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Asian-e-table-Banner Prologue: Initiating a large scale collaboration is not much different from starting a Mexican wave – grab the people around you, gather a concerted effort to do something exciting and let others pick up the momentum.

On May 12-13, 2016, representatives from nine institutions gathered at the second annual Asian e-Table to explore collaboration opportunities and challenges in developing online learning in Asia. We joined hands again with e-learning advocates from nine top-notch universities 1 in Asia to spark ideas for a common Asian position so as to create a bigger impact in the region.

photo_2016-07-12_10-08-28 [From left to right] Professor Roger CHENG (HKUST), Ms Helie KIM (YU), Professor Joon HEO (YU), Professor Toru IIYOSHI (KU), Professor Ricky KWOK (HKU), Dr. Huang Hoon CHNG (NUS), Professor Xiaoming LI (PKU).

Participants included:
  • Dr. Huang Hoon CHNG, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education), National University of Singapore
  • Professor Toru IIYOSHI, Deputy Vice President for Education, Kyoto University
  • Professor Joon HEO, Director of Open & Smart Education Center, Yonsei University
  • Ms. Helie KIM, Yonsei University
  • Professor Xiaoming LI, Assistant President, Peking University
  • Professor Benson Yeh Ping-Cheng, Director of MOOC Program at National Taiwan University
  • Professor Chetwyn CHAN, Associate Vice-President (Learning and Teaching), PolyU
  • Professor Roger CHENG, Associate Provost for Teaching and Learning, HKUST
  • Professor Nick Noakes, Director of Center for Enhanced Learning and Teaching, HKUST
  • Professor T.C. PONG, Senior Advisor to Executive Vice-President and Provost, HKUST
  • Professor Isabella POON, Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President, CUHK
  • Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)
At the event, we also skyped in Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX, during our roundtable discussions. We welcomed a new member from Yonsei University, Professor Joon HEO, Director of Open & Smart Education Center.

Together, participants discussed the possibilities and issues in:
  1. developing an Asian consortium with gatherings of colleagues at different working levels;
  2. developing a central repository for content sharing, including full courses, micro-modules, and pedagogical showcases;
  3. enhancing professional development and teacher training;
  4. launching a regional (E-)Teaching Excellence Award so as to encourage teaching staff to invest more efforts in e-learning and establish a common standard of teaching;
  5. co-creating MOOCs (possible topics include computational thinking and MOOC production);
  6. and
  7. creating better E-portfolios.

“Crowdsourcing” Contents – Internationalization at Home

Producing high quality contents require tremendous time and resources so why not make the most out of them? The Asian e-Table is looking to establish a common platform to pool the contents developed by all the institutions involved. Once this is achieved, we aim to develop a mechanism for credit transfer. Taking advantage of the Asian time zone, the platform could potentially serve as a synchronized virtual classroom where students can learn, collaborate and co-create with their overseas counterparts, right at home.

Incoming Skype call from Professor Anant AGARWAL, Chief Executive Officer, edX.

Regional (E-)Teaching Excellence Award

For e-learning material producers, one major source of frustration is the lack of awareness, support and acceptance by fellows. Therefore it is of crucial importance that recognition is given to teachers who are willing to adopt this new practice – and excel in doing so. The Asian e-Table is looking to launch a Regional (E-)Teaching Excellence Award to reward and promote excellence in e-teaching. It is also an effective way to celebrate achievements in e-learning, which can potentially evolve into communities of practice headed by the awardees. Making e-learning an “established” practice could be the way to sway more professors in, which means wider and better collaboration. Incoming Skype call from Professor Benson YEH, Director of MOOC Program, National Taiwan University.

The big shot – Asian Consortium

With these new initiations, the Asian e-Table aims to create some buzz which could generate a more extensive wave of international e-learning collaboration. Our ultimate goal is to connect all the e-advocates in the region into an Asian Consortium. By benchmarking the quality of e-learning and associated parameters, and enhancing professional development and teacher training, we hope to turn e-learning into the new standard of learning. The HKU team also had the pleasure to share our recent experience in developing an online course from a grassroot level in the BOLT project.

Looking forward

Asian e-Table is an annual conference on e-learning initiated by HKU in 2015. We endeavour to gather experts in the region “to build a platform, a foundation, to something that can be sustainable and vibrant in the years ahead,” as pointed out by Professor Ian Holliday. The ultimate goal is to facilitate knowledge exchange and build a community of practice. Click here for a more detailed report on the event. Technology has no borders, so is education. Contact us if you are interested in developing online education in Asia with us.
1 Kyoto University, National Taiwan University, National University of Singapore, Peking University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology, with Yonsei University as a new member

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