Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

 > About the New Semester   > e-learning Blog    > HKU Online Learning & MOOCs    > URFP

 
HKUx Blog edx MOOC

Dr. Chi-Un Lei, Leon is currently an e-Learning Technologist in the Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI), HKU. He received his B.Eng. (first class honors) and Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from HKU in 2006 and 2011, respectively. He is a HEA Fellow and an IEEE Senior Member. He is also the Vice Chairman of IEEE Hong Kong Section Education Chapter (2017-present). He was awarded with the HKU Professional Services Individual Award 2018, the Best Paper Award in IEEE TALE 2017, IEEE TALE 2013 and IAENG IMECS 2012, Best Student Paper Award in IAENG IMECS 2010 and IAENG IMECS 2007.

As an e-Learning technologist at HKU, my role is to support university teachers from various departments to adopt online/blended learning in their teaching. In the past three years, I have worked with instructional design colleagues to provide consultancy services and trainings to teachers at HKU, and supported them to develop e-Learning content based on their teaching subjects and needs. Our collaboration with various teachers and units is quite successful.

Providing E-Learning Consultancy Services to Teachers

Give advice on educational resources development

One of the services I provide is to evaluate the educational resources development process led by teachers and give advice on how they can develop more effectively. I often partner with teachers and provide regular assessment of their e-Learning content development. In the evaluation process, specific and easy to understand advice on the instructional design and technological considerations would be given to the teachers. Specifically, the goal of this evaluation process is to identify at-risk designs that may hinder learners’ learning, and I will then provide specific revision suggestions to teachers. This service can help to minimize learning hurdles. For example, I recommend teachers to use Mayer’s instructional multimedia principles in reviewing their instructional videos. This set of principles provides a guideline for teachers in learning how to reduce extraneous content and pinpoint essential learning content in their videos. Supporting teachers in creating an instructional video is not the last step. I also help teachers to analyse students’ video watching behaviour by conducting a course-level exploratory analysis. Abnormal watching behaviour can be identified and those moments can then be revised for a more effective learning in the next cohort. This practice has been adopted in MOOC and blended learning development and proven to be effective for courseware improvement.

Additionally, I have also worked with colleagues and teachers to develop a chatbot tutor and explore different gamification mechanisms such as a badge system. In particular, the chatbot tutor we have built helps to provide 24/7 personalized feedback tools for supporting large-scale class feedback. Based on these experiences, I have developed an automated learning design verification mechanism for teachers to conduct quality assurance process on their side.

Develop guidelines for online/blended course development

group photo
Besides providing consultation sessions to individual teachers, I have also worked with colleagues to develop guidelines for online/blended course development on an institutional level. For instance, we have developed an easy-to-use flipped classroom teaching package for implementing a DIY flipped classroom (https://hku.to/flipping_menu). The first version of this teaching package was well received by teachers and teaching support practitioners within and beyond HKU. After the first version was published, I observed that some teachers would like to know what kinds of classroom activities can be implemented and how they can be implemented, as well as what probing questions can be raised for discussions. Therefore, my team and I have revamped the package again and included examples on classwork activities and online/blended learning cases at HKU for teachers’ reference.

In addition, my colleagues and I have studied three different technological courses that adopted the flipped classroom approach for one semester in HKU, according to the “Seven Principles of Effective Teaching” framework. The guidelines of good practices gleaned from the cases would be a useful reference for teachers who are interested in conducting flipped classroom.

A Reflection on How I Support Two Teachers on a MOOC Production

My experience on partnering with two professors, who are both new to online course development, on a MOOC production can demonstrate how the consultancy service provided by my team and myself can support teachers at HKU to adopt online/blended learning in their teaching. In the production process of this MOOC, I first reviewed the professors’ teaching slides and developed several pilot videos with different visualisation formats. Students were then invited to watch these pilot videos with different visualisation formats, and their watching behaviours were collected and analysed. This video prototyping process is a great way to increase teacher’s involvement and improve the quality of the videos as we are able to identify better video design in the communication process.

After launching the first cohort of the MOOC, I helped to review the courseware again and found that social engagement and learners’ sense of belonging to the learning groups in this MOOC can be improved. Using both the frameworks of First Principles of Instruction and Community of Inquiry in analysing the course, I suggested the teaching team to make two improvements: 1) to create more section-level forums for stimulating discussions among students, and 2) include hints and detailed solutions for every MCs (150+ MCs in total). The teaching team agreed on the revisions, and the results have shown that the enrolment and learning retention in the second and third cohorts have been significantly improved. In addition, this MOOC development project was used as an exemplar in the Faculty for initiating their new e-learning pedagogy development plan.

Getting Teachers Out of Their Comfort Zone

It is completely understandable for us to feel nervous of trying something new. One of the major challenges I face in e-Learning development is to motivate teachers to start participating and experimenting. It can be challenging as e-Learning development requires teachers to apply both pedagogical and technological skills at the same time. I have collected showcase examples from various fields so that teachers who are new to e-Learning can learn from relevant course development in his/her own discipline. I would also introduce easy-to-use e-Learning tools and technologies with guidelines, training videos, showcase videos and templates in my consultation sessions and training workshops. For teachers who are more experienced and confident in trying more complicated tools, I would provide advice on teaching development grants application for further e-Learning development to them.

Collaboration is the key to educational development. At the end of the consultation meetings/trainings, I would always include a learning design sharing session where teachers can form into groups and share their own stories and teaching needs with colleagues. The learning design discussion facilitates teachers to identify their own goals in their e-Learning development. They found the discussion very inspiring and some of them even worked together in a cross-team project. In these learning design sharing sessions, I was also able to learn from teachers and better understand their needs and ambitions; some teachers wanted a small-scale pilot development while some aimed for an award-winning sophisticated development. Reflecting on what I have learnt in these learning design sharing sessions, I have suggested different teaching-support solutions; the proposals range from DIY production training for teachers and teaching assistants to large-scale e-Learning deployments supported by internal/external teaching development grants.

What’s Next?

group photo
My collaboration with teachers and units has inspired me to work on building copyright awareness at HKU. I have worked with teachers and various units on different institutional-level projects and produced videos on the topic of research data management and academic integrity. These videos have been used for educating teachers, staff and students on research integrity and academic honesty. These collaboration projects have led me to incubate a learning development project on copyright education. The aim of this project is to raise the awareness of fresh students and teaching staff on copyright issues encountered in their teaching and learning. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please see https://hku.to/Copyright_Classroom.

The TELI team and I will continue to provide support to teachers at HKU, including individual consultations and training sessions on various topics. For enquiries, please contact us at enquiry@teli.hku.hk.


Copyright © 2020 The University of Hong Kong. All Rights Reserved Contact Us