COVID-19 Updates

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The Renison English Language Institute Office (REN 1930) is CLOSED and not available for visitors, in accordance with COVID-19 measures. Moving forward, we will be providing support in a virtual format. Read more about how to connect with ELI online.

For the Winter 2021 term, we will continue to offer programs in a virtual format, including our Winter 2021 term of English For Academic Success.

Essential Soft Skills in English Online Courses


English is increasingly becoming the language of higher education and the international workplace. Successful communication involves more than the ability to speak English; additional soft skills are required for people to be effective communicators in professional settings.

Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, are different from technical skills or competencies. Examples of soft skills include team building, listening, negotiation, persuasion, presentation, and writing skills.

Employers in many parts of the world seek confident individuals who are capable of using their soft skills to participate effectively in teams, persuade others, present their ideas, and develop and maintain important relationships. A common complaint of employers and educators is a lack of soft skills in candidates. The Essential Soft Skills in English courses will help you develop these important skills and contribute to both your academic and long-term career success. These soft skills, and the ability to apply them in English, are becoming increasingly important in the global marketplace and within higher education around the world. This course is for you if you want to improve your English, and add the skills that employers are seeking to your resume!

In the Essential Soft Skills in English courses, you can choose to take one or more courses in the series and work toward a certificate from a world-renowned institution completely online. This certificate demonstrates to employers that you have the ability to speak and write confidently in social and professional contexts, and have the communication skills to succeed.

How you'll learn 

These courses combine traditional reading, writing, and speaking with interactive new media to promote student learning. Students will experience both real-time classes and self-directed study in a dynamic online learning environment.

In these courses, students will:

  • participate in live classes online with instructors and students
  • complete multimedia assignments
  • participate in discussions and group-work with other students in an online environment
  • engage in a vibrant, virtual student experience that allows you to apply your communication skills
  • receive feedback from instructors on all assignments
  • complete final assignments and a multiple choice quiz
  • receive a transcript at the end of each course

Course materials are created with consideration for students whose first language is not English. Students will have the opportunity to engage with material in a written or video format (with subtitles) and, at their own pace, check any unfamiliar vocabulary in advance of live classes. Live classes are held 1 hour per week on Thursdays at 7:00 am and again at 8:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)/Eastern Standard Time (EST). Students can attend one or both of the classes depending on their availability. The course content is the same in both classes. 

In addition, a live orientation session with the instructor is held at on the first day of each course at 7:00 am and again at 8:00 pm EDT/EST. Students can choose which orientation session to attend depending on their availability.

Essential Soft Skills in English is designed for:

  • students who want to be better prepared for their university career
  • individuals who want to develop communication skills to enhance employability
  • employees who want to improve workplace performance
  • individuals who want to extend their qualifications and build additional transferable skills in English
  • individuals who want to network with individuals from around the world and have 4-5 hours per week to devote to their personal and professional skill development
  • students who have a good intermediate level of English 

To participate in the Essential Soft Skills in English courses it is advised that you have a good intermediate level of English. This would be a B1, or higher, level of English on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This means that you can do all of the statements in the following table.

CEFR Level B1   

Listening

  • I can understand the main points of clear standard speech on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • I can understand the main point of many radio or TV programs on current affairs or topics of personal or professional interest when the delivery is relatively slow and clear.

Reading

  • I can understand texts that consist mainly of high frequency everyday or job-related language.
  • I can understand the description of events, feelings and wishes in personal letters.

Speaking 

  • I can connect phrases in a simple way in order to describe experiences and events, as well as to give opinions. 
  • I can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • I can enter unprepared into conversation on topics that are familiar.

Writing

  • I can write straightforward connected text on topics, which are familiar, or of personal interest.
  • I can write letters highlighting the personal significance of events and experiences.

NOTE: No English language test score is required to register for Essential Soft Skills in English. Students are responsible for determining their suitability to take a course. If you have a question about the language level of the courses, please email eli@uwaterloo.ca