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Online and hybrid courses offer many benefits for ESL teacher education, but can be hampered by ‘transactional distance’, a lack of interpersonal closeness which can cause misunderstanding and disengagement. This article describes a pedagogical project in which in-service teachers studying in a distance-learning MA TESL programme in Sri Lanka participated in an asynchronous discussion forum with peers from a university in New York City to discuss varieties of World Englishes. The project increased dialogue between learners, and between learners and the instructor, providing space for informal interactions through text, images, and video, as well as multiple methods for responding to feedback, ultimately reducing transactional distance. This article discusses the benefits of the project as well as the pedagogical and technological challenges, offering suggestions for other MA TESL educators about implementing such collaborations.



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