Susan Yue Hua Sun 孙悦华

Susan Yue Hua Sun.

Senior Lecturer

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 6806



  • Master of Arts (Hons) in Language Learning and Teaching — University of Auckland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Studies — Victoria University of Wellington
  • Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature — Guangzhou University, China.

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Reviewer, Distant Education
  • Reviewer, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
  • International Association of Chinese Linguistics (Life member)
  • New Zealand Association of Language Teachers
  • New Zealand Chinese Language Association
  • New Zealand Asian Studies Society.

Teaching Areas:

  • Bachelor of Arts (Chinese), papers at all levels
  • Diploma in Chinese, papers at all levels.

Research Areas:

  • Design for language learning
  • Design for online language learning
  • Learning environment and learner context
  • Epistemic pattern and design

Current Research Projects:

Design for fully online language learning — an investigation of co-configuration in relation to set and social design


This study investigates how students configure their learning environment to fulfil their academic and social-emotional needs in online language learning courses. It also examines how these students' physical settings (both material and digital) and social factors interplay and influence such configuration in networked learning.

Despite the literature on student configuration and on their experience, perceptions, attitudes towards configuration, we still know very little about the topic. We know even less about how student configuration in turn shapes and continuously re-shapes the dynamic of a learning environment. In addition, the literature on student configuration specifically in online language learning is even more scarce; very little is known about how student configuration influences and informs the design of online language courses.

The goal of this study is to establish a detailed picture of student configuration in online language learning, including the ways they elect to use, adopt, and combine technological tools — individually and as a group — to affect and enhance learning both academically and socially. Particular attention is paid to a whole range of elements that compose a learning network, e.g., artifacts, tools, texts, interactions and relationships between dyads, groups, teams, roles, divisions of labor, to name but a few.

Design for online Language Learning – a preliminary study on CALL epistemic task design


This study draws on the pattern-based approach from the theoretical framework of design for learning, and investigates the epistemic task design in online language learning. The pattern-based approach argues for formal description and representation of learning activities in order to share them across disciplines.

As a result, some generalised, cross-disciplinary pedagogical patterns have emerged from these various studies, and from case studies in particular. These studies articulate, test and share the principles and practice of teaching, many of which are generalisable, even though they come from a range of disciplines.

There have been efforts to describe those pedagogical patterns in structured formats. However, research into disciplinary characteristics of language learning, especially the characteristics of language TEL, is under-investigated in the relevant literature. Much work is needed to capture the uniqueness of language learning and its similarities with other disciplinary studies.

This study adopts the patterns-based approach to investigate the epistemic tasks and forms of online language learning. The aim is tow-folds: 1) to shed more light on epistemic design for online language learning; 2) to articulate and formulate language learning patterns to be shared in both the CALL community and the wider learning design community in general.


  • Susan Y. H. Sun (2017). Design for CALL – possible synergies between CALL and design for learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(5).
  • Susan Y. H. Sun (2016). Learntime and learning place-focused forward-oriented design for learning in technology-enhanced classrooms. Distance Education, 37(3). DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2016.1233051
  • Susan Y. H. Sun (2014). Learner perspectives on fully online language learning. Distance Education, 35 (1). DOI: 0.1080/01587919.2014.891428.
  • Sun, Susan Yue Hua (2011) 'Online Language Teaching: The Pedagogical Challenges', Knowledge Management & E-Learning: an International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3. May. 3(3), 428-447.
  • English: Victim of Its Own Success? (Jan 17 2007). New Zealand Education Review.
  • Teaching Chinese as 2nd Language "Media Studies" Material Development — a New Zealand Case Study. (Dec 2006). Proceedings of the 8th World Chinese Language Conference, Book 3, pp236-276, The World Chinese Language Press, Taipei, Taiwan. ISBN – 13: 978-957-8505-43-8.
  • Foreign Languages Boost Life Learning. (Oct 30 2006). Page A13, The New Zealand Herald.
  • New Year Nostalgia time Again. (Jan 23 2006). Page A11, The New Zealand Herald.
  • The New Zealand-born Chinese community of Auckland: aspects of language maintenance and shift. (1999). Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics 4(2), 1-14 (Refereed Journal article).


  • Design for CALL - Possible Synergies between CALL and Design-for-Learning. In 18th International CALL Conference: CALL in Context, 7-9 July 2017, UC Berkeley, USA
  • Design for fully online language learning — in search of the nexus of learning theory, disciplinary characteristics, and classroom realities. In ALANZ Symposium, 29 November, 2014, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Design for online language learning — connecting learning theory to classroom realities. In Annual Conference on Education Innovation (ACEI), 21-23 November, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • realities. In Annual Conference on Education Innovation (ACEI). Taipei, Taiwan.
  • The development of students' oral/spoken skills in two fully-online language courses. Presented at the CreateWorld 2012 Conference, 5-7 December, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Online Language Learning: a Learner Perspective. Presented at the 4th Asian Conference on Education (ACE 2012), 24-28 October, 2012, Osaka, Japan.
  • Chinese Teaching and Learning — blended and/or fully online. Keynote speaker at the Auckland Confucius Institute's 2nd Symposium on Chinese Teaching, 26 Aug 2012, University of Auckland.
  • Online Language Teaching — the Pedagogical Challenges. Presented at the Asia-Pacific Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning 2010 (APTEL2010) , 24-26 Sept, Kansai University, Osaka, Japan.
  • Chinese Taught Completely Online: striving after fashion or tomorrow's fait accompli? Presented at the Chinese Studies Association of Australia's 2009 Conference: Jiu, 9-11 July 2009, Sydney, Australia.
  • Teaching Chinese as 2nd Language "Media Studies" Material Development – a New Zealand Case Study. Presented at the World Chinese Language Association’s 8th Conference, 28-30 Dec 2006, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Changing the landscape of Asian Studies in America: the success story of the novel The Joy Luck Club. Presented at the 16th NZ Asian Studies Society International Conference, 21-23 Nov 2005, Hamilton, New Zealand.
  • Chinese Speech Competitions and its Role in the Promotion of Teaching of Chinese — A report on the Chinese speech competitions in Greater Auckland in the past ten years. Co-writer of paper presented at the 8th International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching, 23-25 July 2005, Beijing, China.
  • The New Zealand-born Chinese community of Auckland: aspects of Language maintenance and shift. Presented at the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia's 24th Annual Congress, 26-29 Sept 1999, Perth, Australia.
  • The under-representation of the Mandarin Chinese Ba structure in the L1English-L2Chinese interlanguage.  Presented at the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia's 24th Annual Congress, 26-29 Sept 1999, Perth, Australia.
  • The acquisition problems of the Mandarin Chinese BA structure.  Presented at the Association of Auckland Language Teachers' Langsem Conference, Jun 1999, Auckland.
  • Confucius and Communicative Language Teaching. Paper presented at AIT's School of Languages Staff Development Day, November 1998.
  • "Dragon's Tongue" — a true communicative teaching course. Presented at the New Zealand Association of Language Teachers annual conference, May 1995, Auckland.

Last updated: 02-Mar-2018 2.15pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.