Online Academic Skills Resources from the University of New South Wales

Posted on Monday, June 30, 2008

The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, has excellent academic skills resources that can be retrieved online from the website of its learning center. The materials cover undergraduate writing and study skills and are logically organized in a hierarchical structure, which makes it easy for students to find what they need.


• 9 major categories of resources: essay and assignment writing, writing: elements of style, exam skills, reading and note-taking, postgraduate writing, writing in science and engineering, referencing and plagiarism, getting organized, oral presentations

• Printable copies that can be downloaded in PDF format

• Links to related tips and guides from other universities' learning centers

• Weekly study tips and FAQs via RSS reader

Site URL:


Learning Resources from Statistics Canada

Posted on Friday, June 27, 2008

Statistics Canada (Canada's National Statistical Agency) offers a broad range of Canada-related statistical resources designed to support elementary to secondary students and teachers in projects that require data collection and analysis.


• Lesson plans, articles, publications, maps, and data for a number of school subjects: Aboriginal Studies, Agriculture, Arts, Business Studies and Economics, Canadian Studies, Career Education, Civics, Computer and Information Technology, Environment, Family Studies and Home Economics, Geography, Health and Physical Education, History, Language, Law, Mathematics

• Special resources for students: audio podcasts, census of Canada data, summary tables of Canadian statistics, community profiles

• Kids' zone with crossword puzzles, word search topics, Canada quiz, colouring book, Canada maps, and census games

• Data and programs to support post-secondary research, teaching, and learning

Site URL:


Kids Corner for English

Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nicola Jayne Dökel's Kids Corner for English (KiCo4u) provides approximately 1,000 online English as a second language (ESL) exercises, 650 of which can be accessed for free. The exercises are specially written for children whose native language is German but other students of English can still make good use of these resources by simply ignoring the German interface.


• Interactive exercises, games, and stories focusing on grammar, vocabulary, dictation, and reading/listening comprehension

• Explanations of difficult English grammar points (in German)

• Cultural information on Great Britain and English traditions

• Discussion forum where students can ask and answer questions about English and other subjects

Site URL:


Line Graph Glossary

Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Written by Abu Dhabi Women's College, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Line Graph Glossary provides a systematic overview of the language patterns commonly used in describing line graphs. It is especially useful for candidates of IELTS and other English language tests that require graph description.


• Common graph expressions divided into 7 sections: adjectives + fall, adjectives + increase, describing a position, nouns of movement, recover + adverbs, trends, verbs of movement

• Each expression illustrated with a full example sentence and an animated line graph

• Audio pronunciations, usage notes, and cross-references provided

Site URL:



Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TOEFL 4 Me is designed by Language Systems International (LSI) as a source of free preparation materials for students who are going to take the TOEFL test. It currently offers a TOEFL diagnostic test and lessons on listening, structure, reading, and writing.


• A four-section diagnostic test with 40 questions on structure, listening, reading, and writing

• 10 listening lessons: special verbs, invitations, suggestions, agreement, inference, offers, disagreement, assumptions and expressions of surprise, negatives, idioms

• 11 structure lessons: subject-verb agreement, gerunds, infinitives, introductory participial phrases, subject-verb inversion, adjective clauses, reduced adjective clauses, adverb clauses, reduced adverb clauses, noun clauses, adjectives

• 12 reading lessons: focus on the questions, organization of information, inserting additional information into the passage, finding the main idea for the paragraphs, technical passages, dispersed information, looking for information, using the questions to read the passage, idioms, vocabulary building, organization of the reading, referents

• 12 writing lessons: limit your essay to the topic, writing a thesis, asking good questions of the thesis, presenting evidence of the thesis, using each reason as a paragraph topic, presenting examples with details, avoid repetition, write an introduction, write a conclusion, sentence structure and word choice, the thesis, using articles in writing the essay

Site URL:


Longman ELT Teens Resource Library

Posted on Monday, June 23, 2008

Longman ELT Teens Resource Library is a website in Pearson Longman's ELT series, designed to give teenage learners a chance to practice their English with stimulating online activities. English teachers will also find the site useful as a source of extra materials to use in classrooms.


• A variety of games, quizzes, exercises, and activities on English grammar, English vocabulary, and English reading skills

• Classification of activities into elementary, pre-intermediate, and intermediate levels

• Possibility of downloading activities as PDF worksheets

• Teachers' notes, teaching tips, and lesson ideas for language instructors

Site URL:



Posted on Friday, June 20, 2008

HyperGrammar is an electronic English grammar course designed by the Writing Centre of the University of Ottawa, Canada. Based on the contents of the university's ENG 1320 grammar course, HyperGrammar employs a hyperlinked structure that allows learners to jump to any topic of interest and explore it at their own leisure.


• Covers all aspects of English grammar: parts of speech, parts of sentences, building phrases, building clauses, building sentences

• Introduces the basics of writing paragraphs: writing outlines, writing topic sentences, dividing argument, developing unified and coherent paragraphs

• Explains punctuation, spelling, diction, and other topics related to grammar and writing

Site URL:


The Literature Page

Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Literature Page is an online collection of well-known literary works, including novels, stories, plays, poems, essays, and speeches, written in the English language. The collection is fully searchable and can be browsed in various ways: by title, by author, by type of literature, or by genre (category).


• All types of literature: fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, poetry, essays, speeches

• A wide range of genres: adventure, banned books, comedy, drama, fantasy, for young readers, Greek and Roman classics, history, horror, love and romance, mystery and crime, philosophy, science fact, science fiction, tragedy

• Possibility of bookmarking favorite books and customizing text appearance

• Forums to discuss literature and quotations

Site URL:

Read more... Interactive Practice Tests for PET, FCE, CAE, and IELTS

Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 is a website developed by Pearson Longman to provide candidates of PET, FCE, CAE, and IELTS with authentic exam practice. Students need only register an account, which is free, to start using the materials.


• Free practice tests with instant feedback (December 2008 format for FCE and CAE)

• Exam preparation/study tips and exam taking tips

• General memory tips and vocabulary memory tips

• Explanations of common errors

Site URL:


Audio and Video Podcasts from

Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The international edition of produces quality audio and video podcasts that learners of American English can use to practice listening. The podcasts cover a wide variety of topics and, depending on their nature, are updated on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, making the site a really engaging destination.


• Topics covered: News and Politics, Business, CNN TV, Sports, Technology, Health, Entertainment, Comedy, Education, Specials

• Hourly and daily podcasts: CNN News Update, Business Update, Anderson Cooper 360° Daily, The CNN Daily, In Case You Missed It, Now in the News, CNN Student News, America Votes 2008, On Screen

• Video podcasts: Fareed Zakaria GPS, The Screening Room, SHOWandTELL, CNN=Politics Daily, Showbiz Tonight, Larry King Live, Inside CNN: Baghdad, Nancy Grace, News of the Absurd, Robin Meade Expressed, Reliable Sources, Late Edition, Paging Dr. Gupta, CNN Heroes: Russell Jackson

• Audio podcasts: The Ali V Podcast, The Lou Dobbs Commentary, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, Around the Track

Site URL:


Study Skills Library at California Polytechnic State University

Posted on Monday, June 16, 2008

The Academic Skills Center at California Polytechnic State University offers an online library containing in-depth guides to improving study and test taking skills. Although they are written for university students, these guides can be effectively used by anybody who wants to study better, including learners of English.


• Topics covered: listening, memorization, lecture note taking, note taking systems, note taking tips, personal reading improvement, procrastination, essay test preparation, test preparation suggestions, objective test taking, tips for combating test panic, post test analysis, time management assessment, time management forms, time management strategies, time management schedules, time saving tips

• Downloadable versions in MS Word (DOC) format

Site URL:


Sound Comparisons: Accents of English from Around the World

Posted on Friday, June 13, 2008

Sound Comparisons: Accents of English from Around the World, jointly managed by the University of Edinburgh and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, allows learners of English to hear and compare the accents of English speakers from different language regions in the world.


• 7 language regions: English and Scots Historical, England and Wales (South and Midlands), England (North), Scotland and Ireland, North America, Rest of the World, and Other Germanic Languages

• Each region represented by a standard set of 110 common English words

• Phonetic transcripts provided for all pronunciations

Site URL:


McMurrey's Free Online Technical Writing Textbook

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2008

David A. McMurrey, who has extensive experience in teaching technical writing, has prepared an excellent online technical writing textbook freely accessible to anyone who needs help with writing for business, science, and technology.


• Introduction to the applications of technical writing and the design of technical documents

• Full discussion of the process of technical writing, from audience analysis and task analysis to peer reviewing and team writing

• Models and examples of common types of technical writing: resumes, business letters, proposals, reports, instructions, descriptions, comparison, classification, causal discussion, definition, process discussion

Site URL:

Read more... Videos

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 Videos is a directory of how-to and do-it-yourself (DIY) videos that show viewers how to do all sorts of things in everyday life. For ESL students, these free videos are useful as authentic materials with which to practice listening to English.


• Streaming Flash videos, each about 2 to 3 minutes in length

• A wide range of video categories: autos, business and finance, cities and towns, computing and technology, electronics and gadgets, entertainment, food and drink, health, home and garden, parenting, sports and recreation, style, travel

• Suitable for intermediate and advanced students

Site URL:


History by the Minute

Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Maintained by the Historica Foundation of Canada, History by the Minute is a superb site that provides educational movies about Canadian history and culture. It is designed with Canadians in mind but can be useful to any students of the English language.


• Historica Minutes: one-minute movies telling highlights of Canada's history

• Historica Footprints: one-minute documentary films about Canada's athletes and sporting traditions

• Historica Radio Minutes: 90-second dramas about 100 of Canada's significant moments and personalities

• Historica Screen Legends: one-minute television vignettes about the lives of famous Canadian actors and actresses

• Lesson plans for use with the movies

Site URL:


Tereza Neves' English Quizzes for ESL Students

Posted on Monday, June 09, 2008

Tereza Neves' English Quizzes for ESL Students is an interesting site with many colorful interactive exercises and a great collection of links. It is intended for beginning and pre-intermediate learners.


• 4 types of exercises: fill-in-the-blanks, matching, scrambled sentences, crossword puzzles

• 3 levels of difficulty: easy, medium, difficult (each clearly marked with its icon)

• Vocabulary topics tested: people, animals, house and garden, the world

• Grammar topics tested: nouns, adjectives, verbs, prepositions, articles

• Categorized list of ESL links: news, reference and homework help, countries and cities, organizations, sickness and health, holidays and celebrations, fun stuff

Site URL:


MedlinePlus: Trusted Health Information for You

Posted on Friday, June 06, 2008

MedlinePlus is an excellent service of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, providing a wealth of authoritative, daily updated medical information. To ESL students, the site is particularly useful as a means of learning medical English.


• Over 750 health topics, grouped under 5 major categories: body location/systems, disorders and conditions, diagnosis and therapy, demographic groups, health and wellness

• Alphabetical indexes of generic drugs, herbs, and supplements

• Medical encyclopedia (over 4,000 articles plus photographs and illustrations)

• Medical dictionary (powered by Merriam-Webster)

• Health-related news from Reuters Health, HealthDay, and other medical organizations

• Directories of health professionals, services, and facilities

• Interactive health tutorials, which explain diseases and medical procedures in easy-to-read English

• Streaming videos of surgical procedures

Site URL:


University of Wisconsin - Madison's Writer's Handbook

Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Writer's Handbook published by the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison is one of the best writing handbooks online. It covers almost every aspect of writing in English and is highly recommended for all ESL and university students.


• Explanation of the stages of the writing process: planning to write, creating an argument, working with sources, drafting and revising your paper, finishing your paper

• Explanation of common types of writing: letters and application essays, literary analysis papers, proposals and dissertations, research papers, reviews, scientific reports, research projects and presentations

• Explanation of how to avoid common grammar and punctuation mistakes, how to write more clearly and persuasively, and how to cite references using different citation styles (APSA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, CBE, MLA)

Site URL:


Skip's Radio Scripts for English Language Learners

Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Skip's Radio Scripts for English Language Learners offers a stimulating way for ESL students to learn the use of English articles (a/an/the) through adaptations of real broadcast scripts of radio programs based on Hollywood movies.


• 2 kinds of scripts: highlighted scripts, in which all articles are highlighted for easy recognition, and interactive scripts, which allow students to guess before seeing the hidden articles

• Scripts divided into small-sized reading parts of 1000 - 1200 words and illustrated with pictures and short video clips

• Self-study quiz with eight comprehension questions at the end of each part

Site URL:


Between the Lions

Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Between the Lions, the companion website of the famous PBS TV series first broadcast in 2000, provides children with a wide variety of games, stories, video clips, and downloadable materials, all designed to extend their literacy skills and instill in them an enduring love of reading.


• Kids' area with exciting games, stories, and video clips based on TV shows

• Parents and teachers' area with guides to games and activities, literacy tips, recommended books, printable materials, and other teaching resources

• Lions to Go section containing free, downloadable songs, music videos, and character videos

• Audio-enhanced site navigation to increase children's enjoyment

Site URL:


Strafe's Guide to Streetspeak

Posted on Monday, June 02, 2008

Strafe's Guide to Streetspeak, the brainchild of Strafe Narkette, is one of the best known online dictionaries of cyber-related slang. If you have been baffled by something people in technical professions say, it is a good idea to turn to this nice glossary for help.


• A-Z entries providing easy-to-understand definitions of technical slang

• Cross-references to related words and expressions

• Links to more slang/jargon resources on the Web

Site URL:

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