iELF  Project Description

The Illinois English Language Forum (iELF) is hosted by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The iELF website will be a comprehensive resource center covering all aspects of academic English and culture for non-native speakers and their teachers.

Lessons and materials will be developed by graduate students under the direction of faculty in the Master of Arts in Teaching ESL program at UIUC. iELF is an ideal intersection where the knowledge and skills of this program can be used to meet a pressing need in the ESL community. Lessons will also be submitted by ESL professionals worldwide; learn how to Get Involved.

Sample Lesson Topics

Reading Skills

Skimming, speed reading, critically examining sources, etc.

Writing Skills

Essays, research papers, abstracts, emails, grant applications, etc.

Listening Skills

Lectures, classroom discussion, natural speech, negotiating, etc.

Speaking Skills

Classroom discussion, presentations, group work, pronunciation, etc.

Grammar & Lexicon

Grammar, including syntax, tenses, punctuation, lexicon, etc.

Field-Specific English

English used in fields such as accountancy, chemistry, psychology, music, architecture, etc.


Academic skills such as note-taking and academic culture such as plagiarism and formatting, etc.

What will iELF do?

  • › Build a freely-accessible, comprehensive online resource center.
  • › Focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills–as well as grammar, field-specific English use, and academic culture
  • › Create multimedia lessons using the best practices for online learning.
  • › Assess the most pressing needs of NNS learners of academic English and their teachers.

How will iELF be used?

  • › Supplement face-to-face coursework or individual tutoring.
  • › Serve as a reference and house materials.
  • › Facilitate a community for self-directed learning.
  • › Provide a virtual consultant for faculty who do not have the time or training to address students’ language needs.

All materials on iELF will be

  • › Reviewed by a board of specialists in the target area
  • › Up-to-date with current language pedagogy
  • › Up-to-date with best practices for online learning
  • › Credited to the original author
  • › Licensed under Creative Commons
  • › Freely accessible to learners and teachers around the world

Why iELF?

There are many ESL resources on the Internet. However, very few address the needs of advanced users of academic English.

In addition, iELF will be designed with user experience in mind:

  • › visually appealing design
  • › logical organization
  • › clear navigation
  • › accessible on all devices
  • › multi-modal
  • › user input (lesson requests)