You have probably heard about inflation being a problem for our economy. But what is inflation?Read on »
Automatically Scored Emails
Emails follow a predictable pattern, with a salutation, a paragraph explaining the email’s purpose, the main content of the email, a call to action, a paragraph indicating that a reply is expected, a close, and finally a signature.Read on »
ESL Strategies: Flashcards
Have you ever tried using flashcards to learn new vocabulary? Learning vocabulary is an essential component of language learning. Without a large vocabulary, it is difficult for English Second Language (ESL) learners to express themselves effectively. Once ESL learners have mastered the grammar of English, the main difference between them and native speakers is theRead on »
Don’t use this red pen! Use Labodanglais
I sent CEGEP ESL teachers across Quebec red pens inscribed with the words “Don’t use this pen.” Why? I want teachers to try Labodanglais.com. It’s a Moodle-based website with companion courses for the Actively Engaged Series. Labo is packed with engaging content and interactive features, and it can score students’ writing assignments automatically in justRead on »
Understanding CEGEP ESL Proficiency Levels in Quebec
College English Second Language teachers in Quebec teach almost every level of English. Why? Because people in Canada have a range of levels of proficiency. Some people grow up speaking English with their parents and go on to study at an English university. We call them educated anglophones. For other people, English is a completelyRead on »
Gain Confidence during Oral Exams with this Pronunciation Checker
Many students are worried about their pronunciation accuracy and go into their oral exams woefully unprepared. The little preparation they do leaves them feeling very worried about their current ability or overconfident. In either case, the student does not perform at his or her best. If teachers could provide students with individual coaching before aRead on »
How to monetize your ESL lessons fast
If you are a teacher who has developed original materials for your students, did you know that 1) you own your copyright and 2) you can start monetizing your materials tomorrow? In this blog post I will explain how Labodanglais.com can help you supplement your income. Have you read my other posts about jumping intoRead on »
10 Reasons VWT Is The Best Grammar Checker For Students
What is the best grammar checker for students? Virtual Writing Tutor. But, anyone can say such big words about themselves and be mediocre, or even worse. So, let me change your mind. VWT was created for students like you. To meet your needs. And to relive the pain of writing errors in your academic life.Read on »
Free Chatbot Creator
If you are like me, when things get repetitive you start to think, “This is tedious. I need a robot to do this for me.” Am I right? This semester, my students have been sending me about 50 emails a week and hundreds of text messages. I don’t keep office hours. I just answer studentRead on »
15 Steps To Master The Art of Storytelling
Everybody is a storyteller. And to be one requires almost nothing. You can start your storytelling journey right here. If you’re a human being who wants to make the best of their work, this guide is for you. Hope you enjoy it and take some good ideas for yourself. The Groundwork Will it be easy?Read on »
How to Write and Revise an Argument Essay
Get your argument essay score in 2 seconds Simply click on this link to the Virtual Writing Tutor grammar check website. Compose your argument essay and click “Score Essay,” select “Argument essay,” and click “Check. Use the score and feedback to help you revise and maximize your score when you submit your essay to yourRead on »
Talk Fast or Die
Instructions: In groups of 3 or 4, take turns reading the prompts. Read the clue below and talk for one minute without hesitating or repeating yourself. Your partners with warn you if you hesitate or repeat yourself by saying, “Talk!” If you continue to repeat yourself or hesitate, your partners will say, “Die!” and youRead on »
Automated Essay Scoring Explained
Get your essay score here An argument essay has 5 paragraphs: an introduction, two supporting arguments, a counterargument, and a conclusion, plus a works cited section. An opinion essay has 3 or more paragraphs: an introduction, one or more paragraphs with supporting arguments, and a conclusion, but no works cited section IELTS essays involve letterRead on »
Automated Essay Evaluation for Innovative Teachers and A+ Students
Get your essay scored and corrected automatically with this essay checker. It can score 4 types of essays: opinion, argument, film analysis, and literary.Read on »
How to create a career-summary chatbot
A great writing project for ESL students to try in 2020 is to create a speech recognition enabled chabot about a career that interests them. See this example of an interactive career-related chatbot. Students will love it! Students can create their chatbot online and then export it to a blog or a Learning Management SystemRead on »
Fast Assignment Moodle Plugin
The Virtual Writing Tutor has a Moodle plugin to help students get feedback and formative evaluations of their writing assignments fast. And give teachers a break! This video explains the installation process and what the plugin does. We have imagined a range of use cases, ranging from IELTS task 1 and task 2 writing testsRead on »
Next Semester? Moodle!
How I started with Moodle In 2010, I was working at a college far from home in Montreal. I would ride the subway for an hour early in the morning to the bus terminal and take the bus for another hour before arriving at the college where I worked. Although I was deeply committed toRead on »
Is Distance Learning Effective?: Pros and Cons of Distance Learning
Lisa from Think Tank shares multiple perspectives on distance learning: flexibility, distractions, access, communication, and organization. There’s a lot to think about, and this article is a great place to start putting the pieces together when considering the pros and cons of distance learning.Read on »
RADARS: A Framework for Recognizing Source Text Reliability and Validity
Students can use the RADARS Framework described below to help them recognize, reflect upon, and defend the reliability and validity of the sources of information they use in their own academic and blog writing. With so much clickbait and false reporting being circulated on social media websites these days, writers need to make extra effortsRead on »
How can I automatically evaluate opinion essays?
Do you teach opinion essays? Many teachers do. It is a common practice in English Second Language teaching to ask college level students to write a 4-5 paragraph opinion essay on a range of topics. An opinion essay goes by many names. Often, it is called the hamburger essay, the 1-3-1 essay, the persuasive essay,Read on »
How should I use the Virtual Writing Tutor in 2020?
Here is how you can use the Virtual Writing Tutor in 2020.Read on »
How can I make an online glossary?
Learn how to make glossaries with terms, definitions, translations, parts of speech, images, and MP3 pronunciation models.Read on »
Interview with Canadian Poet Peter Van Toorn
Peter Van Toorn is the author of three books of poetry, Leeway Grass, (1970); In Guildenstern County, 1973; and Mountain Tea, 1985. As editor, he has published various collections over the years: Cross/cut: Contemporary English Quebec Poetry (with Ken Norris), 1982; The Insecurity of Art: Essays on Poetics (with Ken Norris), 1982; Lakeshore Poets, 1982;Read on »
6 Essay rating tools on the Virtual Writing Tutor
Many teachers would like to give better, more detailed feedback to students on their writing assignments but realize that there are not enough hours in the day to do so. With the arrival of artificial intelligence, faster feedback on essay writing tasks is now possible. The Virtual Writing Tutor offers six types of automated writingRead on »
How do students react to automated film-analysis essay evaluation?
Recently, I reported on the perils and promise of a project I have been working on with Dr. Frank Bonkowski. We created an automated film-analysis essay evaluation system to provide the correction and formative scoring of essays to his advanced English Second Language learners at CEGEP de St-Laurent, in Montreal, Canada. The idea was toRead on »
How can I evaluate an argument essay in 2 seconds?
Many college teachers assign either opinion essays or argument essays to their English Second Language students. These highly structured writing assignments give students practice organizing their ideas and defending a point of view. The goal is to prepare students to go on and write research reports or graduate theses at university. However, when it comesRead on »
How can I evaluate achievement in a Business English course?
Businesses use a variety of effective advertising strategies. They can take the form of audiovisual media like videos and radio ads and print media like posters, brochures, business cards, and flyers. Flyers can be single-sheet promotional tools that list products, descriptions, and prices. Flyers are simple yet compelling ways of helping businesses to announce salesRead on »
Can I evaluate a film-analysis essay automatically?
This article discusses automatically scoring film analysis essays. Here are links to other automated evaluations on the Virtual Writing Tutor. Pen pal exchange project IELTS practice tests Argument essay evaluation system Lately, I have been developing automatic essay evaluations for IELTS and now for college-level academic writing. I sent an email to colleagues in myRead on »
Off2Class Explained by Chris Rush
I love meeting talented and passionate ESL teachers. In a recent episode of Little Rascals, Frank and I got to interview Chris Rush from Off2Class.com. Chris explains how he got started, what Off2Class can do for teacherpreneurs, and how Off2Class might be used to support English Second Language Help Centers at colleges and universities. WatchRead on »
How can I give detailed feedback with the Win-10 Multi-Clipboard?
For corrective feedback on writing to be effective, it must be consistent, frequent, immediate, and explicit. That’s difficult for a teacher to achieve with 120+ writing assignments piling up and lessons to plan. Difficult, but not impossible. How can I give detailed feedback? Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of having to use terse correctionRead on »