Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

e-learning Blog    > HKU Online Learning & MOOCs    > CETL    > UG Research Fellowship


What does the future hold for vernacular architecture in Asia? In this concluding episode, we will try to look into this question and examine tradition, modernity, and cultural sustainability in the context of the Asian vernacular built environment. Register to take the course for free at http://tinyurl.com/architecturemooc and join learners from around the world on July 26, 2016. Find out more about it here!

Sneak Preview ( Week 5 )

Course Trailer

As vernacular architecture faces various threats, how do we make sure that the needs of both the current and future generations are met? In Week 4 of Vernacular Architecture of Asia, we focus on the conservation of the built vernacular heritage. Register to take the course for free at http://tinyurl.com/architecturemooc and join learners from around the world on July 26, 2016. Find out more about it here!

Sneak Preview ( Week 4 )

Course Trailer

Does the city you live in have “slum” areas? Have you ever thought about how they are built and how they meet the needs of the people who live there? In Week 3 of the Vernacular Architecture of Asia: Tradition, Modernity & Cultural Sustainability, we continue our examination of the urban environment by focusing on these “informal settlements”. Register for the course for free at http://tinyurl.com/architecturemooc and join learners from around the world on July 26, 2016. Find out more about it here!

Sneak Preview ( Week 3 )

Course Trailer

Can urban environments also be vernacular? In Week 2 of the Search for Vernacular Architecture of Asia, we will examine the broader and more complex issues in the urban built environment. Register for the course for free and join learners from around the world on July 26, 2016. Find out more about it here!

Sneak Preview ( Week 2 )

Course Trailer

We begin the Search for Vernacular Architecture: Tradition, Modernity & Cultural Sustainability with a look at the rural vernacular. In the first pisode, we will focus on the different aspects of the rural vernacular environment in Asia, and the ways in which these environments communicate meaning. Register for the course for free at http://tinyurl.com/architecturemooc and join learners from around the world on July 26, 2016. Find out more about it here!

Sneak Preview ( Week 1 )

Course Trailer

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!


Organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative

Speaker: Dr. Masato Kajimoto, Journalism and Media Studies Centre
Date : 8 October, 2015 (Thursday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building


Assistant Professor Dr. Masato Kajimoto from Journalism and Media Studies Centre taught the third iteration of HKU’s online course on edX titled HKU04x Making Sense of News from May to June 2015. The six-week course has attracted more than 7,500 registrations from 147 different countries. It has largely been seen as a successful implementation of journalism-focused media literacy course for the general public and he has been invited to give talks and workshops by different universities that focus on news literacy education.

In this talk, Dr. Kajimoto shares the findings of his investigation into the behavioral data mined through the MOOC in order to illustrate what educators could learn from the learning analytics in terms of curriculum development, instructional design strategies and other pedagogical planning. He then discusses how he has integrated the MOOC into his on-campus teaching.

In order to explore the effective ways to “blend” the two modes of learning experience for the students (namely, face-to-face interactions and self-paced online tuition), he has “flipped” a half of his lectures in the elective course, JMSC1001 Principles of Journalism and the News Media, this semester, which enrolled 127 students from different faculties. He demonstrates how the content has been migrated from edX platform to Moodle while showcasing some of the benefits and challenges he has observed thus far in his experiment.

Please send enquiries to Miss Bonnie Yu at yka0201@hku.hk.

Related Items 


Organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative


  • Professor Irwin King, Principal Investigator of KEEP,
    Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Engineering, CUHK
  • Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning), HKU

Date : 21st September, 2015 (Monday)
Time : 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 223, 2/F, Knowles Building


Logo_KEEP_horizontal_color_700x215_rgbKEEP, the Knowledge and Education Exchange Platform, is an initiative developed by The Chinese University of Hong Kong in collaboration with all UGC-funded institutions in Hong Kong. KEEP serves as an e-learning aggregator, providing a single gateway to online learning and diverse education content around the globe. In this seminar, Professor Irwin King, Principal Investigator of KEEP, is going to walk participants through the platform, introduce its major features, and share on how KEEP showcases innovative technologies in education.

The second part of the seminar will focus on the latest development in one aspect of pedagogical innovation at HKU – gamification. From the blending of animation into our Chinese Philosophy MOOC to the development of serious games in our upcoming e-learning modules, the Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) team at HKU has been trying to bring a new dimension of immersive learning experiences for our students. At his presentation, Professor Ricky Kwok, together with our tech and multimedia teams will discuss best practices in gamification, and present their work in this area to-date. They will share the challenges encountered in balancing entertainment and education, driving competition in game-based learning to inspire achievement of learning outcomes, and creating a gaming space that might draw learners closer together.

About the Speakers:

Professor Irwin King is the Associate Dean (Education) of the Engineering Faculty and Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, CUHK. He is also the Director of Rich Media and Big Data Key Laboratory at the Shenzhen Research Institute. His research interests include machine learning, social computing, Big Data, data mining, and multimedia information processing. Recently, Professor King has been an evangelist in the use of education technologies in eLearning for the betterment of teaching and learning.

Professor Ricky Kwok is Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) at HKU, assisting the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) in various endeavors related to e-learning (e.g., MOOCs). He leads the Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) team which consists of e-learning technologists, researchers in learning analytics, specialists in systems development, and multimedia talents.

Please send enquiries to Miss Cherry Lai
Email: cherry.lai@hku.hk.

masato-avatarDr. Masato Kajimoto is an Assistant Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong. Masato specializes in news literacy education, multimedia storytelling, and social media in journalism. His MOOC, “Making Sense of News”, started on May 19, 2015.
We are delighted to have read Dr. Masato Kajimoto’s blog piece in Comunicar Journal about the data collected from his MOOC HKU04x Making Sense of News (ran between May 19 and June 23, 2015). MOOCs are definitely “the New World” for researchers. Enjoy the article.

I’ve recently finished teaching my first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on news literacy for the public on edX, the non-profit education portal founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The six-week course, titled Making Sense of News, attracted thousands of students from 147 countries. It comprised 63 short lecture video clips (mostly between 2 to 4 minutes), exercises, readings, five graded assignments (two of which were peer-reviewed) and discussion forums (964 comment entries were made by the final week).

Making Sense of News: Geographical data
More than 7,500 students from all over the world signed up for the course.

The massive collection of students’ behavioral data aggregated at the end of the course made me realize the potential of online-based media education research.

The following blog post sketches out some of the many possibilities this emerging form of teaching and learning can be used.

The big data gathered through MOOCs, in my view, would shed light on certain elements that could have not been examined through the conventional research methods.

1. Correlations, correlations, correlations.

The MOOC provides an all-in-one platform for media education research whereby the researchers can gather everything — from entrance/exit surveys to demographic information to learning patterns (access time, clicking behaviors, etc) to the results of knowledge tests to commentaries in the class discussions (forums) to academic performance (assignment grades).

MOOC Data: Education
The data indicate that obtaining higher degrees do not necessarily make people smarter news consumers.

This gives the researchers the dataset that can be examined in a wide variety of ways to explore whether there is a correlation among different variables. For example, the relationships between two of the followings can be examined.

  • Selected demographic variables
  • News literacy skills (assessed by the assignment results)
  • Frequency of forum posts
  • Forum engagements
  • Video playback patterns
  • Click-through behaviors

2. Control group recruitment? A/B testing? Double-Blind test? Not so difficult.

The online platform makes it possible and easy to test different instructional designs, a variety of video-based communications and other pedagogical methods to teach news literacy.

For example, a researcher could produce two or three different instructional video clips with the same script – one with the instructor talking with his/her face shown, one with an avatar replacing the instructor’s face, and one with a professional TV talent taking the role of the instructor.

The three clips can be randomly assigned to different students. Later, the effectiveness of each clip could be measured by the results of quizzes that follow immediately after the video. Such A/B testing normally won’t work in a lab setting as standardizing the test-takers’ individual abilities would be next to impossible, but the whopping sample size that a MOOC can provide could possibly alleviate such concerns greatly.

With the same method, two different news articles can be given to the students with only one word changed. It would be interesting to see if the choice of one word over the other would affect the ways students detect and evaluate media biases. The possibilities of using the online platform for both teaching and research at the same time are limitless here.

3. Who is communicating with whom? Qualitative insights into the minds of students and their learning behaviors.

MOOC: Data visualization
Every single communication can be mapped on MOOC.

The written communications among the students can be tracked down, mapped and combined with other variables, which could form a foundation for qualitative research.

The dataset allows researchers to see how each student engages with one another through peer-reviewed assessments and forum discussions easily.

Once certain patterns are identified, researchers can delve into the content of their written communication.

Say, for example, let’s suppose there are two clusters of engagements among high news literacy skill students (group A) and low news literacy skill students (group B) that were organically formed. If the data shows that they (the group A and B) are not communicating with each other, we can qualitatively analyze their digital conversations and possibly distinguish some key elements that might tell us why certain instruction works for some students and not others.

4. What works? What doesn’t? Improving our teaching.

The detailed video playback data reveals many things. For instance, the learning analytics system developed at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology called VisMOOC can let us visually see each video clip’s “forward seeks” and “backward seeks.”

VisMOOC visualizes video playback data.

We could see the exact points where students paused, fast-forwarded and rewound the clip, which indicates not only how students interacted with the video lectures but also what visual cues disappeared too hastily for them (pause), which parts seemed to have been considered redundant or unnecessary (fast-forward or “forward seeks”), and what concepts and explanations were difficult to understand (rewind or “backward seeks”).

The click through data and other web analytics data also reveal many other factors that would inform us of the students’ learning: say, for instance, which reading assignments students tried to read (click), how much time students spent to complete different exercises and assignments, what time/day they accessed the teaching materials and so much more, all of which could provide valuable information for us to improve our teaching.

Possibilities endless

The above four ideas are only a fraction of what we can do with the online-based news literacy education and research. By taking advantage of the detailed behavioral data with a large sample size, researchers can now track down, aggregate, and investigate the varying patterns of news literacy skill acquisition. The implications and possible future directions of internet-based teaching and research are, I dare to say it, endless.

Ultimately, this kind of research could evolve into a computer modeling that pinpoints specific variables as predictors. We could measure the effectiveness of educational intervention in the field of news and media literacy and improve our teaching strategies accordingly, as our goals are to nurture the future generation of discerning media consumers who also produce and distribute content.

In today’s technologically interconnected societies, I believe the computer modeling would give great insight into the design of effective online pedagogy while presenting opportunities for news literacy scholars to test a multitude of pedagogical designs, teaching methods and research hypotheses in a large scale.

Dear Colleagues,

Orientation Workshops for Common Core Tutors, Semester 1, 2015-16

I and all of those in the Office would like to warmly welcome both new and experienced tutors to the Common Core and hope very much that you will be able to attend one of the sessions of this semester’s workshop, Activating Learning.

We invite all of you who will be running course tutorials in the first semester to attend one of two orientation workshops to be held on September 1st or 4th, 2015 in the Common Core Lounge, Room 150, Main Building. We will work together on sharing ideas, tools, and methods to enhance active learning such as discussions, role-plays, making art, community engagement, and student projects. Several experienced tutors will also give us their input about how to keep the tutorials running most smoothly, as well as on questions of grading, enrollment, the Mysteries of Moodle, assessment, and increasing the pzazz factor.

A. Activating Learning
Date: 1 September, 2015 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm

B. Activating Learning
Date: 4 September, 2015 (Friday)
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm

Again, each day offers “identical” content, so although tutors are of course welcome to come on both days, given everyone’s complex schedules we wanted to be sure to provide alternative times.

Attached please find an invitation letter. For logistics purposes, we would appreciate it if you could register your attendance with Miss Emily Chan (chiting@hku.hk) by Wednesday Aug 19, 2015, along with:

  1. Your full-name
  2. HKU email address
  3. Departmental affiliation
  4. Staff number/ University number (for RPG students)
  5. Course code of your CC course
  6. Your preferred workshop: A / B

Please, throughout the year, always feel free to write me with questions and suggestions for improvement, since you are the ones that live “most closely” to the student learning.

All best,


Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, PhD
Professor and Director: The Common Core
+852 2219 4956

Related Items 
Page 1 of 612345...Last »

Copyright © 2018 The University of Hong Kong. All Rights Reserved Contact Us