Technology-Based Writing Help and Assessment

Learning how to write in a second language at an academic level, acceptable for higher education, is a daunting, time intensive task for any language learner. Equally daunting is the amount of marking that teachers take on as they push their students to perfect their academic writing.

Researchers in computational linguistics have been working on technology-supported ways to facilitate the writing process.  The result of this research is The Writing Planet™, the world’s first web-based writing program built on artificial intelligence and designed specifically for English language teaching and learning. Check it out at

The use of technology to facilitate the writing and assessment processes is probably here to stay. For you and your curriculum, this technology raises many questions about the originality of student work and plagiarism. If a technology tool is used to suggest phrases, sentences and structures for students, is the writing work actually being done by the student? Will students actually learn to recognize good writing by themselves if the technology is making that judgment for them? And if students all use the same technology tool to assist them, how original will their work actually be? As artificial intelligence gets applied to the writing process, these are questions that we will eventually have to find answers for.