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Home Journal Index 2021-1

English Language Teaching and COVID-19: Combining Universal Design for Learning and Community of Inquiry

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Maya Shastri
University of Florida English Language Institute, USA

Lynne Clark
University of Florida English Language Institute, USA


The COVID pandemic has forced English language teachers in the United States to adapt face-to-face courses to online learning interfaces. Since the March 2020 transition, teachers have struggled with a variety of elements of the process of converting courses. As instructors across all disciplines have learned, not all face-to-face lessons work in online classes. Additionally, teachers have discovered difficulties providing rich interactive experiences in a format that does not naturally foster social connections. Teachers also need to overcome elements of online learning that are particularly challenging for English language learners (ELLs). We propose that English teachers can benefit from models that already exist, one for online learning, the community of inquiry (CoI), and one for designing courses, universal design for learning (UDL), after using these models in our postCOVID-19 online classes at the University of Florida English Language Institute (UF ELI). This paper examines these models and shows their utility in the online English language classroom. We provide a practical list of eight design questions to help teachers needing a quick transition between traditional and online formats and examples for using the questions to plan lessons and activities. 

COVID-19, English language teaching (ELT), online emergency teaching, universal design for learning (UDL), community of inquiry (CoI)