Exploring the affordances of WeChat for facilitating teaching, social and cognitive presence in semi-synchronous language exchange


  • Yuping Wang School of Languages and Linguistics, Griffith University
  • Wei-Chieh Fang Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat-sen University
  • Julia Han School of Languages and Linguistics, Griffith University
  • Nian-Shing Chen National Sun Yat-sen University




Community of Inquiry, WeChat, language exchange, affordances, semi-synchronous


This research is an exploratory study that evaluates the affordances of WeChat for the development of a community of inquiry (CoI) in semi-synchronous language exchange supported by WeChat.WeChat is an instant messenger that facilitates a multimodal environment in which interaction can happen synchronously, semi-synchronously and asynchronously through text, audio, video conferencing and a variety of pedagogically facilitating affordances. Differing from most existing studies in CoI, this research investigates all three presences in the CoI framework, that is, teaching, social, and cognitive presence, as they emerged in the language exchange between students of Mandarin Chinese and students of English. The findings from this research confirm the establishment of the three presences in CoI, but with features specific to WeChat-supported semi-synchronous language exchange. Recommendations for future research into CoI facilitated by WeChat are also put forward.


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Author Biography

Nian-Shing Chen, National Sun Yat-sen University

Dr. Nian-Shing Chen is Chair Professor at the Department of Information Management in the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan. He has published over 350 papers in the international referred journals, conferences and book chapters. One of his papers published in Innovations in Education and Teaching International was awarded as the top cited article in 2010. He is the author of three books with one textbook entitled “e-Learning Theory & Practice”.Prof. Chen received the national outstanding research awards from the National Science Council, Taiwan in 2008 and 2011-2013. His current research interests include assessing e-Learning course performance; online synchronous teaching & learning; mobile & ubiquitous learning; natural user interface & game-based learning. Prof. Chen is serving as editorial board members for many international journals and guest editors for more than 10 special issues of international journals. He has also organized and chaired numerous international conferences and workshops in the area of advanced learning technologies. Professor Chen is a senior member of IEEE, ACM and the Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology (http://lttf.ieee.org/). He is Co-Editors-In-Chief of the SSCI-indexed Journal of Educational Technology & Society.




How to Cite

Wang, Y., Fang, W.-C., Han, J., & Chen, N.-S. (2016). Exploring the affordances of WeChat for facilitating teaching, social and cognitive presence in semi-synchronous language exchange. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(4). https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2640