From face-to-face to face-to-screen learning: A look into doctoral student sojourners’ experiences of learning thesis writing in a virtual classroom

Wai Kei Vickie Li

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


This is a narrative inquiry into the online learning experiences of three ESL postgraduate sojourners (one from Korea and two from Mainland China) in an English-medium university in Hong Kong. Theoretically informed by Norton’s (2013) work on identity and language learning, seen from a sociocultural lens (Pavlenko & Lantolf, 2000), this study examines the meanings that the student participants attached to their experiences of learning thesis writing online and their identity (re-)construction during the course of their thesis writing learning journey. A narrative of each student’s thesis writing learning experiences was constructed based on the data collected from questionnaires and interviews with the student participants. A thematic analysis was also conducted to highlight the common and idiosyncratic features of thesis writing learning experiences across the three participants. The narratives presented in this study reveal the challenges doctoral students can encounter when they have to learn thesis writing online. This study sheds light on the importance of acknowledging and valorising students’ prior learning experiences and educational backgrounds when developing writing support mechanisms for research students.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusNot published / presented only - 30 May 2021
EventCanadian Society for the Study of Education Annual Conference - University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
Duration: 29 May 20213 Jun 2021


ConferenceCanadian Society for the Study of Education Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleCSSE
Internet address


  • academic English learning
  • Postgraduate education
  • online learning

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