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Organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Authentic Assessment Symposium banner

Details of the event:

Date : 3 May, 2018 (Thursday)
Time : 9:30am – 1:00pm
Venue : CPD-LG.18, LG/F, Central Podium, Centennial Campus, HKU


In the higher education sector, assessment has been characterized as “driving student learning” – it determines students’ learning strategies and affects their learning outcomes. Authentic assessment strategies, which draw connections between the subject matter and real-world problems, have demonstrated high effectiveness and efficiency in clinical education. But is that the only context where authentic assessment could be applied? Can authentic assessment be adopted in day-to-day classroom teaching and learning across different subjects?

In this symposium, practitioners from law, medicine, dentistry, education, science, social sciences, architecture, arts and CAES will share their philosophy and practices in applying authentic assessment in their classroom. Student representatives will also be invited to share their learning experience and how authentic assessment has enabled deeper learning.


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

Inter-professional team-based learning (IPTBL) is an innovative teaching approach initiated by the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine in the University of Hong Kong (HKU). It is a pioneering effort to promote peer-to-peer learning and inter-professional education across healthcare disciplines using team-based learning (TBL), flipped learning and e-learning. First piloted in 2016, the initiative engaged 500+ students across 7 programmes from HKU and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Based on the feedback collected, the event was further scaled out in 2017, serving more than 1,000 students (and as many as 501 students in one particular session) from 12 programmes from the two universities.

In this large-scale flipped classroom implementation, we have demonstrated the following attributes:

  • Implementation of an entirely new mode of teaching, pushing teachers and students to step out of their comfort zone;
  • Use of technologies to facilitate teacher-student/student-student interactions; and
  • Effective collaboration among teaching units and teaching-support units.

The event served more than 1,000 students (and as many as 501 students in one particular session) from 12 programmes from the two universities.

We are happy to share that the initiative has been recognized locally and internationally. In 2016, the IPTBL team won the Bronze Discipline Award (Life Sciences) in the prestigious QS Stars-Wharton Reimagine Education Awards. Taking one step further in 2017, we had been shortlisted for the HKU Professional Services Awards 2017 (Team category), an annual award programme at the University level to recognise and promote excellence in professional services. We would like to express our gratitude to the University, our colleagues and students for their support, without which our work would not have been possible.

Raising Standards of Classwork Activities

The motivation behind implementing this initiative is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning by pushing both teachers and students out of their comfort zone.

Facilitating teachers to step out of their comfort zone

Traditionally, many teachers tend to focus on their own discipline in teaching or even a particular topic when delivering a lecture. In the case of IPTBL, all members of the teaching team stepped out of their disciplinary silos and collaborated with teachers from different disciplines and institutions.

Facilitating students to step out of their comfort zone

Many health professional graduates in the work field found it difficult to communicate with their colleagues with different backgrounds, as they mainly received training with students from the same discipline in university. In IPTBL, students from multiple disciplines were grouped in ways that reflected the realities of the healthcare sector. This created ample opportunities for them to develop communication and collaboration skills essential for their future career.

Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Technology

Since a large number of students were involved in each session, an online learning platform and a peer evaluation system were developed to facilitate teacher-student and student-student interactions.

Facilitating teacher-student interactions

It is not easy for teachers to engage hundreds of students and monitor their progress simultaneously in face-to-face sessions. To facilitate teachers in managing the class, an online Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) was introduced. In class, students needed to log-in the system and answer questions individually and in teams. The system allowed teachers to track their real-time progress through the different stages of TBL. This system also made it easier for teachers to decide on which groups to interview in the interactive feedback session.

The Learning Activity Management System (LAMS)

Facilitating student-student interactions

A peer evaluation system was developed to enable students to deliver real-time feedback to their teammates for timely self-reflection. The system also came with an online discussion forum to facilitate student interactions after class.

Overcoming Challenges in Implementing Large-Scale Classroom Activities

Careful scheduling

As IPTBL involved teachers and students from multiple departments and universities, careful scheduling of each session was necessary. To accommodate all parties’ schedules, all six sessions were held on Saturday mornings.

Briefing sessions

With a large number of students and teachers from various disciplines involved, it was essential to ensure all necessary operation details were effectively communicated to all parties. To overcome this challenge, the team conducted multiple briefing sessions in both universities, not only with teachers, but also with students. In the briefing sessions, the importance of IPTBL, the session formats and rundown were explained in great details.

Creating an environment suitable for large-scale in-class activities

As it was necessary to accommodate a large number of students in each session, the team chose the Centennial Campus Lecture Hall II as the core learning space as it is a large flat area with mobile chairs and strong WiFi connectivity. Standard large lecture halls such as Grand Hall or Rayson Huang Theatre were not chosen as they might not be suitable for large-scale group discussion, both online and offline. Since the halls are not flat and the chairs are not movable, it will be difficult for students to move around and work in groups. It may also be difficult for teachers and students to communicate online as the WiFi connectivity in these halls are relatively weak.

As the number of students varied in each session, floor plans were drawn for each session to ensure that all students enjoyed the best learning environment. In the actual implementation, balloons with group numbers were attached to each group so that teachers and students could quickly locate individual teams.

Balloons with group numbers were attached to each group so that teachers and students could quickly locate individual teams.

Collaborations with teaching-support units

Logistics of setting up a suitable environment for large-scale group discussions can be complicated. Reconfiguring the Centennial Campus Lecture Hall II for the IPTBL initiative is particularly challenging, as the hall is usually partitioned into four standard classrooms. Transforming this learning space requires partitions to be lifted up and chairs to be reorganized – a process that would take several hours to complete. As the sessions were held on Saturday mornings, when most HKU offices were closed, the team had to liaise with parties such as Examinations Office and Estates Office to arrange for earlier set up of the venue on the night before.

Each session required materials such as reception tables, refreshments and backup paper tests (in case the online learning system failed to function properly). As most HKU offices were closed on Saturday, transportation of materials was a major challenge to overcome. Extra efforts were made to ensure logistics concerns were addressed – All the materials needed were transported from HKU Medical Campus to Main Campus on the night before. With the assistance from units such as Information Technology Services (ITS) and Learning Environment Services (LES), storage areas were made available.

Multiple rehearsals

To ensure the smooth running of the event, multiple rehearsals had been conducted. With limited time available for each IPTBL session (only 4 hours each) and a tight schedule, time management was crucial to ensure students went through the complete TBL process. Intensive rehearsals and prior testing of the online learning system were necessary to minimize technical problems and possible delays in the actual implementation.

Looking Forward

The IPTBL programme had grown continuously from 2016 to 2017. In the future, the course team aims to continuously improve the online learning platform to provide more informative feedback to both the facilitators and students.

If you are interested in using technology in class or experimenting with new ways of teaching, contact us.



Imagine, experiment, partner with students, build capacity - These are some tips in implementing the blended learning approach shared by expert practitioners in a seminar on February, 26, 2018. Entitled “Blended Learning: Are we Blending and at the same time, Enhancing Student Learning?”, this seminar featured Professor Bob Fox, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education Portfolio, the University of New South Wales (UNSW); Dr. NS Wong, Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences; and Dr. Allan Yuen, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, HKU. The three speakers shared exemplary cases from various disciplines and their lessons learnt from implementing blended learning.

What is Blended Learning?

“Blended learning is the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences,” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p.5). In addition to that, it is the fusion of formal and informal; as well as synchronous and asynchronous elements in the curriculum, as pointed out by Dr. Yuen. With more and more teachers shifting to this approach, “blended learning is now the norm,” said Professor Fox.

Elements of Blended Learning

Blending different modes of learning in a course is an effective way to enhance student learning. The following is a list of examples introduced by the speakers:

  1. Replace traditional lectures with tutorials and group activities:
    • In a Civil Engineering course in UNSW, traditional lectures were transformed into small group and individual tutorials, where students work through the content with a study guide. This mode of learning is problem-based, activity-led and self-paced. Weaker students can obtain extra tutorial support, while more advanced students are encouraged to support weaker one for badges.
    • In Dr. Wong’s course on metabolism, students are guided to form “communities of active inquiry” – together they explore concepts, re-synthesize information, propose new questions and complete in-class exercises. By blending “student-based research-style learning” into the course, “in-depth learning is positively promoted”, commented Dr. Wong.
  2. Use of ed-tech
    • Videos: In UNSW, videos developed for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are re-used in flipping on-campus courses. This is termed as the ‘BOOC Flip’ (Blended Open On-campus Course).Dr. Wong also developed videos for his course CCST9006 Scientific and Technological Literacy. Here is a glimpse of his course:
    • Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle, are widely used as a gateway for students to coordinate learning, including conveniently access course materials, submit assignments, receive feedback and discuss with their peers.
    • Adaptive learning platforms: In UNSW, the course team of MATH2018 Engineering Mathematics 2D used an adaptive learning platform called Smart Sparrow to develop self-paced adaptive online tutorials for students, replacing F2F tutorials.
    • The MATH2018 course course team also developed a Ninja game. This game consists of a series of exercises with progressive levels of difficulty. Students need to work their way up until they obtain the black belt. This creates incentives for students to learn better.
    • 3D and VR technology: In BLDG1021 Industrial & Infrastructure Construction, an undergraduate course offered by the Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW, students receive industry training through stepping into the AVIE mining space, an immersive 360-degree construction site environment. It is a virtual space and a safe environment to gain industry-relevant experience.
  3. Experiential learning and industry partnering
    • In BLDG1021, faculty partners with professional builders and create opportunities for students to get involved in real world construction projects off-campus.

Tips for Developing Effective Blended Learning Experiences
To maximize the impact of blended learning, the speakers offered the following tips in implementing the approach:

  1. Pilot and experiment
    While it is exciting to incorporate new modes of teaching into your course, it can also be worrying for some – What if it does not work? One way to minimize risk is to pilot test your new ideas and conduct controlled experiments, advised by Professor Fox.
  2. Partnership with students
    1. Work with students in developing course materials
      One effective way to develop materials that best suit students’ needs is to involve them in the development process. For example, UNSW pays students to develop resources for them and help faculty members innovate. In Dr. Wong’s case, he creates student internship and once invited a student to produce a short video for him to use in a practical session.
    2. Obtain student feedback
      Dr. Wong collects student feedback through administering questionnaires at the end of the course. The feedback is essential for making modifications to the course.
  3. Capability-building for staff
    As pointed out by Professor Fox, teachers need ongoing support in developing blended learning resources and materials. Learning from UNSW’s example, the following should be done on the institutional and administrative level to ensure effective implementation of blended learning strategies:

    1. Develop curriculum models, frameworks and strategies for all faculties to buy into
    2. Build partnership with faculties and students
    3. Offer ongoing support to faculties and staff in team-building and capacity-building
    4. Provide resources, technologies and/or funding
    5. Provide promotion and encouragement to staff to get involved in improving teaching and learning
      • In UNSW, the promotion and tenure system has been refined to ensure that teachers get rewarded and promoted for their efforts made in teaching and learning. 400 academic positions which are education-focused have been set up. Teachers who choose this academic track can focus on teaching and learning instead of research for 5 years. After the 5-year period, they can decide whether to switch back to research track.

Imagine new ways to teach
Learning is fundamentally about change,” said Dr. Yuen. “Students nowadays are very different from us when we were still students”. In order to enhance student learning, it is necessary for us to reconsider our pedagogy and imagine new ways to teach, using blended learning and other digital technologies. To Dr. Yuen, “blended learning / e-learning is not a simple technological adoption, but a call of teachers to carefully examine their pedagogical practices from a new perspective.” He believes that only by “allow[ing] our imaginations to be at work”, can we unleash the “enormous potential for growth and engagement” of higher education. He left us with two thought-provoking questions:

  1. How do we shape and reshape new learning environment for the New Generation Learners?
  2. What is your imagination in 5 years? How are you going to teach your subject in 5 years?

Dr. Wong believes that by shifting from traditional lectures to blended learning, we are setting students free from a rigid and often unengaging mode of learning. In order to maximize students’ freedom and effectiveness in learning, we need to set our imagination free in innovating our pedagogies.

What is your vision for your classroom in the future? Share your ideas with us.

Further reading

  1. Designing In-class Activities for Flipped Classroom: A Step-by-step Guide
  2. Getting Students Ready for Your Flipped Class
  3. Designing Your Own Flipped Classroom: Online and Pre-class Elements
  4. Flipped Classroom: A Grassroot Movement of T&L Change
  5. Garrison, D., & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles and Guidelines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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!

Click here if you cannot access Youtube.

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?


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.


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.


Join us in the upcoming Materials in Oral Health MOOC on 23 March 2018 (HKT)!

Register now!

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

Learners’ Stories

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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