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L.K. Chan1, P. Hodgson2

1The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HONG KONG)
2University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
Students may experience learning challenges when they start their first year university study. Apart from enculturing to university life, they need to build a reservoir of professional terms as they commence their journey to any field of professionals. When they graduate, they are expected to be both competent and fluent in the use of professional terms in the disciplines. To develop a good command of professional terms, there are various vocabulary-learning strategies reported in a study of Hong Kong learners, including sources, guessing, dictionaries, repetition, association and 'know words' (Fan, 2003).

Nevertheless, the learning environments have changed rapidly. The Web is no longer a source of information but has become as a part of the learning environment. As it is paramount for university students to build a vocabulary of professional terms, educators can make it more appealing to university students through using the Web such that students can actively participate in the development of a pool of professional terms. A searchable online databank of professional terminology has been developed to stimulate students' interest in the discipline and accelerate their acquisition of a foundation of professional terms in the Institute of Textiles and Clothing in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The database provides the key terms that students need to learn, however, there are no images. As many students are ready to make use of it as a tool to assist them to have quick access to information and search multiple relevant resources, this study presents students studying in a course on ¡¥Introduction to Fashion and Apparel¡¦ and reports on their experiences on building the pool of professional terms through searching relevant images and making additional illustrations. The databank provides a submission function, which allows students to search for and submit digital images that match the description of vocabulary terms. This is expected that it may increase students' interest in expanding their vocabulary for the discipline,

Students from two high diploma courses were invited to participate in this study: one full-time high programme and one part-time programme. Students from the two cohorts were shown the method of submitting images to the databank during a six-week period. Images were selected by the tutor based on assessment criteria that included: (1) appropriate matching of an image with a term's description; (2) clear visual illustration; and (3) precision of image elaboration. This paper is to report on participation and quality of contributions from the two cohorts and summarize the survey conducted. Although full-time students have more time for their study, 48 percent of contributors were part-time students, and 60 percent of images were selected from them. Despite that full-time and part-time students have different commitments in university study, this paper will discuss implications on building a learning community for full-time and part-time students.