Monday, July 24, 2017 - 15:45
UQ Masters student Gustavo Villafuerte
UQ Masters student Gustavo Villafuerte

A University of Queensland student has found the ideal way to kick-start his Masters in Economics and Public Policy studies – enrolling in the Massive Open Online Course IELTSx: IELTS Academic Test Preparation.

The course is UQ’s most popular MOOC and has attracted more than 418,000 enrolments from around the world.

A new and improved version has been released today with extra content and new practice activities. 

The online 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).

ICTE-UQ student Mr Gustavo Villafuerte, a scholarship student from Peru, said he knew he had to improve his English before starting his Masters studies in Australia.

“I was always looking to come to The University of Queensland, but when I saw the online IELTSx course, I knew it would suit me,” he said.

“The six-week online program was ideal as I could study at night after work.

“The course is useful if you are looking to improve in a particular area.

“I found I could sit down and just concentrate on those areas so that I could really hone my skills.

“IELTSx also gives you a variety of ways to learn English while showing you tools you can apply to progress,” he said.

After completing his Masters, Mr Villafuerte plans to return to Peru to work with the government in improving outcomes for lower skilled workers in rural areas.

Since the course was launched through the free edX MOOC platform, it has attracted learners from 215 countries and territories around the world.

ICTE-UQ Director Julian Wilson said the revised content was concerned with language development rather than test skills and strategies.

“This will help students build their proficiency in the four skills tested by IELTS – listening, speaking, reading and writing,” he said.

“The new release has an additional module called IELTS Extra. This module is accessible to users who upgrade to a Verified Certificate.

“We have included a greater variety of learning strategies for students so that they can connect with the facilitators and their fellow students who can now comment on each other’s work in areas such as voice activities.

“The course can also build strength in the areas of pronunciation and fluency. This is then complimented with more interactive videos to enhance the experience.

“The 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,” Mr Wilson said.

UQx Director John Zornig said IELTSx had the broadest reach of all UQ’s MOOCs with enrolments from almost every country.

“Roughly 25 per cent of IELTSx learners have achieved a school education, about 50 per cent have an undergraduate degree and 25 per cent have an advanced degree, demonstrating the strong demand for improving English language skills at all stages of education,” he said.

Register free for the course here.

Media: Catherine Bennett, UQx, c.bennett1@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 0850