Design and Development of an ePortfolio System for Self-directed Language Learning

By Jose Lai, Irene Lee, Mhairi Mackay, Pauline Poyee Tam and Alison Thomas-Szczypka.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes the design principles and development of an online ePortfolio system to be implemented at tertiary level to enhance student language learning. The system has been designed to serve not only as an information management tool that allows systematic documentation, retrieval and review of ePortfolio owners’ learning processes and achievements, but also as a learning tool that promotes self-directed language learning. In concrete terms, it is designed to be a learning management system that promotes reflective and self-organised learning, collaborative learning and social networking. It also allows the ePortfolio owners to showcase their achievements to various stakeholders, including their prospective employers. Being affective, client-centred, user-friendly, experiential and resource-rich in its design, the unique features of this system are realised through seven key domains that are built into the system: My Learning Plan, My Reflection, My Assessment, My Profile, My Repository, My Friends and My Showcase. Although each domain serves a distinct purpose, all of them interconnect in a coherent manner to achieve the expected design outcomes.

Keywords: e-Portfolios, Design Principles, Learning Management System, Self-directed Language Learning, Learner Autonomy

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.443-466. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.241MB).

Dr. Jose Lai

Senior Instructor, English Language Teaching Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Dr. Jose Lai obtained her PhD in Applied Linguistics from Macquarie University in 1998. Serving as a language educator at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, she finds frontline teaching rewarding and the management of project work challenging. As e-learning project leader, she learns the importance of working collaboratively both with the pedagogical and the technical teams. In recent years, her main duty at work is to lead several government-funded, university-wide and territory-wide online language learning projects. Among them, the ePortfolio system under design is one which aims to serve all university students of CUHK. Her academic interests include design and development of eLearning systems and online language learning objects, learner autonomy, experiential learning, curriculum design and program evaluation.

Irene Lee

Instructor, English Language Teaching Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Irene Lee is an Instructor in the English Language Teaching Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Her academic interests include Writing for the Web, Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning, Critical Thinking Skills and Communication Skills for Business. Prior to joining CUHK, she taught the GCE ‘O’ Level English Language in Singapore, communication skills modules at The Centre for English Language Communication at the National University of Singapore and the Language and Communication Centre at The Nanyang Technological University. She has also taught several communication skills to engineers and technicians from the respective industries.

Mhairi Mackay

Instructor, Independent Learning Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Mhairi Mackay is an internationally experienced secondary and tertiary language teacher specialising in independent language learning. She possesses an MA from University of Bristol in 2006, another MA from Auckland University and GDipTESOL from Waikato University in 1999. Her upcoming conference presentation at the ILAC 2009 is on Hong Kong language learner’s life story using narrative theory.

Pauline Poyee Tam

Instructor I, English Language Teaching Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Pauline Tam is an instructor in the English Language Teaching Unit at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She teaches EAP and ESP courses to both undergraduate and postgraduate level students. Her research centers on academic English, technology-enhanced teaching methodologies and program evaluation.

Alison Thomas-Szczypka

Instructor, English Language Teaching Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shain, Hong Kong

Alison Thomas has taught English Language for over 20 years. In that time, she has taught the gamut from ESOL to EAP courses, from corporate training to teacher training. Her work has taken her to Switzerland, Poland, the UK and Hong Kong. Her pedagogical interests include revisiting the collaborative writing project as a means of teaching and assessment, examining the relationships between teacher development and gender as well as exploring the notions of ‘career’ and ‘professionalism’ in ELT.


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