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Online English course gives students an edge

A free University of Queensland online course that has already attracted more than 270,000 non-native English speakers from around the world has been enhanced to help even more students kick-start their university education.

The new and improved version has been released just 12 months after the popular IELTSx: IELTS Academic Test Preparation  English course was developed by the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) to help students preparing for assessment through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Since it was launched through the free edX massive open online course (MOOC) platform the course has attracted learners from more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

ICTE-UQ Director Julian Wilson said the enhanced version of the course would help students to build their confidence in the four skills tested by IELTS – listening, speaking, reading and writing.

“We’ve included a range of new features to help students reach their English language goals, including additional learning materials, more detailed feedback and the introduction of peer assessment on writing tasks,” Mr Wilson said.

“The free course has enabled the Institute to share more than 30 years of experience with a broad global audience and provide English language education to students who are unable to access face-to-face learning.”

UQx Director John Zornig said India, Vietnam, Pakistan and Egypt were the top enrolling countries.

“Our data for the first year showed students not only relied on IELTSx to get into their first undergraduate degree, but more than 50 per cent of them already had a bachelor’s degree and were improving their IELTS scores in anticipation of postgraduate masters and doctoral study.”

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