A Teacher’s Journey into Online Education: Taking the Leap, Reflecting in the Process, and Reaping the Rewards

Promoting and Enabling Technology-Enriched Learning: Challenges and StrategiesThis is an event organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI).

Details of the event:

Date : 30 May, 2018 (Thursday)
Time : 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Venue : CPD-LG.59, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Speaker : Ms Charlotte Chang, e-Teacher-in-Residence, The University of Hong Kong
Respondent : Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong


To teachers who are used to the setting and dynamics of a classroom, getting started in online education might seem daunting. After all, creating online courses involves adapting and rewriting course content, reenacting lessons on camera, and reorganizing class structures to enable student interactions in a completely different context—or, in other words, nothing short of overhauling traditional modes of teaching in large part. All this effort, however, is not only manageable with the right support, but also immensely rewarding for any teacher—practically, pedagogically, and intellectually.

In this seminar, Charlotte Chang, TELI’s e-Teacher-in-Residence, will use her own journey into online education as a starting point to reflect on the obvious and not-so-obvious (often even counter-intuitive) opportunities that await teachers who undertake a similar endeavor.

In the first part of the talk, “Taking the Leap”, Charlotte will reflect on the intellectual impulses and practical considerations that led her to create an online course. What ultimately convinced her that this daunting task would be worthwhile?

In the second part, “Reflecting in the Process”, Charlotte will share insights on the many opportunities for professional and intellectual growth that she found, often unexpectedly, throughout the course creation process. In optimizing and refining content and pedagogy for the course, she was motivated to strive for nothing less than the “best of her teaching”. An online course, ultimately, should not just be a repackaging of existing courses in a virtual format; rather, it is an opportunity for the educator to enhance and enrich existing curricula, teaching materials, pedagogical approaches, and student engagement.

In the final part of the talk, “Reaping the Rewards”, Charlotte will elaborate on the benefits of online education that classroom teaching cannot offer. Apart from practical rewards like eliminating the time spent on repeating core content, online education offers many less obvious, perhaps even counter-intuitive benefits to teaching and learning, such as deepening interactions with students with a wide range of learning styles and abilities.

Charlotte’s reflections on her journey as an online teacher should resonate with fellow educators from diverse academic fields who wish to embark on their own explorations of online education and the immense opportunities that it promises.

About the Speaker
Charlotte Chang, TELI’s “e-Teacher-in-Residence” in 2018-19, founded the online English education platform Ms. Charlotte Academy in 2017. After a year of writing a curriculum, developing materials, and filming and editing lessons, Charlotte launched her online course “Core Concepts of English” in late 2018. In the course, which currently enrolls over 200 students, Charlotte uses an analytical framework based in linguistics concepts to teach Hong Kong adults the unchanging rules of English syntax, introducing students to a systematic, structure-based approach to understanding how English works and how it differs from Cantonese/Chinese.

Charlotte’s core belief as a language teacher is that every student with basic analytical skills can gain a “big picture” perspective of how any language works, even if it is as different to their native language as English is to Chinese. Online education, which enables students to absorb and internalize new knowledge at their own pace, is a fitting format that facilitates this type of analytical teaching and learning.

Prior to her career in online education, Charlotte graduated from Harvard University in 2012 and worked as a secondary school teacher from 2012 to 2014. From 2014 to 2017, she experimented with and refined her linguistics-based approach to teaching English before finally writing her own curriculum. Her transformation from “traditional” to “online” teacher gave her much insight into the many benefits that technology can offer education, both in facilitating teaching and enhancing learning.


Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

TELI X KEEP: Enhancing Engagement in Teaching and Learning with Technology

TELI X KEEP: Enhancing Engagement in Teaching and Learning with Technology(This event is jointly organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative, HKU and Knowledge and Education Exchange Platform, CUHK.)

Details of the event:

Date : 30 January, 2019 (Wednesday)
Time : 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Venue : CPD-LG.34, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Speakers :

  • Mr Eddy Yet, Project Coordinator, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong


New technologies have been changing the way we teach and learn. While we are presented with numerous innovative pedagogies and tools, there are common practices that can be adopted to enhance engagement and teaching effectiveness. In the first part of this seminar, the Knowledge and Education Exchange Platform (KEEP) will present local examples of flipped classroom, online supplementary modules and content visualization in higher education, and discuss why more teachers are adopting these practices.

The second part of the seminar will focus on HKU’s gamified flipped classroom practices. The University’s Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) has been trying to bring students a new dimension of immersive learning. In this presentation, Professor Ricky Kwok will introduce good practices in gamification in the classroom, and present TELI’s work in this area to-date. The talk will address the challenges and strategies of balancing entertainment and education, driving competition in game-based learning to inspire achievement of learning outcomes, and creating a gaming space that brings learners closer.

About the Speakers

Mr. Eddy Yet, Project Coordinator
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Working with teachers, instructional designers and developers among local universities, Mr. Eddy Yet, the Project Coordinator, participates in the development of the Knowledge and Education Exchange Platform (KEEP) to build a one-stop educational platform that facilitates teaching and learning.

Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

Professor Ricky Kwok assists the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) in HKU’s endeavors related to e-learning (e.g., MOOCs, SPOCs, blended learning, research, EdTech etc.). He leads the Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) team, which consists of e-learning technologists, instructional designers, researchers in learning analytics, specialists in system development, and multimedia talents in developing e-learning solutions in HKU.


Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

Promoting and Enabling Technology-Enriched Learning: Challenges and Strategies

Promoting and Enabling Technology-Enriched Learning: Challenges and StrategiesOrganized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Details of the event:

Date : 30 May, 2018 (Wednesday)
Time : 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue : CPD 2.42 CPD 2.37, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
(Due to overwhelming response, the venue has been changed to CPD 2.42)
Speaker : Toru Iiyoshi, Ph.D. (Kyoto University)
Respondent : Professor Ricky Kwok (The University of Hong Kong)

Emerging educational innovations and methods, such as MOOCs, SPOCs, OERs, Flipped/Blended Learning, Gamification, AI, VR, AR, and Analytics, are radically transforming learning and teaching in higher education. This talk addresses how we can strategically promote and enable Technology-Enhanced Learning at institution, department, and individual levels. It also reviews and examines some exemplary efforts and practices that help guide us towards inventing the “next-generation” higher education. Finally, with the participants, the session explores how we can create an ecosystem that enables us to build necessary support capacity for more personalized, flexible, and on-demand lifelong learning.

About the Speaker
Toru Iiyoshi is Deputy Vice President for Education, and Director and a professor at the Center for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education of Kyoto University. He also serves as Executive Director of KyotoUx. Previously, he was a senior scholar and Director of the Knowledge Media Laboratory at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Senior Strategist in the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Iiyoshi has served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Technology and Education as well as a visiting professor of the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo. He is a co-editor of the Carnegie Foundation book, Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge (MIT Press).


Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

Asian e-Table 2017 – Deeper collaborations for stronger e-learning impact

On May 18-19 2017, the third annual Asian e-Table was held. We welcomed back our e-learning advocates/partners from nine universities 1 in Asia to reflect on and strive for enhancing and improving e-learning’s impact across the region. This year, we continue our exploration of collaboration opportunities, with the idea that “deeper collaboration reflects genuine friendship”.

We welcomed two new members from National Taiwan University, Prof Huang and Dr. Kung, who are associate directors of the Center for Teaching and Learning Development.

Other participants in attendance included edX Partner Manager Mr. Henry Kesner, and other local colleagues from HKU, HKUST, CUHK and PolyU.

Roundtable discussions
Reviewing our goals in Asian e-Table 2016, the co-creation of MOOCs amongst member institutions has kicked off, with collaborations between HKU and Peking University, Yonsei University. A central repository for content sharing has also been in shape.

The roundtable format led to fruitful discussions and continuation of previous conversations, with key topics such as:

  • Impact, measurement and metric of e-learning
  • Professional development for teachers in e-learning
  • Student preparedness and their digital literacies
  • Collaborations now and in the future between participating institutions
  • Identifying opportunities for future development within and amongst institutions

A student representative from Faculty of Education, Mr. Derek Wong, also attended a session to offer the student perspective on e-learning and digital literacies. While digitally “native”, students’ digital literacies in the classroom vary. Communication between teachers and students will help bridge the gaps and allow both parties to utilize technology effective in teaching and learning.

Besides roundtable discussions, some short presentations provided more insights for members. The course instructors of two HKU MOOCs – “University Teaching” by Dr. Lily Zeng and Dr. Tracy Zou (CETL, HKU), and “Hong Kong Cinema Through A Global Lens” by Prof Gina Marchetti (Faculty of Arts, HKU), shared their experiences and challenges in the MOOC making process. Mr. Henry Kesner, Partners Manager at edX also gave an introduction of micromasters.

The participants visited a face-to-face workshop of ‘Interactive Online Learning’ on Data Analytics

After two intensive but rewarding days, between roundtable discussions, presentations, and coffee break and mealtime chats, our take-away goals and aims for this year are:

  • Establishing a framework to guide teachers in designing and delivering online/blended courses
  • Creating social media platforms for communication
  • Co-creating courses (such as MOOCs, on professional development), local meet-ups

Technology has no borders, so is education. Contact us if you are interested in developing online education in Asia with us.

The Asian e-Table 2017 is partially sponsored by the HKU Global Partnership Seed Fund

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, Yonsei University

Asian e-Table 2016

On May 12-13, 2016, representatives from nine institutions gathered at the second Asian e-Table to explore collaboration opportunities and challenges in developing online learning in Asia.

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.

This year 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.

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.

More photos of the event can be found on our Facebook, twitter and instagram.

Not just for fun: Gamify your class

Developing a learning game is not just about making the teaching materials an easier pill to swallow, but is also an attempt to create a resource so engaging that students will beg for more. In our Game Design Meetings, we figured that there are at least eight things to consider in gamification.

  1. Balance between fun and education
    Developing a learning game is different from preparing serious powerpoint presentations. While both aim at facilitating learning, the element of FUN is of particular importance in games.
  2. Have a good understanding of both the educational topic and the game mechanism
    To produce a game which is both fun and educational, it is of ultimate importance to figure out how to transform learning contents into gaming elements. Equally important is a good understanding of the type of game you intend to make, e.g., card game, collaborative multiplayer game, detective game, etc. The best way to familiarize yourself with a particular game mechanism is to try playing some related games.
  3. Form a diverse team
    It is important to have people with different expertise in your team to pool ideas and create a game for a diverse audience. Our Game Design Team comprises of instructional designers, multimedia experts, research associates, designers and programme developers.

    While it is natural to include professional gamers in the development team, it is also crucial to invite laymen to join. Sometimes an uninformed opinion can be valuable in shaping the game.
  4. Draw inspiration from existing games
    Existing games are successful for a reason. Try them out and learn from them. For example, if you want to develop a strategic board game, recommended games include Kingdom Builder, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Tickets to Ride, etc….
  5. Copyright
    When drawing inspirations from other games, be aware of copyright issues. Consult your local copyright office if necessary.
  6. Document all ideas discussed
    Take note of all crazy ideas in your discussions, whether they are related to the main theme, scoring mechanism, functions of a particular card, anything. A seemingly useless or silly idea may eventually become an important element of the final product. Keeping a log book of ideas also makes it easier to create ‘trailers’ and draft official documents such as game specifications in the future.
  7. Test out your prototype – again and again
    Once you have developed a prototype, try playing it. Does it work? Is it playable? Does it facilitate learning? Invite your colleagues and friends to try it out.
  8. Ensure every player has an equal chance to win
    Test the game repeatedly to see if every player has a fair chance to win. Unfair games may demotivate learners.

Developing an original educational game is challenging but fun. Contact us if you are interested in developing a learning game for your students at HKU. Have fun!

Post-conference brief: Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education

Conference video: Change and Challenges debate


Professor Amy Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Teaching & Learning), made a keynote presentation entitled “Re-imagining Undergraduate Education” at the “International Conference on Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education: 10 years of Enhancing the Student Experience” organized by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Scotland on June 11, 2013.

9073903095_0f45af70ef_oIn her presentation, Professor Tsui outlined the journey of undergraduate education reform at HKU, what has been achieved and what challenges lie ahead. She also spoke on the centrality of learning from real life situations to develop students’ knowledge, skills and values to bring about change for a better world.

The conference brought together over 500 delegates from 25 different countries, and was structured around a number of areas relating to enhancement and innovation in higher education, such as curriculum innovation, internationalisation of the curriculum, impact of national policy on quality enhancement, teaching postgraduate students and supporting enhancement through quality processes.

Keynote presentations and a selection of the conference materials are available on this website

T&L Worldwide: Free online teaching platform

Twelve leading universities in the US and Europe have recently joined Coursera, an online delivery platform which provides free courses from prestigious institutions such as Stanford, UC Berkeley and Caltech.

The growth in massive open online courses encourages teachers to rethink about their interaction with students. It also offers a great opportunity for them to innovate their lesson plans. “The fact that students learn so much from the videos gives me more time to cover the topics I consider more difficult, and to go deeper,” said a Stanford professor who taught Cryptography.

However, examination and assessment issues can put a brake on the development of web-based education. For example, some cautioned that cheating problems can compromise the chance of offering credit-bearing courses entirely online.

Read this article from The New York Times to learn more.

T&L Worldwide: English Language Standards in Australian HE

In view of the English language proficiency issues brought about by the impact of internationalization and widened participation across the higher education sector, the Australian education department has developed six standards for effective language support that would apply to all Australian universities.

The standards are explained under the document “English Language Standards in Higher Education”, which also offers examples of good practice and brief explanations. In general, this national framework emphasizes the development of English language proficiency throughout students’ studies. “Language and academic support should be embedded within curricula, monitoring, evaluation and, if necessary, action to ensure that students maintain adequate English competence during and at the end of study,” said Alex Barthel, member of the steering committee which oversees this initiative.

To download the document “English Language Standards in Higher Education”, please click here.

To find out more about this framework, read this article written by Alex Barthel.

New IAU statement on Internationalization of Higher Education

As a result of a year of deliberation among academic leaders, the International Association of Universities (IAU) launched the document “Affirming Academic Values in Internationalization of Higher Education: A Call for Action” to draw attention to some possible negative consequences of the internationalization of higher education, such as diminishing the diversity of languages used to deliver higher education, and promoting the pursuit of prestige as measured by league tables. It also asks that institutions re-examine the process of internationalization around fundamental values and principles such as academic integrity, quality and equitable access.

Learn more