SOFLA advanced and critiqued at the 17th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox OpenMic-inar

Download this audio:

Learning2gether Episode 479
17th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox Open Mic-inar
and TALIN webinar #33


Skip down to the Zoom Chat Logs
See our promotion and feedback for this event
– Feedback
Find out more about TALIN
Skip down to Earlier Events that happened since the previous Learning2gther post

Vance Stevens and Graham Stanley agreed to meet at our weekly open mic-inar on Sunday July 19 to compare notes on what works well and what can be improved when adapting Laine Marshall’s SOFLA framework to audiences engaged in teacher professional development. SOFLA stands for Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach, though Jeff Lebow spun this into Synchronous Online Flipped Learning (is) Awsome. Jeff has always had a way with words, ever since the old webcastathon days.

Graham suggested this meeting to help him plan his attack on this upcoming workshop where he plans to apply the SOFLA model.

I posted roughly this note on my social media sites and the rest it history

For this week’s 17th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox OpenMic-inar, the 33rd TALIN webinar since March 30, and Learning2gether episode 479, I will be meeting Graham Stanley, Heike Philp, and with any luck Laine Marshall, to talk about SOFLA in Action, as demonstrated here, I’ll be comparing notes with Graham, who will be adapting SOFLA to one of his upcoming webinars.

The chat logs and Feeback section below have been annotated to explain what happened in this session.

This is the third of three webinars in a series, where I prepared, modeled, and then debriefed my workshop on SOFLA, which stands for Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach

  1. Preparation on Sun July 12, 2020 – Vance Stevens and Laine Marshall discuss SOFLA in detail at the 16th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox Open Mic-inar
  2. Delivery on Thu July 16, 2020 – Vance Stevens presents a workshop to Moroccan teachers on SOFLA and Online Language Learning and Teaching
  3. Debrief on Sun July 19, 2020 – SOFLA advanced and critiqued at the 17th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox Open Mic-inar, with Vance Stevens, Laine Marxhall, Graham Stanley, Jeff Lebow, and Heike Philp (this blog post)

Zoom Chat Logs

We had a great turnout and a very serious and fruitful conversation about SOFLA. Laine was there, despite it being a bit early in the morning.  Graham started off by taking roll call, welcoming Jeff Lebow in Pusan, Korea, Heike Philp poolside in sunny Germany, and Minnie in China, studying English online there under longtime Webhead Han Chee. In addition, Ayat Tawel had joined us from Egypt, and Cristina Greene from Lisbon, Portugal.

Additionally in the Facebook stream chat we had Helena Galani, Jane Chien, Doris Molero, Harshita Kapoor, Mercedes Viola Deambrosis, and Humanist Kamil.


20:08:04 From Graham Stanley : Jeff!
20:08:15 From Graham Stanley : Helaine!
20:08:21 From Graham Stanley : Heike!
20:08:29 From Graham Stanley : Vance!
20:08:34 From Graham Stanley : Minnie!
20:18:37 From Ayat AlTawel : Hi Vance and everyone
20:19:14 From Cristina : hi!
20:22:09 From Vance Stevens :
20:29:15 From Vance Stevens :

Graham had asked how my session on Thursday had gone. I had just documented it in detail so I shared my screen and showed what the participants had done while in my session. The first link above is to my blog archive of he webinar and the second link shows the 14 responses received from the more than 4 dozen doctoral candidate participants who might have participated in the webinar either synchronously or asynchronously prior to the webinar. There is more about this in the Promotion and Feedback secton below:

20:41:58 From Graham Stanley : AFK need some more coffee
20:44:06 From Graham Stanley : Do you have a link to an article about the PD verion of SOFLA, Laine?
20:51:14 From Vance Stevens : Prepublication:
20:53:18 From Ayat AlTawel : that’s true Heike
20:54:59 From Vance Stevens : a clue, Graham’s webinar is next Saturday
20:56:29 From Ayat AlTawel : @Graham, how would you handle questions about the pre-task during the session?
20:56:46 From Graham Stanley : yes! Watch this space…Aha! Now it is announced and the pre-task is there
20:56:48 From Graham Stanley :
21:06:13 From Vance Stevens : thanks Graham
21:12:37 From Helaine Marshall : SOFLA – Steps 1-3
21:13:18 From Helaine Marshall : SOFLA – Steps 4-8
21:14:50 From Minnie : Can I get the links after this webinar?
21:15:08 From Jeff Lebow : Yes. Vance will post them along with the recording
21:15:29 From Minnie : Ok, thanks
21:15:49 From Vance Stevens : it will be posted at
21:16:17 From Helaine Marshall : at 7 minutes into the first video of Steps 1- 3, I talk about PD pre-work
21:16:33 From Minnie : Good! Thank you for replying me.
21:28:23 From Heike Philp : hahahaha
21:28:38 From Heike Philp : thanks Vance
21:28:56 From Minnie : Thank you all
21:28:57 From Heike Philp : got many more great ideas today
21:29:50 From Minnie : Yea, really wonderful being here
21:29:55 From Ayat AlTawel : Thanks Vance, Helaine and everyone for all the great ideas
21:30:06 From Cristina : Cristina Greene
21:30:27 From Cristina : from Lisbon, Portugal
21:31:07 From Cristina : thx! loved attending my 1st Talin
21:32:13 From Heike Philp : I love learning2gether
21:32:46 From Cristina : thx !
21:33:16 From Heike Philp : byeeee

At some point during the chat we mentioned that Shelly Terrell had posted on an alternative agenda for online teaching and had included in her post a suggested allocation of time for the different parts of the lesson. Here is that post, and the link to the template if you want to see the original,


Promotion and Feedback

This is the logo I selected for the TALIN Facebook event that I created on the TALIN page below and then shared via TALIN with the other four FB groups:


The Community of Inquiry diagram is from

This event was posted to these Facebook Groups

And posted as this calendar event:

And streamed from Zoom on

Comments from the stream
Helena Galani · 1:32 Hello Vance
Jane Chien · 2:31 Wow, nice!!!
Helena Galani · 2:19 WOW Heike !!
Helena Galani · 2:30 Great glasses!
Jane Chien · 3:27 Nice pool!
Jane Chien · 4:13 We’re already jealous
Helena Galani · 4:05 Glorious weather!
Helena Galani · 4:23 🙂
Helena Galani · 4:26 ❤
Helena Galani · 7:11 !!!! 🙂
Doris Molero · 8:21 Hello!!! besitos
Helena Galani · 11:27 Hi Jane 🙂
Helena Galani · 10:23 Heello Doris XO
Harshita Kapoor · 15:53 Hello
Helena Galani · 15:05 Do you also flip your classes Doris & Jane ?
Jane Chien · 22:14 Yes, I do, but I also heard from some students complaining that a professor flipped too much. They were assigned too many videos to watch on their own, and too little feedback or input from the professor.
Helena Galani · 23:52 Yes Jane, finding the right balance is key here as well!
Doris Molero · 23:49 I think you can’t do just one thing. Some will love it.. some will hate it.. So, keep working with something till you can’t do it anymore.. 😉
Jane Chien · 27:29 Can you share the URL to the TESOL-EJ article?
Helena Galani · 28:45 Using one approach as a panacea is a good question but finding the right pace for SOFLA in one’s classes can make the difference
Doris Molero · 37:30
Part of the LTSIG Fridays Webinar Series 2020. Abstract: The Synchronous Online Flipped Learning Approach (SOFLA) closely replicates actual classroom teachin…Helaine W. Marshall – SOFLA –…
Helena Galani · 39:44 The 8 steps of SOFLA & Reflection
Jane Chien · 46:57 Thank you!!
Doris Molero · 47:39 waves
Jane Chien · 52:58 Would it be too much to ask the teachers to record a flipgrid video as a pre-task for a workshop?
Jane Chien · 54:40 XD
Doris Molero · 55:13 You are German, Heike.. you are always a good girl! 😉
,  · 55:12 Glad to be here
Jane Chien · 1:02:37 Heike Philp Do you have any suggestions how best to apply SOFLA?
Jane Chien · 1:13:31 I think students would be more prepared to participate once they know how it works
Doris Molero · 1:14:45 Definitely.. You will profit more. Since you would be able to connect faster and engage.
Harshita Kapoor · 1:15:22 I believe it makes it more flexible which is basically what elearning is all about.
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:15:40 Its up to the participants. You are giving participants the opportunity to engage as much as they want or can
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:17:27 Is there a link to thos zoom room?
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:17:47 *this
Helena Galani · 1:18:21 Learner training (metacognitive strategies) is always part and parcel of the educational experience
Doris Molero · 1:22:41 😘
Vance Stevens · 2:53 I’m so sorry it’s so difficult for me to respond to this chat while monitoring zoom
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:26:24 I couldn’t have access either to TESOL
Doris Molero · 1:27:30 Besitos to you all.. Great Webhead FUN!
Jane Chien · 1:27:56 Thank you 😊
Helena Galani · 1:28:03 Great OpenMicinar! Great topic! Thank you Helaine ! Great to have you with us today! Thanks everyone
Harshita Kapoor · 1:28:18 Thank you
Doris Molero · 1:26:45 It was not free..
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:28:43 Thanks a lot to all of you!!
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:29:07 Very enriching, thanks!!
Humanist Kamil · 1:29:49
Helena Galani · 1:30:04 Thank you Vance Heike , enjoy the sun!
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:29:54 Bye all
Mercedes Viola Deambrosis · 1:30:54 When’s your session, Graham Stanley? Is it possible to join?
Ayat Tawel · 0:00 Vance Stevens where can I find the links that were shared in the chat?

@ayat .. Right here 🙂 – Vance


As I mentioned during this follow-up session, I had been checking responses from my Google Form since setting the pre-work mission days before my workshop on July 16 and in the hour or two just prior to the workshop I found that there had been only 4 responses from participants. During the workshop I opened my view of my responses to the form in a shared screen and noticed then that ten more responses had appeared.

There was a suggestion during today’s critique session that I could have used my pre-work Google form to include questions to find out more about the participants, but if I had included such questions, I would have had only 4 responses beforehand, and ten more after the webinar had already begun. Clearly, I could not have acted on these in tailoring the workshop specifically for the participants, so this format would not have been much use in finding out about the participants. This would not necessarily be the case in an online class context, where teachers have a more longitudinal time frame for getting to know their students, but in this one-off webinar context, the pre-work instrument was not a tool that would have been useful for this purpose.

This is what I had been told about my audience

Regarding the Google Classroom, I wrote the organizers to say that since I couldn’t see the classroom myself I couldn’t visualize how this would be used exactly with the audience I was dealing with. They responded two days before the event by making me a co-teacher in the classroom, and one of the organizers seeded the discussion with instructions on what their students should do for my pre-work assignment.

The Google Classroom would have been the best place to get to know the students. However, there was not much traffic there in the few days I had access to it — but I did learn in all the interactions with these participants that their knowledge of English was quite skilled, and the ones I heard from seemed positive about the workshop coming up.

Here is what the Google Classroom looked like, visible only to registered users


On July 14, the organizer who had just made me a co-teacher in the course posted this:

Hello everyone, please consider the following in preparation for prof Vance’s workshop on online language learning and teaching. The link to the pre-workshop missions is :  it is in the last email sent by Vance.  The link will take you to the workshop orientation as shown below . 

He went on to explain further, but I followed up with some clarification, same day:

Thank you Professor for announcing the Pre-work mission for my webinar coming up on July 16. To be clear, this is what you should be working on BEFORE coming to the workshop on Online Language Learing and Teaching (OLLT). Click on this link to arrive at the part of the portal shown below:

At that link you will see:
START HERE: How to participate in this workshop
Pre-work mission:  — Purpose
MIssion step 1 – Select a URL to view and report on
Mission step 2 – Fill in the Google Form
Mission Accomplished!

Please plan to spend at least an hour looking over these materials and focusing on at least ONE link given in Mission step 1. When you have put an hour into it, you may go on to Mission step 2 (complete and submit the Google Form, 5 or 10 min.)

If you want to spend more than one hour (hopefully because you find the materials interesting 🙂 then please continue beyond an hour. If you want to explore more than one link, you are welcome to submit addtional Google Forms reporting your findings. But at the very least, set aside an hour to accomplish this one Pre-work mission so that you will be prepared for what to expect during the workshop.

This is a method you might employ in your own online language teaching. The workshop will model for you this and other methods you can employ in the SOFLA model explained in the link above.

If you have any questions, I believe you can ask them here, and I should be able to see them and respond.

I’m looking forward to meeting you at the upcoming workshop on July 16,

Vance Stevens

The following morning, I awoke to my first response to my Google Forms so I posted in the Google Classroom in such a way as to encourage others to do the same

Vance Stevens July 15
Thanks Bendaoud for being the first in your class to have accomplished this mission! This has taken us from ZERO (responses) and put us on the way to HERO. Well done Bendaoud!!

Later that day, after spending most of the day working on my workshop materials, I posted this:

Vance Stevens July 15
Hi everyone, Vance Stevens here, I just wanted to let you know that i have completed a write-up of what I plan to talk about on Online Language Learning and Teaching at 1300 UTC tomorrow and you can find it online at

If you are able to complete the pre-work mission by examining just one link and filling in a Google form to report on what you see there, that will help us in our session. What you need to do is explained here,

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow in Zoom

This post resulted in the following forum conversation, which took place on the day of the workshop …

Ezzahra  July 16
Thank you very much for all your efforts, sir. I really enjoyed your discussion with your other colleagues about the SOFLA approach. It sounds very interesting and fun and I am looking forward to using in the future while teaching online.

Ezzahra  July 16
I also like Prof. Stanley’s mask collections, you should ask him to send us links to the online websites where he bought them.

Vance Stevens July 16
Thank you Ezzahra, it is good to know that you enjoyed the pre-work materials, and also wonderful to see that it is possible to communicate with participants at my session in this Google Classroom. This is my first indication that this space is serving that purpose, so critical to the establishment of social and teacher presence in an online class.

Regarding Graham’s masks, I believe he gets them at street markets in Mexico where he is living now. He will appreciate knowing that you like them.

Ezzahra  July 16
Absolutely. I believe that all my colleagues have access to this space. I am looking forward to your workshop. Thank you for your response.

Vance Stevens July 16
Hi, Ezzahra,  I’m just waiting for the workshop to start. All my materials are here

As noted above I was not sure until this exchange who was reading my messages, but when Ezzahra assured me that all her colleagues had access to the space, I followed up with the following note, making sure, as I had with my previous postings, that it was delivered to all in the course:

Vance Stevens July 16
Dear all, I was pleased to receive Ezzahra’s message here in Google Classrooms and to know that this is a space where it is possible to communicate with participants at my session. Some of you will have realized that SOFLA draws heavily on the Community of Inquiry framework, with emphasis on the teacher presence aspect, which I can establish here before we meet.

If you have any questions or suggestions before our webinar, you are welcome to post them here. I will monitor this space throughout the day.

Looking forward to meeting you in a few hours from now 🙂

This post too elicited a response

Abdelmalek July 16
Marshall and Kostka’s article makes that point very clear and offers a very basic and interesting introduction.

Thank you for sharing

Looking forward to meeting you too 🙂

and my reply

Thank you Abdelmalek, thanks for your comment, and glad you liked Laine and Ilka’s article

Meanwhile I had  been tracking responses in both Google Forms and in Google Classroom throughout the day leading up to the workshop. That morning I had updated my Google Doc writeup with this information (the “following day” is the day after I created the Google Form on July 13):


But I stopped working on that document early on the day of my workshop and began tracking responses in my wiki portal. Here I noted that at the start of the workshop I had discovered ten more responses,


I’m providing this detail here to show that the pre-work really occurred in two spaces, a Google form on open-access where I had set a task, what I prefer to call a mission, and a Google Classroom space which was not on open access and where getting to know the participants could better have been facilitated among registered participants, if there had been sufficient lead time for that.

During the critique session (the one blogged here) a participant response was read out (and recorded in the video) which was useful to have, and any response is valued and appreciated, but that response was sent in personal email to one of the other participants after the webinar on Thursday. Assuming that the participant quoted was registered on the forum shown here, that response should have been posted on the forum itself, where it could have been seen by other participants and could have been responded to appropriately.

Participating in a forum would have been another option, not only for establishing teacher and social presence prior to the workshop, but for follow up and Step 8 reflection for all the participants. Keeping in mind that I had no access to the Google Classroom until two days before the workshop, and that I did not receive feedback (from Ezzahra) to indicate that my participants were even following messages in Google classroom until the day of the webinar, you can see why I did not build this option into the materials for the workshop I was by then about to deliver.

Noting these facts, and critiquing what happened, are all valid and useful exercises. But as can be seen from reading the chat logs here and in the archive of the sesson on Thursday, for example, all the questions on how much time to allocate to each of the steps in the delivery of SOFLA, as with teaching through any method, are infinitely nuanced. SOFLA was meant to be used in onine classes (most immediately in response to COVID-19), and must be significantly adapted to circumstances where presenters are meeting only once with participants.

I chose to deliver a workshop rather than a webinar, where I might have prepared a PowerPoint and explained to participants what SOFLA was. This might have been of some use, but as a workshop, it allowed me to attempt to model and demonstrate, and participants to experience through practice and reflection, something of the look and feel of SOFLA (and setting up this reflection was reason for my warm-up activity following our experiment with Survey Monkey at the beginning of my workshop).

As a workshop, it was also much more enjoyable for me to prepare and, I hope, for the participants to have experienced. I mean, I don’t think anyone fell asleep during my workshop, despite whether it met their expectations or not :-). But as with any teaching / learning dynamic, there are many points of tension between presenter and participant, and whereas ideally we could attenuate some of these through having more data on one another and knowing particulars about the individuals involved, in practice, and given time constraints, it is impractical in an offhand/one-off workshop to control for all of these.

Participants are right to examine and professonally critique what happened, but from there they would apply what they have observed and experienced to their own present and future situations, and adapt what they have learned to their contexts, as I did in presenting my workshop.

What is TALIN?

TALIN stands for Teaching and Learning in IsolatioN,

The idea for TALIN was prompted by suggestions in numerous cross-fertilizing communities of practice that there was needed a space where members of these CoPs could meet online and talk informally to one another about how they are dealing with changes in their personal and professional contexts and what they are doing to help others in this trying time of pandemic.

Learning2gether can host TALIN events in Zoom during times of isolation/lockdown if they are intended to be recorded and shared with the wider community, and if they take place between 02:00-14:00 UTC

TALIN events here are open to all and free to attend.

If you would like to propose an event or invite others to meet in conversation

  1. Visit this page
  2. Click on “Request Edit Access” to the left of your profile picture at the top of the page
  3. Wait for approval
  4. Write in your event on the schedule. Give the time in UTC if you can, and give the time in your location also as a double check on time

You can host the event yourself, but if you want Learning2gether to host it and promote it, please allow enough time to check that I am available, at least a few days in advance.

More about TALIN, as presented at international online conferences

Earlier Events

Thu 16 July 1300-14:30 UTC Vance Stevens presents to Moroccan teachers on Online Language Learning and Teaching

Thu-Sat 16-18 July TESOL Virtual Convention

For more information, including announcement of some sessions, see

Registration for the first-ever TESOL Virtual Convention & English Language Expo required by 11:59pm EDT on 12 July!

Plan now to attend the first-ever TESOL Virtual Convention & English Language Expo, 16 – 18 July. Register before July 8 here

Using the latest technology and interactive tools from the comfort of your couch, your home office, or wherever you choose, you will be able to:

  • Hear from our engaging keynote presenters
  • Gather strategies, tools, and practices and learn about new research with 100+ sessions
  • Connect online and exchange ideas with English language colleagues around the world
  • Discuss ELT products and services with representatives in the Virtual Expo
Not free – registration rates apply – even in time of COVID-19

  • TESOL Members: $99
  • Nonmembers: $149
  • TESOL Global & Student Members: $35
I read on Facebook that sessions at the conference (plenaries included) were being recorded and will be on the platform 60 days after the convention.

Sharon Tjaden-Glass was kind enough to share hers entitled, “Instructional Design: An Alternate Career Path for TESOL Professionals,” on YouTube

Sat 18 July 1300-1500 UTC – VSTE Second Life Saturdays – repeats each Saturday

If you don’t have a Second Life account get one, it’s free. We recommend setting one up at the Rockcliffe University Consortium’s Gateway here:

Download and install the software. While your Second Life viewer (software) is open click this link

et voila! Look for an avatar on VSTE Island and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest.

About this intitiative,

Sat 18 July 1600 UTC Africa TESOL Personal, Professional and Leadership Development Series

The first Africa TESOL Personal, Professional and Leadership Development Series from 16:00 to 17:30 GMT on Saturday 18 July 2020.

To join the event, please register in advance via
and you will receive your personalised access information.

The panel will also be streamed live on Africa TESOL’s Facebook page.

This blog is written and maintained by Vance Stevens
You are free to share-alike and with attribution under

The date of this update is July 21, 2020 03:00 UTC

2 thoughts on “SOFLA advanced and critiqued at the 17th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox OpenMic-inar

  1. Pingback: Vance Stevens and Laine Marshall discuss SOFLA in detail at the 16th Webheads Revival Weekly Sunday Sandbox Open Mic-inar | Learning2gether

  2. Pingback: Weekend Webcastathon with Graham Stanley Storytelling Saturday, and 18th Webheads Sandbox OpenMic-inar Sunday | Learning2gether

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