Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language




This policy and action research in the form of a case study of language policy in Ecuador posits, with a pragmatic view, that students’ backgrounds, prior knowledge, and learning objectives should significantly impact curriculum development. Applying principles of information development, such as conducting usability studies and generating appropriate user profiles, technical communicators produce user-friendly documentation. Pairing technical communicators with educators to collaborate in the parallel processes of information development and curriculum development may yield instructional materials more useful to students than currently available materials are. An etic perspective is appropriate for this study for it does not presuppose what the students’ learning objectives are. Two hundred seventy-nine students taking classes in English as a foreign language (EFL) at three Ecuadorian higher education institutions voluntarily responded to a convenience sample survey designed to learn what benefits the students hoped to obtain from their university-level study of the English language. If this knowledge of student needs was used, in part, to form user profiles prior to course design, it may likely result in a different iteration of EFL instruction than the one currently being shaped by publishers and the national government as well as previous iterations shaped by higher education institutions and instructors.