Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Sebastien Dubreil, Trena M. Paulus

Committee Members

Katherine H. Greenberg, Dolly J. Young, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch


This dissertation seeks to broaden how researchers within computer-assisted language learning (CALL) make sense of and examine psychological and power constructs at play in language courses conducted in 3D multiuser virtual environments. 18 students and 2 teachers in 8 formal English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the 3D multiuser virtual environment of Second Life participated in a discourse analysis study to explore the theoretical and analytic ways in which critical discursive psychology could function to explore how teaching and learning are performed as interactional events in a community of language teachers and learners in Second Life by investigating the use of interpretative repertoires, ideological dilemmas and subject positions during these interactions and considering the implications of what is noticed. Transcriptions and field notes of screen recordings from the 8 classes were the primary source of data. Findings drawn from the classes pointed to how the participants’ discursive practices worked to reframe orientations to pedagogical ideologies rhetorically, and how misunderstandings could be operationalized in ways divergent from their target language abilities. Broader implications of this research are then discussed, along with suggestions for teachers and researchers working within virtual environments, as well as desiderata for future research both from the findings shared and the data that was beyond the scope of this research.

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