Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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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.

Join our professional development community on Facebook
Check out our University Teaching Facebook page for updates and extra content on teaching and learning!

Our Place in the Universe Book Launch Party

Our Place in the Universe Book Launch Party

On 27th September, students, faculty staff, science and astronomy enthusiasts gathered at Professor Sun Kwok’s book launch party hosted by the Common Core Office to congratulate Professor Kwok’s release of the new edition of Our Place in the Universe. Professor Sun Kwok is a reowned astronomer who has made many important astronomical discoveries, particularly on nebulae, and is the former Dean of the Faculty of Science and Chair Professor of Physics.

Our Place in the Universe Book Launch Party

What is this book about?
Professor Kwok explains that this book is not about technical knowledge on astronomy and physics. Rather, by following the footprints of 5000 years of astronomical development, it shows the evolution of humans’ way of thinking – demonstrating how humans developed rational thinking through their observations and understanding of the universe. Our Place in the Universe takes us on a journey, studying how the development and advancement in science continuously change humans’ perception of self and the world.

Our Place in the Universe Book Launch Party

What other things do we learn about Professor Kwok?
At the book launch party, Professor Kwok shared his ideas on astronomy as an oldest and newest science, interesting bits of his journey of becoming an astronomer, thoughts on the future of science, and many more. To have a glimpse of the interesting questions raised by the audience, click on the link below:

Question: Do you think our current understanding of the Earth and the universe is correct?

Want to find out Professor Kwok’s answers to the audience’s other questions? Follow our facebook page for updates! https://www.facebook.com/ccst9012/

Our place in the universe is available on Amazon. Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Our-Place-Universe-Understanding-Fundamental/dp/3319541714

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Guest blogger series: Dr. Yat Ming CHAN
Dr. Yat Ming CHAN is a Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics, The University of Hong Kong. Chan specializes in differential geometry and is the developer of HKU GeoGebra resources. Check out this blog post to learn more about his teaching of mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics has been offering a range of courses to provide mathematics education to HKU students across faculties. We have designed courses specifically for students majoring in statistics, risk management, quantitative finance, actuarial science, engineering, business and economics. Almost all these courses involve the training of calculus at various levels. By means of introducing new dynamic and interactive instructional materials, it will be possible to improve students’ motivation and provide them with extra incentives in learning the underlying abstract mathematical concepts. With the support of HKU Teaching Development Grant, we have introduced GeoGebra resources on HKU Open edX for introductory-level mathematics courses.

This platform provides a library of GeoGebra applets to support teaching and learning for introductory-level mathematics courses. GeoGebra is a free and open-source dynamic mathematics software that can construct elements with points, vectors, polynomials and functions. The use of GeoGebra allows visualizations of mathematical ideas and creation of interactive instructional materials. The applets made in the platform will be designed to (i) supplement the concepts developed in class and (ii) prompt students to explore mathematics according to the guidelines.

For each learning object, students can learn or review one to two concepts and will be given opportunities to perform investigatory tasks. Students can click on checkboxes and follow the guidelines to achieve a specific goal, drag the points and move the sliders to observe the change, and input their own functions to examine different cases. All these activities, as well as follow-up questions, can foster student-centered learning and mathematical explorations.

Due to the versatility of GeoGebra, we expect that the materials in this platform will improve teachers’ capabilities to convey abstract and difficult mathematical concepts to students. Teachers and tutors can take advantage of this new resource to create complementary materials for their lectures and tutorials. We also expect that the use of GeoGebra applets in class will improve teacher-student interactions.

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Students can drag the point and use the slider to adjust the increment to observe how the secant lines approach to the tangent line. They can also input different functions for further investigation.

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Students can press the “Show more” button to check the details. They can then click to see and compare the area in the picture.

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Students can click the checkbox and move the line to verify the theorem.

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Using the slider students can change the value of k to obtain a continuous function.

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Our online calculators allow users to get straight to the answers with easy inputs. Graphs will also be provided for reference. Students can take advantage of these calculators for getting immediate answers and for verification of their solutions.

The entire platform can be used in virtually all courses that involve the teaching of calculus such as MATH1009 Basic Mathematics for Business and Economics, MATH1011 University Mathematics I, MATH1013 University Mathematics II, MATH1821 Mathematical Methods for Actuarial Science I and MATH1851 Calculus and Ordinary Differential Equations.

References

  1. Learning Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone
  2. DIY Video Production for Flipped Classroom

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The world-class quality Implant Dentistry MOOC will be launching its re-run on 11 September 2017! During its first run in October 2016, over 7000 learners from 50+ countries enrolled. Launched by the HKU Faculty of Dentistry, ranked No.1 in the world in 2016, this MOOC is the 1st of the world in Implant Dentistry, offering an important supplement for dental professionals, practitioners and students.

Why study an Implant Dentistry MOOC?
According to the chief course instructor, Dr Niko Mattheos,
“Implant Dentistry is one of the most dynamic and rapidly developing areas within oral health care, but is still a rather new discipline in dental education and is not quite often taught in undergraduate dentistry curricula.”

This MOOC, led by Dr. Mattheos, is taught by a stellar dream-team of almost 20 international experts in dental implants and reconstructions. Each week offers specialized knowledge and evidence-based practices for learners to engage with.

What are the contents covered in the course?
The MOOC includes 5 modules and runs over a period of 5 weeks. We will begin the journey of Implant Dentistry by exploring how discoveries in biology and technological developments lead to the current practice of dental implants. Then, we will examine clinical cases, diagnose our patients’ needs and expectations and learn the principles of treatment planning. We will learn step-by-step surgical procedures for placing implants and various restorative techniques, directed by current evidence and best practices. Finally, we will investigate major threats and complications of implant procedures and ways to ensure successful treatments and long serving implants.

Registration

International Impact
The first run created ripples of impacts to international communities, at not only universities and dental schools, but professional communities alike. Passionate learners in the Arabic community even formed a Facebook group, with over 900 members, where members shared notes with peers and translated the materials to Arabic. We also had a large proportion of Chinese learners, as professional organizations in mainland China spread our MOOC.

This impact continues even after the end of the first run – where there are currently three volunteer groups translating the entire course into Chinese (supplementary materials), Russian and Arabic.

Seminars and Events
Colgate seminar on peri-implant tissues in health and disease (October 2016)

Community event in Bangkok (November 2016), conducted by two of the instructors, Dr. Chatchai Kunavisarut, Mahidol University, and Dr. Nikos Mattheos
The event was broadcast through Facebook live: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Learner Feedback
Here are some testimonies from the learners:
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Listen to our students and find out how they like our course!

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Sneak Previews
Below are some teasers of what you may expect in the course:

More sneak previews here.

Sneak Preview 1
How to become an Implant dentist

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Sneak Preview 2
Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Sneak Preview 3
Micro Surgery Instruments

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Sneak Preview 4
The 3 main pathways

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Sneak Preview 5
Suture Techniques

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Sneak Preview 6
Implant Supported Provisional Restorations

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Register today to experience world-class Implant Dentistry education! Re-run begins on 11 September 2017.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates!

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We build. We innovate. We share. It is our team’s mission to support teachers in building useful learning resources and sharing knowledge with technology. One recent project is the enhancement of the Resources for Interpreting website (傳譯資源網), and the development of a mobile app “Newssary” instigated by Dr Eva Ng from the Translation Programme of the School of Chinese, Faculty of Arts

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The Interpreting Website
Funded by the Knowledge Exchange (KE) Office of HKU, this website provides free learning and training resources for anyone interested in interpreting. One star feature of the website is a glossary of bilingual Chinese-English terms on current affairs. It is a constantly udpated database of thousands of entries collected by students from the news over many years. This database is not only useful for professional interpreters, but also anyone interested in learning buzzwords in the news.

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Website Enhancement
For all glossaries and databases, a user-friendly searching function is indispensable. The database now supports searching by Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. An intelligent search function has also been added recently. For example, if you input “appr h” in the search bar, it will prompt you with “Appreciate Hong Kong”. In other words, even if the input information does not correspond exactly with the entries in the database, you will still be prompted with possible matching items and related terms.

Our team further enriched the website by producing a video on what is interpreting. We also set up a server and advised Dr Ng’s team on website architecture and theme development.


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Achievement
The website received an overwhelmingly positive response from its users, ranging from academics, PhD candidates and members of the general public:

  • “[The website] has everything that an interpreter, or anyone who teaches interpreting, or anyone who wants to use it for client education would want.” – Professor Holly Mikkelson, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA
  • “It’s a wonderful contribution for today’s students and practitioners of interpreting and translation.” – Professor Claudia Angelelli, Heriot-Watt University, UK

In recognition for her contribution to the interpreting community, Dr Ng was awarded the Faculty Knowledge Exchange (KE) Awards in 2016.

The Mobile App
Furthering our effort in revolutionizing the website, we have successfully transformed the glossary into an app, “Newssary”, to increase the accessibility of this useful learning resource. One key feature of the app is game-based learning – it is not just a dictionary, but made interactive for users to learn new vocabulary items through games.

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The app is now available on Apple Store and Google Play for FREE!

It is TELI’s mission to collaborate with teachers to create innovative e-learning resources. Interested? Contact us.

Further Reading

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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.

Register now!

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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 the rerun of the 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 August 29 2017!

Register now!

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

Learners’ Stories
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Who are the Teachers in the MOOC course?

Week 1
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Dental Materials: Metal
  • Ceramics – Introduction to Dental Materials: Ceramics, Zirconia and Alumina
  • Surface Treatment – An Introduction to Surface Treatment Methods; Surface Treatment Method: Acid Etching
Dr. Nikos Mattheos (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Materials used in Implant Dentistry
  • Ceramics – Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs. Titanium
Prof. Niklaus Peter Lang (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – What does the Future Hold for Titanium and Its Alloys?
Dr. Justin Paul Curtin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Titanium and Its Applications in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Edmond Ho Nang Pow (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – Ceramic Materials Used in Restorative Dentistry, Introduction in Types and Indication
Prof. Timo Närhi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – The Development and Advantages of Glass Ceramics
Dr. Hamdi Hosni Hamama (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Surface Treatment – Acid Etching: Bonding to Enamel and Dentine
Week 2
Prof. Damien Walmsley (The University of Birmingham, UK)

  • Modern Composites – Choice of Dental Fillings: Silver or Composites
Prof. Pekka Vallittu (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Modern Composites – An Overview of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in
    Dentistry; Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) : Chemistry, Properties, Fibre Types and Orientation; Applications of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in Dentistry
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – An Introduction to Dental Cements
Prof. Cynthia Kar Yung Yiu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – Introduction to Glass Ionomer Cements (GIC) and Resin-modified Glass Ionomer Cements (RMGIC)
Prof. Josette Camilleri (The University of Malta)

  • Modern Cements – Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Properties and Modifications; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Radiopacifier; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Modifications in Mixing Liquids and Additives; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Hydraulic Properties and Bioactivities
Dr. Manikandan Ekambaram (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Clinical Material of Choice – Classification and Composition of Resin Dental Adhesives; Resin Adhesion to Tooth Tissues; Indications of Resin Dental Adhesives
Week 3
Dr. James Kit Hon Tsoi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Digital Dentistry
Dr. Walter Yu Hang Lam (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – 3D Digital Stereophotogrammetry; Intraoral Scanner
  • Other Digital Techniques – Shade Matching
Prof. Michael Bornstein (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Oral Radiology; The Basic Principles of Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Andy Wai Kan Yeung (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Henry Wai Kuen Luk (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – CAD/CAM Technology in Crown Fabrication – An Introduction
Dr. John Yung Chuan Wu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Orthodontics – Diagnosis and Treatment Methods
Dr. Winnie Wing Shan Choi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Digital Dentistry in the Field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Dominic King Lun Ho (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – Digital Probing
Dr. Will Wei Qiao (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – 3D Printing
Week 4
Dr. Tian Tian (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Adhesion in Restorative Dentistry
Dr. Xiaozhuang Jin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – A Finite Element Study on Dental Bond Strength Tests
Dr. Prasanna Neelakantan (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Impact of Root Canal Irrigants on Root Filling Materials
Prof. Will Palin (The University of Birmingham)

  • Spectroscopy – Introduction to Spectroscopy
Prof. Edwin Kukk (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – Surface Analysis: What is a Surface?; Methods to Study the Surfaces: ESCA; ESCA Study of Titanium
Dr. Sari Granroth (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – ESCA Study of Titanium

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.

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Trailer and sneak previews

Registration

About this course
“If history is our guide, we can assume that the battle between the intellect and will of the human species and the extraordinary adaptability of microbes will be never-ending.” (1)

Despite all the remarkable technological breakthroughs that we have made over the past few decades, the threat from infectious diseases has significantly accelerated. In this course, we will learn why this is the case by looking at the fundamental scientific principles underlying epidemics and the public health actions behind their prevention and control in the 21st century.

This course covers the following four topics:

  1. Origins of novel pathogens;
  2. Analysis of the spread of infectious diseases;
  3. Medical and public health countermeasures to prevent and control epidemics; and
  4. Panel discussions involving leading public health experts with deep frontline experiences to share their views on risk communication, crisis management, ethics and public trust in the context of infectious disease control.

In addition to the original introductory sessions on epidemics, we revamped the course by adding:

  1. new panel discussions with world-leading experts; and
  2. supplementary modules on next generation informatics for combating epidemics.

You will learn:

  1. the origins, spread and control of infectious disease epidemics;
  2. the importance of effective communication about epidemics; and
  3. key contemporary issues relating to epidemics from a global perspective.

Who is this class for
This is an introductory course suitable for all learners, with no prerequisite required.

Join the fight against epidemics now.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more updates!

—-
(1) Fauci AS, Touchette NA, Folkers GK. Emerging Infectious Diseases: a 10-Year Perspective from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Emerg Infect Dis 2005 Apr; 11(4):519-25.

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It’s always good to recognize your own achievement after reaching a goal. Same for completing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – After working so hard for a course, the best way to reward yourself is to get a unique certificate. With a certificate, you can easily share your achievement with your employers and friends.

Q: How to get one?
A: As we offer courses on both edX and Coursera, the process of application differs for the two platforms. But in general, you will need to complete the following 3 steps to get the certificate:

  1. pass the course
  2. verify your ID on edX or Coursera
  3. make a payment to edX or Coursera

Q: How much is a certificate?
A: It depends on the course. Usually USD 50.

Q: Is it printed?
A: You will receive an e-certificate on the edX or Coursera platform. You will NOT receive a printed copy but you are welcome to print it. Check out these links for more details on where to find your Certificate on edX and Coursera.

You may also add your certificate to your LinkedIn profile (edX, Coursera).

Q: I followed all the steps but still can’t purchase / download it. What’s wrong?
A: Please contact us at enquiry@teli.hku.hk and let us know your name, the email you used to register at edX and/or Coursera, and the issue involved. You may also include a screenshot of the problem you encountered.

Q: Is the certificate issued by the University of Hong Kong?
A: It is jointly issued by the platform (edX or Coursera) and HKU. However, please note that the certificate does not count as credit towards a degree from our university.

Q: I can’t afford to pay for a certificate. What should I do?
A: You can file an application for financial aid from edX and Coursera.

Q: Can I still take the course without buying a certificate?
A: Yes of course! Most of our course content is free (except the Honours track in Materials in Oral Health). You are more than welcome to join our courses without buying a certificate. You can choose to upgrade to a verified certificate later if you change your mind. The verification upgrade deadline may be different for different courses. More details can be found here: edX, Coursera.

Still got a question? Contact us.
Happy learning!

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Educators, wherever we are, should keep up with the challenges and trends in higher education worldwide. One effective way to stay informed is to engage in dialogues with colleagues from around the world. On 20 June, 2017, we learnt about the top 10 challenges and trends in Australian universities in a seminar delivered by Dr Caroline Steel, Strategic Educational Consultant, APAC, Blackboard International ASCILITE Life Member Awardee and Past President Adjunct Academic, The University of Queensland.

The following is the list of key challenges and trends ranked by Australian academic leaders in a study led by Dr Steel:

10 Teaching and Learning Challenges 10 Teaching and Learning Trends
  1. Student career development and employability
  2. Student engagement and satisfaction
  3. Assessment and feedback
  4. Technology-enhanced pedagogical practice
  5. Student attrition
  6. Improving work-integrated learning
  7. First year experience and transition
  8. Personalized adaptive learning
  9. Academic adoption of educational technologies
  10. Academic misconduct
  1. Learning analytics;
    Unbundling qualification
    (both items ranked number one)
  2. Teaching quality standards;
    Fully online courses;
    Students as partners
  3. Mobile-enabled learning;
    Adaptive learning technology
  4. Digital examinations
  5. MOOC’s;
    Open Education Resources (OER’s)

Key Challenges in Teaching and Learning
Student career development and employability is considered to be the biggest challenge in the Australian higher education context. In the past, universities mainly focused on training students into critical thinkers. In today’s rapidly changing society, educators should take one step further to educate both the ‘thinker’ and the ‘worker’. Given the rapid development of automation, AI and cognitive computing, some jobs may no longer exist in 10 years’ time. Students may not be fixed to one career throughout their lives. To prepare students for this highly uncertain future, HE institutions should help them acquire various employability skills and develop cross/trans-disciplinary thinking.

The second challenge is student engagement and satisfaction, in both on-campus & online teaching. According to Professor Karen Nelson, an interviewee in the study, student engagement constitutes of three parameters: behavioural, cognitive and affective. The challenge for universities is to “create the educational conditions that will trigger emotion and motivation so that students are engaged.”

Major Trends in Higher Education
The two most prominent trends in Australian higher education are learning analytics and unbundling qualification.

Learning analytics is a potential game changer in higher education. ‘There is enormous potential in learning analytics,’ said Professor Martin Carroll in an interview for the study. However, even though analytics have been used by lots of industries in Australia, high education is falling behind. It is necessary for institutions to keep up with the trend and look for ways to use analytics to improve teaching and learning.

Unbundling qualifications is another prominent trend in Australian higher education. Universities are now looking into the possibility of unbundling qualifications and micro-credentialing as alternative ways to provide learning, so that learners can obtain the skills they need as quickly as possible. For example, instead of completing an entire MBA programme, some professionals may only want to learn certain components of the degree. If universities are able to repurpose some of the content, then more choices will be available to learners. After obtaining skills and credits from various programmes and fields, learners can demonstrate their expertise in their e-portfolios.

Technology
It is worth noting that, among the top 10 T&L trends, 6 are tech-related, namely

  • Fully online courses
  • Mobile-enabled learning
  • Adaptive learning technology
  • Digital examinations
  • MOOC’s
  • Open Education Resources (OER’s)

This finding is certainly encouraging as the use of technology enhances teaching and learning and better prepares institutions for the challenges in higher education. Technology allows flexibility in learning and makes personalized learning possible. Learning management systems and grading tools such as Turnitin make it easier for teachers to assess students and provide feedback. The blending of face-to-face lectures with e-learning tools, such as Mentimeter and Kahoot!, caters for students’ diversified learning needs, which potentially enhances student engagement.

What about Hong Kong?
We are embracing the same challenges in Hong Kong and are working along similar lines. Here at HKU, we strive to cultivate students’ employability skills (e.g. cognitive flexibility, negotiation) and develop cross-disciplinary thinking through events such as Inter-professional Team-based Learning (IPTBL) and Girls4Tech. To enhance student engagement, we are constantly designing new in-class activities, apps and games. To ensure the best learning experience for our students, our efforts in course development is paralleled by research efforts in learning analytics.

More and more teachers are joining the ride in developing MOOCs (on edX and Coursera) and SPOCs to enrich students’ blended learning experience. To further open up learning opportunities to a wider range of learners, we are also exploring the possibilities of unbundling qualifications and MicroMasters and getting ourselves ready for e-portfolios. More initiatives will be in place to shape the T&L landscape in Hong Kong in response to challenges and trends in higher education.

What do you think? How will you respond to these challenges and trends? Share your views with us.

Further reading

  1. “Learning and Teaching Challenges in Higher Education in Australia: A View from the Top”, an Australian academic leadership study conducted by ASCILITE and Blackboard International in 2016

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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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