Abstract This paper discusses the development and piloting of an online pre-sessional English course for international students who were about to begin online distance learning Masters programmes. It describes and explains an important shift of focus during the design process, in which what was initially intended to be a ‘distance learning version’ of an existing English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course became an online course in its own right, exploiting different interaction spaces that created realistic opportunities for the students to use different styles of academic written English. The paper reports participants’ evaluations and comments, gathered during and at the end of the course. Finally, it sets out the changes planned for the next iterations of the course.
Keywords: Online learning, distance learning, academic writing, EAP.