• The Open University

Learning English for Academic Purposes: First Steps

Develop the academic language and study skills you need to learn in English at university.

32,429 enrolled on this course

Learning English for Academic Purposes: First Steps
  • Duration6 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours

Improve your English listening, speaking, reading and writing.

This online course will give you an introduction to the academic language and skills that you will need to study at a university where the teaching is done in English.

You will develop four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) using tasks that a university student would undertake: listening to lectures, taking notes, spoken presentations, reading academic texts (including long sentences and visual information) and writing reports using proper academic words.

Throughout the course you will be able to share your practice work with other learners, to give and get feedback.

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Developing strategies and vocabulary for reading and understanding academic texts.
  • Finding, understanding, describing and evaluating information for academic purposes.
  • Developing active listening and effective note-making skills.
  • Building on language skills to describe problems and cause-and-effect.
  • Gathering a range of information, using the skills learned, to integrate into your written report.
  • Engaging in peer-to-peer feedback before finalising your report.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply strategies for reading academic texts
  • Assess the relevance of information for an academic purpose
  • Describe problems and cause-and-effect using academic language
  • Develop your academic vocabulary and vocabulary skills
  • Produce effective notes from a spoken presentation
  • Collaborate with other learners by engaging in peer-to-peer feedback
  • Synthesise information and use it to begin writing a short piece of academic work
  • Produce a final written piece of academic work using the skills learned

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students who want to study in English at university. You’ll need an English language level of IELTS 5.5.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University and look back at 20 years of designing and facilitating distance learning opportunities including MOOCs

OU associate lecturer and materials writer. I have written materials on business communication, Academic English and Italian.

I began my English teaching career in China 14 years ago. On my return to the UK I completed my MA TESOL and have since then specialised in teaching EAP as well as writing course materials.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

  • Established1969
  • LocationMilton Keynes, UK
  • World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020