I taught the course Educational Sociolinguistics in the Faculty of Education at McGill in 2015 and again in Fall 2016. The course explores the social, cultural, and political dimensions of second language education. The 2016 cohort had a mix of Master’s and PhD students. It was the largest graduate class I have ever had, with 37 students. Most of the students had language teaching experience, in formal and non-formal learning contexts around the world. Many of the students were in their first term of graduate studies at McGill and more than two thirds were international students (primarily from Asian countries) or from out of province, so new to Montreal. When planning the course, I knew that I would not have a teaching assistant and that I would need to find ways to make spaces for the students’ diverse perspectives and experiences as language teachers and learners. I knew that it would be a challenge for everyone in the class to contribute to group work and class discussions.
So, I created a blog. I wanted students to gain confidence and experience interacting online in collaborative, safe, supervised, and moderated ways.