Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy 2006
My four-year residency at the University of Maryland has made me realize
that one would never be able to reach the end point of the Ph.D program without
getting tremendous help, support and encouragement from so many individuals. I was
truly blessed indeed to have such a wonderful circle of support. Now it is time for me
to express my deepest appreciation to all of those who helped me, although saying
“thank you” would be never enough.
First, my most sincere gratitude goes to Dr. Rebecca Oxford, my chair and
advisor, who has watched me grow professionally and intellectually from the very
first day of my doctoral program. Without her continued support and guidance,
nothing would have been possible.
I would also like to give my deepest thanks to all my committee members, Dr.
Margaret Ann Kassen for sharing her expertise in foreign language teaching through
technology and introducing Horizon Wimba, Dr. Roberta Lavine for offering
insightful comments on my proposal and introducing “task-based language teaching”
to me, Dr. Joseph McCaleb for graciously accepting my last-minute invitation, and Dr.
Denis Sullivan for encouraging me for the past two years.
I am infinitely grateful to Yaru Meng for all her support, generosity, and
friendship. Thank you so much for entering my life in the nick of time, Yaru!
I can’t thank enough the seven teachers, Chengbing Cheng, Yajun Zhao,
Jiaguang Pang, Xiaoyan Li, Xiaoying Zhao, Xiaoqian Yan, and Dongmei Ge, for
their generous and immediate help. I owe them many thanks. I also thank Lingmin
(Cathy) Gong for her highly efficient assistance. Finally,no one deserves more thanks
than 591 students participating in this study. I was so impressed by their brilliant
I would say a big “thank you” to three women who extended their helping
hands to me while I was suffering for this dissertation, Heather Gorman for her
editing work, Ru Lu for her statistical consulting, and Pamela Hickey for editing
dissertation and shouting “Hi” from Macedonia.
I thank Donna Bain-Butler, Gloria Park, Soo Jung Suh, Chengbin Yin, and
Ying Zhang for always cheering me up, and all EDCI 798 members for the fall
semester, 2005 for the charm bracelet that I will keep forever!
Finally, I am eternally indebted to my parents for sending their wholehearted
support all these years from a distance. Also, I wish to thank my grandparents, who
place great value on scholarship, for always being proud of me.
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