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HKU Cardiac Imaging Program named edX Prize 2023 Finalist

The HKU Cardiac Imaging Program has been named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2023 edX Prize for Innovation in Online Learning in recognition of its creative efforts to create a transformative online learning experience for learners with dynamic digital learning tools and in designing a modern 21st-century medical education experience.

The HKU Cardiac Imaging Professional Certificate program is the first professional certificate program of its kind, specializing in non-invasive cardiac imaging technology in Asia. The program was created by Dr Ming-yen Ng’s team at the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and HKU Medicine. The program consists of two courses: Computed Tomography (CT) and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (MRI). These courses are designed to offer medical practitioners worldwide specialized training in cardiac imaging technology pedagogies and clinical training.

​​According to the Cardiac Imaging course director and key instructor, Dr Ming-yen Ng, “The main objective of the program is to deliver a meticulously designed, modern 21st-century medical education program that could be accessed conveniently worldwide through a user-friendly online course platform on edX.”

Recent research showed a growing demand for skilled cardiac imaging personnel, posing difficulties for many nations in meeting national medical service demands. It will be essential to invest in training to effectively meet the rising demand.

Dr. Ming-Yen said, “There are very few cardiac imaging clinical training programs, and those limited availability of in-person workshops or hospital placements, are both costly and time-intensive. The team at HKU has established collaborations with esteemed practitioners, scholars, and members of international and regional cardiac imaging societies to provide comprehensive and cost-effective training courses that could help medical practitioners in both developed nations and developing nations access expertise in cardiac CT and MRI.”

The HKU Cardiac Imaging online program has received international recognition from the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) and the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR). HKU Cardiac Imaging MOOCs received the GOLD Award Winner of 2021 Reimagine Education, and the Cardiac CT MOOC was a 2021 edX Prize Finalist.

Designing a modern 21st-century medical education experience

The cardiac imaging MOOCs were carefully crafted to foster learners’ engagement and maximize the online learning experience. The MOOCs incorporated a “flipped workshop”, 360-degree video simulations, interactive games, and an information chatbot to facilitate online participation and active learning among learners.

Using “flipped workshop” to solve clinical cases online

The team introduces the “flipped workshop” concept utilizing modern learning techniques and cutting-edge technology. Participants in each of the Cardiac CT and MRI courses examine and solve 50 authentic clinical cases online with their peers and instructors via a case-based methodology comparable to the on-campus learning approach utilized at HKU School of Medicine. Additionally, learners interact with online peers through discussion forums, and actively engage in collaborative work and discourse as a learning group.

Observing the heart in 360-degree motion

Innovative edTech tools and technology for medical practice and education can improve learners’ understanding of complicated anatomical structure of internal organs. In the Cardiac CT and MRI courses, 360-degree video simulations of the heart give students a special and enriching learning experience.


Dr. Ming-yen described the use of 360-degree videos as a novel educational opportunity in cardiac imaging studies:

“We worked with HKU TALIC team to develop a heart model with 360-degree video simulations in order to facilitate a comprehensive examination of the heart’s anatomy and dynamic movement. It was a pioneering effort to enable learners to perceive the organ’s profundity and motion as if they were observing it in real-time on a screen in an operating room. This not only facilitated the learners’ understanding of the anatomy of the organ, but also enhanced their comprehension of cardiac structures and principles in cardiac imaging in clinical studies.”


Using games to reinforce and assess students knowledge and skills

To stimulate lively interactions of online participants, two interactive online games were incorporated into the courses to promote more active engagement.

The first game on drug administration aimed to acquaint learners with various cardiac CT medications and to assess their understanding of these medications through drug administration case challenges. The second game challenges participants to employing their knowledge of MRI cardiac technology that they gained through the course to solve obstacles in the game, including tasks such as modifying in-game MRI artifacts with the aim of resolving cardiac imaging case complications. Among these complications were patients with irregular cardiac rhythms and those who had trouble holding their breath during imaging procedures.

To foster a constructive learning experience, the games facilitated spaced repetition in the development of skills and knowledge, provided guided assessment and feedback, and offered incentives to encourage achievement.


Chatbot for round-the-clock assistance for learners enquiries

The course includes a chatbot that provides immediate text-based support for any questions learners may have about the course contents. The users acknowledged the accessibility and convenience of the chatbot as a means of providing immediate feedback to students. Additionally, it was observed that a substantial number of students appreciated this feature’s availability 24/7.

Impacts beyond the global MOOCs on digital platforms

In addition to the notable teaching and learning features of the MOOC in course design, the course has had significant effects and has extended educational opportunities well beyond its digital platform to over 24,600 learners worldwide, spanning across 164 countries and jurisdictions.

The MOOCs have established strong academia-industry partnerships and are sponsored by prominent imaging technology companies, including Circle Cardiovascular Imaging, Bayer, GE Healthcare, and TeraRecon. Academic-industry collaborations have enabled the expansion of cardiac imaging into numerous medical and healthcare sectors.

The Hong Kong government and professional bodies in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, such as the Hong Kong College of Radiologists, Hong Kong College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Radiologists (UK), recognize the Cardiac Imaging MOOCs as meeting Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

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