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MOOCs for ELL Students: Improve your English Language Skills

Carolyn

Founder at MoocLab
Staff member
Group Manager
As highlighted in an article published on ElearningInside, most MOOCs are taught in English which can put you at a disadvantage if English is not your first language. Students enrolled in a MOOC need to understand the course lectures, quizzes & assignments as well as participate in the discussion forums and write essays. For those with intermediate reading and writing skills in English, this can become a barrier to success. Luckily, there are a number of MOOCs available to help you improve your English Language skills.

Writing in English at University
By Lund University via Coursera

Acquiring good academic research and writing skills early on is essential for your success both at university and in your professional life.

This course aims:
- to give you an understanding of the conventions of academic writing in English and to teach you the components and benefits of what is called process writing.
- to help you to put together your own “toolbox” of academic writing skills, as well as to give you a chance to test out these tools and to reflect on your own development as a writer.
- to encourage reflection on discipline specific conventions; although the course deals with generic skills, you will be able to apply these generic skills to meet the particular needs of your own discipline.

The course consists of four modules:
1. Writing in English at university: An introduction
2. Structuring your text and conveying your argument
3. Using sources in academic writing
4. The writer’s toolbox: Editing and proofreading

In each module you will find video lectures and reading assignments and assignments, such as quizzes, reflective self-assessment questions, as well as some peer review exercises in which you will have an opportunity to interact with other students taking the course.

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Academic English: Writing Specialization
By the University of California, Irvine via Coursera

Transform Your Writing Skills. Prepare for college-level writing and research in just four courses.

The skills taught in this Specialization will empower you to succeed in any college-level course or professional field. You’ll learn to conduct rigorous academic research and to express your ideas clearly in an academic format. In the final Capstone Project, all the knowledge that you’ve gained over the span of these courses will culminate into an academic research paper on an issue of your choice.

Beginner Specialization. No prior experience required.

This Specialization is made up of 4 Courses and a Capstone Project. You can take the full Specialization program or select from the course list below:
  1. Grammar and Punctuation
  2. Getting Started with Essay Writing
  3. Advanced Writing
  4. Introduction to Research for Essay Writing
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Learn English: Intermediate Grammar Specialization
By the University of California, Irvine via Coursera

Master Intermediate Grammar. Boost your knowledge and use of grammar at the intermediate level.


This specialization covers common topics in intermediate grammar, such as perfect verb tenses and adjective clauses. It will also cover "tricky English" grammar topics that learners of English often find frustrating. The capstone will give you a chance to review all of the knowledge you've learned in the courses and create a multi-media "scrapbook" of grammar to keep with you after the specialization ends.

This Specialization is made up of 3 Courses and a Capstone Project. You can take the full Specialization program or select from the course list below:
  1. Perfect Tenses and Modals
  2. Adjectives and Adjective Clauses
  3. Tricky English Grammar
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Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests
By The British Council via Futurelearn

Improve your English and prepare for tests, such as IELTS reading, writing, speaking and listening, with this free online course.

Anyone thinking about taking an English language test, such as IELTS, will find this course particularly useful, but all English language learners will benefit from the tips and advice given in the course.

The course focuses on the IELTS test (International English Language Testing System). IELTS is the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration. IELTS is accepted by over 10,000 organisations worldwide including universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. Over 3 million IELTS tests were taken globally last year.

This course will take you through each stage of the IELTS test — reading, writing, speaking and listening. At each stage there will be advice from our video tutor and a team of experienced IELTS educators. You will also be asked to share your experiences, tips and opinions with other learners.

By the end of the Understanding IELTS course, you will:
  • be familiar with all parts of the IELTS test
  • have some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals
  • understand how the IELTS test is assessed
  • have an opportunity to have your written and spoken English assessed by other learners
The British Council has over 80 years’ experience in English language teaching and assessment and delivers IELTS tests in more than 100 countries. The course draws on the British Council’s expertise in online learning.

You can find out more about this course in this post for the FutureLearn blog: “IELTS: a global test for a global language.”

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English for Academic Purposes: a MOVE-ME Project Course
By The University for Foreigners of Siena via Futurelearn

Develop the language skills you need to study in English and make the most of European student mobility programmes.

Acquire the skills to understand and use English for Academic Purposes
Each year thousands of students travel across Europe and the world to follow university courses through English. This can be daunting, even for those who are fluent.

This online course, developed within the MOVE-ME project by UniStraSi, NUI Galway, The Open University and CTI will guide you through the features of academic discourse in English, and enable you to understand and produce written and aural academic texts.

1 ECTS credit is awarded by completing the course, taking the final test and obtaining the Certificate of Achievement.

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TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide
By Educational Testing Service via edX

Prepare for the TOEFL® test and learn how to improve your score and English language skills from the experts who create the exam.

This test preparation course, developed by the experts who create, administer and score the TOEFL test, will help English language learners improve their skills.

The TOEFL test is the world’s most trusted and widely accepted English-language assessment. It has helped millions of people achieve their dreams to study, work or live abroad. More than 10,000 institutions of higher education, government agencies and organizations worldwide accept TOEFL scores for making important decisions.

This course will help you understand what you can do to achieve your best TOEFL test score. Instructors will guide you through each section (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) and, using archived past test questions, will explain the kinds of questions you can expect. You will receive valuable advice, including how to register for the test, how it is scored and how to prepare for test day.

This course is highly interactive, using videos, sample questions with explanations, short quizzes and collaborative discussion boards. You will also have access to real test materials from past tests. During the weeks covering Speaking and Writing, all course participants can receive scores for their practice-test responses.

In addition, there will be free resources and discounted test prep offers throughout the course. Finally, you will receive valuable insider tips to help you do your best on the TOEFL test so you can apply to the university or job of your dreams.

Who takes the TOEFL test? More than 30 million people from all over the world have taken the TOEFL test to demonstrate their English-language proficiency.
  • Students planning to study at an institution or university
  • Candidates for scholarships and professional certification
  • English-language learners who want to track their progress
  • Students and workers applying for visas in certain countries
What you'll learn:
  • How to improve your English language skills
  • How to effectively navigate the four sections of the TOEFL test: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing
  • Helpful tips to prepare you for the TOEFL test
  • How the TOEFL test is scored
  • How to use your TOEFL test scores for employment, study, visas and scholarships
  • Ways to manage your time during the test
  • Where to find additional resources available for the TOEFL test
  • How to register for the TOEFL test
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English Grammar and Style
By The University of Queensland via edX

Learn key concepts and strategies in grammar and style to help enhance your writing and confidently respond to the demand of high levels of literacy in the 21st century.

With the rise of social media and the Internet, many people are writing more today for different mediums than ever before. We’ll present materials that cover grammatical principles, word usage, writing style, sentence and paragraph structure, and punctuation. We’ll introduce you to some marvelous resources that we have annotated for your guidance. We’ll show you video clips of interviews conducted with distinguished grammarians, challenge you with quizzes and writing activities that will give you strategies to help you to build skills that will enhance the quality of your writing, and invite you to participate in discussions and assess the work of your peers.

What you'll learn:
  • How to reliably identify the roles and relationships of words in a sentence
  • Mastery of grammatical concepts and syntactical strategies
  • How to apply this knowledge to produce coherent, economical, and compelling writing
  • Skills in critiquing and editing your own and others' writing
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