The internet consist the vast collection of information from a variety of sources. It has become an important source of information for many people worldwide. The internet revolution has also hit the educational landscape in many ways. In the years that the internet has come into widespread use for tertiary learning, online learning has become more commonly accepted as an effective medium in education which has been made possible by current technology (Stacey, 1999). In recent years, online education in Malaysia has seen a rapid growth due to the government's attempt in establishing an information rich society and a knowledge-based economy.
The internet has made it possible to establish a new type of learning environment in which responsibility for knowledge building is shifted to the student to construct a meaningful learning experience (Stacey & Rice, 2002). An online medium is an ideal medium for dispersal of learning content (Monahan, Mc Ardle & Bertolotto, 2008). Researchers have suggested that the peer learning approach as one of the most effective instructional strategies for improving students' academic performance. Peer learning is a process for aiding students in achieving particular learning outcomes where the students learn with and from one another without the immediate intervention of a teacher (Choi & Ho, 2002). In view of this, each student act as both the teacher and the learner.
Malay Language is a compulsory subject for all the students. Students must pass the Malay subject to enable them to get PMR or SPM certificate. Researchers find out that the students are not really good in writing essays. This research involves the process of online essay writing by using the e-learning portal to enable students to work collaboratively in order to help the students to improve their writing quality to a better one. Moving on, this will help the students to improve their achievement in the examination especially for Malay language. It is also an effort towards the smart teaching and learning that was anticipated by Ministry of Education through the Smart School concept which was introduced in year 1996. Generally, the implementation is aimed to produce creative and critical students who can face the obstacles in the era of information technology.
Nowadays, if we could expect our students to use computer especially word processing software and also doing online discussion with their peers, everything would be much easier since all their writing work could be done efficiently and quickly. Besides, with internet services, students' writing could be discussed together with all their friends through online. The role of mentor in learning online writing is an innovation that suits the current learning style to get information, share ideas and also to encourage peer review on students' work from smarter student.
There are a few researches that involve in online writing. According to Goldberg (2003), collaborative writing using computer are more integrative and suitable. All the group members will write their first idea and make a more potential draft and also act more quickly with compromising in giving opinion. Therefore, all the members in the group can consolidate their ideas and make quick conclusion if compared to the other group who discuss and use conventional way of writing which is using pen and paper to write.
Nasariah study (2002) showed that students can edit essays written by their peers by using word processor. Students can also share their work with their peers because the writings become easier and look neat. Blake (2000) makes a hypertext link at every paragraph of students writing and also typing comments on errors committed. After commenting on students writing, the teacher will send back the essays in the comments box on the website. Any criticism of each post must be included with the name of the author and eventually students will be given assignment marks through their personal email. Also, according to him, students are encouraged to read the comments on their peer's essay and other sample essays written by the teachers.
Lindblom-Ylanne and Pihlajamaki (2003) stated that students can share their essays draft online which is between peers and also teachers to get comment. They claimed that this method can transfer the process of writing from an individual to other individuals to share and to get support for improvement.
Based on the literature review that emphasizes on the importance of online peers role, researchers find out that study should be made to determine whether writing essay online among one of the secondary school in the Klang Valley is able to improve the quality of students' writing. This is because the findings can be used and shared together among educators.
This research is aimed to answer the research questions below:
Is there any relationship between times spent by the students to interact with their peers mentor online with the marks of writing in Malay language?
Is there any effect of peer mentoring online on the marks of writing in Malay language online between treatment group and control group?
This study is a descriptive study using a questionnaire to collect data. The study population consisted of 60 students from form two students who were selected randomly from one school in Klang Valley. For research purposes, the students are separated according to treatment group and control group. Mentee is made up of six form two students.
This study uses questionnaires for data collection. All the data collected includes a) the time of writing in Malay language online and b) marks of writing in Malay language. For the writing test score for writing in Malay language, the students' marks are obtained by referring to the marks obtained in their first monthly test and also midyear examination for Malay subject in both groups.
Descriptive analysis is made on the data for three main variables, namely the period of learning writing in Malay language online, writing scores for Malay language for control groups and writing scores for Malay language for treatment groups. Table 1 shows that the majority of the respondents 15(50%) learned writing in Malay language online for 1 hour, 4(13%) respondents spent 2 hours, 7(23%) learned for 3 hours, and the remaining of 2 students learned for 4 hours and 5 hours with percentage of 7% of the total of the respondents. Most of the respondents held the interaction between 1 to 3 hours in a week.
Background profile of the sample for the learning of Malay Language online.
Period of writing in Malay Language online.
For the score of the writing in Malay language treatment group, table 2 shows that 23% of the respondents scored between 75 to 100. 42% scored between 60 to 74 and 35% scored between 0 to 59. Mean score for the marks is 64 and the median score for treatment group is 65.
Background profile of the sample for the writing score of Malay language for treatment group.
Writing Score of Malay Language for Treatment Group
74 - 60 (Average)
59 - 0 (Weak)
For the control group, the marks for the writing of BM are shown in Table 3. It was found that 37% of the respondents scored between 75 to 100. 33% scored between 60 to 74 and the remaining of 30% of the respondents scored between 0 to 59 marks. Meanwhile, the mean which the average score of the marks of writing in Malay language for control group is
68, followed by the median of the score which is 70.
Background Profile of the Sample for the Writing Score of Malay Language for Control Group.
Writing Score of Malay Language for Control Group
74- 60 (Average)
59 - 0 (Weak)
All in all, Table 1, 2 and 3 clearly show that the background profile of the sample of the respondents consisted of various samples that are randomly selected and are in balance. This is because the background profile of the respondents is not enclosed under a specific category or in specific groups. In terms of the percentage of the mean, median and standard deviation of the marks obtained from the Malay Writing Test for both treatment and control groups are balanced.
Inferential analysis is used to study the relationship between the time of using the portals and the score of using Pearson Correlation as shown in Table 4. Pearson correlation analysis shows that there are strong positive relationship between the time spent by the students to interact with their peers mentor online with the achievement of the scores of writing in Malay language where r(28)=.549,p<0.01.
Pearson correlation between time spent online with the writing score of Malay language.
Time Spent in Using the Portal
Writing Score of Malay language
T-test is used to see the effects of online peer mentoring on the learning of online writing in Malay language. Table 5 shows that t-test for the post test score of writing in Malay language for control group and treatment group. This shows that there are significant differences between the marks obtained by treatment group (Mean = 60.40, SD = 10.036) and control group (Mean = 49.83, SD = 6.889) for Malay writing, t (58) = 4.783, p< .05. According to Cohen (1998) cited from Ananda (2009), the value of 1.25 indicates a large effect size. This proves that online peer mentoring give a major impact on the score of writing in Malay language.
T- Test for Writing Score in Malay Language for the Students in Treatment and Control Groups.
Overall, the research result shows that students achieve a good level of achievement in writing in Malay language after using the e-learning portal. This is consistent with the findings by Passig and Schwartz (2007) who found out that the use of internet with the help from peer mentors in learning writing can enhance the students' academic writing especially in term of grammar use. Mentors can also enhance their skill of essay editing. Jamaluddin and Hashimah (2005) also found that students can write and manipulate the content of the essay more orderly, complete with the descriptions and suitable examples when using internet as a medium of writing essays.
Athaus (1997), as cited in Hulsizer and Woolf (2009), discussed that students who take part in face-to-face discussions in class as well as computer-mediated discussion groups are more likely to earn higher grades than those students who only participate in the classroom discussion. This contradicts Hong et al. (2003) report that there is no significance difference in learning achievement between students who taking Web-based courses and students who enrolled in traditional face-to-face classes in most of the studies.
Based on the findings, researchers found out that learning technique of online essay writing should be used by teachers in T & L as it can help students in generating orderly and neat ideas. Observation also plays an important role if the teachers want to see the impact of online teaching. Besides that, teachers should also provide appropriate time to disclose the online learning techniques to the students and at the same time constantly evaluate the students' essays to determine the level of students' achievement.
The use of e-learning portal in T & L process should be extended to all subjects in research school. Workshops for all teachers should be held to expose the teachers on the use of e-learning portal. The same study should also be done by involving more participants in the same school which is by getting all students who are taking Malay Language to get involve. The administrators should also monitor the progress of T & L activities through online. The commitment shown by the administrators will help the students and teachers to be more serious in the realization of online learning.
Through the e-learning portal, not only teachers and students can share ideas and knowledge, but also it can be beneficial to parents as they can monitor all the activities done by their children. Students' absences to school or teachers' absences to class due to some courses or meeting are not a barrier in achieving the learning objectives.
Learning writing through online with guidance from mentor is in line with the technological developments and the policy of Ministry of Education which is teaching Malay Language across the curriculum. In an effort to increase the learning culture of online learning, we need a paradigm shift as a platform to move forward. We need to create a community who collaborate through online where teachers, students and parents connect through the internet.