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.
The 2nd annual Asian e-Table was held on May 12-13. 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.
[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).
“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.
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
Technology has opened up new opportunities for professional development. Choices are no longer restricted to traditional half-day seminars. With new online platforms such as the Blended & Online Learning & Teaching (BOLT) Project, we can now learn anytime, anywhere. This project aims to support technology-facilitated teaching through developing online resources and forming professional learning communities. Leaders of the project, Professor Lim Cher Ping from The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) and Mr. Darren Harbutt from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU); together with two project teachers, Assistant Professor Veronika Schoeb and Mr. David Watson from PolyU, shared their experiences in developing blended learning in a seminar on 31 May 2016.
Professor Lim shared EdUHK’s grassroot approach towards promoting professional development of blended learning in Hong Kong. They begin with providing programme/course/department-based support within individual faculties, then sharing the resources with other faculties in the institution, and eventually with other local and international higher education institutions.
Dr. Schoeb is one of the teachers who took the BOLT Foundation course and applied the knowledge in developing her course “Qualitative research methods and statistics.” A variety of learning activities were tried out in her teaching, including Kahoot, online test, group work, onsite fieldwork and classic face-to-face sessions. This blended learning approach promoted active learning and was evaluated positively by her students.
The Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) recently hosted the annual gathering of the Network for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in research-intensive universities (NETL) from 16 to 18 March 2016. This event brought together delegates from ten universities from around the world to share good practices in advancing teaching and learning, specifically in the context of research-intensive universities.
As well as allowing each university to update other network members about their particular strategic issues, current projects and possible forthcoming changes, the programme also included three discussion sessions to consider issues particularly relevant to research-intensive universities. The topics discussed this year were: the research-teaching nexus, establishing teaching academies, and the place for professional standards frameworks in universities’ enhancement of teaching practice.
The gathering began with a warm welcome from Professor Ian Holliday, the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) and an overview of the event programme by Professor Grahame Bilbow, the Director of CETL.
The first discussion was in relation to the research-teaching nexus. The research-teaching nexus describes the interplay between the teaching and research roles of individual academics as well as the roles of teaching and research across a university as a whole. Professor Adam Bridgeman, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at University of Sydney, and Dr. Cecilia Chan, Associate Professor at CETL, started the session with a joint presentation on how the research-teaching nexus might enhance students’ and academics’ experiences of higher education. The presentation led to a deep discussion touching upon the meaning of the research-teaching nexus in practice, the weighting of research and teaching in universities, the role of research in undergraduate education, the challenges facing faculties and institutions when they attempt to achieve a meaningful relationship between research and teaching, and what centres for teaching and learning can do to help university academics achieve a meaningful balance between their research and teaching activities.
The second discussion focused on the challenges of establishing a teaching academy: a community built to promote and recognize excellence in teaching and learning among academics. Discussion revealed that several universities favour establishing a teaching academy, where academic staff may become eligible for membership either through attending teaching development events or through demonstrating excellence in teaching. Discussion was guided collaboratively by Dr. Huang Hoon Chng, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) at National University of Singapore, Professor Sari Lindblom-Ylänne, Director of the Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education at University of Helsinki, Professor Sandra Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Cape Town, Professor Jan Van Tartwijk, Professor of Education at Universiteit Utrecht, and Dr. Maria Larsson, from the Division for Higher Education Development at Lund University. Each introduced the structure and nature of their own teaching academy, and described the ways university academics were connected to the teaching academy, and the impact of their involvement. Subsequent discussion explored the effectiveness of a teaching academy as an interdisciplinary community of university teachers who had recognized expertise in certain areas of university teaching and who valued the scholarship of teaching and learning. As such, teaching academies could be considered a form of community of practice.
The third discussion homed in on the notion of a professional standards framework. Professional standards frameworks involve establishing a system for recognizing standards of practice, and describing the qualities and qualifications that can be used as a reference point by institutions or individuals for teaching development. Professor Grahame Bilbow, Director of CETL at HKU, described one of the most successful professional standards frameworks, the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), and Professor Jens Dolin, the Head of Department of Science Education at University of Copenhagen, offered an overview of the professional standards framework developed at the University of Copenhagen, which makes reference to the UKPSF. The discussions that followed explored the extent to which professional standards frameworks can be utilized to support institutions and teachers to develop their excellence in teaching and to publicly demonstrate the professionalism of individual teaching staff.
These three discussions were a great opportunity for the research-intensive university membership of the network to share different perspectives on issues of great relevance. They also reinforced on-going dialogue between NETL members. This year, that dialogue also focused on a joint book that will be published by the group in the coming year, provisionally entitled Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Research-Intensive Universities, as delegates refined the scope of the book, identified its target audience, made decisions on approaches to writing, and provided valuable feedback on draft book chapters that had already been submitted.
The gathering was rounded off with a brief review by Professor Grahame Bilbow, who observed that, although individual member universities are naturally distinct in their specific responses to economic, social and political forces pertinent to their jurisdictions, as research-intensive institutions, they are in many ways comparable and face many of the same opportunities and challenges. He then went on to summarise some of the conclusions that had emerged from our discussions.
First, it is clear that we share a concern about where centres for teaching and learning are located physically and conceptually within our universities. Across our membership, most universities have experienced a continual pendulum swing back and forth between centres being located centrally, on the one hand, and being located within specific academic units (such as faculties), on the other. It is clear that, wherever they are located, it is essential that centres be able to function independently to support the interests of the university as a whole.
A second concern we have is that, as research-intensive universities, we have a tendency to recognize and reward research achievements considerably more than teaching achievements, and dialogues in relation to teaching and learning in our universities may be somewhat sporadic. One way we discussed for countering this tendency, and where a number of universities have been very successful, is through the establishment of a teaching academy that recognizes and rewards teaching excellence and encourages communication between those who are committed to enhancing their students’ learning. Another way that has been successfully pioneered has involved formally recognising teaching standards and supporting professional/career progression in university teaching through the use of an independent yardstick, such as the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF), which provides a framework for ensuring comparability of standards and gives university teachers a sense of career progression.
A third concern that several universities in the network have relates to practical ways in which academic staff can achieve a personal balance between, and synergy across, their teaching and research activities. Although this issue is a thorny one, and could not be fully resolved in a short discussion, nevertheless the discussion provided considerable food for thought.
Professor Bilbow ended by conveying his gratitude to all of the participants, facilitators and CETL/HKU colleagues who had attended the event. He also expressed his satisfaction with the fruitful discussions that had taken place, and the hope that the NETL group will continue to prosper in the future.
After a short discussion, it was agreed that the next NETL gathering will be hosted by Universiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands in June 2017.
HKU is a committed member of the UN campaign HeForShe. The overall goal of HeForShe is to spread awareness and spark actions on the responsibility that men and boys have in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. TecHKU and TELI share the same vision. They mobilised a group of HKU students to organise a hands-on workshop “Girls4Tech” for secondary school girls in late February, and received enthusiastic support from our President Professor Peter Mathieson, “I’m particularly keen to see the University hosting this kind of event. This is exactly the kind of thing that the HeForShe campaign envisages. Starting at all ages – the idea of trying to improve gender equality. Technical careers are not just for boys, they’re for everybody.”
“Girls4Tech” aims to nurture computational thinking in secondary school girls and to inspire them on possibilities of developing a career in the tech sector. A detailed report on the event is available here.
On February 27, 2016, more than 120 bright young ladies from 17 local secondary schools gathered at HKU for the student-led event “Girls4Tech” to learn about careers in the tech industry and attempt hands-on coding exercises. Both our undergraduate organizers and the junior participants were greatly inspired by the experience.
At the one-day workshop, participants were engaged in a series of activities involving computing concepts such as coding, encryption, and sorting. In his opening speech, our President Professor Peter Mathieson encouraged young girls to challenge stereotypes and embrace new opportunities that our society has to offer in traditionally male-dominated sectors, including research, technology and computer science. “Technology is fundamentally about problem solving, and there’s no gender-specific environment to that,” he said. A number of distinguished women tech leaders also shared their career development journeys. Starting from March, participants will also be visiting tech giants such as Lenovo, Microsoft (Hong Kong), IBM, and Google to gain a deeper understanding of the tech industry.
“Girls4Tech 2016” was organized by TecHKU, short for The HKU Journal of Technology, formed by a group of students from the Faculties of Engineering and Social Sciences. This annual event aims to nurture computational thinking in secondary school girls and to inspire them on possibilities of developing a career in the tech sector. “We noticed that most companies in the region were trying to bridge the gender equity gap in technology by organizing similar events for university students, but we believed that such interests would be best triggered at a younger age,” said Vikay Narayen, student founder and consultant of TecHKU. According to a feedback survey conducted by TecHKU, 86.9% of the 85 respondents said they became more interested in tech after the event; 11% more reflected they are now interested to study ICT for the HKDSEs after joining the event.
TELI was in full support of this event because we recognise the need to provide a broad range of knowledge exchange opportunities for our next generation, and we see the great potential of having our students empower their younger fellows. We deeply appreciate TecHKU’s initiative, which might have created life-long impact in the girls’ lives.
More photos of the event can be found on our Facebook and Instagram.
Stay tuned for more reports on the event.
Developing small private online courses (SPOC) is an increasingly popular teaching strategy in higher education. On January 26th, TELI’s SPOC team organized an interactive workshop offering participants a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in creating a video that can serve as an online lecture.
One clear advantage of restructuring a lecture into a series of short online videos is portability across time and space – it allows students to learn anytime, anywhere. Students are free to pause and review sections of the videos, which is not possible in traditional lectures. Condensing a two-hour lecture into short videos of about 6 minutes each also tend to be more engaging.
While creating an online course may seem a daunting task, it can actually be done by following a simple three-step approach: revisiting the course structure, storyboarding and scripting, then studio filming. At the workshop, a mock-up filming studio was set up to give our participants a taste of video production. They were invited to draft a short script in groups and speak in front of the camera and a green or blue screen that can be chroma-keyed into any background that you like. The responses were positive overall. Participants commented that this experience made them “feel much more comfortable when someone tells [them] ‘let’s shoot a video’” and “it’s doable.”
The recordings were edited by our team and sent to individual participants after the workshop.
It is TELI’s mission to provide technological support to teachers in creating online videos and e-learning materials. We are re-running this interactive workshop in March – please contact us to schedule your session.
Apart from introducing the services and facilities available to support your teaching, two teachers are invited to share their experience on using the University’s Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle and Lecture Capture service (LCS) Panopto.
On behalf of the Conference Organising Committee, it is my pleasure to warmly invite you to take part in our International Conference – Assessment for Learning in Higher Education 2015, which will be held on 14-15 May 2015 at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
We are also delighted to have confirmed internationally renowned educational experts – Prof. John Biggs (Formerly University of Hong Kong), Prof. David Boud (University of Technology Sydney), Prof. Royce Sadler (University of Queensland), Prof. Dai Hounsell (University of Edinburgh), Prof. David Carless (University of Hong Kong), and Prof. Rick Glofcheski (University of Hong Kong) as keynote and plenary speakers of the conference.
Assessment for learning has attracted the interest of higher education institutions worldwide. Hosted by the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) at HKU, the programme of the upcoming event is carefully designed to incorporate a wide range of topics that reflect the conference theme of ‘Assessment for Learning’, which is outlined on our website http://www.cetl.hku.hk/conf2015/ alongside the six sub-themes grouped as the following:
1. Innovative Assessment Approaches
2. Students’ Responses to Assessment
3. Assessment and Feedback
4. Institutional Initiatives in Assessment
5. Assessing Professional Competencies
6. Other Issues in Assessment for Learning
We would be most grateful if you would inform staff and students in your institution who may share interest in assessment for learning. Should you have any questions regarding the conference, please do not hesitate to contact our Conference Secretariat, Mr. Robbie Ho, on +852 3917-8994 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to meeting you at this exciting event!
Dr. Cecilia Chan
Chairperson, Conference Organising Committee
Associate Professor, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Hong Kong