Skip to main content
PolyU HK
PolyU Library

Online Resources for Self-Directed English Language Learning

This guide will introduce various useful resources for self-directed English language learning.

English for University Studies

Writing academic English at university level can be tough. Here are some e-books to help you get started, enhance your English vocabulary, and writing for different disciplines. In addition, dictionaries, thesaurus, and Encyclopaedias are great sources for definitions and background information for your assignments. Online courses with practice materials can help you develop specific English skills, such as grammar, pronunciation, etc.

E-books for Academic Writing

How to Start Writing

Academic Vocabulary



Databases for English, Dictionaries, Thesaurus and Encyclopaedias

Oxford English Dictionary provides the complete text of the printed version of Oxford English Dictionary.

Oxford Reference provides access to 100 key Oxford dictionaries and reference works in various areas including language, science, medicine, humanities, social sciences, business and management.
Credo is an online reference collection, and it features full-text content from hundreds of reference books covering a broad range of subjects. There are over 3 million entries, 200,000+ images (art, diagrams, maps and photos), and over 100,000 audio pronunciation files and sound clips.

Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that chart meanings and branch to related words.


Clarity English

Clarity English

This platform provides online English courses with practice activities, instructions and references made available to users. Due to limited number of concurrent users, please log off after use. 

ELC Open Online Courses

ELC Open Online Courses is a platform that prepared by the English Learning Centre (ELC) of PolyU. It hosts a series of MOOCs courses related to skills for communication in English, which aims at helping students in pursuing academic and professional excellence.

Online Self-Access Project (ICOSA)

The Online Self-Access Project (ICOSA)

The Online Self-Access Project (ICOSA) was an inter-institutional project for the language centres of five tertiary institutions in Hong Kong  to create and share a range of English language self-access learning materials online via an online repository. The websites contain learning strategies for listening, reading, speaking, writing, and understanding research.

Learning Strategies include: