In addition to focusing on grammar skills, HyperGrammar's aim is to provide guidance for both native and non-native speakers of English to improve their writing. Intermediate and advanced learners of Engish as a second language can benefit a great deal from the explanations and excerises available in Hypergrammar.
The site's Table of Contents progresses from parts of speech, through parts of a sentence, punctuation, pronouns, verbs and verbals, modifiers, phrases, clauses, sentence and paragraph building, and diction, to spelling and miscellaneous topics to aid writers.
A page of explanation is followed by a self-scoring exercise. Hypertext links to definitions of grammatical terminology and a detailed index enhance the module's versatility and potential usefulness.
The site can be used in a projected image format as well as on individual computer screens. Canadian English is used throughout this site developed at the University of Ottawa.
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Evaluation and Observation
The site, created by four members of the University of Ottawa's writing faculty, seeks to improve the grammar and support the college writing skills of native and non-native speakers of English. It makes use of a horizontal bar of buttons that allows learners either to proceed linearly through the module or to jump among a several of options, including more difficult exercises on the same topic, other grammar topics, a help page, the home page, or electronic communication with the Writing Centre's staff. Teachers and learners will find the tutorial on writing paragraphs, which helps users to distinguish among stronger and weaker topic sentences, especially helpful and engaging.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Mastery of college-level grammar and writing skills requires individualized instruction along with the kinds of practice that this site provides. Its engaging quality derives not from multimedia, but from the unique design and organization of the site along with its mature, well-written sentences and paragraphs, some of which deal with topical Canadian issues. The site is better suited to individual use (reference and self-tests) than to whole-class instruction.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Screens, which feature distinctive, identical guide bars at both the top and the bottom, are uncluttered and easy to read. Color is used sparingly but effectively.
Although the site's navigation bar and scheme are very clear, the presence of so many hyperlinked terms within the body of the explanations can be disorienting. Brief, pop-up definitions of terms used in the explanations may be more user friendly.