Professional English Language Skills (PELS)

The Professional English Language Skills (PELS) Online Program consists of eight modules that are offered asynchronously online over eight weeks. Each module focuses on improving English language and academic skills.

Each PELS module is an opportunity to improve intercultural communication skills by participating in asynchronous discussion boards and synchronous student hours.

Who is PELS for? 

PELS is primarily for UTM students who are learning English as an additional language; however, all UTM students who want to improve their English language skills are welcome to attend.

PELS can help you learn how to:

  • develop confidence and comprehension in written and spoken English
  • create accurate grammatical structures
  • improve reading and listening comprehension
  • apply academic language and study skills
  • practice intercultural communication skills

How to Participate

You can participate in any of the modules or complete the entire series!

Register now

PELS begins on Monday, January 24, 2022 and ends on Friday, March 25, 2022. Registration before the PELS program begins on Monday, January 24, 2022 is strongly recommended. 

Please note that you can also take PELS more than once. If you have taken PELS previously, please indicate that on the registration form.

Co-Curricular Record (CCR) Eligibility Requirements

If you wish to receive a CCR notation on your university transcript, you must:

  1. complete at least seven of the eight PELS modules AND
  2. submit a short written reflection by the due date at the end of the program

CCR Attendance Information

Please allow three weeks after the conclusion of the final PELS program module for your attendance to be updated in the online system.

Please contact the CCR office if you have questions about your CCR notation.

If you wish to earn a Co-curricular Record (CCR) notation on your transcript, you must meet all of the CCR eligibility requirements.

PELS Module Topics and Student Hours

Each PELS module will take place asynchronously and will be published on Monday of each week at 12:00 PM, Eastern Time (ET). Each module must be completed by the following Saturday at 11:59 PM (ET). Each module is designed to be completed in 60 minutes (including assessments).

The synchronous student hours are optional but strongly recommended. Student hours are an important opportunity to practice spoken English and meet other PELS students who you will interact with in asynchronous discussions. Student hours will feature activities, games, and guest speakers. Student hours will be held using Zoom and offered on Tuesdays at 4:00 PM Eastern Time (ET).

Module 1: Strategies for Academic Success (January 24, 2022) 

In addition to welcoming students to PELS, this module helps students identify their academic strengths and how to adjust to university writing expectations. Module 1 focuses on strategies that support English language learning and academic success. Module 1 topics include note-taking strategies, time-management, and organization. 

Module 2: Reading and Outlining - Preparing to Write (January 31, 2022)  

Writing is a process that involves reading, organizing information, and developing ideas. This module helps students refine and strengthen their reading and outlining skills in preparation to write. Module 2 focuses on reading, outlining, and reverse outlining methods to clearly comprehend the structure of a written text. Module 2 topics include active and critical reading, improving academic vocabulary, and academic integrity.

Module 3: Introductions and Conclusions – Guiding Your Audience (February 7, 2022)  

Deciding how to begin and end a written assignment can be a challenge. This module helps students understand the purpose and structure of introductions and conclusions. Module 3 explains how to write an introduction that expresses a main point and guides the reader. It also provides strategies for writing conclusions that ask the reader to consider the main point, supporting points, and the overall implication of the written work. Module 3 topics include how to grab the attention of a reader, formulate thesis statements, and make insightful closing statements.

Module 4: Body Paragraphs – Purpose and Structure (February 14, 2022)  

Successful written assignments have coherent, developed, and unified body paragraphs. Module 4 builds on Module 3 about introductions and conclusions to help students achieve their writing goal using structured body paragraphs. Module 4 addresses topic sentences, organization patterns, and transition words and phrases.

Please note: UTM Reading Week - February 22-25, 2022

Module 5: Analysis and Argumentation - Make Your Point (February 28, 2022)  

Analyzing what others have said about a topic and expressing your point of view is an important skill in academic writing. In Module 5 students learn how to present analysis and argumentation in written assignments. Module 5 builds on Module 4 about body paragraphs to focus on expressing a point of view and creating developed, cohesive, and unified written assignments. Module 5 topics include evidence, reasoning, bias, and writing in different disciplines.

Module 6: Learning to Edit, Revise, and Proofread – Submitting Your Best Work (March 7, 2022)  

How have you been doing on your papers?  If the answer is, “I’d like to do better,” this module can help. In Module 6 students learn the basics of revision, editing, and proofreading skills. Module 6 topics include how to incorporate instructor comments and assess your written work according to the assignment criteria and rubric. Writing is a process, so learn how to improve yours step-by-step!

Module 7: Cohesion and Flow - Making Sense (March 14, 2022)  

Making sense from start to finish requires sentences and paragraphs that connect and develop ideas.  Module 7 draws on the skills and strategies discussed in previous modules to focus on improving the cohesion and flow of an essay. Module 7 topics include vivid language, discipline specific writing strategies, and how to distinguish sources from your own ideas.

Module 8: Looking Ahead – Academic Strategies and Supports (March 21, 2022)  

Navigating your path to success at university can be challenging, and English language learners may encounter additional concerns as they adapt to new academic contexts. There are resources that can help, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. Module 8 presents resources at UTM that can help you prepare for final assessments and access academic advising. By participating in a range of fun and engaging activities, students in this session will consider which strategies might work best as the countdown to final papers, exams, and next semester begins!