Writing Skills Interactive
Writing Skills Interactive teaches writing skills through animated presentations and automatically graded exercises any time, any place.
Video Introduction to Writing Skills Interactive
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|How Teachers Use Their Access KeySee video||How Students Use Their Access KeySee video|
Writing Skills Interactive Scope and Sequence
Writing Skills Interactive FAQ for Instructors
Answers to common questions about Writing Skills Interactive appear below. If you have a question that is not answered below, please contact us at www.cambridge.org/esl/support.
Q: How can I get help with working with Blackboard?
To learn more about using Blackboard, speak to the Blackboard administrator at your school. There are often many resources, including training available to instructors.
Q: How can I learn more about teaching with Writing Skills Interactive?
If you would like training on teaching with Writing Skills Interactive, please contact your Cambridge University Press ESL representative.
Q: What versions of Blackboard are required for Writing Skills Interactive?
Blackboard Learn version 9.x is required.
Q: What are the system requirements?
- Intel Pentium III 1GHz or faster processor, 512MB of RAM
- Recommended: Pentium 4 2GHz or faster, 1GB RAM
- Windows 7, WindowsVistaSP1, Windows XP SP2 and SP3
- Mac OS X 10.4.11, 10.5.4, 10.5.5, 10.6, and 10.7
- Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor; PowerPC G4 1GHz or faster processor
- 512MB of RAM
- Firefox 8 (Recommended)
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 , 8, 9, and 10 (IE for Mac is not supported)
- Adobe Flash Player 10 or 11 (If you are using a device that does not support Flash, then the presentations and some exercises will not display)
Please also check the system requirements of your Blackboard version.
Q: How do teachers get access to Writing Skills Interactive?
- Request a Course Cartridge Download Key from Cambridge University Press at www.cambridge.org/grammarandbeyond/wsi-access. You will receive this code by e-mail from Cambridge University Press within one business day.
- Log in to Blackboard.
- Choose a course, go to the control panel, and click on Packages and Utilities.
- Click on Import Course Cartridge.
- Type and submit the Course Cartridge Download Key.
- The course cartridge will then be loaded into your course.
- You will receive an e-mail once the cartridge has been installed in your course.
- Check that the course has been added by looking for it in the left menu. Click the link to check that it starts properly. The cartridge has now been added to your course.
Q: How long does the course take to download?
Most courses will download into your Blackboard course in less than 5 minutes. It may take 30 minutes while the course cartridge is downloaded from Blackboard’s servers if your connection speed is slow. An e-mail will be generated by your Blackboard system once the course has been downloaded and automatically installed.
Q: Blackboard Learn is telling me that my instructor key is invalid. What do I do?
- Check that you have typed the key correctly and ensure that Caps Lock is not on.
- Contact Cambridge University Press’s Customer Support at www.cambridge.org/esl/support.
Q: How do I get my course cartridge download key?
Contact your Cambridgesales representative or use the online form at: www.cambridge.org/grammarandbeyond/wsi-access.
Q: How do students get access to Writing Skills Interactive?
Students need an access key, which come printed on Access Cards. These are available either separately, or bundled together with Grammar and Beyond. To order these cards, check your Cambridge University Press ESL catalog, contact your Cambridge University Press ESL representative, or check our website for online purchase of the cards.
Q: What is the difference between Check and Submit?
Check tells students which answers are correct and which are incorrect. Submit sends the results of an activity to the Blackboard Grade Book. When a student clicks Check, green checkmarks show which answers are correct and red Xs show which answers are incorrect. If all of the answers are correct the first time, Writing Skills Interactive automatically submits the results to the Blackboard Grade Book. If any answers are incorrect, students may select different answers before clicking Submit.
Q: How does the Start Again button work?
The Start Again button clears the answers on that screen and allows the student to try the activity again. The student must click Submit in order for the new answers to be reported to the Blackboard Grade Book. Note that only the score of the student’s most recent attempt are shown in the Grade Book. The Start Again button is not available during the Unit Quiz because the quiz is an assessment of the student’s understanding of the writing skill studied in the Unit.
Q: Can I see my students’ answers?
While a student’s overall score for each unit and the score for each unit quiz are visible in the Grade Book, student’s specific answers to individual items are not saved in Blackboard. Students can click Print to print individual screens. If they print after clicking Check or Submit, their answers will appear on the printed page.
Q: When students click the Previous button to go back to an earlier screen, their answers aren’t there anymore. What happened to them?
If the student submitted answers on the previous page, the answers have been sent to the Blackboard Grade Book. Although submitted answers are cleared from the screen as soon as the student navigates to a new page, they will be reflected in the student’s final score in the Blackboard Grade Book.
Q: Within a unit, my students can go from one Step to the next using the Next button, but they can’t go backwards to an earlier Step using the Previous button. Why does the Previous button take them to the Unit Menu when they try to go to an earlier Step?
The Previous button takes students back to a previous screen within a Step. Each Step was written so that every screen builds on the one before it. For this reason, it is better for students to start from the beginning of each Step. By sending students to the Unit Menu, they have the opportunity to choose which Step they would like to try again.
Q: In the Unit Quiz, my students don’t see a green checkmark or a red X when they click Submit. How will they know whether their answers are correct?
The Unit Quiz is an assessment in which students test their knowledge without the extra support provided in other unit activities. If the student chooses a correct answer, the Show Answers button becomes active. The student may click on this button to display the correct answer.
Q: Why isn’t anything happening when I click the grey Play button in the Writing Skill Instruction player?
The Flash presentation may not have finished downloading. The Writing Skill Instruction player uses Flash software, and the time it takes to load may vary with different computers and with different Internet connections. Try waiting a few minutes; then click the Play button again. Talk to your school’s IT department or help desk if you continue to experience problems.
Q: On the Now It’s Your Turn screens in Step 3: Writing Skill Instruction, why isn’t the Submit button appearing?
The Submit button should appear when the audio finishes introducing the items. Try waiting a few seconds.
Q: On the Now It’s Your Turn screens in Step 3: Writing Skill Instruction, why can’t my students always click on the Submit button?
Some Now It’s Your Turn activities require multiple answers. The Submit button will become active as soon as students have selected the correct number of answers.
Q: Why aren’t the Review button and Glossary button working on my students’ computers?
These buttons open pop-up windows. Make sure that students have disabled their Internet browser’s pop-up blocker. This may be found under Options in the Tools menu of their browsers.
Q: The Review pop-up window is too small. How can my students make the presentation bigger?
Students can click on the full-screen button to open the Review in a larger window. Students can also enlarge all pop-up windows by dragging the lower-left corner of the window.
Q: Why can’t my students hear the audio in Step 2: Understanding the Context or Step 3: Writing Skill Instruction?
After checking to be sure their speakers or headphones are plugged in, try adjusting the volume using the volume button on the right side of the audio player or the Writing Skill Instruction player. Students may also need to adjust the audio settings or speaker volume on their computers.
Q: The Tell Me More! pop-up window is covering up the activity. How can my students look at their answers and the feedback at the same time?
They can click on the colored bar at the top of the Tell Me More! pop-up window and move the window to a different position. Students can also change the size of the pop-up window by clicking and holding their mouse on the lower-left corner of the window and dragging it to adjust the size.
Q: In matching activities where students have to draw a line to connect two things, why doesn’t a checkmark or red X appear when they click Submit (as in other activities)?
A green checkmark or red X will appear for any items the student answers. Checkmarks do not appear in this type of activity if the student does not draw a line.