Introduction to the August 2020 Edition

After the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, there was a massive effort by educators and institutions across Canada to find solutions to continue to deliver adult LINC and ESL courses and programs despite all face to face education facilities being shuttered. Many programs made a hurried shift to online delivery, using tools available to them, while others were able to scale up from existing blended programs to more intensive use of technology. As we look ahead to searching out  resources for the annotated bibliography, we would like to continue to stress the importance of pedagogy over tools and draw your attention to the kinds of issues that have proven to be significant in delivering successful adult language learning programs using technology.

The topics we see on an ongoing basis include the positive impact of instructor presence, the importance of ongoing training for instructors, the impact of instructors’ attitudes towards using technology and their perception of their own abilities to use it, support and orientation for learners and the learning potential of smart phones.

Without a doubt, there has been an emergency shift to teaching online in 2020. If you have time to take a breath and you haven’t yet had a chance to consider these topics, either search or browse the bibliography to find both theoretical and practical resources and identify some of the ways to develop your own professional development and perhaps to tap into a network with others.

If you are teaching online or virtually now, when education can once again take place face-to-face, with good learning design and planning, you will have options of how to continue – using a blended approach, using online resources for homework or another approach depending on your institution. In 2020-21, we will continue to look for research that examines the effectiveness of digital technologies and that explores and reflects the experiences of language instructors and students in using these technologies in teaching and learning.