(PRWEB) November 19, 2012
Excelsior College announced today the launch of the Excelsior College English as a Second Language Writing Online Workshop (ESL-WOW) – a free, publicly available resource for non-native English speakers struggling with college-level writing. The project, funded with a $581,600 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), will be housed within the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab (OWL).
ESL-WOW is intended to guide English learners along each stage of the pre-writing, while-writing, and post-writing process through interconnected and interactive modules.
The workshop was built in accordance with promising new strategies in adult second- language writing which include assessing learners’ needs and goals, acknowledging their prior writing experiences, incorporating content relevant to their roles as parents, workers and life-long learners and evaluating their performance on an ongoing basis.
Demand for ESL training is increasing to crisis-levels. Approximately 1.8 million immigrants enter the United States each year, many with limited language skills. At the same time, “funding has not kept pace” according to Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
“Attempts are being made to address the national shortage of ESL services, however, the vast majority of these strategies are classroom-based and they often present access challenges to working adults,” said Claire Siskin, ESL-WOW project director. “ESL-WOW will tackle the iron triangle of accessibility, scalability, and affordability while offering 24/7 support to English language learners in both online and campus-based programs.”
Excelsior’s multimedia program will be available to all community colleges and workforce investment boards throughout the country.
Approximately 7.2 percent of enrolled students at Excelsior College are considered non-native English speakers – a nearly 1 percent increase over the previous year. Mesa College, Excelsior’s partner in this project, has approximately 300 students in its English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.
“Our research on online writing labs shows that while the vast majority provide links to grammar and basic writing resources, none offer an integrated suite of services targeted to academic and workforce writing skills for second language learners,” said Dr. David Seelow, director of writing programs at Excelsior College. “We designed ESL-WOW with prevailing best practices in second language writing in mind, while tailoring instruction for varying cultures and educational backgrounds.”
Excelsior College http://www.excelsior.edu is a regionally accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution that focuses on removing obstacles to the educational goals of adult learners. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, NY, Excelsior is a proven leader in the assessment and validation of student knowledge. It offers more efficient and affordable access to degree completion through multiple avenues: its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance in transfer of credit from other colleges and universities as well as recognized corporate and military training programs. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.