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Addressing SLEQ survey results

Tackling Action Plans from HKUSLEQ Faculty Report by Building an Engineering Education Research Community to share Good Practices in Engineering Education


Abstract

The project aims 1) to address the issues identified and raised in the HKUSLEQ Faculty Report, 2) to build a community of engineering education practitioners, 3) to provide a platform for fostering and advancing engineering education research, 4) to provide assistance for fostering and advancing engineering education research, and 5) to demonstrate leadership in the area of engineering education research. Due to a shift in priority to provide solutions or strategies for active learning and assessment in response to the HKUSLEQ Faculty Report and HKU missions, more time was invested in the development of the engineering education community. With the building of the community, we have been able to identify a number of good practices and to work with teachers to promote and develop more innovative pedagogies. Through ongoing consultation and collaboration, we have drawn together teachers from different engineering departments who are interested in engineering education research. The PI has played an active role in providing assistance in engineering education research. Noticeable achievements have been made in the curriculum development of teaching and learning within all levels from Teaching Consultants to Professor Levels in the Engineering Faculty. With the support of the Associate Deans, we have successfully motivated, supported, and led engineering teachers to a new mindset in engineering education and built a community of practice.

Principal Investigator

Dr. C.K.Y. Chan, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Contact

Project level

University-level project

Project Completion

April 2013

Deliverables

  • Sichuan Reconstruction Experiential Learning Project: A number of HKU engineering teachers and the PI worked together to design and to develop the assessment for an experiential learning project through a school reconstruction project in Sichuan. A student-focused group was carried out to collect some student’s reflections on the desired learning outcomes and assessment of the reconstruction project. The results provided us with more information to evaluate learning activities within the engineering context. A set of guidelines for grading and standards of assessment was developed for the project and subsequently, three journal papers, one book, and three conference papers were published.

    Publications:
    Chan, C. K. Y. (2012). Assessment for community service types of experiential learning in the engineering discipline. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37(1), 29-38.         
    Chan, C. K. Y. (2012). Exploring an experiential learning project through Kolb’s learning theory using a qualitative research method. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37(4), 405-415.
    Chan, C. K. Y. (2012). Identifying and understanding the graduate attributes learning outcomes in a case study of community service experiential learning project. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-long Learning, 22(1/2), 148-159.            
    Chan, C. K. Y. (2011). A case study of community service experiential learning. Paper presented at the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Spain.
    Chan, C. K. Y. (2011). A literature review of assessment for community service type of experiential learning. Paper presented at the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain.
    Fok, W. W. T., & Chan, C. K. Y. (2010). Experiential learning for engineering educaiton: A school reconstruction project in Sichuan after the 5.12 earthquake. In W. W. T. Fok (Ed.), Reconstruction after the 512 earthquake : Knowledge exchange and experiential learning projects in Sichuan by Hong Kong professions (pp. 151-160). Hong Kong: Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Hong Kong.
    Fok, W. W. T., & Chan, C. K. Y. (2010). Experiential learning for Engineering Education – A school reconstruction project in Sichuan after the 5.12 earthquake. Paper presented at the 2nd International Symposium on Engineering Education and Educational Technologies.           

  • Redesign of the 1st Year Engineering HKUSLEQ survey: As part of the action plan, the PI, CETL staff, and a number of engineering academic staff members were involved in designing a survey for first year engineering students (HKUSLEQ). The survey was used to evaluate common first year students’ experiences in Engineering.
  • Ongoing consultation and collaboration with engineering teachers: A number of Engineering teachers (co-investigators of this project), who worked closely with the PI, and the research assistant received the HKU Teaching Excellence and the Faculty Teaching Excellence awards. They have expressed interest and now they have plans to do more engineering education-related work such as pedagogy enhancement, course reform, and assessment.
  • Engineering Education Final Year Project Students: Dr. Scott Smith, one of the civil engineering teachers, proposed engineering education-related final year projects and the PI acted as the external mentor for the final year students. We are proud to say that one of these final year projects received the Best Paper Award in the Structural and Materials Discipline on the topic “Teaching Structural Engineering Sense” in 2012.
  • Online Assessment Database: Assessment Resource @ HKU (AR@HKU), an online assessment database for teachers to input assessment practices were developed and implemented. HKU teachers in various disciplines, including Engineering teachers, were invited to submit case studies of assessment practices that reinforce student learning. For instance, in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, a Mobile Quiz Platform was used to facilitate in-class assessment, enabling students to use a PDA to answer questions sent from the server and receive real-time feedback from their teachers. More good case studies of assessment and teaching activities were gathered in engineering in order to disseminate these good practices to colleagues through AR@HKU. Subsequently, we also developed an online database on the engineering education website for teachers and students to submit innovative pedagogies and assessment in engineering education.
  • Web Discussion Forum/Blog: In order to facilitate communication among engineering education practitioners and researchers, a discussion forum/blog was established on the HKE3R website.
  • Introduction of educational technology to promote active learning: The PI and her research team were responsible for the introduction of “clickers” as an innovative assessment method in teaching and learning across different faculties. Dr. Vincent Tam and Dr. Wilton Fok worked closely with the PI and introduced clickers and other forms of technologies such as iClass in order to enhance learning. Dr. Wilton Fok, Prof. Patrick Chau (Faculty of Business and Economics), and Dr. George Wong were awarded a TDG for iClass assessment. Also, the PI and a number of engineering colleagues – Dr. Vincent Tam, Prof. L.K Yeung, Dr. Edmund Lam, and Dr. C. Wu – were awarded the Microsoft Research Asia funding for an e-Learning project titled “E-Learning Games for High Performance Computing on the Azure Cloud Platform”.

    Publications:
    Chan, C. K. Y., Tam, V. W. L., & Li, C. Y. V. (2011). A comparison of MCQ assessment delivery methods for student engagement and interaction used as an in-class formative assessment. International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education, 48(3), 323-337.    
    Chan, C. K. Y., Fok, W. W. T., & Luk, L. Y. Y. (under review). Educational affordances in a mobile application to enhance interaction and engagement in lecture class. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.        

  • The Development and Assessment of Transferable Skills: A GRF was awarded to the PI for the development of transferable skills within Engineering in 2010. In order to build a community of practice, the PI invited and collaborated with HKUST to use the same instruments for the development of transferable skills. An expectation survey on transferable skills at HKU Engineering was conducted. Data is currently being collected from HKU and will be collected from HKUST. Students are required to evaluate their generic skills competence and identify the types of generic skills that they consider important for the engineering profession. This survey will provide a preliminary understanding of generic skills among engineering students. The study is supported by the Associate Dean of Engineering, Professor George Tam, and the Director of the Centre for Engineering Education Innovation at HKUST, as co-investigators. The PI is also currently discussing with National University of Singapore (NUS) for similar collaboration.
  • E-Learning Workshops: It may not be specifically related to this project, but the PI designed many e-Learning workshops that promoted and demonstrated to teachers the University Learning Management System: Moodle, which is designed to assist teachers in teaching and to enhance student learning. In order to tailor the needs of different faculties and teaching levels, the PI designed e-Learning courses for the Faculty of Engineering and four workshops were conducted. The Faculty of Engineering academic workshop was attended by more than 50 academic staff (including more than 10 professor-level academics) attended and it received very good ratings and feedbacks. We believe that the community of engineering education will help us promote e-Learning and teaching and learning in the discipline more efficiently.  
  • Advisor for the Department of Mechanical Engineering Advisor: The PI was invited to be the advisor for the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum (BEng ME) and the Engineering Summer Course for Elite High School Students. Her contribution included assisting with the design and the development of outcomes-based curriculum, while aiming to interest students in choosing Mechanical Engineering and more authentic project-based courses.
  • Advisor for the Department of Electrical Engineering Curriculum Reform Brainstorming Group: The undergraduate electrical engineering programme invited the PI to be the advisor for their curriculum. More than seven meetings were held in an attempt to improve the undergraduate curriculum. A number of pedagogical changes in the curriculum were proposed to the department in order to enhance student learning by using active learning activities and more aligned assessments. It is worth mentioning that some of the academics in the EEE department have recently received a Teaching Excellence Team Award for their work on “Reshaping the First Course in the EEE Curriculum”, in which the PI advised and contributed. We have also presented part of the curriculum in a conference (shown below) and we are currently preparing to publish the material in a journal paper.

    Publications:
    Lei, C. U., So, H. K. H., Lam, E. Y. M., Wong, K. K. Y., Kwok, Y.K., & Chan, C. K. Y., (2012). Teaching introductory electrical engineering: A project-based learning experience. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering (TALE 2012), Hong Kong, China.

  • Advisor for redesigning the Computer Programming Course with the Department of Computer Science: The PI was invited to be the advisor and supervisor of a TDG project “A study on applying the self-learning paradigm in teaching advanced technical courses”: in collaboration with Dr. Chui, Prof. Lam, and Prof. Kao from the Department of Computer Science. This project involved the redesigning of the CSIS1122 Computer Programming Course. Moodle was adopted as the online self-learning platform, with which assignments were designed. As the advisor of the project, the PI had a number of meetings with the team regarding the redesign of the courses, to ensure that the learning outcomes were properly aligned with the assessment and pedagogies. Feedback process was discussed; and by looking at student perception, surveys were designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of Moodle as a self-learning platform. How this pedagogy may be able to replace traditional learning for programming type of programmes was also discussed. Publication is currently in progress.
  • Advising and Supporting the Project Mingde: The PI has been providing assistance, advice, and support for experiential projects conducted in the Department of Civil Engineering. The Department of Civil Engineering has been running a number of large scale experiential learning projects in Mainland China for a number of years. The PI has been assisting them with the curriculum design by collecting student perception through surveys and focus-group interviews. The PI designed surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the Mingde project in terms of its outcomes and student learning experience. The team has been working very closely with Prof. Peter Lee, Prof. George Tham, Dr. George Wong, and other colleagues from the department. The MingDe project involves students in real-life construction projects in Mainland China and the PI has been responsible for organizing and conducting focus-group that informs the curriculum design, as well as the survey design that assesses students’ learning experience in the project. In fact, the MingDe project has already been awarded the first University Excellent Teaching Team Award.
  • Capstone Project in Civil Engineering: In order to align with HKU teaching and learning aims and to introduce more capstone projects, the PI has been assisting Prof. Francis Au and Prof. Au’s team from the Department of Civil Engineering in evaluating the Capstone Design Project. The Capstone Design Project is part of the MingDe project, which is now credit bearing; the PI has been providing advice on the assessment components in this credit-bearing curriculum. We are currently working together to publish a paper.
  • Invitation as a Speaker on Engineering Education: The PI was invited by the Acting Dean of Engineering to present at the Faculty Seminar “Teaching in Engineering – ∑ (the right elements) towards a scholarly approach”. More than 35 academic staff attended this seminar.
  • Engineering Education Interest Group and Engineering Education Community: A substantial amount of time was used to draw together a selective group of engineering academics, who were interested in promoting excellence in teaching and learning in engineering education. The missions, aims, and future steps for this engineering education group were discussed. The group received endorsement from the Faculty Dean, Associate Deans, and PVC in learning and teaching. We have been looking for ways to enhance student learning by using active learning activities and more aligned assessments to tackle HKUSLEQ results. Many engineering colleagues have now begun to conduct research in engineering education in relation to their teaching. The PI has made many connections with engineering education centres and contacts in the UK. The PI was invited to be a committee organizing member and a keynote speaker for the HKUST international summer workshop; she was invited to present in Korea. These international conferences in engineering education also invited famous professors such as Prof. Karl Smith, Prof. Jeffrey Floyd (from American Society for Engineering Education), and other South-East Asian universities representatives. The PI was also a committee member for the IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Assessment, and Learning for Engineering Hong Kong 2012. She was invited as a plenary speaker for the Research in Engineering Education Symposium 2013 (REES 2013), which was held in July 2013.

    The PI has developed good relationships with the engineering education academics outside and inside of Hong Kong; such relationships allow her to bring expertise to HKU.

  • Engineering Faculty Review: The PI was asked to provide detailed comments and information for the Engineering Faculty Review. She gave a detailed account to the chairperson and liaised with the secretary.
  • Hong Kong Engineering Education Enhancement and Research (HKE3R) website: An engineering education website http://hke3r.cetl.hku.hk was designed and a large number of engineering educational resources and cases – provided by engineering teachers from HKU and from around the world – were researched, written, and presented on the website. The website will function as a knowledge exchange platform for engineering teachers, enabling the sharing of information and resources on teaching and learning.

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