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Athabasca University

Dr. Debra Hoven

Associate Professor



  • PhD
  • RSA Grad Dip (TESL FACE)
  • B Ed Stud
  • BA


Debra Hoven I research and teach in the areas of appropriate technologies in education, open, flexible and blended learning and pedagogy, and appropriate technologies for intercultural education and learning in the MEd and EdD programs in the CDE. Previously I have taught in LOTE/TESOL Education at the Queensland University of Technology, and the Applied Linguistics program at Queensland University in Australia where I was involved in teaching, research and consultancy in the areas of language teacher education, innovative and flexible pedagogies, and the integration of technology in language teaching and learning. Other places I have taught include Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.

My major current areas of research interest are in digital storytelling to support success in Indigenous education, e-portfolios as a tool to develop critical reflection, Indigenous research methodologies, and Ecological Constructivism as a learning theory that fits with contemporary understandings of how people learn, particularly in online, blended and mobile environments.

I have held numerous research and teaching development grants, particularly relating to the appropriate uses of technology in language learning and teaching, digital storytelling, and flexible pedagogies. I regularly present at national and international conferences in my areas of interest and have served on the executive boards of various professional organizations. My passionate interest in innovation in pedagogy and learning theory, as well as commitment to the field of teacher education have led to several conference keynote presentations and invited workshops, as well as membership of the editorial boards of several national and international journals.

Editorial Boards & Reviewer (Selected)

  • Asia Pacific Association of CALL (APACALL)
  • CALICO (Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) Journal
  • CALL Journal
  • CALL-EJ Online
  • American Journal of Educational Research
  • International Journal for Pedagogies and Learning

Selected Recent Publications

2015 Hoven, D. (with Palalas, A. ) Ecological Constructivism as a new learning theory for MALL: An open system of beliefs, observations and informed explanations. In A. Palalas & M. Ally (eds.) The International Handbook of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning. (in press).

2015 Hoven, D. (with Palalas, A.) Emerging pedagogies for MALL. In A. Palalas & M. Ally (eds.) The International Handbook of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning. (in press).

2014 Hoven, D. E-portfolios in post-secondary education: An alternate approach to assessment. UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning. ePortfolio edition. Volume 5, pp. 11-24.

2013 Hoven, D. (with Palalas, A.) Implications of using DBR to investigate the iterative design of a mobile-enabled language learning system. Chapter 5 in Rodriguez, J. & Pardo-Ballester, C. (Eds.),  Design Based Research in CALL. CALICO Monograph Series Volume 11, pp. 41-66.

2013 Hoven, D. (with Palalas, A.) The design of effective mobile-enabled tasks for ESP students: A longitudinal study.  Chapter in Hubbard, P., Schulze, M. & Smith, B. (Eds.),  A Festschrift in honor of Robert Fischer. CALICO Monograph, pp. 137-165.

2012 (with Mirriahi, N. & Dawson, S.) Identifying key actors for technology adoption in higher education: A social network approach. In M. Brown, M. Hartnett & T. Stewart (Eds.), Future challenges, sustainable futures. Proceedings ASCILITE Wellington, 2012, pp. 664-574.

2011 (with Palalas, A.) (Re-)Conceptualizing Design Approaches for Mobile Language Learning. Special Issue of CALICO Journal: CALL Research in Canada. 28 (3).

2010 Using the new Information and Communications Technologies for the continuing Professional Development of teachers through open and distance Learning. (With Jakobsdottir, S. & McKeown, L.) Chapter 9 in Perspectives on teacher education through open and distance learning, pp. 105-120. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning.

2009 Digital storytelling in indigenous education: An investigation of the role internet technologies can play in (re-)establishing L1 and C1 literacy and fluency. Chapter 3 in APACALL Book II: Internet-Based Language Learning: Pedagogies and Technologies, pp. 47-74.

2009 Developing a collaborative community: Guidelines for establishing a computer-mediated language learning project with a developing country. (With Crawford, J.) Chapter 11 in J. Fegan & M. Field (Eds.) Education across borders: Politics, policy and legislative administration. Springer Verlag.

2007 The affordances of technology for student-teachers to shape their Teacher Education experience. Chapter 7 in Murphy-Judy, K., M. Peters, M. A. Kassen, & R. Lavine (Eds.), Preparing and Developing Technology-proficient L2 Teachers. CALICO monograph 6, San Marcos, TX: CALICO.

2007 Networking to learn: blogging for social and collaborative purposes. Proceedings of EdMedia Conference 2007 (Refereed). Vancouver, 25-29th June, 2007. sessions /index.cfm/fuseaction/PaperDetails?CFID= 43969956&CFTOKEN= 26166828&presentation_id=32468

2006 Designing for disruption: Remodelling a blended course in technology in (language) teacher education. Paper in the Proceedings of the ASCILITE Conference: Who’s learning: Whose technology? (Refereed). Sydney, 3-6th December, 2006.

2006 Communicating and interacting: An exploration of the changing roles of media in CALL/CMC. CALICO Journal, 23, 2, 233-256.

Research & Consultancy

Currently working on an international project using digital storytelling with Indigenous principals of schools to explore success in Indigenous education.

  • Innovative approaches to teaching and learning
  • Intercultural perspectives on changing pedagogies
  • Learning-centered instructional design
  • Ecological Constructivism as learning theory
  • e-portfolios and alternative assessment approaches
  • Multimedia technology
  • Computer mediated communications and social networking
  • Learner individual differences
  • Educational provision for Gifted and Talented children
  • Bilingual and immersion language programs
  • Digital storytelling
  • Systemic change to support the learning of First Nations, Metis and Inuit students


I have taught in numerous areas of undergraduate and graduate studies, including TESOL/FLT methodology, language curriculum design, resource development, and especially the applications of technology in the teaching and learning of languages and the development of flexible pedagogies, curriculum and resources to create context-appropriate environments for teaching and learning.

Graduate supervision

I have supervised students working on research projects in the following areas, among others:

  • Design considerations in online high school courses for First Nations students with Mild Intellectual Disabilities
  • The Hollow Bone Hunter’s search for sacred space in cyberspace: A two world story
  • Design guidelines for Mobile-Enabled Language Learning system supporting the development of ESP listening skills
  • An investigation of factors influencing foreign language instructor’s technology adoption
  • Networked Teacher Professional Development: Assessing K-12 teacher professional development delivered within a social networking framework
  • Greater access to Higher Education through communication technologies in Sub-Saharan Africa: E-Learning readiness of Distance Education students in Nigeria
  • Gender ideology in Indonesian media
  • Motivation in adult ESP courses
  • Formation and maintenance of online discussion groups
  • Learning-centered mobile-accessible online language learning materials
  • Design of learner-centered online listening resources
  • Teacher attitudes and change towards the use of technology in language teaching
  • Distributed classrooms as blogging communities
  • ICT professional development needs for practicing teachers

Updated July 31 2017 by CDE

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