As the title implies, this tutorial, which forms part of the Virtual Languge Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, primarily addresses the English grammar skills of non-native speakers. To that end, its eleven lessons focus on trouble spots in British English, such as prepositions, nouns, articles, adjectives and adverbs, pronouns, word order, and verbs, including modals. The first lesson offers a pretest and explains the module?s manner of use as well as its valuable Active Dictionary capability, while a final lesson sums up the site?s concise and worthwhile content. The module also lends itself to in-class projection, which instructors can use to prepare learners to derive full benefit from the various parts of the split screens that are used in some of the lessons.
By double-clicking on any word in the site, learners can read its definition. Likewise, learners can look words up that start with, end with, or merely contain any letters they choose to enter. As learners work through exercises they receive immediate feedback and explanations. The level of difficulty and content of the exercises are particularly well designated so as to be of use to a range of college and university students as well as those preparing to enter an institution of higher learning in an English-speaking environment.
Small departures from American diction and usage may be noted by users in North America.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Lessons start with one or more pages of explanation that include rules, charts, and tables. Next, learners choose among a number of exercises based on the introductory tutorial. The ordering of lessons is logical; for example, a lesson differentiating countable and mass nouns precedes a lesson on article usage; adjectives and adverbs are contrasted; and the module ends with the broader problem of word order in English sentences.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Mind Your Grammar strikes a prudent compromise between ease of use and aesthetics. A bit of animation in the form of turning pages of a book along with contrasting, muted colors makes the screens not only legible but attractive. The purposeful use of split screens provides a measure of complexity that makes perfect pedagogical sense while engaging users intellectually in a way that goes beyond many instructional modules of this sort.
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