of 14 weeks of instruction, and that learners valued the interaction that they had with tutors and faculty during the course.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





ESL, Online Instruction, Oral Fluency Development



Included in

Linguistics Commons