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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

English as a Second Language: Online courses

A guide for second-language learners of English

Free Online Courses

These course provide assistance with learning basic to intermediate English.

BBC Learning English - hundreds of free English video learning lessons from native speaker teachers.

Free Online English Courses from a partnership between ALISON & the British Council. Many advanced modules are available.

Dave's ESL Cafe - Materials for teachers and students alike. For students, there are extensive grammar lessons, materials on phrasal verbs, idioms, quizzes, slang, and online forums for help and discussion.

Massive Open Online Courses

Alison--offers a range of online courses, including language courses.

ESOL Courses--English for Speakers of Other Languages--offers a wide range of free courses for learning English

online english coursesMOOEC-- Massive Open Online English Course-- is solely dedicated to learning English at any level. For instance, Elementary English Course.

FutureLearn offers courses  from 40 places all across the world , including some top British institutions, except the US.

Free English Learning Podcasts

All Ears English, presented by two ESL teachers in the US, is a great option for those at the  intermediate level of English who  want a little more entertainment. While the courses are fee-based, the podcasts are free.

The BBC offers two options:

6-Minute English a news podcast produced every week and aimed at intermediate speakers.

The English We Speak--offers 3 minutes long. Each episode focuses on a different English idiom or expression used in the UK

ESLPod - this website offers literally hundreds of podcasts. The site is run by "a team of experienced English as a Second Language professors with over 30 years of high school, adult, and university ESL teaching experience." Learning guides with sample sentences and cultural notes are provided with each current podcast. The topics of the podcasts include relationships, business, travel, daily life, and more.

English Teacher John Show Podcast - these ten-minute lessons focus on clear pronunciation. Full transcripts are available. Ideal for intermediate students.

Voice of America: Learning English-- offers different podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced ESL learners.

Rosetta Stone

The Library subscribes to Rosetta Stone Foundations, which features 30 languages from around the globe. To enter the database, go to Rosetta Stone Foundations/ Alternative link . You can also use Rosetta Stone on a mobile device. To get set up, use the Tutorial for Rosetta Stone Mobile.

If you have trouble entering the database and signing up for an account, contact Paula Carns at

If you have difficulties once you set up your account, please use the "Contact Support" option at Rosetta Stone (linked off of the entry page).