Past winners - Innovation


The winner of the 2017 Innovation award was Centre for English Teaching, the University of Sydney for its Academic Skills for University Success series of five MOOCs.

The Academic Skills for University Success Specialization is a series of five MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) aimed at preparing students for undergraduate study in an English-medium university. The Specialization provides an introduction to the core values and expectations of academic culture and offers practical strategies to apply to tertiary study. 

Catherine Moore (ETS TOEFL), Luke Alexander, Katherine Olston & Marc Weedon-Newstead

Catherine Moore (ETS TOEFL), Luke Alexander & Katherine Olston (accepting on behalf of CET) & English Australia Chair Marc Weedon-Newstead



There were twelve nominations for this award in 2016. After much deliberation, the Innovation Award was given to Dr Pamela Humphreys, Jacqui Ning and John Smith from Griffith English Language Institute (GELI) for their Help Yourself Resources.

The HELP Yourself Resources are a suite of short animated videos and corresponding interactive practice activities on 20 identified topics, that are designed to support students’ academic language needs. Pitched at the critical proficiency level of IELTS 5.5-7 (CEFR B2-C1), the resources are specifically targeted at students enrolled in pre-entry EAP programs such as Direct Entry Programs, EAP courses and university bridging programs, as well as students who have already commenced their university studies.

Empirically based and theoretically driven, this unique suite of scaffolded resources addresses the identified academic language needs of ELICOS students as they transition to Australian university programs. They provide opportunities for 24/7 self-directed learning with interactivity and instant feedback, and access to the material is not dependent on enrolment in a specific ELICOS program.

Created in-house for a modest budget, the project was scoped, developed and implemented over a one-year period. This project included several phases including identifying the student need, auditing existing material, and developing new material from scratch. The video making program Moovly was utilised to produce 20 animated videos, while the content authoring software Articulate Storyline was used to develop follow-up interactive, scaffolded exercises using multiple choice, matching, gap-filling, editing, and reflection activities to provide instant feedback.

As the resources are public domain, this suite of quality resources is freely available and can be utilised by all ELICOS providers and their students.

Winners John Smith and Dr Pamela Humphreys (centre two) with Helen Cook (ETS TOEFL - L) and English  Australia Chair Marc Weedon-Newstead (R)


The judges were unanimous in their decision to present the 2015 award to Lesley Speer and Jose Lara at the Macquarie University English Language Centre for their Book Club Cafe, which maximises student engagement by incorporating online reading with vocabulary-based activities in a relaxed cafe-like setting.

The judges congratulate the Macquarie University English Language Centre on their creative initiative that engages ELICOS students in a fun way while also focusing on vocabulary development as well as integrating macro skills development into each cafe session. This project has broader applications beyond the students’ time at the ELICOS centre as it equips them with learning skills for life. The individual success of each student on this project will serve as a testament to the effectiveness of not only the program but also promote the quality of the ELICOS industry in Australia.

 This year there were so many excellent nominations the judges also highly commended two other projects:

  • MaryAnn Chehade & Gamze Sayram from Macquarie University English Language Centre, NSW, for their Framework to support Independent Learning
  • Patrick Pheasant & Katherine Olston from Centre for English Teaching, The University of Sydney, NSW for their ‘University Heroes’ App



 Winners Jose Lara and Lesley Speer with Xiaoming Xi (ETS TOEFL- L) and English Australia Chair Marc Weedon-    Newstead (R)



The University of Newcastle Language Centre (NSW) won the 2014 Award for their Student Experience Program comprising a number of innovative activities and approaches which provide opportunities for Language Centre students to have productive and meaningful engagement with domestic students and members of the local community. Robyn Gentemann, who accepted the ward on behalf of the Centre, has been instrumental in setting the program up and generous in sharing information about it widely within ELICOS.

2014 Award for Innovation

Robyn Gentemann and Seamus Fagan from the University of Newcastle Language Centre with Helen Cook (ETS TOEFL) and English Australia Chair Marc Weedon-Newtead.



The 2013 winner was the University of Tasmania, English Language Centre (Launceston). The UTas team developed a flexible English course for students on a pathway to academic maritime study. The team won this award due to their creative approach to the development of their project, demonstrating that a small college can play a significant role in innovation.

Helen Cook (centre) presented the award to Rob Youngs and Amy Lewandowski from the University of Tasmania




The winner of the 2012 award was the team from Griffith English Language Institute (GELI), Gold Coast, for their online independent learning centre (ILC).

GELI developed a vertically-integrated, comprehensive and adaptive blended learning program, tailored specifically to each student’s course, level and needs and enabling students to develop independent learning skills through the ILC. Use of the ILC is embedded into course assessment and student engagement is tracked and evaluated. Evidence of improved student outcomes was provided through the ELT Barometer (national student satisfaction survey). The judges were particularly pleased to see evidence of a thorough evaluation phase as an integral part of the project.


Award for Innovation winners 2012

ETS TOEFL Associate Director, Client Relations (Australasia) Helen Cook (L) with the team from GELI: Pamela Humphreys, Kerry Sutcliffe, Sarah Bissell, John Smith, Laura Smyth & David Eccles


Ability English staff won the 2011 Award for their project to develop general English courses for students with different learning styles as well as different pathways. The project was initiated by National Manager Ruby Biscuit and developed by experienced teachers Melinda Laird and Nick Kirk from the Sydney college.



The winners of the inaugural Award were a team from Embassy CES. Clementine Annabell (Learning Technologies Training Manager) and Learning Technologies Coordinators Jill Kohler (Surfers Paradise), Neil McRudden (Melbourne), Vernon Spain (Brisbane) and Mark Steinward (Perth) won the award for their project to maximise student engagement in the language learning process through the use of learning technology, allowing for a more spontaneous, flexible and personalised learning experience.