Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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The use of technology in teaching and learning has generated learning data at a massive volume. But how can we maximize the impact of learning analytics (LA)? We explored this question in the 7th International Learning Design & Knowledge (LAK) Conference, themed Understanding, Informing & Improving Learning with Data. It was an exciting experience to find out how educators from around the world develop and deploy their LA tools. Some of our colleagues also presented their research on improving video instructions and their progress on developing learning progress dashboards in the conference.

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Discussions in the Morris J. Wosk Center for Dialogue

The conference featured 3 keynote sessions, 30 technical sessions and 16 pre-conference events. It covered various aspects of LA, from modeling students’ learning behaviour to institutional deployment of LA in practices, gathering ideas from cognitive science, learning design, educational psychology, learning technology, data science and other related fields.

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A highly engaging poster session where participants shared their ideas via 30-second pitch talks

Several major takeaways from the conference:
Students’ learning behavior, triangulated with their physiological data such as pulse, gesture, eye movement and brain wave, etc., reflect the process of learning, said keynote speaker Dr. Sanna Järvelä from the University of Oulu, Finland. Her research focused on using multimodal data to support the inquiry of learning. With guidance of existing learning theories, learning scientists could understand better the process and product of students’ learning, and provide suggestions for improvement accordingly.

To ensure effective analysis of students’ learning processes, an adaptive data-driven learning ecosystem should be established, as pointed out by Dr. Timothy McKay, keynote speaker from the University of Michigan. To establish this adaptive system, learning data needs to be continuously collected and integrated. This informs both students and teachers of students’ learning as an individual and in groups over an extensive period of time, throughout or even beyond their university life. In the University of Michigan, 10 years of learning data from different sources has been collected for establishing a learning system. This system advises teachers and students by providing relevant data to them. The purpose of putting data in people’s hands is to support decision making, motivate actions and guide behaviour change.

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Dr. Timothy McKay illustrating how data can be used for decision making

Just as research tools are always guided by research methodology, LA tools need to be student-centered and pedagogy-considered. This requires trust and understanding among teachers, system developers, user interface designers and behavioral scientists, whose expertise could jointly contribute to the sense-making of learning data.

For analytics to work well, the data collected from prior experience must be extensive, accurate and relevant. Some classes tend to be more suitable for deploying LA, such as large introductory courses with relatively mature course contents and classes where teachers have a clear understanding of students’ background and ability. The course should also involve a variety of instrumented learning activities, and the course team should constantly and gradually improve the course structure, content and assessments.

Finally, we must remind ourselves that data by itself is not all powerful until actions are taken in response to the analysis. We should also work to ensure that the collection of educational data and the use of LA tools are lawful and ethical.

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Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Faculty of Education

Details of the workshop:

Date : 20 June, 2017 (Tuesday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU CPD 3.29, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus
Speaker : Dr Caroline Steel, Strategic Educational Consultant, APAC, Blackboard International
ASCILITE Life Member Awardee & Past President Adjunct Academic, The University of Queensland
Facilitators : Dr Susan Bridges, Associate Professor, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning / Faculty of Education, HKU

Abstract

Universities of today are fundamentally challenged by the need to educate for both ‘the thinker’ and ‘the worker’ so that current and future students will see value in their university education in a rapidly changing global society. The pressures of a fast-evolving global economy and society mean that we are educating students for highly uncertain work and life futures. Adding significant complexities to this current state-of-play, universities themselves are struggling to transform in the face of digital disruption and globalisation.

In Australia, universities have experienced a decade of increasing massification of higher education that has seen our domestic and international student body grow to 1.4 million, whilst government funding and commitment to higher education have reduced, and the academic workforce has been further casualised. At such a pivotal snapshot in time, we were interested in how Australian university leaders conceived of their key challenges and trends and how they were responding. In 2016, *we conducted a survey and follow up interviews with academic leaders at the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor level to understand how they prioritised their learning and teaching challenges and influential trends and how they were responding institutionally. This presentation outlines the Australian regional context and reports main findings of the study. The presenter will also ask those attending to consider the challenges in the context of the Hong Kong University Sector.

*The research for this paper was conducted as a collaboration between ASCILITE and Blackboard International.

About the Speaker

Dr Caroline Steel is a Strategic Educational Consultant for Blackboard International. Caroline was Associate Professor and Director of Digital Learning at La Trobe University and President of ASCILITE (Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education). She brings a wealth of expertise from a range of academic leadership, faculty and central learning and teaching roles. She has developed institutional digital strategies, designed innovative approaches to academics’ technology and learning spaces adoption, and explored the impact students’ digital learning practices on learning (including mobile learning). Caroline has published extensively and retains an adjunct academic position at The University of Queensland.

Registration

For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​

Message from Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning Connections No.5 – Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning

Highlights

Learn together, work together: Promoting interprofessional learning – Dr. LK Chan, Dr. Fraide Ganotice, and Prof. Frances Wong

Catalysing interdisciplinarity: The Common Core at the University of Hong Kong – Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren

Interdisciplinarity at the course level: How strong is your “theme”? – Dr. Gavin Porter

The most challenging course I have taught in 28 years at HKU – but also my favourite – Prof. Christopher Hutton

The notion of “interdisciplinarity” in teaching: What about multidisciplinarity, cross-disciplinarity and transdisciplinarity? – Tracy Zou

Teaching and Learning Connections: http://www.cetl.hku.hk/teaching-learning-cop/issue-05/

Subscription: http://www.cetl.hku.hk/teaching-learning-cop/teaching-and-learning-connections-subscription/

Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Hong Kong

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Click here if you cannot access Youtube.

Registration

Introduction to the course (Course outline)
University Teaching is an introductory MOOC on teaching and learning in tertiary education, designed by staff at CETL and offered through Coursera. Whether you have just started your first university teaching post, you are thinking about becoming a university teacher, or you just have an interest in understanding the essentials of university teaching, this course is definitely for you.

University Teaching will help you to address the following questions:

  • What is it like teaching in higher education?
  • What does research evidence tell us about effective teaching in higher education?
  • How can we ensure that our instructional design helps our students achieve their intended learning outcomes?
  • What pedagogic options do we have to make our teaching successful?
  • What assessment and feedback practices can help our students learn effectively?

With input from instructors, guest speakers and interviewees, including teaching award winners, students and experts in the fields, you will be exposed to research evidence in relation to effective university teaching and instructional design. Throughout the course, you will learn from teachers whose teaching has been judged to be excellent, and you will see many examples of their teaching in practice.

After completing the learning tasks in this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the teaching and learning context in higher education and reflect on the challenges and opportunities you might encounter as a university teacher.
  • Explain key teaching and learning concepts and relevant evidence in relation to effective university teaching.
  • Analyse the relationships between various aspects of teaching and student learning.
  • Identify a range of instructional strategies to support effective student learning.
  • Apply key concepts to the structuring of course outlines and lesson plans in order to support successful student learning.

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Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Faculty of Education

Details of the workshop:

Date : 29 June 2017 (Thursday)
Time : 10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Facilitators : Dr. Luke Fryer, Associate Professor, CETL, HKU
Mr. Peter Lau, Lecturer, CETL, HKU
Dr. Ada Lee, Lecturer, CETL, HKU
Hot lunch will be provided.

This forum aims to provide a platform to discuss how to provide effective training and development of teaching skills for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). Forum speakers, including teachers, administration staff and postgraduate students, from various local universities will share their experience, good practices and the challenges they have encountered. Discussion will include, but not be limited to the following sub-themes:

  1. Roles and responsibilities of GTAs in academic department
  2. Reflective teaching
  3. Challenges encountered in teaching
  4. Challenges to balance teaching and research duties
  5. Expectations for the training programme
  6. How to engage GTAs in training programme
  7. Feedback on teaching performance
  8. Collaboration with teaching departments
  9. Evidence of how GTAs benefit from training programme

We believe that postgraduates have great potential to achieve both teaching and research. All research supervisors, faculty members, administration staff and students are welcome to join us in co-constructing a way forward through the challenges our students face in seeking to maximise their teaching impact.

Registration

For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​

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By the courtesy of the Teaching Innovation Unit at the Centre for Teaching and Learning Development of the National Taiwan University (NTU), TELI participated in a professional development programme entitled “eProfessor” that was held on April 29-30, 2017 – the Labour Day long weekend. We have heard about the magic of this bootcamp from Professor Benson Yeh (former Director of the MOOC Project in NTU) for a couple of years – but seeing is believing.

Success factors of NTU’s e-learning professional development programmes

  • Blended with a Facebook closed group for pre-event communication and community building
  • Intensive face-to-face sessions focusing on participatory learning
  • Genuine sharing of successful and failing experiences by both invited speakers and participants
  • Real-time support from organizing team: from video production to instructional design – prompt follow-up on the spot

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Some 30 teachers showed up at the training. Before the face-to-face programme began, they were asked to prepare a Facebook post with a short smartphone-quality clip telling their fellow bootcamp members two things about themselves: one that is true, one that is false. The purpose is twofold: to get some experience about video-taking, and to break the ice in the group. As Rick Levin said, watching yourself on a screen could be horrifying for first-timers – so this pre-event assignment seemed to be a good warm-up exercise for everybody.
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The highly participatory bootcamp features hands-on exercises, group work with peer-feedback, workshops and experience sharing. The topics included:

  • Flipped classroom and peer-to-peer learning
  • Practical lessons from pioneers of flipped classroom teaching and learning
  • Instructional design for problem-based learning
  • Pedagogical skills in an e-learning environment
  • Tools to facilitate the visualization of teaching and learning materials (e.g., DIY video making software)

The intensive face-to-face sessions might look demanding, but they equipped members with the necessary skills and supporting network to jumpstart a forward change in technology-enriched pedagogical practices. In his sharing of flipping a civil engineering course, Professor Huang Yin-nan said it is important to have partners in an e-learning journey. Collaboration and interaction facilitate reflective practice, and provides an emotional safety net when teachers are in doubts and encounter frustrations. “We share both successful and failing experiences. In fact, very often we learn more from the latter,” he told the participants.

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(Source: http://ntumoocs.blogspot.hk/)

Throughout the “eProfessor” initiative, challenges are matched by support. The 10-people strong Teaching Innovation Unit at the Centre for Teaching and Learning Development provided comprehensive support on-the-spot: from setting up closed groups on Facebook for your course, to getting filming equipment ready for lecture recording. They have also produced excellent tutorials for teachers’ self-learning. Here is a sample on proper lighting for video-taking:
https://youtu.be/V3pevaUNle0

Thank you NTU, we have so much to learn from you!

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Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Faculty of Education

Details of the workshop:

Date : 19 May, 2017 (Friday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:30pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Speaker : Dr. Abelardo Pardo, Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, Australia
Facilitators : Prof. David Carless, Associate Dean, Faculty of Education, HKU
Dr. Cecilia Chan, Head of Professional Development, CETL, HKU

Abstract

The increasing presence of technology mediation offers an unprecedented opportunity to use detailed data sets about the interactions that occur while a learning experience is being enacted. Areas such as Learning Analytics or Educational Data Mining have explored numerous algorithms and techniques to process these data sets. Additionally, technology now offers the opportunity to increase the immediacy of interventions. However, not much emphasis has been placed on how to extract truly actionable knowledge and how to bring it effectively as part of a learning experience. In this talk, we will use the concept of feedback as the focus to establish a specific connection between the knowledge derived from data-analysis procedures and the actions that can be immediately deployed in a learning environment. We will discuss how there is a trade-off between low-level automatic feedback and high-level complex feedback and how technology can provide efficient solutions for the case of large or highly diverse cohorts.

Speakers

abelardoAbelardo Pardo is Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of Sydney, Australia. He is the director of the Learning and Affect Technologies Engineering Research Laboratory and deputy director of the Centre for Research in Learning and Innovation. His research interests include the design and deployment of technology to increase the understanding and improve digital learning experiences. More specifically, his work examines the areas of learning analytics, personalized active learning, and technology for student support.

Registration

For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​

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Jointly organised by CETL and Common Core

Details of the workshop:

Date : 15 May, 2017 (Monday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:00pm (Light refreshments will be provided.)
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Speaker : Dr. Tracy Zou (CETL) and Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren (Common Core)

Abstract

Rated as both the ‘best and the worst learning experiences’ by both students and lecturers, groupwork is a complex matter. What, then, about intercultural groupwork? Doesn’t this complicate the matter even further? Students could, of course, potentially develop their cultural competence and gain multiple perspectives about each other and the subject matter, but the issue is how can we actually make it work its best for everyone?

During this workshop, we will explore together how we might make intercultural groupwork creative, energetic, and effective. A number of good practices identified from 15 Common Core courses, as well as those from the scholarly literature, will be shared.

Speakers

Dr. Tracy Zou is an assistant professor in the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) at HKU. She has been engaging in the development and promotion of effective university teaching and learning on a number of topics, for example, groupwork, assessment, and internationalisation of teaching and learning. She has also been involved in groupwork research at both course and curriculum levels.

Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren: Director, Common Core

Registration

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Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Details of the workshop:

Date : 6 April, 2017 (Thursday)
Time : 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Facilitator : Dr. Cecilia Chan, Head of Professional Development, CETL, HKU

Abstract

After the highly successful cross-institutional conference held on March 8 where innovations in higher education teaching and learning were shared and celebrated, CETL is planning a series of gatherings. As we go forward with the conversation on driving excellence in the Teaching and Learning agenda, the new “Chit-Chat, Mix and Match for T and L” series will provide an easygoing and stimulating platform for teachers to continue discussing, disseminating and discovering good pedagogies, assessment and issues.

These gatherings require your participation to be successful, come and join us, I guarantee you fun, challenging and rewarding conversation.

Registration will be on a first come, first served basis.

Registration

For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​

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Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Details of the workshop:

Date : 9 March, 2017 (Thursday)
Time : 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Speaker : Chair Prof. Haydn Chen, Vice Rector (Student Affairs), University of Macau
Facilitator : Dr. Cecilia Chan, Head of Professional Development, CETL, HKU

Abstract

Evaluation of the overall student performance in the Residential College (RC) System of the University of Macau (UM) is reported under the “4-in-1”* education model which commenced in August 2014. The evaluation methodology included the grade points average (GPA), the counselling cases, sports competition, employment data, plus specially-designed surveys to measure the learning outcomes of the competencies** that the RC education focused on. Particularly noteworthy is this study included undergraduate students with and without the RC experience so a comparison of the two groups of students can be made.

The major findings show a positive and encouraging trend in the impact of RC education on students is significant and noticeable, despite the fact that the RC system was launched only two years ago. Some highlights of the study are: 1) the five areas of competencies that RC nurtures have clearly shown the learning outcome; 2) a significant correlation of academic achievement in terms of cumulative GPA with RC experience is found, also for the low-performance students (GPA<2) RC experience clearly helps students to improve more effectively; 3) the pastoral care and the peer support that students received in the RCs have resulted in a significant decrease of counselling cases; 4) team spirit cultivated for student athletes show its impact on the awards; 5) employment profile in recent years show steady improvement. The values of the RC experience on the students’ overall achievements are reflected in this evaluation report. Conclusions are drawn to reflect the impact of the “Community and Peer Education” on the growth of students, which, in turn, supports the vision of the University of Macau who has pioneered the unique 4-in-1 education model together with the university-wide RC System.

*4-in1 Education Model: It includes “discipline”, “general”, “research & internship” and “community & peer” education. Undergraduate students must receive passing grades in all four area before they can graduate.
** Competencies: The five competencies in the experiential learning of the RC education are: “healthy living”, “interpersonal relationship & teamwork”, “leadership & service”, “culture engagement”, and “citizenship with global perspective”.

About the Speaker:

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Prof. Haydn H. D. Chen’s education background has taken him through prestigious schools via the Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) for his BS degree, then the MS and PhD in the Department of Materials Science, Northwestern University in US. Dr. Chen’s professional career commenced with a Research Associate appointment at the Argonne National Laboratory before joining the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) (1978 to 2000). Since 2000, Dr. Chen has spent over 16 years in teaching, research and academic administration in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, in the capacity as Chair Professor, Head of the Department, Vice President for Student Affairs or President of Tunghai University. These experience put him in a very unique group of educators who have held key positions as an academic faculty and concurrently an academic administrator in four universities across the Pacific ocean.

Having supervised over 50 MS and PhD students and worked closed with more than 20 research associates and visiting scholars in four universities, Prof. Chen has authored or co-authored over 300 journal articles and delivered more than 200 technical presentations. At UIUC, Dr. Chen’s research focused primarily on metals and alloys in which he pioneered x-ray diffraction studies of kinetic processes of ordering or coarsening in technologically important Ni-based super-alloys, Fe-based shape memory alloys and Al-based light metal alloys. Dr. Chen and his team had invented a grazing incidence x-ray diffraction method for the nondestructive measurements of residual stresses in thin films; this technical paper was downloaded/viewed over 8000 times, and cited over 130 times. Further, in a period of 10 years, Dr. Chen had led, as the Director of a Collaborative Access Team, with partnership between UIUC and national laboratories, industrial firms for a major project to have designed and constructed two sectors of beamlines, along with six experimental stations, at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory. These instruments are rated most outstanding apparatus at APS today.

At the City University of Hong Kong, Dr. Chen has expanded his research into thin films and coatings with particular emphasis on electric ceramics such as ferroelectrics, nitrides, etc. Over a span of four years more than 60 articles were published which represent the most highly cited collection of papers. As the Head of the Applied Physics and Materials Department at CityU, Dr. Chen has led the Department to become the flag ship of the materials program in Hong Kong and propelled the advancement of world ranking of the university. Dr. Chen continued to maintain scholarly work during the 8 year period as the President of Tunghai University in Taiwan. At the University of Macau, Dr. Chen was responsible for the establishment of the Graduate Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering and supervised the first cohort of doctoral degree students. This was in addition to his official duties as the Vice Rector for Student Affairs with primary responsibilities for the creation of a Residential College system for experiential collegiate learning of soft skills.

Prof. Chen’s trajectory of research on materials science has won himself the Humboldt Research Award in Germany (2000) and Award for Outstanding Scholar in Taiwan (2005-2010). He is a Fellow of ASM-International since 1989, a Fellow of Japan Society for Promotion of Science and a Fellow of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. He was chief editor and key reviewers of many journals and participated actively in several professional societies.

Registration

For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​

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