Grammarly: Help or hindrance? Academic Learning Advisors’ perceptions of an online grammar checker

  • Ruth O'Neill CQUniversity
  • Alex M.T. Russell CQUniversity
Keywords: Grammarly, grammar, advisor, instructor, perceptions, writing, feedback

Abstract

Online technology has been advocated as a means of providing students with the grammatical support needed to succeed in higher education without compromising the mission of university Academic Learning Centres (ALCs). Recent research into automated feedback technology in Australian tertiary institutions has focused on the grammar checker, Grammarly. This study builds on O’Neill and Russell’s (2019) analysis of student perceptions’ of Grammarly at one multi-campus Australian university by evaluating Academic Learning Advisors’ (ALAs) perceptions of Grammarly and comparing its performance with the traditional feedback method using Word. A mixed method design was applied with three advisors surveyed on the perceived usefulness of incorporating Grammarly feedback into student assessments (n = 51), and another three advisors surveyed on providing grammar feedback on assignments using Word (n = 25). Statistical analysis showed that the advisors using Grammarly agreed with all 15 statements about the effectiveness of their grammar instruction, and for 13 of these statements, their mean scores were significantly higher than those of advisors not using Grammarly. The effect sizes for these comparisons indicated that the differences were quite large, suggesting that, while the advisors agreed that Grammarly and non-Grammarly feedback were useful to the students, Grammarly feedback was perceived to be more useful. Qualitative analysis explained the responses to Grammarly in terms of positive implications for student and ALA practice, whilst also identifying issues the advisors had with the program. As a result of these reservations, it is recommended that Grammarly be used as a feedback tool for assignments in conjunction with an ALA.

Author Biographies

Ruth O'Neill, CQUniversity
Associate Lecturer, Academic Learning Centre, School of Access Education
Alex M.T. Russell, CQUniversity
Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Published
2019-08-22
How to Cite
O’Neill, R., & Russell, A. M. (2019). Grammarly: Help or hindrance? Academic Learning Advisors’ perceptions of an online grammar checker. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 13(1), A88-A107. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/591
Section
Research Articles