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How Colleges Help ELLs Through Technology During Remote Learning

For English-language learners in college, especially those studying remotely, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented myriad educational challenges. Time zones, language barriers and the lack of classroom connectedness all pose difficulties for ELL students logging in from locations overseas.

The stakes are high for colleges seeking to keep these students engaged. International students make up only 5.5 percent of U.S. higher education enrollment, according to the “2019 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.” But they account for a significant percentage of tuition revenues for many universities. For this reason, and to help these students continue successfully in their academic progress, colleges are eager to support this key population.

“When you have class in real time, you can answer questions in class, you can go over assignment details,” says Jared Campbell, head of IT for Evans Library at the Florida Institute of Technology. “When you try to do that with students who are in another country, accessing your class at 3:00 in the morning, that can be a challenge for the teachers and the students.”

Institutions are using a range of technologies to support TESOL, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, as remote learning continues to evolve.