Implementing a multimodal corpus of TED Talks for teaching academic presentations: Perspectives on EFL learners’ attitudes

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Despite the recognition of the multiple affordances of multimodal corpora in capturing the complex and dynamic nature of real-life communication, their use in L2 classrooms is still limited. Informed by the body of related literature and by research on pedagogic corpora, this research investigates Saudi learners’ attitudes towards using a pedagogic and context-specific corpus to raise their awareness of spoken academic discourse. In particular, this research examines the attitudes of the participants towards the use of a web-based multimodal corpus of TED Talks (MCOTT), and the potential influence of participants’ profiles on their attitudes. Participants are intermediate EFL learners (N=103) enrolled in the foundation year of their tertiary education, and are invited to participate in this exploratory research. Data is gathered through two questionnaires (i.e. learner profile and learner attitude questionnaires), interviews, and classroom observations, and are analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. To investigate learner attitudes, this thesis explores questionnaire results relating to the participants’ perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived behavioural control, affective attitude, and future intentions. Generally, participants indicate positive attitudes towards MCOTT, and no significant issues of concern were reported. Interview and observation data help to extend the understanding of participants’ attitudes through highlighting reasons for participants’ appreciation of MCOTT and TED Talks, as well as offering need-based recommendations for improving the corpus. To determine the possible influence of participants’ profiles on their attitudes, this thesis examines the correlation between participants’ profiles (motivation, attitudes towards oral skills and towards autonomy, and ICT competence) and their attitudes to MCOTT use. Results indicate that there is a positive correlation between all four profile related variables and participants’ attitudes. Finally, while findings reveal the positive attitudes of the participants, questions are raised regarding whether the content of the corpus (i.e. TED) has a significant impact on participants’ attitudes.