From the perspective of language pedagogy, a more ideal grammar checker would have the following features:
1. Check both grammar and spelling
2. Be accessible online or through Moodle
3. Be sensitive to the types of errors my francophone students make.
4. Help learners find their errors without correcting them.
5. Help learners understand why what they have written needs revision.
6. Help learners develop the skill of eliminating similar and related errors from their texts.
The only system that answers all these requirements is the Virtual Writing Tutor, a website that Melvin Shantz and I have been developing at Ahuntsic College. Pasting the example text above into the textbox on
VirtualWritingTutor.com and clicking “Check grammar” identifies six of the seven errors.