Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Writing Software Helps Students Make "Perfect Copy." (Logicus Inc's Perfect Copy) (Software Review)(Evaluation)

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Writing Software Helps Students Make "Perfect Copy." (Logicus Inc's Perfect Copy) (Software Review)(Evaluation)

Article excerpt

Teaching English in a computerized classroom is mostly a blessing, sometimes a curse, and always a challenge. At Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia, one of the challenges for instructors who teach in the computerized classroom is to get the full benefit from the technology that's available. While the benefits that word processing provides are obvious, instructors such as I want the computer classroom to be more than a sophisticated typing center.

Editing Skills Needed

Some of the writing courses taught in the computer classroom are for under-prepared basic writers. One course, English 03, is a second-semester developmental writing class. Students in English 03 have already taken the first semester of developmental writing, in which writing fluency and voice were the primary emphases. The focus in English 03 is grammar and punctuation, i.e., sentence editing skills.

The problem is how to teach editing skills to students who are deficient in those areas and to do so in ways which are consistent with both our process-oriented pedagogy and our desire to make the most of computer-assisted instruction. One of our on-going goals has been to identify software that is likely to help students gain the sentence grammar skills they need in order to be successful in college composition courses.

Why "Perfect Copy"?

After hearing about North Tonawanda, N.Y.-based Logicus Inc.'s Perfect Copy and previewing the demo disk, we purchased a lab pack because the design reflected our whole-language approach to teaching editing skills. It differs from other grammar CAI packages in that the sentence skills are taught in the context of a passage of writing rather than in isolation. The user edits Perfect Copy articles - one to three paragraphs in length - in a fashion that is quite similar to editing on a word processor. This is a bonus in itself in the sense that it reinforces basic editing practices, emphasizing the malleability and fluidity of word-processed text.

How it Works

The program comprises nearly 500 articles of varying levels of difficulty. Some are indexed for youth, some for teens and some for adults. The majority of the articles are problem-specific; that is, they contain one type of grammar or punctuation error, for instance, comma faults or subject-verb agreement. But several dozen articles require a thorough editing and contain grammar and punctuation errors of all sorts.

Student users may consult an online handbook by clicking on "Rules" at the bottom of the screen. …

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