In the university where the current research was

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In the university where the current research was carried out, first year students take compulsory beginner level English Language courses (English I and English II) 2 hours per week through distance education. The course has three main components. The coursebook, the e-learning platform, and the online version of the coursebook. The e-learning platform includes the virtual class, videos and exercises prepared by the instructors and other tools which make the course interactive such as e-mail, announcements, etc. The virtual classes are recorded automatically so the ones who missed the class can watch the lesson or the ones who would like to repeat the topics can watch them again. For each unit in the coursebook, instructors load short videos and self-study materials such as worksheets into
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Studies in English Language Teaching Vol. 7, No. 1, 2019 125 Published by SCHOLINK INC. the system. The book has an online version. The online version offers interactive activities and audio- visuals. Students are asked to do the online exercises as their homework. All students’ activities in the e-platform of the university and also in the online version of the book are recorded so that the instructors and the technical staff can follow students’ activities and progress. 3.3 Materials Data was collected through an online likert- scale questionnaire adapted from Yıldırım, Yıldırım, Çelik & Karaman (2014) to investigate the views of distance learners about distance education. The questionnaire was adapted for distance EFL learners for the current study. The questionnaire was composed of 18 items. The items were related to Personal suitability (Items 1-6), Effectiveness (Items 7-11), Teachability (Items 12-15), and Study Habits (Items 16-18). The Cronbach’s alpha for the questionnaire was 0,864. The points of the questionnaire were as follows: 1- Strongly Disagree, 2- Disagree, 3- Undecided, 4- Agree, 5- Strongly Agree. 3.4 Procedure The study was piloted with a group of students in the Faculty of Sciences and Letters using a questionnaire created by the researcher. At the end of the pilot study, it was concluded that most items in the questionnaire were designed for course evaluation rather than identifying the general views of the students on distance English language learning. Therefore, the adapted version of the questionnaire prepared by Yıldırım et al. (2014) was used for the current study. Some findings of the pilot study worth sharing. For example, most students thought that course videos and virtual classrooms were useful. Students agreed that the course was useful for vocabulary learning and grammar learning, and they thought they improved their listening skills. They agreed with the idea that they liked flexibility of time and place. However, 33% of the students did not have any idea of the online activities of the coursebook and 18% of the students stated that they did not find those activities useful.
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