Fostering Teaching Presence through the Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach

Marshall, H.W., Kostka,I. (2020) TESL-EJ. 2020, (24) 2.

This article from the TESL Electronic Journal begins with an anecdote from a TESOL webinar. The 36 participants were asked to complete the sentence: Online learning is…

The authors go on to describe an innovative approach to flipped learning that teachers can use to ensure teacher presence in the online settings they find themselves in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide an introduction to the fundamentals of the flipped learning model and explain its relevance to language learners. They emphasize the importance of the Professional Educator‘s role in the approach and teaching presence as one of the interconnected elements that lead to meaningful online learning experiences. The article introduces the SOFLA Framework (Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach) and explains how work that is completed independently outside of class fits in an asynchronous space using tools available on the internet, while in-class work takes place in real-time, camera-to-camera, synchronous class sessions. The authors provide a number of examples of the types of work and pre-work that fit into each category.

The authors take pains to explain the teacher’s role in designing the online instruction and monitoring learning outcomes; deciding which work should be designated out-of-class and in-class. Teacher presence is described in both settings with examples of how to engage students and ensure a positive language learning process.

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Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program

Elsageyer, N. (2020) Learning Styles of Online Students in a Distance LINC Program. M.A. Thesis. University of Ottawa.

This thesis describes and provides the findings of a small scale study examining the characteristics and learning style preferences of 27 students enrolled in an online LINC program in Ontario. The study also examined the perspectives of their teachers in relation to the learning styles of their students.

Overall the student group identified their preferred learning styles as kinesthetic and auditory, whereas the teacher group perceived their students’ preferred learning styles as visual. The author suggests that the discrepancy between the student and teacher perceptions may result from the lack of a shared understanding of learning styles and students’ low level of awareness of their own learning styles and preferences.

Based on the findings of the study the author concludes that enhanced training and professional development for online LINC teachers in relation to learning style preferences; strategies to work with students to support them to identify their preferred learning styles, and how they can refine their instructional strategies to address a range of learning styles would be a useful contribution to an improvement in outcomes for online LINC students.

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Exploring blended learning experiences through the community of inquiry framework

Zhang, R. (2020). Exploring blended learning experiences through the community of inquiry framework. Language Learning & Technology, 24(1), 38–53.

The two research questions for this study are:

  1. What is the interrelationship among teaching, social and cognitive presences of Community of Inquiry (CoI) in the students’ blended learning experiences?
  2. How does blended learning impact the students’ learning experiences?

The study looks at a group of graduate students at a Chinese technical university who attended an innovative blended learning course in English for Agriculture and Forestry. The course is based on a Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The report provides an introduction to a CoI framework and demonstrates how it can help in the design of effective blended learning processes. It  goes on to report on aspects of teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence in the course. There are examples of student interviews and analysis of activities. Instructor’s participation and facilitation is highlighted as one of the factors influencing social presence and creating and maintaining a community throughout the learning process.

Technology-mediated workplace language training: Developing and assessing a module for a blended curriculum for newcomers

McLellan, G. Technology-mediated workplace language training: Developing and assessing a module for a blended curriculum for newcomers. A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and postdoctoral Affairs: Carleton University, Ottawa. (2019).

This report on a small-scale Canadian study of a module developed for a blended occupation-specific language class looks at providing online components of language support to language learners who are already in the workplace. The author includes a literature review and highlights the essential nature of needs analysis to determine both language needs and technology needs in the workplace.  The developers used a Task-based language teaching approach in the module design. The learners who took part in the study had been assessed between Canadian Language Benchmarks 3 and 5 and were all working in the customer service sector. They all had mobile phones and were comfortable using them. The activities were developed in Moodle and were meant to be used on their phones. One of the potential advantages described was the ability to work on the activities in “dead time”, while commuting, waiting for an appointment, etc. The first module addressed the need for them to be able to greet customers and make requests. The module used video to illustrate greetings and requests in customer service settings. Many of the topics covered elsewhere in the bibliography, e.g., learner autonomy, attitudes towards learning with technology, mobile learning and the importance of teacher training are illustrated in the study.

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Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom: Pedagogies, Computer developments and Teachers’ Reactions

Barrientos, M. (2019). Research on Mobile Learning in the English Classroom. Revista de Lenguas Modernas, (30) 2019, pp 251-266.

The author provides a literature review focused on the following four areas of mobile learning in English language classrooms to explore not only the feasibility and implications of integrating mobile learning in secondary EFL classrooms in Costa Rica, but advantages and disadvantages in these areas:

  1. The development of pedagogical models for mobile learning in the English language class
  2. Defining the platforms and infrastructure solutions for appropriate integration of mobile learning
  3. A description of the mobile devices apps and links
  4. Training and reactions of English teachers

The report concludes with a number of research questions for further exploration. Although this review looks at the questions for high school EFL language planning in Costa Rica, the same questions could be asked about planning for adult settlement language classes in Canada.

Creating a Technology-Rich English Language Learning Environment

M.W. Marek and W-C.V. Wu, (2018). “Creating a Technology-Rich English Learning Environment” In Second Handbook of English Language Teaching. Edited by Xuesong Gao.  Springer International Publishing, 2019.

After presenting a theoretical framework about the potential of technology use in language classrooms, this chapter provides a step by step approach to making decisions about which technology resources to use within the language learning context. It addresses the need for teachers to have a starting point in their course development and demonstrates how to ensure that using more technology is not an end in itself, but rather that the use of technology surrounds students, enhances active learning experiences and enables students to achieve learning outcomes.

Within this chapter, the authors address a number of issues that need to be considered during the planning stage: familiarity with a tool rather than the novelty of a tool; the importance of activities using technology to be essential to the curriculum; the areas within the learning environment the teacher has control over and those s/he doesn’t; and the impact of relevant technology on learner motivation,  confidence and achievement.

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Evaluating normalisation: An argument-based approach

Yoon, S. J., & Gruba, P., (2019) Evaluating normalisation: An argument-based approach, System, May 2019.

Normalisation, the idea that technology would “grow and disappear” in the language learning curriculum, was articulated in the seminal work of Prof. Stephen Bax in his articles: CALL—Past, Present and Future (2003) and Normalisation Revisited: The Effective Use of Technology in Language Education (2011)

This article, drawing on the work of Prof. Bax,  reports on the process and results of an evaluation of the level of normalisation achieved in blended language courses at the University of Melbourne. The researchers found that minimal normalization had been achieved in these courses, and go on to discuss several factors that may inhibit its full achievement. The research points to the importance of addressing the digital literacy needs of both instructors and students, the need to move away from an over-emphasis on technology tools to a focus on technology for pedagogical purposes. Such a re-focus would support instructors to enhance their ability to apply pedagogical principles in planning for  and in implementing technology in their teaching practice.

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Blended Learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature

Albiladi, W., & Alshareef, K. (2019). Blended learning in English Teaching and Learning: A Review of the Current Literature. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 10 (2), 232-238.

This paper provides a review of research related to the use of blended learning in English as a second/foreign language context. As part of the review, the authors cite two studies that identify sets of challenges to using a blended learning approach. The studies will be of interest to language professionals despite not being language-related. In Bonk and Graham’s Handbook of Blended Learning, they include cultural adaptation as an issue. They relate this to the materials that are used in the mode of delivery and also their relation to the students’ culture.

Riel, J., Lawless, K. A., & Brown, S. W. (2016)’s Listening to the teachers: Using weekly online teacher logs for ROPD to identify teachers’ persistent challenges when implementing a blended learning curriculum reports on Responsive online professional development for well-supported middle school teachers implementing a social studies curriculum. The issues identified in the teachers’ learning logs are also relevant to instructors working in settlement language programs as is the notion of providing responsive professional development. This report provides insight into the importance of teachers’ understanding of the pedagogy embedded in learning tools and the knowledge and confidence to implement and use them in their classrooms.

Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers

Baralt, M., & Morcillo Gómez, J. (2017). Task-based language teaching online: A guide for teachers. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 28–43.

This article provides a guide for teachers who do task based teaching using real time video, recognizing that online language courses should not simply be face-to-face courses moved online. It discusses how the authors have adapted Willis’ (1996, 2012) task-based methodology framework to address modifications needed for an online context. The authors review the criteria for language-teaching activities to be considered tasks and also how to implement them successfully. They provide a teacher’s plan to illustrate the framework to implement a task along with video examples. The authors conclude by considering aspects of online teaching that are unique, e.g., potential problems with connectivity and how to foster an online community.  They also emphasize the value of online classes in providing language learning opportunities regardless of geographic location and its contribution to developing digital literacy skills.


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Significant Predictors for Effectiveness of Blended Learning In a Language Course

Wichadee, S. (2018) Significant predictors for effectiveness of blended learning in a language course. JALT Call Journal, Vol. 14, (1) 24-42.

Although this research study of 149 (90 female, 59 male) participants took place in an undergraduate university language course, the results are meaningful for adult learners who are in settlement language programs and for those who design blended programs for them as well. After highlighting the characteristics, rationale for and benefits of blended learning, the author goes on to explore satisfaction with the course being studied and participants’ learning performance.

The author identifies digital literacy, workload management, attitudes toward blended learning, online tool quality and face-to-face support to be among the factors identified in literature reviews as those that will have an impact on the effectiveness of blended learning.

The design of the course studied included a face-to-face orientation followed by alternating weeks of face-to-face classroom work and online self-study using online learning platforms. The knowledge gained in online weeks was checked in the face-to-face weeks.

One of the results of the study was that the more these students had positive attitudes towards blended learning, had digital literacy skills and received face-to-face support, the better their learning performance. In this study, workload management and quality of online tools did not affect learning scores. As far as satisfaction with the course, there were two factors that predicted satisfaction: face-to-face support and attitudes towards blended learning.

In the discussion at the end of the report the author provides additional background on how the course was modified for this study and details on students’ attitudes as he reviews how and why face-to-face support and attitudes toward blended learning were predictors of student satisfaction.


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“I do which the question”: Students’ innovative use of technology resources in the language classroom

Dooly, M. (2018). “I do which the question”: Students’ innovative use of technology resources in the language classroom. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 184–217.

Although this study isn’t about adults in settlement language programs, it contains a number of examples in the Discussion section that are  relevant to any learning situation in which adults are working in groups with technology to learn and practise their communication skills. This study of two middle school classes in Spain and Sweden working together on English language projects using technology provides some good analysis  of what can lead to students branching out on their own instead of following task instructions, not working in the collaborative way the teacher intended because of top-down task instructions, seating arrangements and classroom setup that are frustrating for group work and discussion, being able to wait for others to finish and then copy their answers, and a lack of student accountability for the assignments. The detailed descriptions of the technology used, the project questions asked, the student responses are a fascinating look at a classroom using technology. in addition, the author describes how the students managed to engage in genuine communication between the two classrooms using tools that were outside what were assigned to them.

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Teacher Training and Professional Development in Mobile Pedagogy for English Language Teaching


Norris, L., & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2017). Teacher training and professional development in mobile pedagogy for English language teaching. In R. Power,  M. Ally, D. Cristol, & A. Palalas (Eds.), IAmLearning: Mobilizing and supporting educator practice. [e-Book]. International Association for Mobile Learning.

The chapter describes the four pillars of the authors’ Pedagogical Framework and how they highlight the teacher’s role using mobile devices for language teaching and learning. The Framework considers teacher wisdom, device features, learner mobilities and language dynamics. The authors describe using the Framework in professional development workshops in Europe for teachers from several countries. They faced both resistance and enthusiasm from participants and they describe the anxiety teachers felt as they used technology in the workshops.

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The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching

The Cambridge Guide to Blended Learning for Language Teaching. Edited by Michael McCarthy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 2016.

This book is divided into five sections: Connecting (including Second Language Acquisition) Theories and Blended Learning, Implications for Teaching, Rethinking Learner Interaction, Case Studies and the Future of Blended Learning.

One of the case studies describes a language teacher education program that gradually transitioned from a traditional format to a blended one and moved from a behaviourist model to a more constructivist one in the process.

Available for purchase ($70.00 CDN) from Cambridge University Press.

Digital Literacies

Dudeney, Gavin, Nicky Hockly and Mark Pegrum. Digital Literacies. Harlow, England: Pearson, 2013.

This book is organized in four chapters:

  1. From research to implications – you’ll find a framework of digital literacies.
  2. From implications to application – you’ll find a digital activities grid, descriptions of activities and a number of worksheets. worksheets can slso be obtained online.
  3. From application to implementation – you’ll find information about how to integrate digital literacies in your teaching practice depending on your context and the syllabus you are working with.
  4. From implementation to research – you’ll find suggestions about how to continue your own learning about digital literacies as you work through challenges that arise. There is detailed description of building and maintaining a personal learning network (PLN).


Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning

Toronto Catholic District School Board. Keystone Concepts: Guiding Principles and Components of Program Planning. (2015).

The Keystone Concepts document lays out the foundation of the Curriculum Guidelines for the Ontario Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program. The Curriculum Guidelines are delivered through Quartz, an interactive web-based planning application for language training programs. Quartz aims to assist French as a Second Language and English as a Second Language instructors in planning courses, lessons, units and assessments based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. The Concepts document lays out the browse and build components of Quartz. Quartz requires an authorized log in to access. Key Concepts sets out a framework for program design and delivery by identifying and describing eight guiding principles and four key components. These guidelines are significant for the bibliography because they highlight the importance of a principled approach to program planning, rather than an ad hoc approach that might be used to add online activities to a program. All of the guiding principles set out here also apply to determining how to incorporate online and face to face activities to create a blended approach to instruction.

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Power within blended language learning programs in Japan.

Gruba, P., & Hinkelman, D. (2010). Power within blended language learning programs in Japan. Language Learning & Technology, 16(2), 46–64.

This study focuses on EFL programs in two Japanese universities and examines and interprets issues that influenced their blended language learning environments: facility design (online vs. face-to-face), human resources and materials authoring (publisher-based vs teacher-based authorship) and software designs (proprietary ownership vs distributed teacher initiatives). Implications of the study suggest the concept of technology in blended environments needs to be expanded from a focus on integrating electronic tools to configuring classrooms. Second, blended learning is not only a descriptive category of technology use in education, but also an interventionist strategy of iterative change in integrating face-to-face techniques with computer-based techniques. This study reports on important questions for adult settlement language training programs, including facilities, educational resources, instructor time, and attitudes towards technology.

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Technology-enhanced blended language learning in an ESL class: A description of a model and an application of the Diffusion of Innovations theory.

Grgurovic, M. (2010). Technology-enhanced blended language learning in an ESL class: A description of a model and an application of the Diffusion of Innovations theory (Ph.D.). Iowa State University.

A doctoral thesis examining technology-enhanced blended learning in an ESL classroom through the lens of diffusion of innovations theory. Using a case study approach, producing both qualitative and quantitative data, the author concludes that the use of technology represented an innovation and that the stages of innovation were observed. The thesis provides useful data to support the effective planning and implementation of blended learning in an ESL setting.

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Implementing E-Learning components with adult English language learners: Vital factors and lessons learned.

Coryell, J., & Chlup, D.T. (2007). Implementing E-Learning components with adult English language learners: Vital factors and lessons learned. Computer-assisted Language Learning, 20(3), 263 – 278.

This study explores how instructors and program directors in ESL or ESOL programs determine the right approach to choose blended elearning components for their programs and learners. The surveys and focus groups took place in 11 American states with 15 instructors and four program directors. The findings are grouped under four themes that encompass preparation, readiness, support for students and instructors, technology and funding.

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Innovations in learning technologies for English language teaching.

Motteram, G. (Ed.). (2013). Innovations in learning technologies for English language teaching. The British Council.

Each chapter in this British Council publication includes case studies and a list of references. The educational settings include the primary and secondary sectors, and a number of settings for adult teaching. The editor includes both general language teaching and second language and ESL. Chapter 3: Technology and adult language teaching includes an ESOL case study in the UK, where there is substantial pressure and support to use technology and a blended approach in the program. Chapter 4: Technology integrated English for Specific Purposes lessons looks at real-life language, tasks and tools for professionals. This chapter describes the importance of context in choosing the right tools. It also includes information about mobile learning. Chapter 6 looks at technology enhanced assessment for English language teaching, including language portfolios, e-portfolios and open source tools. The editor concludes by discussing how technologies allow teachers to address more than immediate language needs and to engage students in ways that would have been difficult in the past. He also maintains the centrality of teachers in the classroom.

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Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design and Implementation.

Tomlinson, B. & Whittaker C. (Eds.). (2013). Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design and Implementation. British Council.

This British Council publication includes 20 case studies illustrating a broad range of English language program designs in widespread geographic and educational settings: K-12, university, college, foreign language programs, ESP, EAP and business English. Although most of the case studies are outside the realm of settlement language training, chapter 20 addresses some very relevant issues, e.g., pay issues with part time instructors, cost of developing materials, etc. Each part of the book is followed with references and comments by the editor. In the conclusion, the co-editor addresses the need for help for designers and practitioners to answer the question of which blend provides the best basis for language learning and teaching in a specific situation.

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