UO 'MOOC' aims to help teach English language

Costa Rican school children during a 2006 visit in which an AIE group worked on a video for the new MOOC course
Costa Rican school children during a 2006 visit in which an AIE group worked on a video for the new MOOC course

The University of Oregon enters the MOOC world April 7 with the launch of a free, two-part Massive Open Online Course designed to help educators more effectively teach English as a foreign language.

The course, "Shaping the Way We Teach English," will be presented by the UO's American English Institute in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State and in partnership with Coursera.

The offering is geared toward educators pursuing English instruction as a career, and those already in the field who may wish to refresh their teaching methods and approaches, said Leslie Opp-Beckman, director of eLearning for AEI, a program of the UO's Department of Linguistics.

"This course allows educators anywhere to sign up for free and learn English-teaching strategies from top-ranked university faculty," Opp-Beckman said. "Participants will find themselves in a unique, multimedia-rich collaborative environment that allows them to interact with English-language educators from all over the world."

Opp-Beckman has worked for more than a decade developing the course framework through a series of cooperative agreements with the Office of English Language Programs of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The course is the first MOOC to formally emerge from the UO. It features two five-week classes that are being announced this week in Portland, during the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) 2014 International Convention and English Language Expo, "ELT for the Next Generation."

Read more in a UO news release about the course.

- by Jim Barlow, UO Office of Public Affairs Communications