In Praise of Online Learning

A post from Tunu Sodhi, English Language Support for Faculty Program, LTO

In the mid 90s, a friend of mine was espousing the benefits of the internet. He showed me some of the things he was doing. I found it rather dull as they were either essays in white fonts on a black background or black fonts on a white background. I couldn’t understand why he was so taken by this new technology. Over the years, as I have added new tools to my computer knowledge, I started understanding what he was so interested in. As a teacher of English, I was astounded when I took the course on Adobe Connect. For most of you, this is not an overwhelming tool but for me it opened a whole new world.

I am the advisor for the English Language Support for Faculty Program at the Learning and Teaching Office. The program originated as the English Pronunciation for Professors Program with a purpose to help internationally trained professors with their fluency. Like everything new, we found that a multi-dimensional program was needed in order to service those professors who might have strong pronunciation but need to work on other aspects of their English language skills. The program now includes having professors work on their grammar, vocabulary and writing.

Up to now, I have had minimal need for the computer. Faculty members have come to my office for a 45 minute weekly meeting with questions or difficulties they have with English.  I prepare lessons and activities that are created to meet their needs.  I can search the internet for ideas and create activities in Word. However, if necessity is the mother of invention as the old saying goes, I have to evolve. For many reasons, faculty are not always able to come to my office for a lesson. It is essential that I am available to anyone who feels that she or he needs help. Therefore, if they are unable to come to me, I should ready to go to them.

This is what makes Adobe Connect so exciting. I am now able to connect with those faculty members who were previously unable to participate in the program.  These professors are now able to have all the benefits of the program without ever having to leave their offices. They can even do it in their homes. For some of my present professors who travel to the school just for me, this will come as a relief as they will not have to fight traffic or pay for parking. No matter how you slice it, it’s a win. Now I am able to truly understand why my friend was so excited so many years ago.

For anyone who is interested in online assistance with their English or even the old fashioned face-to-face practice, you can reach me at tunusodhi@ryerson.ca.

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