I am writing to you today to let you know about an exciting new free online tool for your DEClic Moodle course. It is called Virtual Writing Tutor—a grammar checker created specifically for Quebec college students writing in English. Before you read on, click this link to see an example of what it can do.
Developed by Nicholas Walker and Melvin Shantz at Ahuntsic College, this website has the dual purpose of reducing college teachers’ workload and increasing the quality and quantity of corrective feedback students receive. Not only does it identify errors that MS Word and Grammarly.com miss, it also suggests links to remedial error correction activities to help learners eliminate persistent errors from their writing for good.
Another impressive aspect of this project is the methodology these teachers have chosen to employ. Nicholas Walker reports in his blog that error detection rules are developed from his own students’ writing and tested for accuracy using a +3 million word English corpus. There is also a reporting tool created for teachers to add missed errors and report false alarms.
Integrating the VWT into your DEClic Moodle Course
The simplest way to add the VWT to your Moodle course is to go to “Add a resource” dropdown menu. Simply select “URL” and type in “www.virtualwritingtutor.com” in “External URL” box. Under “Options” menu, you will see “Display” button, choose “Embed” from dropdown menu.
Find out more
If you are interested to learn more about this extraordinary teacher-initiated project, there is a recent article about the Virtual Writing Tutor on Profweb, a video how-to on Le Monde en Images, a detailed about-us page, a blog, and a Facebook page with updates on new error rules contributed by the community. Finally, you can show your support by voting up the project on List.ly.
Example text: http://virtualwritingtutor.com/example2.php
Report/Suggest tool: http://virtualwritingtutor.com/Report_Suggest.php
About the project: http://virtualwritingtutor.com/about.php
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Virtualwritingtutor
Le monde en Images : http://monde.ccdmd.qc.ca/ressource/?id=84605&demande=desc
List.ly link : http://list.ly/list/23v-best-grammar-checkers