Proceedings of The 4th International Academic Conference on Education, Teaching and Learning
Facilitate ESL Class Participation: Establishing and Maintaining an Online Community of Learners
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to instructors of higher education. As a result, the level of instruction and student participation has also been affected. Amid navigating technical literacies, maintaining and elevating students’ online class participation is instructors’ most concern. This study explores one graduate course whose majority of students are ESLs at a U.S. university utilizing a synchronous meeting tool to deliver classes. The study aims to figure out the impact learning online exerted on Graduate-level ESL and the essential factors related to active students’ participation. Data of this study was collected through observations and analyzed through the theory of Community of Inquiry (CoI). Analytical data highlighted a relative increase in-class participation in written and oral forms compared to the first set of on-ground classes. The study indicated that the crux of an engaging online course is creating a shared social identity or group commitment, which leads to an online community instead of a class of learners. A set of contributors to cohesive group identity are identified, all of which naturally fall into the three presences of an online CoI. Implications and practical teaching tips for establishing an online community and elevating ESL students’ class participation are presented in this article.
keywords: online community, Community of Inquiry (CoI), ESL, participation, E-learning.