This paper discusses our findings resulting from SWAP funded project – On The Beach. SWAP funds support research into SUPPORTING WRITING FOR ASSESSMENT PURPOSES :creative approaches to reading, note-making and writing development. A Second Life handbook was produced to enhance learning and teaching of writing skills within the context of new media technology platforms. The project interprets the notion of an essay is an investigation into a topic by an author – be it visual, textual or kinaesthetic or if well done – through all these inter-relational modes, with attention to content, structure, style and language accuracy. “Writing” and “note-taking” are enhanced within this wider and innovative context. Our second life handbook – the WEISL– ‘writing explorations in second life’ uses digital media tools to generate and develop “new methods of writing, note-taking, investigation and essay production” within emerging 3d virtual platforms, and to enable future integration with mobile and embedded platforms and online communities.