English Language Institute

Community Conversation Course (CCC)

Due to COVID-19 health and safety precautions, the ELI offices will be closed and operating remotely until further notice. The ELI is working remotely 8:30 am - 4:45 pm Monday - Friday. 

General Overview

This course is designed to help non-native speakers of English improve their speaking and listening conversation skills. It is open to students, faculty and staff at the University of Pittsburgh as well as to international residents and visitors who are living and working in the Pittsburgh area. All classes are taught remotely in real time over Zoom by student volunteers or teachers-in-training. The number of classes and levels offered each term are dependent on enrollment and teacher availability.


  • This class is usually offered Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.
    • Spring 2021: January 25 - April 2, 2021. 

      • No classes February 23; University Student Self-Care Day

      • No classes March 24; University Student Self-Care Day 

      • Closing Ceremony, April 2, 2021


  • Classes meet for 2.5 hours each week remotely using Zoom, either twice a week for one hour fifteen minutes per class or three times a week for 50 minutes per class.
    • Low Intermediate:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:15 pm
    • High Intermediate:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 – 6:45 pm
    • High Intermediate:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30 – 1:45 pm
    • Low Advanced:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:15 pm

*All students take an oral placement exam to determine their level and are registered for the appropriate classes. Students may not choose their schedule or level based on convenience.


  • There is an $100 non-refundable registration fee. 
  • Payment information will be sent to those who complete the ELI application (information below). 
  • Price does not include textbook.

Course Description

This course is intended for low intermediate to low advanced non-native speakers of English (equivalent to ELI levels 3, 4, 5 or 6).

All applicants must take an oral proficiency test in order to register for the class. Class size will be limited to 20 and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Students must have access to audio- and video-capable technology (preferably a computer or laptop), and a basic (1.5 Mbps) DSL Internet/WiFi connection or a cellular/satellite connection. A cable or fiber Internet service will further enhance your learning experience, but it is not required.  Students will be asked to use their video during classes and must be able to use the Breakout Room function in Zoom. All classes will be taught synchronously. Classes will not be recorded. 

Course Goals Course Activities
  • Improve overall English speaking and listening skills
  • Explore culture relevant to improving the language skills that are the focus of the course
  • Recognize, understand, and use selected vocabulary
  • Studying and completing exercises and practice activities in the textbook
  • Listening to and studying video and audio clips
  • Conversing on personal, social, and/or academic topics
  • Reviewing problem areas in pronunciation
  • Doing grammar exercises as needed

There are no grades, quizzes, tests, or other types of formal evaluations in this course.  Students will engage in various activities with the goal of improving their listening and speaking skills. 

Campus Life and Pitt ID Card

Students in the Community Conversation Course are not eligible for a University ID or to participate in University sponsored student activities. However, students are permitted to participate in virtual social and cultural activities planned by the ELI. Information about these activities can be found in the the ELI News, a weekly newsletter.

Application Procedure

  • 1.   Complete the online CCC application. 

    2.   The ELI will contact you to schedule an oral interview on Zoom to determine your proficiency level. Interviews will occur January 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, and 26. 

    3.   The interviewer will discuss the results of the interview with you and help you choose a class. 

    4.   You will receive an email from the ELI about how to pay for the course. The preferred payment is using a debit card through the University’s online payment portal. The deadline for payment is February 3, 2021.


Students who have not missed more than 20% of classes will receive a Certificate of Attendance. 


Contact us for more information about the Community Conversation Course.