II. Aims of the material
'Academic Writing' per se would be too great in scope for a work of this scale. I narrowed the topic to down two main areas: introducing and highlighting academic style, and simplifying the process and structure of academic writing. Though academic 'style' is mentioned in some of the available textbooks, such as Bailey's "Academic Writing: A practical guide for the student" (2003:76-78), such works (a) do not appear to be explicit enough in their declaration of this specific academic writing style, and (b) do not appear to be simplistic enough in their exposition of the structure of a basic discursive essay to the beginner of EAP.
As such, this programme of activities aims: to give an introduction to the academic style of academic writing to the lower-level student (IELTS 4.5 to 5.5) new to academic writing, whilst making them aware of the possible ease of learning an effective yet simple essay structure. I have narrowed this down further by focusing on the 'discursive' essay (both extended and timed forms) only.
III. Ideas about learning on which the activity is based
In Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, Hedge (2000:8) mentions that "unskilled writers tend to be much more haphazard […] in their approach". One could also suggest, however, that current textbooks on the subject do insufficient to remedy any haphazard approaches that may be taking place. Writing for the beginner EAP student should be presented in a simple, clear manner, with the emphasis on repeated, contextual practice.
Research in the area of CALL has Bax (2002) in direct opposition to Warschauer and Healey (1998), with the former pointing out that as CALL is still referred to as a genre, or sub-genre of its own, it belies the assumption that it has reached the point of true integration within the world of L2 English language teaching. In combining the uniqueness of the computer into these exercises, I aim towards the 'future' of Bax's article title, whereby that very uniqueness will render the tasks difficult, inconvenient or impossible without the computer itself.
By employing screen shot video software, I was able to allow the L2 student to take, firstly the viewpoint of the teacher (activities in the 'Style' section of the website), and secondly the viewpoint of the L1 learner (activities in the 'Try an essay' section). This gives the L2 learner the opportunity of seeing how the thought processes of an L1 learner might work as they write or of a teacher as he or she marks the work. The L2 learner is therefore experiencing a more realistic and contextual viewpoint of the language.