English for Academic Studies – Collaboration Works!

Epigeum. It’s not a name that will automatically be familiar to those of you who know the old faces of UK ELT, but it’s about to launch a brand-new suite of EAP courses for Universities using a radical collaborative publishing model – which makes it a very exciting place to be for HEIs (Higher Education Institutions).

Epigeum has actually been around for a while; it’s a spin-off from Imperial College London, and up until now has published a range of wholly online courses for university teaching and management, which are aimed at blended delivery. According to their website, 65% of UK HE institutions have purchased their courses, including 95% of Russell Group members and 9 of the top 10 UK universities.

The unique aspect of Epigeum’s offer is that they don’t just throw a product together and hope it sells. Instead, everything they produce is a collaboration between leading institutions and specially-commissioned authors and advisers. Technical development is managed in-house – the final product is then deployed on each institution’s own LMS, so no need to mess with annual contracts, subscriptions and multiple logons, the bugbear of third-party products like Macmillan English Campus and English360.

The process kicks off with invitations to participate sent out to key prospective partners, and leads to a workshop (often held at Imperial) where the basic framework of the programme is discussed and the outline is finalised. The company then commissions the materials, all of which are peer-reviewed on the go by the consortium. The end result is a product which truly reflects the needs of higher education, and which enables the consortium members to obtain a finished, class-leading product which would be excessively costly otherwise, both in terms of financing and staff time.

Epigeum has just launched its latest collaboration, English for Academic Studies (if the link is broken paste http://www.epigeum.com/component/programmes/?view=programme&programme=73 in your browser) – a comprehensive blended programme which, judging by the outline on its website, should be of massive interest to all universities and places of higher learning  including international  business schools. Not only will the (limited number) of consortium participants have an outstanding, appropriate educational tool at the end of the process, but they will also have the opportunity to network with other major international institutions.

Epigeum is to be congratulated on putting together a proposition which eschews the usual EAP book-based model and which is driven by peers, not publishers. Check it out.

Oh – and one of the lead advisers is our very own Pete Sharma!

 

Byron