English for Teaching Purposes

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

A course on English and teaching methodology that aims to help university lecturers do their teaching in English, in line with university internationalisation policies.

The course structure is the same for all learners and there are opportunities for them to link up with colleagues from universities all over the world who share the same discipline and discourse community, to ask questions and exchange ideas.

This MOOC targets lecturers who wish to begin using English in their teaching. A priori, this means university lecturers from countries where English is not the L1 or a widely-used language (Romance language-speaking countries, for example), though in fact the course is open to teachers from all educational stages who want to teach through English, following the principles of EMI (English Medium Instruction).

On completing the course, the lecturers should be able to do the following.

a) Teach a university subject in English, having gained the necessary confidence and skills.
b) Integrate all aspects of CLIL (methodological, pedagogical, strategic, attitudinal, motivational, linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic) to put together their own English-medium course on their particular subject.

c) Describe the characteristics of the university lecture discourse genre (planning, agents, channels, phases, dynamics, and current flexibility of the genre).

d) Understand and perform the basic linguistic macro-functions within English teaching discourse .

e) Understand and perform, using the appropriate linguistic exponents (vocabulary, structures, phraseology), the main micro-functions in English teaching discourse : metalinguistic, informative, evaluative, inductive, and social.

f) Consolidate their oral expression and interaction skills, and their grammar and vocabulary, at English levels C1 and C2 as defined by the Council of Europe.

English for Teaching Purposes is a course provided by the Language Service at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).

The English for Teaching Purposes team members are:

  • Language Service Management: Marta Estella, Sònia Prats
  • Project Coordination: Enric Serra, Virgínia Castillo
  • Content, Scripts and Video Design: Silvia Solá
  • Video Presenters: Silvia Solá, José Luis Ygoa
  • Audiovisual Production: Agustí Camps
  • Language Advisory and Translation Support: Francesc Galera, David Owen
  • Additional collaboration from: Rosemary Thwaite, Josep Jutglar, Elisabeth Streater, Ian James, Fiona Kelso and other language professionals at the Language Service.
  • Support in integrating to Coursera: the Area for Information-Systems Planning (APSI), UAB

This material was created with the support of the Catalan Government’s Secretary for Universities and Research. Department of Economy and Knowledge (Secretaria d’Universitats i Recerca del Departament d’Economia i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya).


Week 1. Implications for lecturers switching to English as the classroom language at university. Analysing the critical issues (contextual, linguistic, motivational, and methodological aspects). Level of English. Managing anxiety. Improve through re-thinking your teaching. Teachers’ discourse. Analysing real practice and choosing a particular class as a basis for later course work.

Week 2. Principal sequences of teachers’ discourse: explaining and justifying. Functions related to discourse structure: beginning and ending a class, concluding. Functions related to clarifying concepts for the students: giving examples,  classifying, comparing and contrasting, defining.

Week 3. Functions related to information management: describing processes, expressing cause and effect, describing graphs, helping learners to manage new information. Functions related to evaluation: expressing certainty, presenting evidence, giving one’s opinions. Functions related to induction: giving instructions, motivating learners. Functions related to socialisation: handling classroom interactions and questions in the learning environment.

Week 4. Characteristics of recorded classes. Recording the class sequence analysed throughout the course.

Recommended Background

In order to follow this course an English level of C1, as defined by the Council of Europe, is needed. It is also recommendable to be at the stage of planning an English-medium class within an actual course.

Suggested Readings

The course can be followed successfully by using the materials provided. The course contains a wide selection of resources in most of its units, which allows the topics to be explored more thoroughly. In addition, further complementary material will be presented as the course advances.

Course Format

The course lasts four weeks. Each week, students will be provided with the suitable materials in order to follow effectively. The first week focuses on reflection and contextualisation of experience; the fourth week centres on the application of what has been learned.

The course is based on general videos to introduce the contents of several units, videos focusing on specific areas, and videos that give instructions. Each week, learners carry out an interactive activity linked to the topics that have been dealt with. Learners also make a simple audio or video recording at the end of the process, containing an explanation and justification sequence from one of their English-medium classes. Assessment is based on the weekly interactive activities (60%) and peer-evaluation of the final recording (40%). Learners wishing to take the course without making a recording can also be assessed on their interactive activities.


Who is the course for?
University lecturers who do not have English as their L1 (whose L1 is, for example, a Romance language), who have a high level of English, and who intend to begin teaching some of their university classes in English.

Will I be awarded a certificate on completing the course?
Yes, students who successfully finish the course (50%) will receive a certificate signed by the MOOC instructors. This certificate does not grant credits in any academic programme in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Will the course offer Signature Track?
Yes. For further information on this, please consult: https://www.coursera.org/signature/

Does the Signature Track certificate provide official recognition of credits in any learning programme at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona?

No, it doesn't. The signature-track process only confirms the identity of the person who passed the course.

What resources will I need for the course?
The course can be followed using the materials provided. Further complementary materials will be presented during the course.

Do I need to use any specific tools to follow the course?
In the last week learners will be asked to make a short (15-minute) audio or video recording of a sequence from one of their own classes in English. Several simple tools can be found on internet to do this, as explained in a tutorial on the course, providing the user has the necessary basic digital skills. Learners do not have to upload any files to the platform, but merely share the link to the website (YouTube, for example) where their recording is. It is also possible to take the course without having to do the video presentation.
  • 2 February 2015, 4 weeks
Course properties:
  • Free:
  • Paid:
  • Certificate:
  • MOOC:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Email-course:
  • Language: English Gb


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