Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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There are two things higher education institutions must do when guiding their students in learning. First, we should teach students how to transfer their critical thinking skills from one context to another. Second, we must engage students in active learning and deep processing to develop their capabilities.

Minerva is a non-conventional college startup where students live in seven world cities and interact with teachers and peers via live videos on an online platform in their four-year education. With its growing popularity and low admission rate, it is described by some as a college “tougher to get into than Harvard”. On 17 February 2017, Mr. Ben Nelson, Founder and CEO of the Minerva project shared his secrets of success in Minerva in a seminar titled “How to save higher education in twenty seven easy steps?” at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

What should we teach?
Minerva believes that higher education institutions should teach students how to transfer their critical thinking skills from one context to another. Their teaching philosophy focuses on providing students with a framework of thinking applicable in different situations. Education is not meant to provide rote solutions, but ideas and patterns, so that when students encounter a novel situation, they can come up with a novel solution.

The fundamental problem in higher education is that we spent years learning things in an unstructured environment before we learn how to transfer. The goal of Minerva is to alter students’ way of thinking and interpreting the world. “It’s like doing brain surgery,” said Mr. Nelson. He agrees that studying in Minerva can be challenging, but by the 3rd or 4th year, students will have learnt how to parachute into any location and make the most out of any situation.

How should we teach?
We must engage students in active learning and deep processing instead of simply lecturing them because deep processing leads to better retention of knowledge. Mr. Nelson perceives passive lectures as an ineffective way to disseminate information as it does not encourage deep processing – students’ knowledge retention rate drops to 10% by the end of the 6th month, meaning a 90% failure rate.

Based on his examination of empirical evidence, he came to the conclusion that “when you go through deep processing, you get memory for free.” If you only push students to memorize something without going through deep processing, the retention rate will most likely be very low.

Higher education is “the gatekeeper between citizenry and leadership.” It is necessary for universities to keep up with changes, or else we may be in the peril of not existing.

A big thank you to HKUST for inviting us to join this thought-provoking seminar.

Further reading:

  1. An introductory video about Minerva
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Explore the “secrets” of dental materials and digital dentistry together in the Materials in Oral Health MOOC offered by the best dental school in the world.

We all need healthy teeth, don’t we? Have you ever wondered why titanium, ceramics and some synthetic polymeric materials are the “materials of choice” in oral health care? What are the “secrets” that make these materials so special for dental implants and other restorative procedures?

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HKU Dentistry ranking No. 1 in the World has the vision to bring together the expertise and best practices in dental materials and biomaterials in its upcoming MOOC Materials in Oral Health. The course is taught by a professional team of 30+ local, regional and international dentistry professionals and experts in dentistry and dental materials. What does this course cover? This 4-week Oral Biomaterials course unveils the exciting and unique properties and clinical implications of some state-of-the-art dental materials, including titanium, zirconia and modern synthetic polymer-based composites. We are also going to look at the crucial roles of CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing in dental application and digital orthodontics.

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Oral biomaterials today is an exciting area encompassing contributions from professional dentistry to biology, chemistry, physics, material science, mathematics and engineering. Whether you are dental practitioners and dental technicians, non-dental practitioners, dental students, university students from various disciplines, or senior secondary school students – this course will open your eyes to the magic of dental materials science. If you are a prospective university student, this course can open up new and exciting opportunities possibly leading to new career paths.

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Join us in the upcoming Materials in Oral Health MOOC on April 25 2017!

Register now!

Follow our Facebook pages: HKU Online Learning and Dental Materials Science, Faculty of Dentistry, HKU!

Sneak Previews
Have a taster of what will be taught in this course!
(Sneak preview playlist here.)

The Application of Silicon and Silicon Compounds in Dentistry – Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna
- “Silicones find a wide range of biomedical applications…”

Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs Titanium – Prof. Niklaus P. Lang
- “Shortcomings with titanium are mostly aesthetic in nature…”

What is Digital Dentistry? – Dr. James Tsoi
- “Digital dentistry is one of the emerging fields in dentistry…”

Materials used in Implants – Dr. Nikos Mattheos
- “Osseointegration is a remarkable story of scientific discovery…”

More sneak previews here.

Stay tuned for more details!

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“[The] place where knowledge formation occurs is right at that edge where you do not know what’s going to happen. If you did, it would just be repetition, it wouldn’t be discovery […] students get very excited at that moment,” said Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Director of Common Core (CC), after Professor Ricky Kwok’s sharing on March 7, 2017 about his experience of flipping the course CCST9003 Everyday Computing and the Internet.

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Last semester, Ricky and his course team began a new teaching and learning experiment. They have developed a series of videos to replace traditional lectures; and delivered 5 game-based workshops for students in their CC class (e.g., solving the Rubik’s cube, defusing bombs in a computer game, and solving encrypted codes). The main driver of the flipped approach was the dissatisfaction with the low energy level observed in lectures. “We (teachers) are just sending out sound waves that nobody cares to receive,” Ricky said.

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Participants of the sharing session had to experience this new way of learning first-hand. Prior to the meet-up, they were asked to watch several video clips on “recursion”, one of the algorithms that Ricky taught in his course. When they came in, they had to “compete” in an online game powered by Kahoot to check their preparedness, followed by a team-based, hands-on activity of solving a recursion problem with lego pieces. While groups of students in the actual CC course need to produce a video on the solution by the end of the two-hour class as a deliverable, our teacher-participants were asked to explain their solution to Teaching Assistants within 10 minutes. Feel the adrenaline? That’s what Ricky meant by “learning begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

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Ricky learnt from his own experience that the 4Cs – credit, collaboration, competition, and co-creation – were important in providing the motivation that students need. Here is his recipe:

Application in CCST9003 Advantage
Credit All classwork activities counted towards students’ final grade. Students had the incentive to participate in the first place.
Collaboration It is one of the criteria in the grading rubrics. Every group member needs to participate and demonstrate collaboration. Creates room for dialogue and peer-to-peer learning; where stronger students are motivated to help weaker students.
Competition Each group competed with the 29 other groups in the class.

Competitive elements, e.g., the fastest and most accurate team wins, students can leave the class once they completed the task.

An essential element to push for and maintain a high energy level, competition is a good motivator for an individual to strive for the better.
Co-creation A video had to be produced on the spot at the end of each class, showing how the solved the problem. Learning by teaching is encouraged; students can have solid take-aways and a sense of satisfaction when leaving the classroom.

“Just enjoy that learning and don’t care about the marks,” one of the CCST9003 students said in the video interview done after the last classwork activity. Perhaps this is great testimony that all the hard work of Ricky and his team paid off at the end.

The Common Core continued to be a sandbox of experimentation of new pedagogies. This semester, Mr. Matthew Pryor is also flipping his CCHU9001 Designs on the Future: Sustainability of the Built Environment.

Last but not least, feel the beat of CCST 9003 through this video.

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TELI recently worked with The Libraries to turn Level 3 of the Main Library a quality space for conducting the Tort Law flipped class. Student feedback was largely positive, commending Level 3 as an ideal place for interactive learning. Learn more about the success story here (extracted from FOCUS, The University of Hong Kong Libraries, Feb 2017).

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TELI looks forward to envisioning the use of space for teaching and learning with the Libraries and other members of the University. Please get in touch via enquiry@teli.hku.hk if you want to start a conversation.

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Have you been in situations where your students lack knowledge on how to present and analyze data but your course contents are so packed that there’s no extra time to teach or elaborate further on how to use statistical tools? Yet, data analysis skills should not be overlooked, as it plays an important role across many disciplines.

The case of SCNC1111
The Science Foundation Course SCNC1111 Scientific Method and Reasoning encountered this situation. As part of their group project, the students of SCNC1111 have to make their own investigations into how Mathematics and Statistics can be or have been applied to daily life and scientific inquiry. Over the past years, the teaching team observed that while most students were good at data collection, some of them seemed to be at a loss on what to do with the data: What can the data help us to do?

Seeing that some students lack proper training in handling, interpreting or analyzing data, the SCNC1111 teaching team found it essential to fill the gap:

“As there is not enough time to cover all these in class time, [we] took the initiative to produce videos to introduce data analysis in a convenient and low-cost way. The animations in the videos can help to vividly illustrate the concerned points, and the University can keep a database of resources for students to use at their convenience.” – Dr. Eddy Lam, Dr. Rachel Lui and Dr. William Cheung, SCNC1111 Course instructors

As a result, several useful and efficient instructional videos have been developed on how to use free online resources to plot nice graphs and do basic statistical analysis. Students’ skills and learning experience can both be enhanced. With the hope to incorporate students into the process of teaching, the SCNC1111 teaching team has previously recruited senior undergraduates as Senior Tutors for the course and one of the Senior Tutors, Mr. Dag Wong, was in charge of the video production. The team believes that “students can be our resourceful partner in developing high quality teaching materials and videos.”

Interdisciplinary resource-sharing
These videos can prove to be useful not only in science, but also in different disciplines such as economics, psychology, engineering, sociology, to name a few. In the long run, such productions can initiate synergy among different faculties in developing and sharing educational resources in common areas of inquiry. As students are expected to learn a wide spectrum of skills, creation and utilization of interdisciplinary materials will be highly beneficial.

Here are some typical data analysis questions asked by students across the campus, to which the SCNC1111 team has responded through the videos. Please feel free to share these links with your students!

What if I have an equation and I simply want to plot a nice-looking graph?

What if I have gathered some data and I wonder if there is any relationship between them?

How does regression work?

How does linear regression work with excel?

Let this be a start to knowledge sharing across disciplines!
Contact us if you are interested to learn more.

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Organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Date : March 7, 2017 (Tuesday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus)
Speakers : Professor Ricky Kwok (Course Co-ordinator and Teacher), Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Facilitators: Teaching Assistants – Ms. Yuqian Chai, Mr. Xiangyu Hou, Dr. Tyrone Kwok, Dr. Leon Lei (Chief), Mr. Victor Wong; Course Manager – Mr. Donn Gonda
Respondent: Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Director of Common Core Curriculum

Registration

About the sharing:

The Common Core Curriculum Committee granted approval for running CCST 9003 – Everyday Computing and the Internet in the Scientific and Technological Literacy Area of Inquiry – as a Small Private Online Course (SPOC) in the first semester of 2016-17. Traditional in-class lecture materials were replaced by video recordings and other online learning materials, leaving more time for interactions in face-to-face sessions. For those of you who would like to know more about what happened, please sign up for this sharing session. The teacher-in-charge and TAs will show you how the course was re-designed, what in-class activities were used, and perhaps most importantly – the pains and pleasures of running this SPOC.

Please note that participants are required to watch a few short videos and send in some questions before coming to the face-to-face sharing. They will also be given hands-on exercises during the 75-minute session (so, we are serving light refreshment). Come prepared.

Sign up via http://bit.ly/2lEKso3 by March 3, 2017.
Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

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Our Dinosaur Ecosystems MOOC began with YOU!

To celebrate the launch of the first MOOC on dinosaur in Asia, our course instructor, Dr. Michael Pittman, hosted a party with Professor Yongqiang Zong, Head of Department of Earth Sciences and Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) on February 8th, 2017. Almost 50 HKU colleagues and members of the general public celebrated this happy occasion with us at Stephen Hui Geological Museum.

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Full house! Thank you for coming!

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(Up left) Dr. Michael Pittman, (Up right) Professor Yongqiang Zong, (Bottom) Professor Ricky Kwok

Young Dinosaur Lovers
Dr. Pittman also took this opportunity to congratulate winners of “The Year of the Dinosaur” Drawing Competition and meet young dinosaur lovers in the community.

The drawing competition award goes to:
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It was a delight to meet so many young faces passionate about dinosaurs and learning!
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Course trailer also available on Uvision

Check out our Facebook for more photos of the party. Cheers!

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In December last year, we were excited to take over 200 local secondary students on the adventurous trip of our first SPOC – Critical Readings of Popular Culture! In the six-week self-paced course, students planned their learning sequence and schedule by themselves. They watched the required learning units to acquire the knowledge and skills needed, completed knowledge check quizzes to assess their understanding, and submitted their own critical analysis with reference to their own learning experience. More importantly, they were actively sharing their ideas with fellow learners in the discussion forums, supporting each other’s learning experience.

Watching all of these happening, we are proud to say: you are ready for university studies!

The course will launch again in May, with more up to date popular work introduced. Stay tuned with us and establish your critical thinking by viewing day-to-day popular culture works through new perspectives.

In the meantime, don’t miss out on two upcoming SPOCs from HKU: – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing, launching on Mar 1st and 8th respectively.

Get ready for your future study, starting from HKU SPOCs.
Register today!
Eligibility: Enrollment is only open for Secondary School Students.

Everyday Computing

This course aims to describe and explain various computational algorithms (e.g., Recursion, Google Map route finding, etc.). It will also help you in evaluating the pros and cons of computing services. At the end of the course, you will demonstrate your learning through a series of activities that will be held in a face-to-face session. This course will cover topics such as, divide and conquer, graphs, cryptography, and authentication protocols.

Journey into madness

Mental illness is often portrayed by mass media as a threat. But how much do we really know about mental illness? Mental health is fundamental to our overall well-being and influences us far more than we’d like to admit. This course will guide you through the considerations of defining abnormality and challenging the stigma attached to mental disorders. With the use of case studies and video lectures, you will gain a broadened understanding of those who struggle with mental illnesses.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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Everyday Computing aims to teach you how to make informed decisions in this information age. It is expected that everyone needs to have an efficient way to sift through and evaluate the myriads of information that is available through the Internet. The ultimate objective of this course is to help students develop a “computational” state of mind for everyday events. Specifically, the course will enable students to answer the following questions:

  • What daily problems need to be solved by a computational method?
  • Are such problems solvable?
  • By what means can such problems be solved?
  • Is it worthwhile to compute such problems?

We will also discuss intensively the societal impacts of computing technologies on our daily life.

Online lectures would be available for the whole course, making room for more in-depth learning in lecture sessions. Specifically, a face-to-face session will be conducted in collaborative workshop formats, whereby students need to work in teams to complete hands-on tasks corresponding to the topics covered in the course.

Our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) are here to give you a real taste of university courses. HKU is now providing two SPOCs taught by our very own Professors – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing.

Registration

Assessment criteria for certificates

A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon completing the first 5 basic badges. Each badge can be earned upon fulfilling these two criteria:

  1. Watch all video lectures and read through all topic materials
  2. Getting a 50% mark in each topic challenge questions

A Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to learners

  1. Collected all 7 badges
  2. Attended the Face-to-Face session

FAQs about HSST9003

Is it open to everyone?
Yes and no. Yes, it is open to public but limited to secondary school students in Hong Kong.

Is this course free?
Yes, It is absolutely free. And the best part is that there is another course “Journey into Madness” that is as good as HSST 9003 and it is also absolutely free.

Can I get a certificate out of it?
Yes, it offers two levels of certificate. Certificate of Completion and Certificate of Excellence.

How do I register for this amazing course?
You can click here to sign up and we will email you your free learning.hku.hk account.

I already signed up but I didn’t get any email, what should I do?
Usually, it takes few hours for us to send a reply. But not to worry. You can also check your SPAM mail just in case.

I’ve waited for hours, check my SPAM, but I still cannot find the email. What should I do?
You can email the course team directly through it CCST9003@teli.hku.hk

What is it like in the original Hong Kong class?

About the face to face session:
There will be two classwork activities for this online course and this will be part of the requirement to earn the certificate of excellence.

  1. Classwork #1 Keep Talking Game

    In this classwork activity, your group will collaborate to solve a series of puzzles and make sure that every bomb will not explode. So you need to keep talking so that nobody will explode.

  2. Classwork #2 Finding Dr. X

    In this classwork activity, your team will travel back in time to help the justice alliance to decrypt the messages left by Dr. X. Your team needs to find his whereabouts and help Prof. Kwok arrest him.

These classwork activities will be held on 8 April 2017, from 10:30 – 12:30, at CPD 3.41, 3/F, Centennial Campus, University of Hong Kong.

The course begins on 8 March, 2017. Registration is open until 22 March, 2017.

Eligibility: Enrollment is open only for Secondary School Students.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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Are you a prospective university student? Have you thought of what major you want to study in the future? What do HKU students learn in class?

Our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) are here to give you a real taste of university courses. HKU is now providing two SPOCs taught by our very own Professors – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing.

Journey Into Madness: A Free Online Course on Mental Health

Registration

About the course
When you hear the word ‘mental illness’, what kind of image comes to mind? Do you think of a homeless person babbling to a tree or wonder about that emo kid sitting in a dark room?

Mental health is fundamental to our overall well-being and influences us far more than we’d like to admit. Because mental illness is often portrayed as a threat, we immediately fear those who are associated with it. This course will help you unlearn those misconceptions about mental illness by examining the definitions of abnormality and challenging the stigma attached to mental disorders. Together, we will delve deeper into the following topics:

  • Madness: What is considered abnormal?
  • Diagnosis: How is one diagnosed with a mental disorder?
  • Depression: What impact does this growing illness have on youth suicide?
  • Stigmatization: What measures can you take to reduce stigma associated with mental health problems?

Through online lectures, discussion forums and a peer-review assignment, you will have a better understanding of what constitutes an individual’s mental health status.

Assessment criteria for certificates

A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon completing the following tasks:

  1. Attempt all quizzes in the course, and get above 60% correct.

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A Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to learners

  1. Attempt all quizzes in the course, and get above 60% correct.
  2. Submit an Anti-Stigma Campaign proposal to raise awareness of mental illness among Secondary School students (no more than 300 words)
  3. Perform two peer reviews by marking your classmates’ work

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Registration: http://bit.ly/hku_spoc
The course begins on 1 March, 2017. Registration is open until 15 March, 2017.

Eligibility: Enrollment is only open for Secondary School Students.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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