Excelsior College ESL Writing Online Workshop (ESL WOW) Wins National University Technology Network (NUTN) 2013 Distance Education Innovation Award

Excelsior College’s School of Liberal Arts today announced that its English as a Second Language Online Writing Workshop (ESL-WOW) has been honored with the 2013 Distance Education Award (Member category) by the National University Technology Network (NUTN). Launched in November 2012, ELS-WOW is a free, publicly available resource for non-native English speakers struggling with college-level writing.

Excelsior College ESL WOW“The ESL-WOW was developed to meet a pressing need, helping second language learners write more effectively, and we are thrilled that the NUTN has recognized the innovative manner with which we have pursued this goal,” said Dr. David Seelow, director of writing programs and the online writing lab at Excelsior College. “Excelsior prides itself on being a leader within the open access movement and the ESL-WOW, which uses distance learning technology to make interactive and engaging writing resources accessible to students across the globe for free, is a prime example of that.”

The NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award is presented to an individual or group of individuals representing an institution that has developed an innovative program or practice that contributes to the field of distance education. The award for innovation may be in relation to a new program, an ongoing program, student or support services, pedagogy, faculty development and support or technology.

“A distinguished panel of reviewers cited the work of David Seelow and Project Director Claire Siskin, and faculty associated with the project, in creating an ESL online environment for its innovative solution to a critical need,” said NUTN in a statement announcing Excelsior’s award. “Reviewers also recognized the project as a comprehensive and thorough online ESL resource which includes an “Avoiding Plagiarism” tutorial as an important component. We commend Excelsior for these effective interactive courses offered free to all students and institutions serving large numbers of students and institutions. We are honored to recognize Excelsior College with this award.”

[Listen to Dr. Seelow Discuss the development of ESL-WOW with Excelsior Life's Distance EDU on Demand Podcast]

Nominations for the award were judged upon the following criteria:

  • How effectively the innovation responds to a stated need
  • How the innovation advances the practice of distance learning or education
  • How the innovation has a broader application and can be duplicated by other providers
  • How the innovation is cost-effective
  • How the innovation can demonstrate a high level of student and faculty satisfaction
  • How the innovation utilizes a new technology or an older technology in a new way
  • How the innovation incorporates a new pedagogy

ESL-WOW is intended to guide English learners along each stage of the pre-writing, while-writing, and post-writing process through interconnected and interactive modules. The project was funded with a $581,600 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) and is housed within the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab (OWL).

The award will be presented to Excelsior at NUTN Network 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 17, 2013.