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Vol. 4 No. 1 (2021): Special Issue: Technologies and Second Language Learners

Developing Online Discussion Boards to Increase Student Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic

August 30, 2020


During the current pandemic, colleges are at the fork to either open the campus and curb the spread of COVID-19 or go virtual and risk their efficiency and finally give into financial ruin. This study explores learners’ perceptions of engagement in an online environment to curtail online courses. How educators and students socially interact in cyberspace is a long-standing research topic. Several researchers explored online engagement in higher education in multiple studies (e.g., Kahu, 2011; Ross, 2010). However, there is a lack of research that explores preservice teachers’ engagement in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses. We focused on preservice ESOL teachers’ perceptions of engagement in online discussions to uncover factors that could contribute to increasing their engagement. We collected the data through an online survey, student interviews, and recording online asynchronous discussion transcripts. Constant comparative analysis of data indicated a safe, non-threatening atmosphere as well as a sense of confirmation, and exploring new aspects of the topic; factors that reassured the engagement of the participants.