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1.1 Introduction

The emergence of internet offers an effective means of opening new horizons for Foreign Language (FL) learning and teaching. Two different dimensions of computer-mediated communication (CMC) which has an important role in educational settings are asynchronous exchange (e.g., emails and discussion boards) and synchronous interaction in real time (e.g., chat rooms and video conferences) give unique learning conditions for FL learners to expand the use of the target language and thus develop their communicative language skills (Abrams, 2003; Blake, 2000). A number of studies have documented the advantages of online technologies (Smith, 2003; Warschauer, 2000), online learning creates a friendly and low-anxiety learning environment that allows “all” rather than “some” students to participate (Kern, 1995; Lee, 2002, Magnan, Farrell, Jan, Lee, Tsai, & Worth, 2003) and make students   improve their communicative skills faster than ever before.

Although web-based language learners might choose to limit their online connection times, or they may not have access at all due to the connection problems, computers have a variety of offline software such as e-books and audio books which mostly lack the interactional factors but conquer this problem. They can be used by learners on their computers without any necessity for connection to the internet. In so many developing countries where the internet connections have a very low speed, these offline materials look so invaluable since they can prevent students from wasting their time.

The impact of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) on FL learning has been approved by so many researches (Kelm, 1992; Ker1995; Ortega, 1997).

Given the characteristics of computer assisted language learning (CALL) as a medium of education, there seems to be a need to consider learners’ characteristics as an indivisible part of learning.  In Ozlem Bayat (2011, p.107) words “EFL learners are responsible for finding settings outside school where the target language is used, for example: the internet, participation in certain activities and using self-access canters”.

Autonomous learners are those who seek the opportunities to learn outside   برای دانلود متن کامل پایان نامه ها اینجا کلیک کنید classroom setting and create their own instructional settings freed from the teacher (Breen & Mann, 1997). It is critical for learners to take advantage of as many opportunities as they can to learn and use the target language. Computers as a prominent part of these opportunities can help learners to foster their autonomy but the way in which they can be used is controvertible.

In area of language learning, speaking  skills  have  a  privileged  status  in  the  language-learning  world (Egan,  1999).  Both  educators  and  language  learners  consider  speaking  a fundamental  communicative  skill  in  which  development  is  often  expected. However, evidence reveals  that foreign 


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