Developing an Online Writing Advisory Service – a pilot

This talk explained a pilot carried out by a university (I’ll have find the name again as all my schedules are all over the place!), which tech they used and how the advisory service was set up.

This was good food for thought for any teachers that have students that work away a lot of the time but still need English support. The advisory service allowed the ppts to send their documents to their teacher then get online support and feedback whilst simultaneously making changes to the doc in a cloud by BOTH the teacher and the learner.

Google+, Google Documents, Google Sites, Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts is like Skype but you can also integrate Google Documents so that a document is in a cloud and accessible to everyone.


Stage one: coordinate with distance teachers
Stage two: create a site with Google Sites
Stage three: create help documentation e.g. how to paste their document into Google Documents
Step four: get students to sign up, send their documents and set up online appointments

Tip: get students to send you only a part of their writing not the whole document

Tip: get students to annotate the writing with questions or comments to guide the teacher

Tip: make sure the students don’t just dump a ton of essays on the teacher – make it more constructive, e.g. a sample of their essay and ensure they ask questions

Tip: Google Documents allows you to comment on the doc and you see a revision history of the doc and the people who have changed it – this is more beneficial than just using Word with track changes as the document and the changes are seen continuously by both teacher and student

Tip: can offer choices to the ppts – just some help with their essays or also online appointments to discuss something

How could this be used in Business English?

If your ppts are away, you could use this to have short online appointments to go over reports, any questions they have, have mini lessons.

If ppts are busy or the trainer is away, the document is in a cloud which both the trainer and the student can work on at the same time (or when they have time) – this means feedback can be ongoing and accessible for everyone at any time.

If the trainer is away, the document is available for the whole team and is not stuck in someone’s inbox or on a trainer drive which no-one else can access.

Problems they had with the pilot:
1. Some confusion with Google Docs – formatting lost when you cut and paste, the ppt needs to know how to share their document
2. Administrative problems – needed centralised control of distance learning programmes Solutions to the problems:
1. Screen casts to show how to use the tech

Some food for thought?


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