Write & Improve is a free tool from Cambridge English that marks your writing and assesses your English level.
You can either do the set tasks or create your own task and paste in some text.
It thought my
moon essay was quite good (4/5) and my English was native-speaker level. However, it did mark some words and sentences as wrong when they weren’t.
Journal of International Students is published 4 times a year and can be read by everyone for free online.
The most recent issue (October 2018) includes these articles:
Stress-driven spending: correlates of international students’ adjustment strains and compulsive online buying
“They make no contribution!” versus “We should make friends with them!”—American domestic students’ perception of Chinese international students’ reticence and face
Influential factors in the college decision-making process for Chinese students studying in the U.S.
Hindsight is 20/20 vision: what international students wished they had known before coming to live and learn in Ireland.
The British Council has a six-week course at FutureLearn called
Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language Tests. You can start it right now or when it runs again on 4th February.
According to the British Council, by the end of the course you will:
be familiar with all parts of the IELTS test
have some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals
understand how the IELTS test is assessed
have an opportunity to have your written and spoken English assessed
by other learners [emphasis added]
This doesn’t sound very useful, to be honest. On the other hand, it is free.
A big welcome to the new students who are joining us this month.
And, of course, a welcome back to everyone who has been on holiday.
Don’t work too hard!
A recent article advocates “nap stations” in university libraries:
Since college students frequently are observed asleep wherever they are throughout the day, research indicates universities should consider the advantages to students of providing an area where they can nap safely and comfortably. The library seems to be ideally situated for this, since students are in the library studying when they may need to take a break, and it is usually open many hours. (Wise, 2018)
It mentions a pioneer – the University of East Anglia, no less – that has a
Nap Nook in its student union. Other universities have library “nap pods”.
INTO UEA Resource Centre originally had some beanbags, but they attracted noisy students, rather than sleepy ones, not to mention an English teacher with a tendency to snore. (He subsequently took to the sofa, as pictured.)
Wise, M. J. (2018) ‘Naps and sleep deprivation: why academic libraries should consider adding nap stations to their services for students’,
New Review of Academic Librarianship, 24(2), pp. 192-210. doi: 10.1080/13614533.2018.1431948.
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
T. S. Eliot, ‘
Journey of the Magi‘ (1936)
Picture: Abandoned house of small farmer, Southwest Oklahoma, by
Dorothea Lange (1937). The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
A number of academic journals on English-language teaching are available through
BrowZine, under Social Science and Behavioral Science » Linguistics » Language Learning and Acquisition. For example:
There are also related journals, such as
Language Testing and Journal of Second Language Writing.
Happy Christmas reading!
Bloomberg Businessweek is – astonishingly – a weekly magazine about business. You can read 10 articles online without paying, while UEA Library provides full access.
The main page for UEA access is
here. You can search the magazine and browse issues. There may be a delay of a few days before the latest issue is available.
The current issue, for example, has several articles on Bitcoin:
A Year After the Crypto Bubble Burst, Will Bitcoin Ever Recover?
Bitcoin ATMs May Be Used to Launder Money
Mike Novogratz Explains Why He’s Still All-In on Crypto
China’s Plan to Sideline Bitcoin
Unolingo, from Smithsonian.com, is a crossword puzzle in which you complete the words using each letter of the alphabet only once. There are no clues.
For example, if you decide the top word is STALKING, you use the letters A, L and G, which are then unavailable to complete any other words.
Puzzles with one star, like the one shown, are the easiest. The hardest have four stars.
Smithsonian Institution is a group of museums in the United States. Its online magazine, Smithsonian.com, covers history, science, technology, the arts, etc.
Some examples of articles:
There are also
videos and games.