Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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Teachers nowadays are expected to serve well across a variety of contexts – inside and outside the classroom, at different geographical locations, or even online. They need to be more adaptive and versatile. With this vision in mind, the Faculty of Education is trying to expand their students’ competencies through Experiential Learning (EL) courses.

From the video, you will notice that students needed to apply theories that they learnt in settings unfamiliar to them. In the process, they often had to expand their “repertoire” in terms of subject matter knowledge as well as professional skills (e.g., classroom management and digital literacies). Working in groups provided students with the opportunities to contribute collaboratively to a creative process. The Faculty also organized many activities to support the reflection of experience, namely show-and-tell through multimedia sources such as videos and photos. In fact, part of the footage used in the video above was contributed by a Year 1 EL participant (see her original work here: https://uvision.hku.hk/playvideo.php?mid=20957).

EL courses can be seen as quite intense, but they are also rewarding. During the production of the video, TELI heard many stories of breakthroughs from students. Here are two that we’d like to share with you:

  • A Year 3 English major student learned the importance of building trust and relationship with students through the EL course “Ocean Park Experiential Learning Project”. During the guided tour in Ocean Park, she encountered a kid who was uninterested by the tour and refused to follow the group. Despite her extra effort in engaging the kid, he was still unwilling to follow through the demonstration. However, she was amazed by how the kid turned calm and quiet when a helper from his organization approached, took his hand and walked back to the group. This has framed her mindset as a future teacher that discipline does not come from authority or control. It’s built from relationship.
  • One of the Year 1 participants picked up new ideas of “time” after her EL course. In her “professional self”, she framed time as the school timetable, the scheduled duration of a lesson, and also empty space in her daily life that does not yield productive work. After joining the EL course “Curriculum Design in Cambodia,” she learnt that the concept of time has an emotional component – students need to feel motivated and happy to find the time well spent in learning. This insight has created an impact on how she spends her own time, and also how she is going to design her lessons in future.

To know more about how students learn through practice, please visit http://el.edu.hku.hk/.

What Works? Intercultural Groupwork in the Common Core-banner

Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Faculty of Education

Details of the workshop:

Date : 19 May, 2017 (Friday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:30pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus), HKU
Speaker : Dr. Abelardo Pardo, Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, Australia
Facilitators : Prof. David Carless, Associate Dean, Faculty of Education, HKU
Dr. Cecilia Chan, Head of Professional Development, CETL, HKU


The increasing presence of technology mediation offers an unprecedented opportunity to use detailed data sets about the interactions that occur while a learning experience is being enacted. Areas such as Learning Analytics or Educational Data Mining have explored numerous algorithms and techniques to process these data sets. Additionally, technology now offers the opportunity to increase the immediacy of interventions. However, not much emphasis has been placed on how to extract truly actionable knowledge and how to bring it effectively as part of a learning experience. In this talk, we will use the concept of feedback as the focus to establish a specific connection between the knowledge derived from data-analysis procedures and the actions that can be immediately deployed in a learning environment. We will discuss how there is a trade-off between low-level automatic feedback and high-level complex feedback and how technology can provide efficient solutions for the case of large or highly diverse cohorts.


abelardoAbelardo Pardo is Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of Sydney, Australia. He is the director of the Learning and Affect Technologies Engineering Research Laboratory and deputy director of the Centre for Research in Learning and Innovation. His research interests include the design and deployment of technology to increase the understanding and improve digital learning experiences. More specifically, his work examines the areas of learning analytics, personalized active learning, and technology for student support.


For information, please contact:
Ms. Noranda Zhang , CETL
Phone: 3917 4729; Email: noranda@hku.hk​


Co-organized by the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Education and Centre for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning

Speaker:Prof. Michael Jacobson, a Professor and Chair of Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, Australia
Date : Mar 19, 2015 (Thurs)
Time : 12:45pm-2:00pm
Venue : Runme Shaw Room 101


In this talk I discuss a study in which ninth grade students used agent-based computer models to learn difficult scientific knowledge about complex systems of relevance to understanding climate change. We investigated if varying the sequencing of pedagogical structure (SPS) provided for the computer models would result in differential learning outcomes of the targeted complexity and climate concepts. The experimental condition used a low-to-high (LH) SPS sequence based on productive failure (Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012), whereas the comparison condition was based on a teacher’s suggestion to employ a more traditional teaching approach—which is classified as a high-to-low (HL) SPS sequence—for the classroom activities. The main results found significant learning of ideas such as “greenhouse gases” and “carbon cycle” by both groups on the posttest.

However, for the more conceptually challenging complex system ideas, such as “self organization” and “emergent properties,” only the LH experimental group demonstrated a significantly higher performance on the posttest compared to the HL comparison condition. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings for the design of advanced learning systems are considered.

About the Speakers

Michael J. Jacobson, Ph.D., is a Professor and Chair of Education in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, and an Honorary Associate in the School of Medicine. He also is the Co-director of the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo).

Previously, he was an Associate Professor in the Learning Sciences Laboratory (which he helped establish) at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Senior Associate Director and an Associate Professor at the Korea University Center for Teaching and Learning in Seoul, Korea. Professor Jacobson has also held faculty and research positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Georgia.

His research has focused on the design of learning technologies to foster deep conceptual understanding, conceptual change, and knowledge transfer in challenging conceptual domains. Most recently, his work has explored learning with immersive virtual worlds and agent-based modeling and visualization tools, as well as cognitive and learning issues related to understanding new scientific perspectives emerging from the study of complex systems. Professor Jacobson has published extensively in areas related to the learning sciences and technology, including numerous scientific papers, book chapters, and two books. His 2006 paper in the highly ranked The Journal of the Learning Sciences (with Uri Wilensky) was the most cited paper in the journal between 2006 and 2011. He has given talks and invited addresses at national and international conferences and served as an educational and business consultant both in the United States and abroad.

Groups such as the Australian Research Council, Singapore Ministry of Education, Korean Ministry of Information and Communication, and U.S. National Science Foundation, have funded his research. In addition, he is an Affiliate of the New England Complex Systems Institute. In July 2012, he served as the Chair of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, which had the conference theme of “the future of learning.”

Professor Jacobson received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991.

Sandwiches will be provided.

For information on registration, please contact:
Ms Ivy Lai , CETL
Phone: 3917 8996; Email: laichun2@hku.hk..


One of the University’s strategic research themes under the ‘Community Area’ hosted by the Faculty of Education is The Sciences of Learning Strategic Research Theme (SoL-SRT). A component of this theme was the Spring Symposium 27-28 February: Young Researchers in the Science of Learning, hosted by the Laboratory for Communication Science, SoL and the Faculty of Education.

This symposium showcased the findings of postgraduate students, post-docs and RAPs across all faculties in the university in order to promote the cross pollination of ideas and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. Testimony to the breadth of topics are the variety of keynote speeches, which explored Neuropsychology, Computer Science and Engineering, and Psychology and Human Development. Post-doc presentations drew on research conducted in fields including Speech and Hearing Science, Medicine, Psychology, and Human Performance.

Preceding these highly innovative and engaging discussions was a series of talks which explored new methods in the Science of Learning. The E-learning Pedagogical Support Unit’s Steve Roberts delivered a presentation which looked at how to maximise germane cognitive processing of the viewer of educational videos, and minimise extraneous cognitive load*. Richard Mayer’s Educational Psychology research into multimedia learning formed the backbone of the discussion and initiated a series of questions which touched on learner expectations, available tools, and best practices given potential resource constraints.

The enthusiasm behind the possibilities to collaborate through cross-disciplinary research and chats around how to bridge research and pedagogy were inspiring. Many thanks to the symposium hosts for this fantastic opportunity to learn from peers and colleagues!

*If your centre, division or faculty would like to discuss the principles underlying cognitive load in video production, please contact an instructional designer at the E-learning Pedagogical Support Unit.

Message from Centre for Information Technology in Education within the Faculty of Education

CITE Seminar Series 2014/2015

CITE Seminar – Methodological Tips and Challenges in Multinational Research: Lessons Learned from a 3 Year Multinational Research Programme

Date: 17 November 2014 (Monday)
Time: 12:45 pm to 2:00 pm
Venue: Room 101, 1/F., Runme Shaw Building, The University of Hong Kong
Speaker: Linda Shear, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International
Chair: Professor Nancy Law, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong

About the Seminar
This paper describes methodological lessons in multinational research. Content is primarily drawn from the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project, a 3-year study that examined innovative teaching practices that support the development of students’ 21st century skills in 7 countries. We discuss what it takes to engage effectively in research that is both comparative and international, when ‘comparative’ is defined as methodological congruence across settings. ITL Research was unique in its wide assortment of quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys, interviews, observations, and the analysis of classroom lessons and student work products, and the diversity of its participating countries, including Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Finland, Senegal, England, and Mexico. This paper describes theoretical and methodological issues associated with the goal of consistent application of the same research methods in different countries and locally-sensitive interpretation of results. The experience of the project illustrates the importance of local pilots of instruments and methods, reciprocal partnerships with local research teams, carefully-chosen communication methods, and rich qualitative data collection to inform interpretation (and guard against mis-interpretation) of quantitative results, among other essential design principles. The discussion will highlight the challenges of identifying comparable ways of viewing educational innovation and developing a shared vocabulary for discussing it among an international community of researchers and educators, and offers recommendations to guide future multinational research designs. This session will also introduce the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International in California, USA, whose work has a great deal in common with CITE and may offer opportunities for collaboration.

About the Speaker
Linda Shear is the Director of International Studies in SRI International’s Center for Technology and Learning, a group that conducts research based in the learning sciences to help educators make the best use of IT to create new opportunities for teaching and learning. Recently Linda directed research and professional development for ITL Research, a multinational research collaboration to investigate and promote innovative teaching and learning, and continues to bring related professional development programs to countries around the world. She has directed numerous other studies of school/system reform, online learning, knowledge management, and educational technology evaluation, both in the US and internationally, and has supported foundations, nonprofits and corporations in strategic planning and theory of change development. Linda was an undergraduate at Princeton University, and did her graduate training at the University of California, Berkeley.

Please register at

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CITE Seminar Series 2013/2014

CITE Seminar – Why Do Some Students Become More Engaged in Collaborative Wiki Writing? The Role of Sense of Relatedness

Date: 21 August 2014
Time: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Venue: Room 104, 1/F., Runme Shaw Building, The University of Hong Kong
Speaker: Dr. Michele Notari, Professor for educational Technology at the University of Teacher Education Bern Switzerland

About the Seminar
This seminar aims to investigate the role of sense of relatedness in students’ engagement in using wikis in collaborative writing.

Focus questions will address the following topics: ‘To what extent does the sense of relatedness predict students’ behavioral engagement in collaborative wiki writing?’; ‘To what extent does the sense of relatedness predict students’ emotional engagement in collaborative wiki writing?’ and ‘To what extent does the sense of relatedness predict students’ cognitive engagement in collaborative wiki writing?’

The presented research was conducted in a Hong Kong secondary school where 422 students participated in the study and answered questionnaires about their sense of relatedness and their level of engagement when using wikis for open collaborative project work. Results from the regression analyses showed that students’ sense of relatedness with their teacher and peers facilitated their engagement in the collaborative wiki writing environment. The results were also consistent with the educational psychology research findings in a traditional classroom setting. Most importantly, the result from this study showed the possible linkage between IT in education research and the educational psychology literature. Implications of psychological factors on students’ learning in technologically-enriched learning environments are discussed.

About the Speaker
Professor Dr. Michele Notari is a lecturer at the University of Teacher Education in Bern, Switzerland and was an honorary assistant professor in the Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong. He has published articles in key journals in the area of technology-enhanced learning, a book and several book chapters related to collaborative learning using participative technologies. He is guest editor of a special edition of the Journal of Educational Research and Evaluation, board member of Wikisym, the international symposium on open Collaboration, the international Conference on Mobile Learning, and International Mobile Learning Festival. He holds a PhD in education, master degree in biology and computer sciences from the University of Berne, and a master degree in educational technologies from the University of Geneva. His research focus is on using participative technologies for formative assessment and effective collaboration.

Please register at

Message from Faculty of Education (Research Office)

Contents of KM&EL Journal (Indexed by SCOPUS)

Knowledge Management & E-Learning (KM&EL)


Issue Vol.6, No.2

Editorial: Digital systems supporting cognition and exploratory learning in 21st century

D. G. Sampson, D. Ifenthaler, P. Isaias, J. M. Spector

Longitudinal analysis of cognitive constructs fostered by STEM activities for middle school students
R. Christensen, G. Knezek, T. Tyler-Wood, D. Gibson

Implementation of a mobile peer assessment system with augmented reality in a fundamental design course
K.-H. Chao, C.-H. Lan, Dr. Kinshuk, K.-E. Chang, Y.-T. Sung

Math on a sphere: Making use of public displays in mathematics and programming education
M. Eisenberg, A. Basman, S. Hsi

A quantitative analysis of learning object repositories as knowledge management systems
P. Zervas, C. Alifragkis, D. G. Sampson

Regular Papers

Challenges of knowledge sharing in the petrochemical industry
C. W. Chong, J. Besharati

Awareness and use of Web 2.0 technologies in sharing of agricultural knowledge in Tanzania
W. P. Mtega, F. W. Dulle, A. W. Malekani, A. M. Chailla


CFP (Vol.6, No.4)

Special Issue on Smart Cities of the Future: Creating Tomorrow’s Education toward Effective Skills and Career Development Today

Guest Editors

Dr. Fanny Klett (IEEE Fellow)
German Workforce ADL Partnership Laboratory, Germany

Dr. Maggie M. Wang

Message from Faculty of Education

Distinguished Lecture
Empires of Learning in East Asia

Professor Simon Marginson
Institute of Education
The University of London

Higher education and science are central to modern societies and to the global strategies of states. East Asia is becoming the world’s third great zone of higher education, science and innovation, alongside North America and Western Europe/UK, though this development has yet to be fully understood outside the region. What are the drivers of the remarkable post-Confucian educational systems in China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore? What are their strengths and limitations? Is a new model of the university emerging? What are the implications for world society, economy and polity?

Date: June 25, 2014, Wednesday
Time: 5:00pm
Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong
Online Registration: http://webapps.edu.hku.hk/outreach/lecture
Enquiries: 2859 2529
Language: English

About the Speaker
Professor Simon Marginson is Professor of International Higher Education at the Institute of Education of the University of London and the Joint Editor-in-Chief of the world academic journal Higher Education. He was previously Professor of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne (2006-2013). His research and writing focuses on global and international aspects of higher education and policy. His books include Markets in Education (1997), The Enterprise University (2000) and International Student Security (2010), and the forthcoming Age of STEM (2014) and Higher Education in Vietnam (2014). In October this year he delivers the Clark Kerr lectures at the University of California.

Sponsored by
Tin Ka Ping Foundation

Message from Faculty of Education (Research Office)



Professor Andre Kushniruk
School of Health Information Science
The University of Victoria, Canada

11 June 2014 (Wednesday)
12:45 – 14:00
Room 205, Runme Shaw Building, HKU
(Chair: Dr Maggie Wang)

This presentation will describe novel methods for assessing the usability of information systems and for evaluating the impact of advanced health care information systems on reasoning and decision making. The discussion will draw on examples from the evaluation of a number of health applications, ranging from decision support to Web-based clinical guidelines and educational systems. The approaches described will be considered along a continuum ranging from laboratory-based usability testing to clinical simulations and naturalistic study of system use. An integrated framework will be discussed for conducting evaluations of information systems which borrows from advances a number of fields, including cognitive, information and computer science, as well as the emerging field of usability engineering. Low-cost rapid approaches to conducting usability testing of educational applications will be described. Application of video analysis for assessing human-computer interaction in health care settings will be illustrated along with recent work in developing methods for the “televaluation” of Web-based information resources (including evaluation of web-based electronic health records designed for education). In addition, experiences in teaching low-cost rapid usability methods to undergraduate and graduate information technology students will be discussed.

About the speaker:
Andre Kushniruk, PhD is a Professor at the School of Health Information Science at the University of Victoria in Canada. Dr. Kushniruk is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Aalborg University in Denmark and an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Kushniruk conducts research in a number of areas including evaluation of the effects of technology as well as education in health informatics. His work is known internationally and he has published widely in the area of health informatics and the application of cognitively based video analysis to improve information systems. Dr. Kushniruk has held academic positions at a number of Canadian universities and worked with major hospitals in both Canada, the United States and internationally. He holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Biology, as well as a M.Sc. in Computer Science from McMaster University and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from McGill University.

~ All are welcome ~
For enquiry, please contact the Office of Research at 2857 8254.

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Message from Faculty of Education (Research Office)

Improving flipped classroom through recursive and reflective design driven by formative evaluation


Dr Bian Wu
Department of Educational Information Technology
East China Normal University

5 June 2014 (Thursday)
12:45 – 14:00
Room 206, Runme Shaw Building, HKU
Chair: Dr Maggie Wang

The flipped classroom has been increasingly promoted as a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. This seminar will introduce a flipped classroom project conducted at East Normal China University. In the project, students were offered micro-lessons for self-study, together with problem solving activities and evaluation from the teacher and peers in the class time. Moreover, the teaching portfolio and evaluation records of each session were analyzed for refinement of forthcoming sessions. Findings of the project will be discussed with their implications for an effective way for flipping the classroom.

About the speaker:
Dr Bian Wu is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Information Technology, East China Normal University. He received his PhD from the University of Hong Kong in 2013. Dr Wu’s research interests include e-learning design and evaluation, instructional design, and problem-based learning. He has published papers in Computers & Education, and Educational Technology & Society.

~ All are welcome ~
For enquiry, please contact the Office of Research at 2857 8254.

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