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About this course
How do electrical engineers find out all the currents and voltages in a network of connected components? How do civil engineers calculate the materials necessary to construct a curved dome over a new sports arena? How do space flight engineers launch an exploratory probe?

If questions like these pique your interest, this course is for you!

Calculus with differential equations is the universal language of engineers. In this 7-week course, “Engineering Calculus and Differential Equations,” we will introduce fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus and ordinary differential equations. We’ll explore their applications in different engineering fields. In particular, you will learn how to apply mathematical skills to model and solve real engineering problems.

This course will enable you to develop a more profound understanding of engineering concepts and enhance your skills in solving engineering problems. In other words, you will be able to construct relatively simple models of change and deduce their consequences. By studying these, you will learn how to monitor and even control a given system to do what you want it to do.

Techniques widely used in engineering will be illustrated; such as Laplace transform for solving problems in vibrations and signal processing. We have designed animations and interactive visualizations to supplement complex mathematical theories and facilitate understanding of the dynamic nature of topics involving calculus.


Week 1 Teaser

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Week 3 Teaser

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Week 5 Teaser

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Week 6 Teaser

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Register now! 課程登記指引

HKU Online LearningWhatever you know and wherever you are we invite you to join us on a journey to consider how the local and the global intersect to make Hong Kong cinema an integral part of popular culture around the world as well as a leading force in the development of world cinematic art.




Highlights of the course

  • Develop your critical and historical thinking skills through analyzing the interconnected relationship between the global scene and local lives in HK films;
  • Broaden your perspectives on identity issues through finding the familiar in the foreign in Hong Kong cinema;
  • Deepen your perspective on the impact of globalization on your own society through analyzing Hong Kong cinema.


  • 通過分析香港電影業的本地市場與國際舞臺之間的關係,培養您的批判和歷史思維能力;
  • 在香港電影中不熟識的場景尋找熟識的細節,從而拓展您對身份問題的了解;
  • 通過分析香港電影業,讓您更明白全球化對社會的影響。

The course was awarded the 2017 MOOCr Awards – Bronze Award (Course Management and Promotion) in the 4th Greater China MOOC Symposium.


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Further Reading

  1. Gina Marchetti, Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park and Stacilee Ford (2017, March). Enter the Future: Behind the Scenes of a New MOOC, Viewfinder (No. 106), pp.8-9.
  2. Gina Marchetti, Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park and Stacilee Ford (2018, January). MOOCs Turn Local into Global, AsiaGlobal Online. Retrieved from http://www.asiaglobalonline.hku.hk/moocs-turn-local-into-global/
  3. Film Matters Magazine (9 February 2017). New HKU MOOC: Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens Premieres on 7 February 2017.
  4. 翟啟豪:港大免費網上課程 全球視野看港片影響力 [Translation: Free HKU online course – Hong Kong Cinema Through A Global Lens] (HK01, 9 February 2017)
  5. Amy Nip. Switch onto movie action with HKU online course. (The Standard, 7 February 2017)
  6. Enid Tsui. University of Hong Kong launches MOOC to teach film buffs how Hong Kong cinema conquered the world (South China Morning Post, 6 February 2017)
Related Items 

In our last post, we covered feedback practices designed by 3 teachers with the aim of enhancing students’ learning through feedback. This post will dive into the sharing of 6 other teachers.

Loop Learning Effectively

Dr. Charlene Ho combats the lack of feedback loop in her classes of 100-150 students by involving students in the process of providing feedback. For projects, she puts students into groups where they have to brainstorm ideas collectively, before going into a short consultation with herself on their ideas. Following that, each individual student produces their own draft of the project, which is then peer reviewed by other students according to the assessment rubrics. Having received comments from peers, the student reflects on their work, further revises the project and submits the final product. This entire feedback looping process takes place on Moodle.

History as Feedback

Professor David Pomfret integrates both formal and informal feedback in his history class. Based on in-class written responses to related questions by students, Professor Pomfret engages his students in historical scenario debates, where each student takes the role of a historical figure. As each student has the objective of winning the debate on behalf of their characters, they are motivated to read the course materials and prepare for class. Students’ debate performances are carefully observed and evaluated by teaching assistants, who walk around the classroom providing guidance and feedback. In addition, students from different groups or scenarios get to comment on each others’ strengths and weaknesses in debating. The debates are concluded by students voting for the best scenario debate, after which the teacher explains how the winning scenario deviates from the actual event that took place in history.

In order to deepen the feedback loop in the course and further engage his students, Professor Pomfret encourages his students to play a scenario based history video game, where students answer multiple choice questions and receive instant feedback on the choices made. Professor Pomfret plans to introduce a new function to the game where students get feedback on the pathways they choose.

Professor David Pomfret was responding to questions raised by participants.

Time-saving Technique: Audio Feedback

Rethinking Feedback – Using Audio Feedforward to Help Students Improve Their Written Work

Ms. Tanya Kempston shares a sustainable and dialogic practice of providing students with short audio recorded feedback, that helps lighten the burden of writing or typing comments to hundreds of student works. Ms. Kempston feels an urgent need for feedback in higher education to evolve, as university class sizes have doubled and or even tripled. In order to cater for larger classes, she looks into the possibility of more efficient forms of feedback other than written. She resolves to audio using Voice Memos in conjunction with assessment rubrics, a more efficient way to provide audio feedforward. Annotations can accompany the audio commentary on the margins of a student’s work to avoid repetition. Voice Memos are concise and no longer than 3 minutes, so that students will not see listening to the audio commentary as a burden. Ms. Kempston emphasizes that audio feedback offers plenty of advantages such as time-efficiency, accountability and permanency. She also adds that students feel more connected with the teacher by listening to the audio feedback.

Using Audio Feedback and Whole Class Feedback to Help Students Develop Their Writing

Mr. Philip Smyth further elaborates on the efficiency brought by audio feedback which he also uses to tackle heavy workload of giving feedback. He calculates the time he saves with audio feedback in the picture below:

[Image credit: Mr. Philip Smyth.]

He uses the audio commentary tool in Turnitin that allows a recording of 3-minute oral feedback along with short textual notes on each student’s assignment. On average, he managed to decrease the amount of time spent on a single assignment down to 10 minutes. In addition, Mr. Smyth also implements whole class feedback in his course, and he points out that the overall time he spent on giving whole class feedback and audio feedback is still less than writing individual feedback.

However, Mr. Smyth also acknowledges the disadvantages of audio feedback on Turnitin. For instance, if a student wants to go back to listen to a specific piece of advice or suggestion in the audio recording, he or she may have to take more time locating it in the track. Another issue is related to the fact that Turnitin currently does not keep audio comments permanently which makes it difficult for students to compare previous feedback with a new one affecting the learning progress.

Using Three Layers of Feedback to Increase Taught Postgraduates’ Engagement with Feedback

Using a theoretical framework on students’ engagement with feedback, Dr. Jessica To tries to explicate why students increase or decrease feedback engagement in the taught postgraduate course she teaches:

More often than not, part-time students in the course tend to avoid collecting their final assignments. However, even if they collect their marked assignments, they often struggle to interpret the feedback and the grade given. Taking into account the evening setup of face-to-face classes that leaves insufficient time to engage in dialogic feedback, Dr. To proposes a feedback strategy that requires students to provide audio-recorded self-evaluation for their own assignments via instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or WeChat, after being peer reviewed by 3 other students on Moodle. She also provides audio feedback to the student via instant messenger apps to comment on their accuracy of self-assessment, and give suggestions for improvement. As a result, students enhance learning agency in the “reversed” feedback process while allowing more time to reflect on peer and teacher feedback due to the asynchronous nature of the strategy. Furthermore, Dr. To emphasizes this practice helps develop students’ evaluative judgement, and enable them to transfer this ability to self-assessment work. On the other hand, this also stimulates students’ self reflection by obtaining constructive feedback from peers.

Practicing Feedback

Mr. Mathew Pryor uses feedback to a) review an assignment, b) as a way of affirming learning, c) to instruct or provide additional information, d) to comment or provocate and e) to develop higher order thinking. Mr. Pryor believes feedback should have a variety of forms and characteristics to enhance students’ understanding and learning, which he incorporates into his architectural studio classroom setup. In this classroom setting, instructing is interchangeable with giving feedback, as teaching assistants walk around observing and commenting on students’ works throughout the lesson. Sometimes students’ designs are reviewed by external professionals in order to gain as objective perspectives. Feedback is also provided outside the studio right at the architectural sites being studied. Moreover, students also get to learn from reviews by commenting on each others’ designs during gallery review sessions. All these elements of the feedback in Mr. Pryor’s class shapes it into a multi-directional communication.

Mr. Mathew Pryor introduced feedback practice in his courses.

To sum up the symposium, Professor David Carless draws a special attention to two issues related to feedback practices in higher education: scalability and literacy. Feedback should be more work for students than teachers, and scalability issues faced by the presenters in the symposium should be effectively tackled. It is equally important to put forth the idea that improves the attitudes towards “seeking feedback, making sense of it, processing it and feeding into work”.

Follow #HKUFeedback on Twitter to check out more event details! Don’t hesitate to Contact us if you are interested in collaborating with us to enhance teaching and learning at the University!

Further Reading

  1. Crommelinck, Michiel & Anseel, Frederik (2013). “Understanding and encouraging feedback‐seeking behaviour: a literature review,” Medical Education, 47, pp. 232-241.
  2. McLean, A. (2015). “An anatomy of feedback: a phenomenographic investigation of undergraduate students’ conceptions of feedback,” Studies in Higher Education 40:5, pp. 921-932.
  3. Esterhazy, Rachelle (2018). “What matters for productive feedback? Disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics,” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43:8, pp. 1302-1314.
  4. Ossenberg, C., Henderson, A. & Mitchell, M. (2018).“What attributes guide best practice for effective feedback? A scoping review,” Adv in Health Sci Educ, pp. 1-19.

We all acknowledge the importance of feedback – a crucial element in learning, that it facilitates one’s understanding of their own work, prompts reflection and provides pointers for further improvement. Despite the consensus of feedback being beneficial, an important question to ask is whether what we do is adequate and effective. What constitutes effective feedback, and how can we choose the right feedback to suit different contexts? In the Feedback for Learning Symposium, teachers from different faculties share their insights and experience in designing feedback mechanisms to improve students’ learning.

What is Feedback?

feedback definitionMs Nicole Tavares sums up the characteristics of good feedback. [Image credit: Ms Nicole Tavares.]

Feedback can take many different forms, but the crux of feedback is to facilitate students’ learning capabilities, strategies and development, as emphasized by Professor David Carless of the Faculty of Education. In the above picture, Ms Nicole Tavares, also of the Faculty of Education, sums up the characteristics of good feedback.

Ultimately, for feedback to make an impact, it has to be accountable, advancing, and most importantly, actionable. As explicated by Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate-Vice President of HKU (Teaching and Learning), feedback should be accountable so that both teachers and students can measure its effectiveness. Furthermore, feedback should enable students to take their learning progress to the next level. Last but not least, feedback by a teacher is only actionable when the receiving student is able to take direct actions based on it, making it practical and impactful.

What are students expecting?

Authentic assessment practices have been adopted across different disciplines in HKU, some of which are enabled by technology. Here are some examples:

  1. Feedback on a draft/proposal by a student;
  2. Short face-to-face consultation with the teacher to elaborate and comprehend the initial feedback;
  3. Final feedback on an assignment submitted together with a mark or grade.

In addition, they also highlighted that feedback is of greater value if it were provided when the student is still in the process of doing an assignment, in form of further guiding prompts, directions or even motivation from the teacher, which are instrumental in helping them overcome the challenges in learning.

panel session
Professor David Carless and the Student Panel.

The students also gave examples of weak or ineffective feedback that influence student’s learning:

  1. Highlighting or underlining with no additional textual explanations in assignments
  2. Indication of citation mistakes without suggesting ways of improvement
  3. No explanation for correct and wrong answers in online quizzes

In general, students find simply knowing “what” is right or wrong with their work inadequate, and push for the reasons “why” and methods of “how” their work can be improved under their teachers’ guidance. In response to these issues raised by the students, Professor Carless says that feedback processes should be more practical and student-friendly in order to avoid misunderstandings between teachers and students.

Here are some examples of feedback practices designed and practised by teachers from different faculties at HKU, that you may find useful in your teaching:

Injecting Dialogue into Written Feedback Processes

Professor David Carless’ approach on actionable feedback on his students’ assignments is by asking students to write on the cover sheet of their assignment what kind of feedback they would like to receive, with given structure below:

  1. “I would most like feedback on …”
  2. “The strengths are …”, “The aspects for development are …”
  3. “The previous feedback I have used to strengthen this assignment is …”

This dialogic writing helps finding out which aspects of feedback does a student want and needs help in. This also helps students reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their submitted assignments. Furthermore, this reveals what kind of feedback that students received in the past helped improve the current assignment.

However, Professor Carless also points out the challenges he faced. For instance, more often than not students are not certain about what kind of feedback they need, and some are reluctant to reveal their own weaknesses. In response, Professor Carless helps students identify and explain them using assessment rubrics and criteria in detail.

Project Based Assessment and Feedback – Designing and Making Virtual Worlds

In a Common Core course that aims to get students from across various disciplines familiarized with the art and techniques of creating 3D artifacts, Dr. Nicol Pan employs many teaching assistants (TAs) who specialize in 3D technology and design, to help provide comprehensive and personalized feedback on students’ final projects. The main significance of the feedback practice used in this course is that students receive detailed and constructive feedback at each stage of the final project as shown in the below chart:

stage of final projectThe four stages include idea generation, gather and draft, design and test, and make and morph. [Image credit: Dr. Nicol Pan.]

Dr. Pan agrees that feedback bridges communication between students and teachers, and this helps guiding students through every stage in a project. She also emphasizes the nature of feedback should be nurturing, but not hostile or makes students feel nervous.

Dialogic Use of Exit Slips to Promote Students’ Reflective Capacity

Dr. Kennedy Chan, who teaches pre-service teachers, proposes the use of exit slips at presentations to enhance students’ self-reflective skills, which help formulate their own teaching philosophies. The main concern in developing effective reflection among pre-service teachers is that they tend to produce self-speculations that are often too descriptive or superficial. Therefore, Dr. Kennedy Chan intended to a) provide timely and personalized written feedback on students’ reflections, b) expose them to multiple perspectives of their work, c) compare and contrast works to define a quality reflection and d) self-evaluate their learning progress. The process involved students writing a reflection after each session, which the teacher gives feedback on, and selecting the best one as an exemplar to discuss further in class. Student reflections are assessed based on a reflection scale.

Reflection Scale

The process is finalized after 12 sessions, where students select their top 3 reflections they have produced. They are also required to self-evaluate their own reflections based on the same reflection scale. Dr. Chan also motivates students to submit reflections on Moodle for peer feedback. He believes these practices can help foster students’ thinking and their sense making feedback effectively.

Full recording of the Symposium

Follow #HKUFeedback on Twitter to check out more event details! Don’t hesitate to Contact us if you are interested in collaborating with us to enhance teaching and learning at the University!

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