The English Conversation Group: A Library-led Virtual Program for International Students


  • Shuzhen Zhao University of Windsor
  • Rong Luo University of Windsor
  • Christine Sabina Windsor Public Library
  • Karen Pillon University of Windsor


Academic libraries play a key role in helping international students adjust to a new learning environment. The abrupt halt to in-person activities due to COVID-19 meant that many libraries had to find new and creative ways of utilizing technology to continue serving patrons. In fall 2020, the English Conversation Group (ECG) at the University of Windsor’s Leddy Library pivoted to offering virtual sessions for the first time in the program’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions have been successful in continuing to support international students and have allowed for students to engage with the university, the library, and each other despite being physically separated. The authors detail the process, challenges, and outcomes of hosting English Conversation Group using Blackboard Collaboratory for international students. This case study provides limited empirical evidence for libraries who have an interest in offering a   web-based English conversation program in order to support international students.