ELI Delivers ESL Instruction across the Miles

Posted: August 16, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

Research shows that the success rate of distance learning programs depends on keeping students interested and motivated through the use of good technology and a variety of presentation techniques. The English Language Institute (ELI) seems to have found the right mix in their initial distance learning offerings.

“English is the language of communication all over the world,” says ELI director Kathy Trump. “There is a growing need for ESL [English as a Second Language] instruction to be delivered to students abroad, as well as to international students and immigrants living in the United States.”

The institute’s most recent venture into the distance learning arena started this summer when six Saudi Arabians began preparation — before leaving their homeland — to become students in the College of Nursing and Health Science. The program is delivered through a CD-ROM that features audio and video segments and a virtual campus tour, and students communicate with their instructor through e-mail. In addition to reading and writing assignments and nursing-specific vocabulary, the course offers insight into culture and university life in the United States.

In 1999, ELI developed a distance learning course that targeted the specific learning needs of immigrants. The program, “Get Connected,” was aired by GMU-TV and offered to George Mason contract employees for whom English is a second language (see Mason Gazette, May 1999, “English Language Institute Offers Distance Learning”).

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