The Winter 2020 semester was the last time Werklund hosted an in-person, face-to-face, Teaching Across Borders (TAB) Exchange program. Students from Australia and Japan came to Calgary. They visited schools, attended lectures, and participated in language study related to upcoming topics and outings. In the Winter 2021 semester, the pandemic prevented any students from coming to Canada. This necessitated a pivot to an online format. The online class had the same purposes of providing learning about pedagogy, English language support, an overview of the Canadian educational system, and study of specific schools, albeit in virtual form. Lessons and school visits were replaced by guest speakers, and online discussions. We also shifted the role of student volunteers: Voulunteers participated in some classes and connected with students asynchronously in small group discussion boards. Students from Japan and China participated virtually instead of in-person.
The Virtual TAB class (Fall 2021 semester) was a slightly different offering. It emphasized the spirit of cultural exchange over learning about Canada and its educational context. Werklund students were not volunteers but were active participants. Learning about Canadian schools was replaced by studying and discussing educational and pedagogical topics from a framework of exchanging viewpoints. Participants were native or expert English speakers, so student group presentations were added to the classes. Werklund participants were joined by peers from partner institutions (in Spain, Brazil and the United States).
TAB classes in the Winter 2022 semester were identical to the virtual TAB classes in Winter 2021, with the addition of students from Vietnam joining those from China, Japan and Werklund. Our TAB program now effectively has two online offerings: one which focuses on showcasing Canadian educational contexts and perspectives, and the other focused on a more egalitarian exchange of perspectives and experiences.