A Comprehensive Call Solution for Writing in the Disciplines

A Comprehensive Call Solution for Writing in the Disciplines

Dennis Foung (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Dureshahwar Shari Lughmani (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3223-1.ch005

Abstract

This chapter describes the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a CALL support system for a university literacy project funded by the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong. The project, Supporting and Developing Students' English Literacy Practices in the Disciplines, was a collaboration among three universities: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Baptist University. The chapter first describes collaboration between discipline teachers and language teachers to identify appropriate genre-based online support for students followed by details of the comprehensive needs analysis. Most importantly, the chapter focuses on how this CALL system was designed and developed to meet the needs of different stakeholders including the manner in which the comprehensive, flexible, and dynamic design helps non-traditional and independent tertiary level learners develop literacy skills for their content courses. The chapter concludes by providing details of an evaluation of the CALL system conducted with various stakeholders.
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Background

The Hong Kong Tertiary Context

Although the English language skills of university students in Hong Kong are not particularly weak, these students need extra support for academic writing. With the introduction of the new 3-3-4 academic system, secondary school students enter a four-year university programme. To fulfill the general university entrance requirements, the students must take an exit exam, the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, and obtain Level 3 in English (equivalent to an International English Language Testing System [IELTS] score of 5.48–5.56). Although these university students are not particularly weak in English, 75% use their native language, Cantonese, during their secondary education courses (Poon, 2010). This lack of language practice in English poses challenges to students when they study at an English-language university and need to complete their assessed assignments in English. Evans and Morrison (2011) conducted a study with Hong Kong university freshmen and found that they needed extra support in understanding technical vocabulary, writing in an appropriate academic style, and meeting the disciplinary requirements. In addition to the university freshmen, a considerable number of students with an associate degree or a higher diploma who enter institutions of higher education have weak English language skills, but the students are exempt from foundation English courses. (See Wong, Ng, Mak, and Chan (2016) for a thorough discussion of these students.) In light of this, these students need additional disciplinary writing support.

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