AWEJ Volume.3 Number.4, 2012                                                                                                   pp. 72 – 96

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Electronic Portfolios as an Effective Tool for Learning and Skills Development with Omani Students

Clifford D. Emerson
Sultan Qaboos University, Language Centre,
Oman

Victoria Tuzlukova
Sultan Qaboos University, Language Centre,
Oman

Abstract:

This paper discusses the rationale for implementing electronic portfolio projects with Omani university students who are engaged in advanced English as a Foreign Language study at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in Oman. Electronic portfolios (EPs) are based on a specific software program which the students use to showcase their cumulative academic abilities, accomplishments and personal reflections. In the process, they develop a variety of academic, personal and social skills, and prepare themselves to compete for positions in a globalized economy. The use of electronic portfolios supports Wagner’s (2008) vision of how the development of critical skills for the 21st century can be achieved meeting educational, communicative and technological objectives. This helps students in their present and future academic studies, and later in the workplace. Capitalizing on the first-hand experience of two SQU English language teachers, this research explores students’ learning using high-tech media and specific application of electronic portfolios in their academic and professional world. It focuses on criteria for successful implementation and highlights the broad ranges of benefits for Omani students enrolled in classes that build EPs. A number of pedagogical, technical and organizational considerations are discussed. Recommendations, guidelines and solutions to potential problems are provided so that instructors in other educational institutions in the Sultanate of Oman who are new to this technology can receive advice about how to implement electronic portfolio projects.

Keywords: electronic portfolio, language learning, skills development

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Cliff Emerson is a Senior Language Instructor in his 5th year at the SQU Language Centre,
where he has taught intensive English, and ESP (Business, Engineering, and Agriculture). He
also taught ESL for 6 years in Germany, and EFL and German on university level in the US. He
has an MA in German Philology and Linguistics, a Masters-Level TESL Certificate from UWMadison, Wisconsin, and an MA in Counselling. His main research focus in the past few years
has been on teaching writing, and using technology in the classroom.
Victoria Tuzlukova is the Head of Professional Development and Research Unit at the SQU
Language Centre. She has been working in the field of English language teaching for 30 years.
Her research interests focus on sociolinguistics, intercultural communication, foreign language
acquisition and the role of culture in foreign language teaching and learning.