U.S. Department of State awards Penn ELP MOOC grant

May 6, 2016

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with implementing partner FHI 360, has awarded the University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs a grant to develop and administer five Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for English language learners under the English Access Microscholarship Program.

University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs (Penn ELP), in collaboration with Penn SAS Online Learning, will be developing and delivering five MOOCs: English for Business and Entrepreneurship; English for Journalism; English for Career Development; English for Media Literacy; and English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Each MOOC will be designed for a global audience that includes teenagers, young adults, and adults, and will be at least partially accessible to those who have limited internet connectivity or those connecting via mobile devices.

The grant allows Penn ELP to enhance its contribution to the Penn Compact 2020 which aims, in part, to increase access and “engage locally, nationally, and globally to bring the benefits of Penn's research, teaching, and service to individuals and communities at home and around the world.”

As explained in the Department of State’s RFP, “Each MOOC will enable pre-intermediate and intermediate English learners to improve their English language skills, enhance their understanding of the United States and key global issues, and broaden their opportunities for professional growth. The MOOCs will provide innovative, high-quality, and free online learning courses for a global audience.”
Penn ELP is excited to participate in this innovative and far-reaching project. The first MOOC, English for Business and Entrepreneurship, is expected to launch via Coursera in late May 2016.

Learn more by visiting the course enrollment pages for English for Business and Entrepreneurship (www.coursera.org/learn/business), English for Journalism (www.coursera.org/learn/journalism), and English for Career Development (www.coursera.org/learn/careerdevelopment).

About the U.S. Department of State’s English Access Microscholarship Program
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through exchange programs that improve foreign relations and equip participants with the skills needed to compete in the global economy. The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-20 year olds from economically disadvantaged sectors around the world through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access helps participants obtain better jobs and educational prospects, as well as compete for and participate in future international exchange programs.

About University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs
The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Penn’s English Language Programs is a top English language program, established in the early 1960s, serving adults whose purpose is to learn English for a variety of professional, academic, or personal reasons. Penn ELP offers programs in academic, business, and general English, as well as English for the Professions, such as law, architecture, dental medicine, and nursing. ELP allows students to gain exposure to the U.S. university system while being immersed in the language and culture of the U.S. Each year 2,000 students from 35 countries study at the ELP as part of the vibrant university community.

Penn ELP created its first MOOC in 2013. The five-week Applying to US Universities MOOC hosted on Coursera has since had over 55,000 learners. ELP prides itself on the large and growing use of technology to support its instruction.

About University of Pennsylvania Online Learning
Online Learning, a department within the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, collaborates with Penn faculty on aspects of instructional design, digital pedagogy, and multimedia educational productions. The Online Learning team will support Penn ELP in instructional design, platform support and course building, video production, and animation for the Department of State MOOCs.