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Over the a last few decades, technology
has remarkably progressed with continuous pace, which leads to a great number
of innovations in various fields including education. That was well exemplified
by the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into foreign/second
language teaching and learning, which contributed to the transformation of the
traditional learning settings into technology-facilitated learning setting (Oliver, 2002). As a result,
the application of ICT in L2 teaching and learning generally enhanced learning
performance and efficiency (Edmunds, Thorpe, & Conole, 2012). Also, the use
of Information and Communication Technology enabled students to express their
opinions and thoughts with less stress, more freedom and more motivation in
online interactive environment (Young, 2003). One of the
common tools for creating such environment is the online discussion boards,
which could be of Facebook, Wikipedia, the Learning Management System, etc.

In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City University
of Technology and Education (HCMUTE) is one of the universities which has
implemented the use of the Learning Management System (LMS) into the training
courses for all teachers and students, especially for the EFL learners. The LMS
has recently become commonplace as most of the EFL teachers and students of the
university has made the full use of it to create online interactive classrooms,
where they can do most of the work online such as discussions, assessments and
so on, beside traditional classrooms. However, the sex ratio of the HCMUTE is
not balanced, since it is a technology-based university. The population of male
students is significantly dominant over that of female students in most of the
faculties while vice versa in the others. Additionally, various research showed
that males and females had fairly different experience in online learning
environment (Anderson & Haddad, 2005; DeNeui & Dodge,
2006; Wolfe, 2000). To be more
specific, in terms of sex, the students were different in grades, number of
messages and online interaction when they did online discussion (Bostock* & Lizhi, 2005). Moreover, Barrett and Lally (1999)’s research
asserted that men and women differed distinctively in their roles in online
learning environment, where men made longer messages than their counterpart,
but females’ messages are more interactive than males’. All the findings above
are parts of their participation in online discussion board, which is also the
researcher’s interest. Therefore, this study is aimed to investigate whether
there are any differences between males and females in terms of their
participation patterns in the LMS. Thus, the following question will be raised
for the study: 

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– What are the effects of gender
on UTE-FFL students’ participation patterns in the LMS?

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