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Technology is spinning the world faster everyday in tandem with rising expectations for education quality. It is crucial for educators to keep pace with such evolutions in order to maximize the impact of our work. In his talk “Promoting and Enabling Technology-Enriched Learning: Challenges and Strategies” on May 30th, 2018, Professor Toru Iiyoshi shared his insights on harnessing technology to create a better future for education.

Professor Iiyoshi is the 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.

Harnessing technology to improve
Continuously improving education is the key to overcome lethargy. Quoting Professor Iiyoshi, “If we learn today as we learned yesterday, we rob ourselves of tomorrow.” With more advanced and user-friendly technology at our disposal, obtaining data to quantify and objectively reflect on our work has become easier. The use of learning analytics to measure, examine and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning can serve as important feedback mechanisms for teachers to review and improve their teaching. Also, institutions can make use of such information to design more effective curricula and manage resources more efficiently.

Educational tools, such as Mentimeter, Google Docs and Kahoot!, can also be employed to engage learners in class, such that they learn more actively and with greater effectiveness. Technology is the tool for educators to harness, enabling educators to create quality time in learners’ learning experience, improve the quality of teaching and learning, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive cultural changes. Higher education should become more timely, data-rich, personalized, expandable and extensive, and technological advancements are giving us the means to achieve it.

Open education – the door to sharing and collaboration
Thinking out of the box and attempting the unconventional is necessary in order to improve education beyond our current level. Professor Iiyoshi envisions Open Education to be the form of higher education by 2025 – instead of each tertiary institute being individually responsible for developing their own curricula, resources will be shared in creating courses, educational ideas will be proactively exchanged to facilitate collaboration, and even courses themselves will be shared. For example, by packing knowledge into short videos as online components, courses can become modular and stackable in form of micromasters and nanodegrees recognized by more universities, which when accumulated contribute to one’s academic credentials like virtual currencies.

Broadening the pool of knowledge and resources to create more knowledge at the global level is beneficial to all, as more resources allow higher ceilings. Furthermore, technology helps disseminate knowledge globally with current information and communications technology, and facilitates educators to share and build practical knowledge and know-hows of educational resource development.

Food for thought
Towards the end of the talk, Professor Iiyoshi outlines a few questions for further reflection:

  • How can Open Education play out in this rapidly changing higher education landscape?
  • What is a university? Is it defined by its physical space?
  • What are the roles of teachers and students in learning in traditional view? Have they changed?
  • How does technology impact the traditional view of “higher education = degrees”?

Do these questions intrigue you? Let us know what you think.

Dive deeper
Professor Iiyoshi had an interesting conversation with a computer equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) in his TED talk in 2015. In his talk, Professor Iiyoshi engaged in a discussion about lifelong learning with the said AI, demonstrating the capabilities of the AI, and inspiring us what possibilities can be achieved by utilizing artificial intelligence.

Resources introduced by Professor Iiyoshi

  1. Kyoto University OpenCourseWare, a free, open-source online repository of Kyoto University’s course materials.
  2. KyotoUx, a comprehensive list of MOOCs produced by Kyoto University.
  3. Mutual Online System for Teach and Learning (MOST): a platform where teachers host and share teaching improvement practices (in Japanese)
  4. CONNECT, a website introducing educational practices using information and communications technology used in Kyoto University.

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


Prologue: Initiating a large scale collaboration is not much different from starting a Mexican wave – grab the people around you, gather a concerted effort to do something exciting and let others pick up the momentum.

The 2nd annual Asian e-Table was held on May 12-13. We joined hands again with e-learning advocates from nine top-notch universities 1 in Asia to spark ideas for a common Asian position so as to create a bigger impact in the region.

photo_2016-07-12_10-08-28[From left to right] Professor Roger CHENG (HKUST), Ms Helie KIM (YU), Professor Joon HEO (YU), Professor Toru IIYOSHI (KU), Professor Ricky KWOK (HKU), Dr. Huang Hoon CHNG (NUS), Professor Xiaoming LI (PKU).

“Crowdsourcing” Contents – Internationalization at Home

Producing high quality contents require tremendous time and resources so why not make the most out of them? The Asian e-Table is looking to establish a common platform to pool the contents developed by all the institutions involved. Once this is achieved, we aim to develop a mechanism for credit transfer. Taking advantage of the Asian time zone, the platform could potentially serve as a synchronized virtual classroom where students can learn, collaborate and co-create with their overseas counterparts, right at home.

Incoming Skype call from Professor Anant AGARWAL, Chief Executive Officer, edX.

Regional (E-)Teaching Excellence Award

For e-learning material producers, one major source of frustration is the lack of awareness, support and acceptance by fellows. Therefore it is of crucial importance that recognition is given to teachers who are willing to adopt this new practice – and excel in doing so. The Asian e-Table is looking to launch a Regional (E-)Teaching Excellence Award to reward and promote excellence in e-teaching. It is also an effective way to celebrate achievements in e-learning, which can potentially evolve into communities of practice headed by the awardees. Making e-learning an “established” practice could be the way to sway more professors in, which means wider and better collaboration.

Incoming Skype call from Professor Benson YEH, Director of MOOC Program, National Taiwan University.

The big shot – Asian Consortium

With these new initiations, the Asian e-Table aims to create some buzz which could generate a more extensive wave of international e-learning collaboration. Our ultimate goal is to connect all the e-advocates in the region into an Asian Consortium. By benchmarking the quality of e-learning and associated parameters, and enhancing professional development and teacher training, we hope to turn e-learning into the new standard of learning.

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, with Yonsei University as a new member

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.


Co-organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) and Youth Arch Foundation

Date : May 11, 2016 (Wednesday)
Time : 6:00pm – 7:15pm
Venue : CPD 3.28, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Speakers :
  • Mr. William Chan, Co-founder and Managing Director, Visual Squares Ltd
  • Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching & Learning), HKU
  • Mr. Alex Lau, Executive Director, Head of Digital Innovation, Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
  • * To be conducted in English


    Strategy looks like a buzzword – but it shouldn’t be. It takes on different meanings in different contexts and sectors, and there is still much room for us to learn from all these variations. In the dialogue session, business strategists from the technology and banking sectors will share with us their insights and experience of helping their companies to achieve success. We will explore how we can draw key lessons from them to come up with the best learning strategies while we are still in school.


    Mr. William Chan is an experienced Internet and software technologist. He is currently the Co-founder and Managing Director of Visual Squares Ltd. He is also appointed as a member of the Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS) Assessment Panel under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF). Before returning to Hong Kong, William worked for Google and a Cisco-acquired startup in Silicon Valley for 8 years. William graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science and received the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award.

    Professor Ricky Kwok is Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), assisting the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) in various projects related to e-learning (e.g., MOOCs, blended learning and gamification). Ricky is also Professor in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at HKU. A computer engineer and scientist by training, he is now taking an avid interest in scaling out teaching and scaling up learning. His recent research endeavors are also related to incentive, dependability, and security issues in wireless systems and P2P applications. Ricky is a Fellow of various professional associations in engineering (IEEE, IET, and HKIE).

    Mr. Alex Lau has extensive experience in the IT and banking industry. He is now the Head of Digital Innovation of Institutional Banking Group at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited. Alex graduated from the Computer Science Department of Stanford University (BS ’96 with distinction, MS ’97). Upon graduation, he worked for Oracle Inc. and Motorola Inc. in Silicon Valley before returning to Hong Kong to head the Strategic Planning and E-banking of Dah Sing Bank. In his latest capacity, Alex is driving the digital innovations in SME banking and has captured 3 external awards for the Bank in 2015.


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