ARIES: Punctuation, Spelling and Reference for the Web

E-Learning, English language, Literacy & Writing skills, The Subject Centre in Scotland

Brief descriptionanderson

This project converted an existing suite of computer programs concerned with improving key English Language skills in spelling and punctuation into a web-accessible source.


The ARIES project is a self-access learning program for students (and others) who have difficulties with aspects of English punctuation and spelling. It was originally compiled in 1996 in an authoring package called Toolbook. The program consists of five units, three dealing with punctuation and two with spelling. These are accompanied by self-correcting interactive exercises and tests so that the student can monitor his or her progress. The basic punctuation sections also serve for grammar revision, since the student is offered the choice of everyday language or grammatical terminology.

Project design

The original package, although it was well-received, had to be distributed along with the software package, which limited its use. The software itself was on the verge of obsolescence. The purpose of the current ARIES project was to allow for a redesign of the package, updating it for a new generation of users on the web.

Key findings

The project was originally scheduled to take just three months of programming time, plus input from the original creators. Much of the text was transferred directly from the old shell to the new, but many of the exercises had to be recast using formats suitable for the new environment. This was, in the end, a much more most time-consuming aspect of the project than anticipated. The new design, however, allowed for an opportunity to revise some of the content and improve the consistency of style and appearance.

Learning outcomes

The project has been tested by students and colleagues on campus at the University of Glasgow and in places as far apart as Helsinki and Buenos Aires. As a result of this project the original program has now been made accessible anywhere in the world.

Report / Website

Project Leader

Professor Christian Kay &
Ms Jean Anderson
STELLA, University of Glasgow,


Completed June 2002