Educational Technology & Society 3(3) 2000
ISSN 1436-4522

The Mystery Project: Bridging the Gap On-line

Esther J Dunbar
Lecturer in EFL
EFL Unit, Hetherington Building
University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RS
Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 141 330 4569
Fax: +44 141 339 1119
E.Dunbar@efl.arts.gla.ac.uk

Susan Linklater
CALL Developer
EFL Unit, Hetherington Building
University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RS
Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 141 330 4569
Fax: +44 141 339 1119
S.Linklater@efl.arts.gla.ac.uk

David Oakey
Tutor in EFL
Language Institute, University of Hull
Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Tel: +44 1482 465843
Fax: +44 1482 466180
D.J.Oakey@selc.hull.ac.uk


ABSTRACT

This paper presents a case study of a web-based on-line collaborative academic writing project by students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at two Higher Education institutions in the UK. The project aimed to develop the students’ academic writing in English by exploiting the informational and geographical gaps between them. The study outlines the logistical requirements of such a project and describes why changes had to be made to the set tasks. It then discusses the observations made and illustrates them with examples from the data.

Keywords: English for academic purposes, Task-based learning, Writing, On-line collaboration


Introduction

The use of a task-based approach to language teaching is well established in the teaching of EFL. During the 1980s, results from second language acquisition research suggested that classroom tasks which required a focus on meaning were more beneficial to language learners than exercises and activities which focused on particular linguistic forms (Skehan 1996). Long and Crookes (1993) subsequently proposed a task-based syllabus, and Swales (1990), Robinson and Ross (1996), and Willis (1996) have all used some kind of “task” as a basic pedagogical tool. Willis defines task as “a goal-oriented activity in which learners use language to achieve a real outcome,” (Willis 1996), later elaborated as “creating a final product that can be appreciated by others.” (Willis 1998). In recent years, the application of a task-based approach to on-line learning has also been encouraged (Warschauer 1997; Felix 1999). However, Warschauer (op. cit.) has also stressed that more research is needed into the ways in which tasks can be applied to computer mediated communication (CMC).

The authors of this paper work in the United Kingdom at the universities of Glasgow and Hull teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to students whose first language is not English. The authors devote part of the EAP syllabus to task-based learning via CMC, and have observed the strengths and weaknesses of on-line learning within their own institutions. At Glasgow, for example, students have performed well in CMC-based collaborative writing tasks. At Hull, on the other hand, it was observed that students were unenthusiastic about collaborating on on-line tasks with students they saw regularly in other classes; this is the widely-observed impediment that “students don’t want to participate on-line if they see each other every day in real life.” (Hartley et al 1999).

The authors felt that the geographical separation between the two sets of students, about 250 miles, might motivate them to work together to complete on-line writing tasks. After an informal three-week trial at the end of June 1999, a longer project of ten weeks was proposed. This aimed to develop students’ academic writing in English by means of on-line asynchronous collaborative writing tasks. This paper will outline the background and procedures involved in the project, and will discuss the observations made in terms of the frequency and quality of on-line participation.

 

Student Profile

The project involved two groups of around ten full time EFL students, one from each university. They were mostly intermediate level (i.e. approximately 4.5 -5.00 on the IELTS test); however, three of the Glasgow students were upper intermediate (approximately 5.5 - 6 on IELTS). The students came from different countries and spoke a variety of first languages, (Mandarin, Cantonese, Bahasa Malaysia, Arabic, Japanese and Spanish), and ranged in age from 19 to 40. All of them were familiar with using IT for English and study skills since they had previously had IT instruction as part of their respective courses.

 

Hardware/Software

The students at both institutions had access to networked PCs in computer clusters. The software used for communication between students was Discus, a web-based ‘Discussion Board’ application (http://www.discusware.com/discus/) kept on the University of Glasgow server. This allows users to communicate asynchronously by sending text messages to a space on the web (i.e. the discussion board) which others can then read and respond to. The messages stay there until the administrator chooses to move or delete them. Messages (or ‘postings’) can be grouped according to user-defined topics or ‘conversations’. In order to contribute to a conversation, students have to use their own unique username and password combination. This means that others can see exactly who has posted a particular message; it also prevents any unwanted ‘outside’ contributions. While the discussion board was the mainstay of the project, some tasks also required use of external websites which were researched by the students themselves.

Students at Hull already had an on-line component of their EFL course on Merlin, the university’s own web-based learning environment (http://www.hull.ac.uk/merlin/). Students logged on to the Merlin website as normal and followed a link from there to the Glasgow discussion board.

 

Logistics and Timetable

Tutors used email and telephone to communicate with each other about the project, which lasted for ten weeks. This was divided into two parts of five weeks each (hereafter referred to as Block 1 and Block 2), corresponding with the Glasgow system of 5-week teaching ‘blocks’ and the Hull modular full-time ‘Bridge’ EFL course. The classes met with their own tutors in a networked computer cluster at their respective places of study. At Glasgow there were two face-to-face hours every week whereas the Hull students had only two such contact session during the first block; this changed during the second block to weekly sessions.  

 

Tasks

The aim of both institutions’ EAP courses is to develop students’ use of the written English used in academic contexts. The courses adopt a functional approach to text production by which they follow tasks to produce text types with various function such as description, comparing and contrasting, and describing causal relationships, among others (Jordan 1992).

The project was initially planned to last for ten weeks with a progressive series of tasks which aimed for each student to produce four types of text: a description, a classification, a definition and a compare and contrast. However, for reasons explained below, the goals were changed after the end of the first 5-week block. Thus the tasks involved are described within the framework of the two teaching blocks. For each block, there is an outline of what the students were expected to achieve, followed by a more detailed description of what was involved.

 

Block 1

Task: students choose a topic to research on the web (e.g. an aspect of their own culture or country) and to form the basis of a short descriptive piece of writing. This should involve:

  • Researching and writing an initial draft to be posted on the discussion board
  • Reading and commenting on other students’ contributions
  • Responding to comments on their own work
  • Revising work in response to others’ comments and posting to discussion board

 

The aim of the first part of the project was for students to choose a subject (for example, Japanese Tea), conduct a brief search of the web for sources of information regarding the subject, then post a short descriptive piece about it. References were to be included in the form of hypertext links from within the discussion board to external websites used as sources. The intention was for all students to post a version of their work to the discussion board each week so that they, rather than the tutors, could comment on each others’ writing, for example by asking for clarification or expansion of a particular point. Responses to others’ comments were, where appropriate, to be reflected in the final piece of writing (thus displaying an awareness of audience), based on further web-based research if necessary.

As part of the aim was to raise awareness of appropriate use of register, two separate areas were created on the discussion board entitled the ‘Café’ and the ‘Seminar Room’. Students were told that they were obliged to contribute to the seminar room at least once a week, but that the café was optional. Any ‘chatty’, personal conversation was to take place in the café whereas the seminar room was to contain the work produced for the academic writing tasks set.

However, in terms of frequency of contributions to the discussion board during Block 1, the level of interaction was not quite as successful as was hoped, particularly from the Hull students. It became apparent that most of the Hull students were anxious to produce a tutor-corrected piece before they posted it publicly on the discussion board, and consequently submitted their description texts to their tutor on paper for checking before the Glasgow students saw them. They thus seemed initially to have missed the whole point of the exercise. This point is returned to below.

 

Block 2

Subtask 1: students to set and solve clues to mystery people, objects or places, posted on the discussion board.This is to involve students:

  • Wk 1 – reading and trying to solve mystery clues; then devising a mystery of their own
  • Wk 2 – solving mysteries set by other students

 

Subtask 2: classifying all solved mysteries on discussion board.

  • Wk 3 – students divided into inter-university teams. Each team is to devise a classification system for the mysteries and post this to the discussion board
  • Wk 4 – each team looks at partners’ suggestions and attempts to agree on final system of classification

 

Subtask3: summarising mysteries

  • Wk 5 – individual written task to be posted to the discussion board.

 

To encourage a greater level of interaction and therefore collaboration, it was decided, for the second block, to change the focus more explicitly from the final product to the process involved. Thus the task for the second stage of the project was broken down into more manageable components, each with specific language skills as its basis. The final piece of writing would be the result of a gradual building up of specific skills, detailed below.

To this end the tutors designed a ‘mystery project’. Since the aim was to draw the students’ attention more explicitly to the process, this was split into three subtasks. The first involved each student composing three clues to the identity of a mystery object, person or place. The others had to guess the mystery: where necessary they had to ask for further clues, and they were also encouraged to choose suitable keywords and use these to search for the answers on the web. The contributions to the discussion board were to be short, and were to show the use of language structures involved in seeking and giving clarification, justification and referencing. Again, where websites had been used, hyperlinks were to be included, along with a short description. The concept of the seminar room versus the café was unnecessary for this stage of the project, so it was abandoned altogether.

The second subtask was designed to encourage more explicit collaboration. Once several mysteries had been set and solved, the students were divided into teams of four, two members from each university. The teams were grouped according to language level. The teams had to collaborate with each other using the discussion board in order to agree on a classification system for all the mysteries. The contributions were to show use of skills such as negotiation, agreement/disagreement and classification. For example, each part of the team (i.e. the Glasgow half and the Hull half) would post a message to the discussion board detailing their suggested classification system. They were then to comment on the system proposed by their team-mates from the other university and attempt to agree on a final system of classification.

The third and final subtask required each student to make an individual contribution to the discussion board. Based on the results of the team work, it was to include a summary of the group of mysteries they found most interesting, a sentence to describe each relevant hyperlink, and the students’ own choice of the best link for that group.

 

Observations

The weekly classes devoted to the project gave tutors the opportunity to observe how the students worked in the on-line environment described. Tutors both talked to students and watched what they did. The discussion board itself (http://r11-06.arts.gla.ac.uk/EFLdiscussion/) also provided a valuable record of the project. The observations made are discussed below in terms of frequency and quality of participation.

 

Frequency of Participation

Block 1

It was expected that the opportunity to communicate with a similar group of students in another part of the UK would encourage inter-group collaboration in the form of discussion board conversations about the writing tasks they were required to fulfil. Initially, the students were very enthusiastic about ‘making new friends’ via the discussion board.

However, the majority of the students did not participate as expected during Block 1, particularly among the Hull group. Of the 12 Hull students involved in this part of the project, all contributed at least once to the café (with only 3 contributing beyond their initial introductory posting) while only 6 of them contributed to the seminar room (only 1 of them more than once). There were nine Glasgow students participating at this stage. They all (except one low-level student who was absent after the first week) contributed to both the café and the seminar room, with four of them contributing more than once to both areas of the discussion board. The pattern of contributions per student in Block 1 is illustrated in the two charts below (figs. 1a and 1b).

 


 


 


Block 2

The different set of tasks which comprised the second part of the project (i.e. Block 2) produced much more successful results in terms of contributions to the discussion board (see fig.2 below). The most immediately obvious factor accounting for this seemed to be the activity involved: there was a genuine information gap, and the format of three short clues to be solved seemed to inspire everyone, even the lowest level students. Significantly, although the students were required to set and solve only one mystery each in the first subtask, they did much more than this, often outside class time. The contributions could be short, and there was a real need to interact with others in order to find the answers to the various mysteries and, in the second subtask, to negotiate a classification with team mates. In addition the Hull group had more tutor contact time, and both groups of students had more clearly defined weekly goals. These were delivered to the students both orally and on the discussion board.

 


 


Quality of Participation

Quality of participation was judged in terms of satisfactory completion of weekly goals, including appropriate use of the language skills specified previously. It has already been shown that there was a significant difference between the levels of participation in Blocks 1 and 2.

 

Block 1

Figs 1a and 1b above show clearly that the majority of students did not contribute more than once to the discussion board during Block 1. The Hull students, as we have seen, were particularly reluctant to contribute to the seminar room section, which was a specific requirement of the first part of the project.

However, the Glasgow students, while disappointed at the lack of response from Hull, were not completely discouraged by this: instead, some proceeded to collaborate on-line among themselves, as the following exchange between two of them illustrates:

Mijin: “I’m impressed of your informations about Green Tea which showed a little bit of Japanese culture.

I have got some questions for you if you could reply to me about the origin of Green Tea. Do you know where and when exactly the Green Tea comes from? And I’m also wondering what especially is the Green Tea good for.I’ve heard that the Green Tea can absorb lots of fat, then it means it’s good for diet for young people who want to lose weight and also for old people wanting a healthy life.

So,I’m looking forward to having your reply soon.”

Miki responds: “Thank you very much for your questions, Mijin. I have been wondering same things. Now I finally found the homepage which answers them properly. I hope you will be pleased with its answers.

Some significant effects of green tea are introduced in Edamura homepage which is already mentioned in my previous massage. For instance, the cancer fighting elements, and the importance for the prevention of heart disease and stroke are reported.”

 

Although this is fairly typical of the quality of the exchanges between the Glasgow students, it should be noted that the students involved were of a significantly higher level (IELTS 6) than all of the other students. Also, of the other two Glasgow students who contributed more than once to the seminar room, one was IELTS level 5.5 and the other was IELTS level 4.5, and both were very communicative learners. (The two students quoted above left the course after the first block.) The complete dialogue between Mijin and Miki can be found in the appendix, along with further examples of exchanges between the Glasgow students in the seminar room.

 

Block 2

The significant increase in frequency of participation illustrated in fig. 2 is the result of all of the students satisfactorily completing the “mystery” tasks in Block 2. An analysis of the discussion board contributions for this part of the project revealed certain features of language acquisition and use. These concerned editing and interlanguage change, attention to style and register, and negotiation and interaction. In the first of these areas, students’ enthusiasm for solving a mystery initially outweighed their desire for accuracy, although peer editing took place along with consultation with tutors. New structures needed to complete the task were acquired and reinforced, such as the use of modal verb constructions to express deduction and speculation. In guessing the answers to the various mysteries set, for example, the students often debated on-line the correct identity of a mystery idea or object. This occurred even when students were sitting in the same room. The extract below shows the variation in use of structures when attempting to guess the mystery posted by one of the students:

 

By Mohammed (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 04:20 pm:

What is it ?

It was invented by an arabic person.

This invention revolutionised mathematics to solve many equations .

DO you know what it is ?

---------------------------------------------------------------------

By Gabriele (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 04:31 pm:

I’m Gabriele from Italy

I suppose that 0 is the right answer, it was introduced in Europe only in the 13th century by an Italian.

---------------------------------------------------------------------  By Zaim (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 05:54 pm:

Hi. I’m Zaim from Malaysia.

It might be an algebra which find by MOHAMMAD BIN MUSA AL-KHAWARIZMI.

Check this website

http://www.jamil.com/personalities/#pos16

--------------------------------------------------------------------- By Hussain (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 05:57 pm:

Hiya

My name is Hussain and I’m from Saudi Arabia.

I think the answer could be (zero)0.

 

Hussain

--------------------------------------------------------------------- By Masoud (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 06:03 pm:

HiYa,

I am Masoud from Oman.

Thanswer can be Algebra scince

which invented by Al-Khawarizmi.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

By Meng (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 06:05 pm:

I agree with my Arabia classmate,it must be 0.

Meng Wang

---------------------------------------------------------------------

By Gabriele (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 24, 1999 - 03:47 pm:

I’m Gabriele

The right answer colud be:the zero.

Because it was introduced by an arabic (MOHAMMAD BIN MUSA AL-KHAWARIZMI) in the 800 to solve equations.

check on the link:

 

{http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Quadratic_etc_equations.html}

---------------------------------------------------------------------

By Baoxin (Hull) on Thursday, November 25, 1999 - 05:45 pm:

I think it’s answer is 0.

baoxin

 

In addition to accuracy, students made attempts to achieve the right style and register. The students were told that, while it was acceptable to use a chatty, informal style for certain exchanges (such as when attempting to solve a mystery), the second and third subtasks should employ a more formal, academic tone where possible. In the second subtask (team collaboration in an attempt to classify all of the mysteries), this was achieved to a certain extent, although much of the language employed in negotiating and interacting mirrored the language that would be used in similar face-to-face situations. A typical example of the type of language produced in such an exchange follows:

This is Ali from Iran, and Khaled from libya in group 2. We have classificated all the mysteries in this categories:

The student lists the categories into which he and his partners have placed the mysteries, and his Hull partners reply:

Thanks you. We think we have different answers.

They then list their alternative categories, and continue:

What do your group think about this?

There is then a brief attempt at compromise:

We think that our classification is not so bad, but you are right when you put “amok” in Word category. However we think that:

1)In food category “caviar” isn’t correct, the mistery was about Caspian Sea, the place where there is the best caviar in the world;

2)Our classification appears to be more complete than yours, but we are ready to accept your suggestions.

In the third and final subtask (summarising a chosen category of mysteries), most students made a real effort to employ a more formal writing style. However, none was able to resist completely the more casual language that seems to be engendered by the medium of the discussion board. Thus most contributions at this stage included a friendly greeting as an opener. For example:

Hello everyone in Glasgow and Hull Universities.

I enjoyed of all the mysteries which were made by the students in both universities .

Also I got new information.

But I am very intersted in the old buildings like the Taj Mahal and the...

 

Hello everybody

Are you OK? I am writing about saffron. As you know saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.Iran is the most famous country in the world that saffron grows there,Spain is too...

 

Hello Susan and Ester !!!

I am interested in building classification because it can be a memory for next nations,e.g. Pyramids. Although they were built as graves for Pharohs. The Pharohs ordered the building of the Pyramids because they wanted to be rememmbered eternally as son of the God...

 

Conclusion/Recommendations

Contrary to our expectations, the geographical distance between the two groups seemed to be less important than other motivating factors such as task type or tutor input in achieving satisfactory frequency and quality of participation. Instead, this project has shown how successful collaboration depends on the level of tutor input and, crucially, on the type of task involved. It seems that the disappointing amount of participation in the first block of the project was partly caused by the tutors focusing too early on the final product of the writing project. In addition, the topics chosen during the first block seemed to be of limited interest. This resulted in the production of texts which by their very nature did not provide a forum for meaningful interaction.

By contrast, in Block 2 the task was broken down into the subtasks described, and all of the students were necessarily much more involved in the process of producing the texts. Moreover, the format of the individual mysteries enabled a variety of topics to be chosen which appealed to a broad range of interests. There was a real information gap, which contributed to the overall increase in participation in the second block, and required the authentic use of certain language functions, thus aiding their acquisition and reinforcement. Because of this deeper involvement from the outset, which also enabled the students to ‘get to know each other’, they seemed more able and willing to collaborate with one another in the second subtask. This process in turn prepared the students for the final, individually produced writing assignment in the third subtask.

The influence on the final piece of writing of the some of the more casual exchanges has been noted. Future projects of this type might attempt to address this by merging features of both blocks. Thus the ‘café’ area of Block 1 could provide the forum for tasks such as the first subtask of Block 2, while the other subtasks could be confined to a ‘seminar room’.

The more explicit collaborative element clearly contributed to the success of the writing task in Block 2. It should be remembered, however, that the project involved, for the most part, intermediate level language learners: the successful participation of the upper intermediate Glasgow students in block 1 indicates that more adventurous tasks and less tutor input would be possible with more advanced students.

Overall, the commitment and enjoyment with which the students approached the project made this a very positive teaching and learning experience.

 

References

  • Felix, U. (1999). Web-based language learning: a window to the authentic world. In Debski, R. & Levy, M. (Eds.) WORLDCALL: Global perspectives on Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, 85-98.
  • Hartley, J. R. & Collins-Brown, E. (1999). Effective Pedagogies for Managing Collaborative Learning in On-line Learning Environments. Educational Technology & Society, 2 (2),
    http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_2_99/formal_discussion_0399.html.
  • Jordan, R.R. (1992). Academic Writing Course, London: Nelson.
  • Long, M. H. & Crookes, G. (1993). Units of Analysis in Syllabus Design - The Case for Task. In Long, M. H. & Crookes, G. (Eds.) Tasks in a Pedagogical Context: Integrating Theory and Practice, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  • Robinson, P. & Ross, S. (1996). The Development of Task-Based Assessment in English for Academic Purposes Programs. Applied Linguistics, 17 (4), 455-476.
  • Skehan, P. (1996) Second language acquisition research and task-based learning. In Willis, J. & Willis, D. (Eds.) Challenge and Change in Language Teaching, Oxford: Heinemann, 17-30.
  • Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre Analysis, Cambridge: CUP.
  • University of Glasgow EFL Unit discussion board,
    http://r11-06.arts.gla.ac.uk/EFLdiscussion/.
    (Click “Archive” then “Pre-entry 1999-2000 Term 1” then “Glasgow/Hull collaboration”)
  • Warschauer, M. (1997). Computer-Mediated Collaborative Learning: Theory and Practice,
    http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/web/faculty/markw/cmcl.html.
  • Willis, J. (1996). A flexible framework for task-based learning. In Willis, J. & Willis, D. (Eds.) Challenge and Change in Language Teaching, Oxford: Heinemann, 52-62.
  • Willis, J. (1998). Task-Based Learning: What Kind of Adventure? The Language Teacher On-line, 22 (7),
    http://langue.hyper.chubu.ac.jp/jalt/pub/tlt/98/jul/willis.html.

 

Appendix A. Block 1: ‘Seminar Room’ contributions

"o-cha" Japanese Green Tea

Miki Sakurai (Miki) on Thursday, October 28, 1999 - 04:57 pm:

In Japan, they traditionally drink green tea. But the tea leaves are exactly same as Chinese tea and English tea. The differences between them are the way of processing.

Japanese drink green tea at the end of each meal as a custom. It tastes bit bitter, so it goes very well with Japanese very sweet cookies. But they never add milk or sugar into green tea. It is made by the pot and served in tea cups which do not have any handles. The cups for guests commonly have wooden lids.

To drink delicious tea, first of all, you prepare boiled water and pour it into the cups to make the cups warm and to cool the boiled water down to around 80 degree which is the best temperature. Put the hot water in the cups and adequate amount of tea leaves, into the pot, cover it with the lid and wait about one or two minutes. It is quite reasonable because you can only make as much tea as you need by following this description. The amount of the tea leaves depends on the number or size of cups. Tea leaves can be used only once or twice. The first tea has a beautiful green colour but from the second, it provides the more brown colour as you use.

---For the more detail descriptions of making green tea, please go to Ippondo HP

You can sometimes find the stem of tea in your cup. And you can merely find it floating but not on its side. They call this "Stood stem " and it means good luck. If you are lucky enough to find this in breakfast tea, something very nice will happen to you during that day.

---For the further information, please go to Edamura HpYou can also find some Japanese photoes.

I hope you to enjoy your green tea!!

 

Mijin Han (Mijin) on Wednesday, November 3, 1999 - 03:06 pm:

I'm impressed of your informations about Green Tea which showed a little bit of Japanese culture.

I have got some questions for you if you could reply to me about the origin of Green Tea.Do you know where and when exactly the Green Tea comes from? And I'm also wondering what especially is the Green Tea good for.I've heard that the Green Tea can absorb lots of fat, then it means it's good for diet for young people who want to lose weight and also for old people wanting a healthy life.

So,I'm looking forward to having your reply soon.

Mijin

 

Miki Sakurai (Miki) on Tuesday, November 9, 1999 - 06:07 pm:

Thank you very much for your questions, Mijin. I have been wondering same things. Now I finally found the homepage which answers them properly. I hope you will be pleased with its answers.

Some significant effects of green tea are introduced in Edamura homepage which is already mentioned in my previous massage. For instance, the cancer fighting elements, and the importance for the prevention of heart disease and stroke are reported.

But the most important part for me is "... The tea properties have been shown to strengthen blood vessels and to decrease the cholesterol level in the blood stream. Green tea also aids the digestion process and decreases fat content in the blood..."

More scientific imformation followings and the history of green tea are available at Japanese Green Tea homepage.

Green tea prevents cancer

*Green tea restricts the increase of blood cholesterol

Green tea controls high blood pressure

Green tea lowers the blood sugar level

Green tea suppresses aging

Green tea refreshes the body

Green tea deters food poisoning

Green tea stops cavities

Green tea fights virus

Green tea acts as a functional food

I have to try getting some green tea from now. And I will see if it works on my fat!

I hope you enjoy green tea,too!!!

TEQUILA

 By Paulina Peraldi (Paulina) on Wednesday, November 3, 1999 - 03:09 pm:

TEQUILA…

Tequila is a typical beverage from Mexico. Normally it is produced in the south part of Mexico.

It contains a lot of alcohol, between 40% or 38%, The Tequila is the product obtained from the distillation and fermentation of the mezcal plant scientifically known as Xerofica-Agave-Tequilana.

The process I don’t know really, but I can give you some tips about how you can drink it or mix it….

-The first step is when you bought a bottle of Tequila, you have to check that it is “Made in Mexico” and the grade of alcohol, and it is better if it is 38% of alcohol.

You can mix it with “Lemonade” or “Sprite”, we call this beverage in Mexico

“Muppet”, and in English it is called “Tequila Slammer” you have a small glass for whiskey…

1. - Firstly you put a little bit of tequila in the glass

2. - Secondly you put the “lemonade or sprite”

3. - Rapidly, after the no.2 is done, you have to slam the glass on the table and you have to drink it very quickly, you can’t stop, drink it ALL.

Also we have a typical beverage in Mexico, we call it “Caballitos”.

You have 12 little glasses on the table, every glass full of tequila, and also lemon and salt.

You put a little juice of lemon in your hand with a little bit of salt, after that you have to drink all the little glasses.

 

Mijin Han (Mijin) on Wednesday, November 3, 1999 - 04:28 pm:

Dear Paulina,

It was very interesting to know about tequila which I've never dreamt of drinking it.

However,I'd like to know more about it.

*When did the people start to make tequila?

*Was Mexico the first country which produced it?

*How much tequila do Mexican usually drink -average-a week?(I guess they are very strong with alcohol.)

Then,I'm looking forward to your amazing tequila information.

Mijin

 

Paulina Peraldi (Paulina) on Wednesday, November 10, 1999 - 02:41 pm:

Hi Mijin... Is true that Mexico was the first country to produce tequila.

The people started to made it since a lot of years ago, maybe when America wasn't discovered by the european people.

I think that the normal mexican don't drink it very often, maybe like one glass every weekend, but normally is mixed with other beverage.

http://www.georgian.net/rally/tequila/history.html

this is one place where you can find more information about tequila.

thank you.

About KIM-CHI

 Da Hye Jang (Dahye) on Friday, October 29, 1999 - 01:51 pm:

KOREAN TRADITIONAL FOOD

<KIM-CHI>

KIM-CHI is the most famous traditional food in Korea.

Since 1200's Koreans have made kim-chi.

We have a lot of different types of kim-chi.different types of kim-chi

For example , Some types of kim-chi (we call 'dong chi-mi' the meaning is 'winter kim-chi) this is specially for winter time.

Kim-chi is made of many kinds of vegetables.

The most important vegetables are Korean cabbage and radish. Some kinds of special kim-chi are made from cucumber, green onions or carrots.

The usual kim-chi is made of Korean cabbage with hot red Korean peppers.

And we add garlic, onions, salt and pickles which are made form sea food(it is are traditional Korean sauce).

Usually most kim-chi has a hot flavour from hot red pepper.But some kim-chi made without pepper. (we call 'bec kim-chi.Meaning is White kim-chi)

One of interesting is so long times ago, korean made a lot of kim-chi in end of fall and then they buried the kim-chi on the ground.

Because so long times ago, people couldn't find any vegetables in winter.

So they prepared kim-chi to eat for whole winter.

Cause for the winter, the kim-chi fermented on the Ground.

Also kim-chi is good for health cause it's a ferment food like yougurt.

You will have a occasion to eat 'Korean food', you can try kim-chi .

(If it's too hot for you, you can order another kind of kim-chi)

It will be great for you!

# DAHYE #

 

Mijin Han (Mijin) on Wednesday, November 3, 1999 - 03:17 pm:

Dear Dahye,

I've just been to the site of 'Kim-chi'which made me hungry.

I've got some questions though.Could you introduce me some kind of dishes with Kim-chi? I've heard that it could be made different dishes such as soup,pancake,fried Kim-chi etc.And also if you know the recipe for making it,please tell me next time.

Then,I'm looking forward to having your reply soon.

Mijin

 

Da Hye Jang (Dahye) on Wednesday, November 10, 1999 - 02:20 pm:

Dear Mijin,

I'm so happy to got your massage.

In Korea,there are many types of dishes which made of kim-chi.We have kim-chi hamburger,kim-chi pizza,kim-chi fried rice,kim-chi soup,kim-chi noodle(even thought instant noodle has kim-chi favorite),kim-chi sushi..and so on...

I think,kim-chi might international food.

Because we have a lot of kinds of dishes,so even

Europian enjoying the food with kim-chi.

^^; If we have time,we can meet for kim-chi dishes in Korea.Thank you for your qestion!

 

Appendix B. Block 2: Mysteries (Subtask 1)

Mystery: What is it?

By Zaim Nordin (Zaim) on Monday, November 22, 1999 - 07:17 pm:

Hi,

Can you guess this.

It is part of your body. It can make you good and also bad if you misuse this thing.

It is very important thing.

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  By Khamis Al-Alawi (Khamis) on Thursday, November 25, 1999 - 05:41 pm:

hi Zaim

i think it is the face.

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  By Lucky Adelova (Lucky) on Thursday, November 25, 1999 - 05:46 pm:

hiya Zaim i think it is hair

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  By Zaim Nordin (Zaim) on Thursday, November 25, 1999 - 06:03 pm:

Hi, all your answers is wrong. Try it again.

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  By Ali Mozifi (Ali) on Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 03:09 pm:

Hello!!!!

We are two people who are interested in your mystery but we request more information about its place, function, ......

Thank you

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  By Mohammed Twiel (Twiel) on Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 03:22 pm:

I think it is a tongue.

Is it ?

I am Mohammed from LIBYA.

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  By Paulina Peraldi (Paulina) on Wednesday, December 1, 1999 - 03:43 pm:

Please, can you try to give more clues.

ta

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  By Zaim Nordin (Zaim) on Thursday, December 2, 1999 - 05:40 pm:

Everyday you must use this thing and you can make someone angry is you are misuse this thing. You cannot hurt people with this thing but you can hurt their heart.

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  By Zaim Nordin (Zaim) on Thursday, December 2, 1999 - 05:50 pm:

Thank you for everyone who participated trying to solve this mystery. It is TONGUE.

---------------------------------------------------------------------  By Zaim Nordin (Zaim) on Thursday, December 2, 1999 - 05:54 pm:

Congratulations Mohammed. Your answer is right. Good job. Well done. It is TONGUE

 

Mystery: A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time

By David Oakey (Hull) on Tuesday, November 16, 1999 - 06:27 pm:

What is it?

It is a building completed in 1648.

Some people say it was "designed by giants and finished by jewellers", while others argue that it was the work of an Italian architect.

A poet once described it as "a teardrop on the cheek of time."

Do you know what it is?

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By Zhou Ding (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 02:41 pm:

hello,everyone

I am a newcomer. I think that might be the main building of University of Glasgow.

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By Adel (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:00 pm:

TajMahal

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By Ching (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:04 pm:

the building is "tajmahal.

ching

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By Adel (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:13 pm:

Ithink the answers TajMahal because the poetry and the romance that shroud what Rabindranath Tagore calls "a teardrop on the cheek of time". Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace"

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By Ali (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:14 pm:

Hello !!!

My name is Ali Mozifi and I come from Iran.

I suggest that the answer to this mystery is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

I think that it was founded in 1631 and it must have been finished in 1648.

For mor information please refer to the link given below entitled Taj Mahal.

{http://www.angelfire.com/in/myindia/tajmahal.html, Taj Mahal}

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By Paulina (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:24 pm:

Hello everybody....

I think that this building is the "Tajmahal".

The famous poet was Rabindranath Tagore.

The poetry and the romance that shroud what Rabindranath Tagore calls "a teardrop on the cheek of time". Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world.

The construction began in 1631.

So exquisite is the workmanship that the Taj has been described as "having been designed by giants and finished by jewellers".

It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess.

If you want to read more, you can go to

Tajmahal

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By Ching (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:30 pm:

hello everyone.

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By Ding (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:32 pm:

{http://www.angelfire.com/in/myindia/tajmahal.html, Taj Mahal}

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By Gabriele (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:32 pm:

I'm Gabriele I'm Italian I think that the answer is the Taj Mahal in Angra India because it had been described as a "a teardrop on the cheek of time" by Rabindrath Tagore, BUT I have a doubt because in the site that I found was written that this construction began in 1631 and was completed in 22 years. So 1648 isn't the right year of the completion of this building.

Is 1648 the right date ?

The link is:{http://dons.usfca.edu/~sandme3/taj-text.html, TajMahal}

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By Mohammed (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:34 pm:

Hello everybody, my name is Mohamed,I come from Libya.

The building"a teardrop on the cheek of time" is Taj Mahal.

You can chech in internet using by Altavista engine

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By Siavash (Glasgow) on Wednesday, November 17, 1999 - 03:59 pm:

Hello,everybody

I read about TajMahal from above adress and enjoed that,but you know a Iranian architect designed this beautiful bilding.

Siavash

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By Meng (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 05:43 pm:

hello,everyone,

I like the poetry of Tagore very much.I think it is tajmahal.

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By Baoxin (Hull) on Thursday, November 18, 1999 - 06:00 pm:

hello everybody:

I cann't guess by myself,I get some information form yahoo, so I'm sure it is Tajmahal.


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