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Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear colleagues and students,

I’m writing to share with you the exciting news that David S. Lee of the Faculty of Business and Economics has been honoured with the 2020 UGC Teaching Award (Early Career Faculty Members). The UGC Teaching Award was established to honour teachers who excel across the entire UGC sector.

After completing graduate studies at Harvard University and UCLA School of Law, David qualified as a lawyer and gained extensive experience in law and finance before joining HKU in 2015. In the past five years, he has received six teaching awards – four from his Faculty, the HKU Early Career Teaching Award, and the HKU Teaching Innovation Award. David’s teaching impact is evidenced by the fact that, almost on a weekly basis, students – not only current, but also former – reach out to him for advice on pursuing graduate study, selecting professional opportunities, embarking on entrepreneurial ventures, and other significant life choices. David believes passionately that teachers are also leaders and should adopt an agile mindset to navigate the current volatile teaching environment. He has been a pioneer in adapting technology for teaching practice, which has helped him teach effectively during these extraordinary times. Perhaps the best example is the MOOC, Fintech Ethics and Risks, which he co-designed and co-taught. This course, the first of its kind globally, has enrolled over 11,000 students.

The University’s press release can be accessed at: https://www.hku.hk/press/news_detail_21678.html

Please join me in extending our warmest congratulations to David!

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong


Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear students

I’m writing to update you on a few issues.

Assessment choices

As you know, we’re offering all UG and TPG students three assessment choices for S1 courses: letter grade, pass/fail, late drop. Assessment choices can be submitted through SIS from 09:00 on Monday September 28 to 23:59 on Saturday October 10 (https://sweb.hku.hk/student/servlet/MyChoice/Status). This deadline is final, and no modifications will be permitted once it has passed. I’d like again to advise all students to think very carefully when opting for pass/fail grading. Courses that are simply passed will be recorded as P on the transcript, with no impact on the GPA calculation. For UG students in particular, this could have important knock-on effects. Internally, we rely on SGPA data for elective opportunities, such as academic exchange and other funded programmes. Externally, employers and universities around the world examine transcripts in some detail when taking decisions about jobs and postgraduate study. Students without solid GPA data may therefore place themselves at a significant disadvantage. Please consult your teachers, your academic advisers, the Academic Advising Office (https://aao.hku.hk/impact-pf/), your family and your friends before submitting your assessment choices. Please also note the points below about honours classification.

Honours classification for UG programmes

For most UG programmes, HKU has an honours classification system informed by the GPA system. Students graduating from programmes employing this system may be awarded first-class, second-class (upper or lower) and third-class honours. They may also graduate with a pass degree. To calculate a student’s GPA, we make reference only to credits accumulated through study at HKU. In turn, to award honours to a student we normally employ a ‘50% rule’, which mandates that at least half of the credits of a degree curriculum should be letter-graded. This means that a student taking a programme requiring 240 credits for graduation will normally be required to have at least 120 letter-graded credits. A student with fewer than half the total credits letter-graded will normally be awarded a pass degree with no honours classification. This reinforces the need for students to think extremely carefully before opting for pass/fail grading, especially if they are in special situations such as senior-year entry.

Award classification for TPG programmes

For most TPG programmes, HKU has an award classification system informed by the GPA system. To calculate a student’s GPA, we make reference to credits accumulated through study at HKU. In turn, to make an award of distinction at graduation we normally employ a ‘50% rule’, which mandates that at least half of the credits of a degree curriculum should be letter-graded. This means that a student taking a programme requiring 60 credits for graduation will normally be required to have at least 30 letter-graded credits (unless there are courses which are not letter-graded). This reinforces the need for students to think extremely carefully before opting for pass/fail grading.

SETL/SFTL

Following extensive consultation and piloting in the Common Core, we’ve reformed our Student Evaluation of Teaching and Learning instrument. It’s now called Student Feedback on Teaching and Learning, reflecting the fact that what teachers receive from students is not formal evaluation, but rather feedback. We’ve also simplified the instrument as much as possible. SFTL will be used for all course and teacher feedback in 2020-21. The new SFTL form can be viewed at https://tl.hku.hk/tl/student-feedback-on-teaching-and-learning-sftl/.

We’re looking forward to seeing some of you on campus once f2f teaching partially resumes on Tuesday. Please do drop me a line with queries – ian.holliday@hku.hk.

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

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Message from Curriculum Development and Quality Assurance Section of the Registry

Teaching Excellence Award Scheme 2020

teas2015

This is to remind colleagues and students that nominations are now invited for awards under the Teaching Excellence Award Scheme (TEAS) in 2020.

The TEAS aims to recognise, reward and promote excellence in teaching at the University. Under the Scheme, there are four categories of awards, viz. University Distinguished Teaching Award, Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA), Early Career Teaching Award (ECTA) and Teaching Innovation Award (TIA). Besides individual awards, both OTA and TIA comprise team awards to recognise and encourage collaborative effort and achievement in enhancing teaching and learning. All Faculties are encouraged to nominate colleagues who have made outstanding teaching and learning contributions for these awards. For ECTA, in particular, we hope to receive at least one nomination from each Faculty.

For further details, please refer to the circular from the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at:

http://intraweb.hku.hk/reserved_1/cdqa/doc/TEAS/TEAS-List-A-2020.pdf

Nominees are encouraged to contact the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) for advice on the preparation of teaching portfolios.

All nominations and the supporting documents should reach Ms. Synthia Chau, Curriculum Development and Quality Assurance Section, by October 23, 2020. Enquiries may be directed to Ms. Chau at 2859 2440 or email to schau@hku.hk.

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Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear colleagues,

As you are aware, assessment is an important vehicle for supporting and guiding student learning. The University has an overarching assessment policy which sets out the philosophy and principles that guide and regulate assessment practices. The key principle is that students should be assessed in an appropriate, fair, rigorous and transparent manner. Solid and timely feedback, not restricted to scores or grades, should be provided. In particular, the QAC Audit Panel has advised us to enhance students’ understanding of the grade descriptors used in undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses, and to provide better feedback.

You are therefore requested at the start of each semester to talk students through the grade descriptors used in their courses, so that they understand the level of performance expected of them. You are also asked to give timely feedback on assignments and written examinations, so as to enable students to learn from what they have done well and what they have done badly.

The Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) will continue to work on enhancing assessment practices and providing good feedback to students. If you have any thoughts or need any help, you are most welcome to contact the CETL staff liaison for your Faculty/Office as set out below:

CETL Staff Liaison Faculty / Office
Dr. Susan Bridges
(sbridges@hku.hk)
Medicine, Dentistry, and Education
Dr. Cecilia Chan
(cecilia.chan@cetl.hku.hk)
Architecture, Engineering, Science, and Business & Economics
Dr. Luke Fryer
(fryer@hku.hk)
(currently on sabbatical leave until February 2021, during which his duties are undertaken by Dr. Cecilia Chan)
Social Sciences, and Law
Dr. Tracy Zou
(tracyzou@hku.hk)
Arts, and Common Core

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor
(Teaching and Learning)

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Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear colleagues

Just a few additional technical matters.

Panopto, Zoom and Teams

We’ve made some basic ‘how to use’ videos:

– How to use Panopto: https://hku.to/UsePanopto

– How to use Zoom: https://hku.to/UseZoom

– How to use Teams: https://hku.to/UseTeams

Zoom vs Teams

Until recently, it’s been easier to use Zoom for teaching because it’s integrated with HKU Moodle. Now, however, Teams is also fully integrated with Moodle. Two buttons are shown one on top of the other in Moodle. So both Zoom and Teams can readily be used by teachers. The Zoom vs Teams choice needs to be made by teachers and then made known to students within a course. It’s not up to students to make this choice. An updated Zoom vs Teams comparison and useful videos are here: https://tl.hku.hk/2020/08/online-teaching-through-zoom-or-microsoft-teams/.

Dual-mode teaching

For lectures involving both f2f and online teaching, this is a simple video (making reference to Zoom, though the points also apply to Teams): https://tl.hku.hk/elearningblog/?pid=30618. One way to conduct an interactive tutorial with both f2f and online elements is to ask all online participants to mute themselves and contribute to the discussion only through the ‘chat’ function. The teacher or moderator can then voice out points made in the chatroom and blend them into the discussion.

Support

All ten Faculties have been allocated funding to recruit additional TAs to help with online learning. Your Faculty Office will have details. The TeLi WhatsApp number remains as before: 6437 8034. Instant technical support during lessons is available 08:00-20:00 Mon-Fri and 08:00-13:00 Sat via the LES team at 3917 5122 (Main Campus) or 3917 8888 (Centennial Campus). These phone numbers are also displayed in classrooms.

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

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Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear colleagues and students

I’m writing to follow up on my July 29 email regarding teaching arrangements for Semester 1 (S1), 2020-21, and to brief you on some related matters.

S1 teaching arrangements

Since the public health situation in Hong Kong is currently improving, we will make a partial return to face-to-face (f2f) teaching from September 22. Based on the information available to us now, this is how we expect S1 to look for most UG and TPG programmes (for exceptions, see the section below):

Sept 1-21: all courses will be delivered online only.

Sept 22 – Nov 30: all courses with either ‘f2f’ or ‘mixed’ as the delivery mode (view under ‘course attributes’ in SIS) will provide an f2f option.

S1 as a whole: all courses will be available online throughout S1, and every student will have the option of completing S1 online. No student will be required to return to campus for f2f classes in S1.

Final exams: all final exams will take place online.

Exceptions

These are the exceptions to our general guidelines:

– Some courses involve hands-on engagement and will have to be, or will be better if they can be, taken f2f either in whole or in part. Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.

– Some exams will be held in-person either because there are special requirements (eg professional programmes), or because all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong and it is safe for them to attend an in-person exam. Again, Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about this.

Add/drop period

As in Semester 2 earlier this year, we are providing students with a ‘self-enrol’ function on HKU Moodle to allow courses to be audited during the add/drop period. This function will be available only during the add/drop period. Once that period ends, all self-enrolments will be deleted unless the student has formally enrolled in the course through the course registration system.

Webcams

In 2020-21, students taking online classes are required to turn on their webcams when the teacher asks them to do so. (Virtual backgrounds are of course permissible.) Students with special needs or circumstances may apply to their teachers for exemption on a case-by-case basis. If it is not possible for a teacher and student to reach agreement, the case may be referred to the relevant Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) or, in the case of Common Core courses, to the Director.

Campus health and hygiene

HKU has devised robust protocols to promote campus health and hygiene (https://covid19.hku.hk/). Everyone coming to campus needs to be aware of and respect these protocols. Throughout S1, the University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make any necessary adjustments. Please always stay vigilant and make personal and group health your top priority.

Looking ahead

Both globally and locally, the public health situation remains volatile and unpredictable. In the coming weeks and months, it is quite possible that we will face renewed pandemic challenges. Throughout S1, we will keep the public health situation under close review. Should there be a deterioration, we may need to suspend all f2f teaching at short notice, and switch back to online delivery for all courses. In making your plans for the semester, please bear this in mind.

Best wishes for S1 – Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

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Message from Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President & Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning)

Dear colleagues

Looking ahead to Semester 1, there are a few issues I’d like to brief you on.

Add/drop period

As in Semester 2 earlier this year, the S1 add/drop period will coincide with a period of almost universal online teaching and learning. As before, we’re therefore making a ‘self-enrol’ function available on HKU Moodle to enable students to audit courses. This will only operate during the add/drop period. Once it ends, all such enrolments will be deleted unless the student has formally enrolled in the course through the course registration system.

Webcams

In a survey conducted a few months ago, many teachers expressed their frustration with HKU’s policy of not requiring students to turn on their webcams for interactive online classes. I therefore reached out to HKUSU to discuss this. We agreed that in 2020-21 students taking online classes will be required to turn on their webcams when the teacher asks them to do so. (Virtual backgrounds are of course permissible.) We also agreed that students may apply to their teachers for exemption on a case-by-case basis. If it’s not possible for a teacher and student to reach agreement, the case may be referred to the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) in the relevant Faculty or, in the case of Common Core courses, to the Director.

Zoom vs Teams

In a separate survey also conducted a few months ago, some students asked for an alternative to Zoom. A number of colleagues also made this point in the teacher survey. This too was thus on the agenda for my most recent meeting with HKUSU. HKU’s best alternative to Zoom is Microsoft Teams. (For a comparison and links to useful videos, see this blog post: https://tl.hku.hk/2020/08/online-teaching-through-zoom-or-microsoft-teams/.) While Zoom is integrated with HKU Moodle and has a better set of functions, Teams is a viable option. HKUSU’s preference going forward is for teachers to use Teams, not Zoom. TeLi is ready to provide support for any teacher wanting to switch from Zoom to Teams in S1, though I recognize that doing so at this late stage may not be possible. Ultimately, the decision lies with each individual teacher.

Classrooms

All classrooms allocated by the Exams Office for f2f teaching in S1 are at least twice the projected class size. Throughout the semester, all centrally-allocated lecture rooms will be available for use in the booked slots. This means that all teachers will have the option of delivering their lectures in class during the regular timeslots and both live streaming and recording while they do so. TeLi is making a demonstration video on streaming and recording lectures inside a classroom, and will upload it next week to https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/online-resources-for-teachers/.

Alternative ways to deliver course content

Teachers may also live stream and/or record course content in their offices, or pre-record content in DIY rooms. Teachers who wish to live stream and/or make a recording in their offices can gain assistance with initial set-up through a TeLi consultation session. The range of audio-visual equipment that can be borrowed from ITS can be viewed at https://www.les.hku.hk/les-services/equipment-loan-services. Teachers who wish to use a DIY room can do so throughout the academic year. There are two fully-equipped DIY rooms inside the TeLi studios on the Centennial Campus and two inside the Chi Wah Learning Commons. Bookings can be made through TeLi (https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/online-resources-for-teachers/).

Keeping in touch with students

Students greatly value the chance to interact with their teachers through virtual office hours offered via Zoom, Skype and other channels. Please do create a regular weekly timeslot when students can join you on, say, Zoom to discuss their courses and teaching materials, or to seek more general academic advice. Some academic advising tips when teaching and learning go online can be found at https://aao.hku.hk/wp-content/resources/pdf/10_advising_tips_online_learning.pdf.

SETL/SFTL

Following extensive consultation and piloting in the Common Core, we’ve reformed the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Learning instrument. It’s now called Student Feedback on Teaching and Learning, reflecting the fact that what we receive from students is not formal evaluation, but rather feedback. We’ve also simplified the instrument as much as possible. SFTL will be used for all course and teacher feedback in 2020-21. The SFTL form can be viewed at https://tl.hku.hk/tl/student-feedback-on-teaching-and-learning-sftl/.

Resources

We have colleagues in TeLi, CETL and ITS waiting to help teachers with online teaching and learning. Our recent run of five webinars on virtual flipped classroom design can be found at https://hku.to/V-Flipped. For onsite support with technical issues in classrooms or offices, and for any other technical advice, it’s best to contact TeLi via WhatsApp on 6437-8034. For the Common Core, Wincy Chan (wincy@hku.hk) can provide assistance with course design and technical issues. An S1 overview is available at https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/.

As before, please contact me with queries at ian.holliday@hku.hk.

Best wishes, Ian

 

Professor Ian Holliday

Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)

The University of Hong Kong  

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Dear colleagues and students

The changing public health situation in Hong Kong means that we need to update our teaching arrangements for Semester 1 (S1), 2020-21.

In principle

We remain committed to a dual mode of teaching for UG and TPG courses in S1:

  • Online: all courses, apart from a few exceptions requiring hands-on engagement, will be available online throughout the semester. (Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.)
  • Face to face: when it is safe to do so, we will also offer students the option of returning to campus for some f2f classes.

In practice

This is how S1 will look for UG and TPG courses:

  • Sept 1-21: all courses, apart from a few exceptions requiring hands-on engagement, will be delivered online only. (Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.)
  • By Sept 1: I will issue a bulk email outlining our teaching arrangements for the period from Sept 22.
  • Sept 22: we hope to reinstate some f2f teaching for the remainder of S1, though in the event that may not be possible.
  • S1 as a whole: all courses will be available online, apart from a few exceptions requiring hands-on engagement. (Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.)
  • Final exams will take place online, unless there are special requirements or all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong and it is safe for them to attend an in-person exam.

Assessment choices

As before, we are offering all UG and TPG students three assessment choices for S1 courses: letter grade, pass/fail, late drop. Assessment choices can be submitted through SIS from 09:00 on Monday September 28 to 23:59 on Saturday October 10. This deadline is final, and no modifications will be permitted once it has passed. I would like to reiterate here what I have said before. We strongly advise all students to think carefully when opting for pass/fail grading. Courses that are simply passed will be recorded as P on the transcript, with no impact on the GPA calculation. For UG students in particular, this could have important knock-on effects. Internally, we rely on SGPA data for elective opportunities, such as academic exchange and other funded programmes. Externally, employers and universities around the world examine transcripts in some detail when taking decisions about jobs and postgraduate study. Students without solid SGPA data from S1, 2020-21 may therefore place themselves at a significant disadvantage. Please consult your teachers, your academic advisers, the Academic Advising Office, your family and your friends before submitting your assessment choices.

Teaching support

I think most teachers already know about the support for online teaching and learning offered by TELI, CETL and ITS. Hundreds of colleagues have attended each of TELI’s online workshops on Virtual Flipped Classroom Design (https://tl.hku.hk/elearningblog/). Many colleagues have also registered for CETL’s Summer Sandbox Series on Creative Online Course Design (https://www.cetl.hku.hk/sandbox2020/). We also have tech experts and resources available to help with online teaching problems (WhatsApp: 6437-8034). Do contact us with any issues that arise.

Finally, and as ever, many thanks to everyone for enabling us to keep teaching and learning at HKU in challenging circumstances. Please consult our website about teaching and learning in S1 (https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/). Please contact me with queries (ian.holliday@hku.hk).

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

 

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Dear colleagues and students

I’m writing to update you on our teaching arrangements for Semester 1 (S1), 2020-21.

As I said in my bulk email of May 26, our core aim in Academic Year 2020-21 is to make a gradual and partial return to face-to-face (f2f) teaching. We know we don’t have enough large classrooms to deliver all lectures f2f, so some will go online. But for smaller lectures and small-group work undertaken in tutorials, laboratories, studios and clinical settings, we will return to f2f teaching from September 1. Full details are here – https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/class-and-examination-schedules/.

In recent weeks, however, we’ve received a stream of emails from UG and TPG students currently living outside Hong Kong who worry about how to return to campus for S1. In some cases, the journey back looks almost impossible because there are no scheduled flights. In other cases, the journey looks hazardous because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve decided to offer these students the choice of f2f or online teaching in S1.

What we therefore envisage for S1 is as follows:
Teachers are asked to ensure all their course materials will be available for students who are not able to return to Hong Kong. For lectures, either live streaming or recording and uploading to Moodle (or both) should be fine. For small-group work, enabling students who are not in Hong Kong to connect with the class through Zoom will probably be the best option.
UG and TPG students who are in Hong Kong will be expected to come to campus for required f2f classes. They may choose to participate in non-required course components (often lectures are in this category) either f2f or online. But for required course components in which attendance is checked (small-group work is typically in this category) they will be expected to come to campus.
UG and TPG students who are not in Hong Kong will have the choice of taking their courses online. We will not be able to provide an exactly equivalent experience in all cases, since some elements of our teaching, such as laboratories, studios and clinical work, cannot easily be moved online. Nevertheless, we will do our best to support the learning of students who are not in Hong Kong.
Final examinations will take place online, unless all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong. In those cases only, the final examination will take place in person in an examination hall on campus.

We recognize that this modification of our teaching arrangements for S1 will generate some variability in teaching and learning since, as I already mentioned, it’s difficult to move some elements of our courses online. This is also likely to be quite challenging for many teachers, and we’re ready to offer full assistance through central units such as TELI, CETL and ITS. Balanced against all that is the flexibility we’re now able to offer students who face difficult journeys back to Hong Kong. I should reiterate that such students have a choice – to return to campus for S1, or to keep in touch with their S1 courses online.

As ever, please contact me with feedback and queries.

Best wishes, Ian

Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

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Leadership for the 31st Century (HKU Summer Leadership Forum with Faculty of Education)
July 6, 2020 (Mon) 5:00pm HKT ⁣

Professor A. Lin Goodwin, Dean, and four alumni from the Faculty of Education will share their recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic as a context for thinking about leadership for the long haul that transcends the 21st century. The alumni are graduates from our Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Social Sciences, Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Master of Education, and Master of Science in Information Technology in Education programmes, now working in different organisations in and outside Hong Kong. The diversity of their experience will be interesting and insightful to students, teachers, as well as anyone with a heart for education.⁣

**This forum is part of the HKU Summer Leadership Forum series. 10 forums with each of the ten HKU faculty deans will be held in July and August 2020. ⁣

To join the forum, please visit HKU 100 or https://twitter.com/hkuniversity ⁣

For enquiries, please contact the Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) Office at hcm00101@hku.hk.

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