Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online
#CdnELTchat Summary for March 17, 2020
By Bonnie Nicholas
In mid-March, with concern deepening about the coronavirus pandemic, the #CdnELTchat team decided to offer a special chat for instructors who were looking at being forced by these emerging circumstances to pivot to online teaching and learning. Most of us had very little time to prepare for this unexpected change. Almost overnight, new phrases like social distance and flattening the curve have entered our lexicon. Teachers and learners were suddenly looking at their Learning Management Systems (LMS) not as a useful addition to their classroom, but as their virtual (and only) classroom and meeting place for students. Thanks to Nancy Van Dorp (@NancyVanDorp) for stepping up and agreeing to bring her expertise in online and distance learning as our guest moderator.
Thanks as well to all the participants for their openness in sharing their worries and their hopes. Many ELT professionals with experience in online and blended learning shared advice, resources, and tips for instructors who were new to remote learning. We’ve collected the tweets using Wakelet, so they’re easier to read if you’re not on Twitter: Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online. (There are over 350 tweets!) We’ve also created a resources list; this is an open, editable Google Doc, so please continue adding links to useful websites and resources: Resources for Emergency Preparedness: Moving a F2F Class Online.
If there was an overarching theme to the discussion, it was this:
- Lower your expectations. We are all just trying to make the best of an emergent situation. We are not trying to create the perfect online class. We will make mistakes. Technology will fail. This adjustment will take time.
Other suggestions from experienced online instructors that emerged during the chat:
- Start by making sure to maintain connections with your students.
- Think of the learning curve for students as they prepare for online learning.
- Use the tools and resources you have and that your students know how to use.
- Think about access and accessibility; some ISPs may be offering free or increased data capabilities during this challenging time.
- Keep it simple; now is not the time to try everything.
- Reconsider mandatory synchronous sessions; explore asynchronous options instead.
- Plan but be flexible; circumstances will change and plans will need to be adjusted.
- Maintain a strong online teacher presence but set clear boundaries.
- Practice good self-care: exercise, eat well, spend (virtual) time with family and friends.
These are the questions that guided our discussion:
Q1: What are the primary things we have to think about in relation to our ELLs and moving a F2F class online?
Q2: How can I prepare myself and my students to teach/learn remotely on short notice?
Q3: What are some good ways to make remote learning accessible for our ELLs?
Q4: If I can do only one thing well in online teaching, what should it be?
Q5: I’m going to be using online teaching/learning tools for the first time. What do you recommend?
Q6: There is a massive amount of information here on Twitter and elsewhere about moving from F2F to online / remote / distance learning. What is the best advice for teachers who are new to this kind of teaching and learning?
#CdnELTchat is a collaborative effort on Twitter, with a goal of leading to more connected, reflective practice for everyone involved in English language teaching in Canada. Are you passionate about a topic in ELT? Interested in being a guest moderator? Contact one of the team members: Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas), or Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL).
Bonnie Nicholas (@BonnieJNicholas) is an enthusiastic participant in the bi-monthly #CdnELTchat as well as a member of the #CdnELTchat team along with Svetlana Lupasco (@StanzaSL), Jennifer Chow (@jennifermchow), and Augusta Avram (@ELTAugusta). Bonnie teaches LINC at NorQuest College in Edmonton.