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Principles of Written English, Part 2

The English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is pleased to announce that part two of the popular MOOC course, “Principles of Written English” will begin on February 4, 2015. In this second part of the academic writing course, participants will focus on proofreading and self-editing, revision vs. editing, common errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, understanding tone and diction, and vocabulary development. The course materials will be offered via readings, videos, and various types of homework assignments. There are also suggested optional textbooks for additional writing work. Participants will participate in online discussions as well as peer review of their writing. As a part of this course, participants will be expected to complete one full essay. For those that were not able to participate in part one of the courses there is no need to worry. While all three sections in this series are complimentary, each section can be taken as a “stand-alone” course.

This MOOC course is being offered through the University of California Berkeley in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. This partnership is part of the English Education Alliance (E2A), a global effort of the U.S. Department of State to address the global demand for 21st century English language skills. The course will run for approximately five weeks and require about four to five hours of work a week to complete. Students hoping to take the course should be proficient enough in English to follow an introductory level university course in the United States.

In order to maximize the learning experience, our office strongly suggests that this course be facilitated by discussions sessions around the course content. Research has shown that MOOC courses that are not facilitated tend to have higher dropout rates than those that are. As the instructor cannot engage individually with each student, facilitators can help students understand the limitations and advantages of this type of course. The course is flexible and allows individuals to focus on areas that interest them. Facilitators can assist students with any aspect of writing they are comfortable with. As a facilitator we stress that you need not worry about ‘parroting’ the ideas of the course. In other words, diverse ideas are fine.

Importantly, encourage students to get involved with the discussion communities, even if they express concern about their English level. This is where the “real” learning takes place. Participants of the course will be able to communicate and share ideas with students from around the globe. Students who are involved in the discussion boards are more successful in the course.

This is an exciting opportunity for participants to improve their academic writing skills. For teachers wanting to facilitate the course, this can be a great way to complement or supplement existing writing courses.

The link for the course is https://www.edx.org/course/uc-berkeleyx/uc-berkeleyx-colwri-2-2x-principles-4466#.VFvedflXCzQ.

For those wanting more information about the course and ideas about how to collaborate with the English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, please email us at: moscowelo@state.gov

Jerrod Frank
English Language Officer, U.S. Embassy Moscow

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