Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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

 

Inter-professional team-based learning (IPTBL) is an innovative teaching approach initiated by the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine in the University of Hong Kong (HKU). It is a pioneering effort to promote peer-to-peer learning and inter-professional education across healthcare disciplines using team-based learning (TBL), flipped learning and e-learning. First piloted in 2016, the initiative engaged 500+ students across 7 programmes from HKU and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Based on the feedback collected, the event was further scaled out in 2017, serving more than 1,000 students (and as many as 501 students in one particular session) from 12 programmes from the two universities.

In this large-scale flipped classroom implementation, we have demonstrated the following attributes:

  • Implementation of an entirely new mode of teaching, pushing teachers and students to step out of their comfort zone;
  • Use of technologies to facilitate teacher-student/student-student interactions; and
  • Effective collaboration among teaching units and teaching-support units.

The event served more than 1,000 students (and as many as 501 students in one particular session) from 12 programmes from the two universities.

We are happy to share that the initiative has been recognized locally and internationally. In 2016, the IPTBL team won the Bronze Discipline Award (Life Sciences) in the prestigious QS Stars-Wharton Reimagine Education Awards. Taking one step further in 2017, we had been shortlisted for the HKU Professional Services Awards 2017 (Team category), an annual award programme at the University level to recognise and promote excellence in professional services. We would like to express our gratitude to the University, our colleagues and students for their support, without which our work would not have been possible.

Raising Standards of Classwork Activities

The motivation behind implementing this initiative is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning by pushing both teachers and students out of their comfort zone.

Facilitating teachers to step out of their comfort zone

Traditionally, many teachers tend to focus on their own discipline in teaching or even a particular topic when delivering a lecture. In the case of IPTBL, all members of the teaching team stepped out of their disciplinary silos and collaborated with teachers from different disciplines and institutions.

Facilitating students to step out of their comfort zone

Many health professional graduates in the work field found it difficult to communicate with their colleagues with different backgrounds, as they mainly received training with students from the same discipline in university. In IPTBL, students from multiple disciplines were grouped in ways that reflected the realities of the healthcare sector. This created ample opportunities for them to develop communication and collaboration skills essential for their future career.

Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Technology

Since a large number of students were involved in each session, an online learning platform and a peer evaluation system were developed to facilitate teacher-student and student-student interactions.

Facilitating teacher-student interactions

It is not easy for teachers to engage hundreds of students and monitor their progress simultaneously in face-to-face sessions. To facilitate teachers in managing the class, an online Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) was introduced. In class, students needed to log-in the system and answer questions individually and in teams. The system allowed teachers to track their real-time progress through the different stages of TBL. This system also made it easier for teachers to decide on which groups to interview in the interactive feedback session.

The Learning Activity Management System (LAMS)

Facilitating student-student interactions

A peer evaluation system was developed to enable students to deliver real-time feedback to their teammates for timely self-reflection. The system also came with an online discussion forum to facilitate student interactions after class.

Overcoming Challenges in Implementing Large-Scale Classroom Activities

Careful scheduling

As IPTBL involved teachers and students from multiple departments and universities, careful scheduling of each session was necessary. To accommodate all parties’ schedules, all six sessions were held on Saturday mornings.

Briefing sessions

With a large number of students and teachers from various disciplines involved, it was essential to ensure all necessary operation details were effectively communicated to all parties. To overcome this challenge, the team conducted multiple briefing sessions in both universities, not only with teachers, but also with students. In the briefing sessions, the importance of IPTBL, the session formats and rundown were explained in great details.

Creating an environment suitable for large-scale in-class activities

As it was necessary to accommodate a large number of students in each session, the team chose the Centennial Campus Lecture Hall II as the core learning space as it is a large flat area with mobile chairs and strong WiFi connectivity. Standard large lecture halls such as Grand Hall or Rayson Huang Theatre were not chosen as they might not be suitable for large-scale group discussion, both online and offline. Since the halls are not flat and the chairs are not movable, it will be difficult for students to move around and work in groups. It may also be difficult for teachers and students to communicate online as the WiFi connectivity in these halls are relatively weak.

As the number of students varied in each session, floor plans were drawn for each session to ensure that all students enjoyed the best learning environment. In the actual implementation, balloons with group numbers were attached to each group so that teachers and students could quickly locate individual teams.

Balloons with group numbers were attached to each group so that teachers and students could quickly locate individual teams.

Collaborations with teaching-support units

Logistics of setting up a suitable environment for large-scale group discussions can be complicated. Reconfiguring the Centennial Campus Lecture Hall II for the IPTBL initiative is particularly challenging, as the hall is usually partitioned into four standard classrooms. Transforming this learning space requires partitions to be lifted up and chairs to be reorganized – a process that would take several hours to complete. As the sessions were held on Saturday mornings, when most HKU offices were closed, the team had to liaise with parties such as Examinations Office and Estates Office to arrange for earlier set up of the venue on the night before.

Each session required materials such as reception tables, refreshments and backup paper tests (in case the online learning system failed to function properly). As most HKU offices were closed on Saturday, transportation of materials was a major challenge to overcome. Extra efforts were made to ensure logistics concerns were addressed – All the materials needed were transported from HKU Medical Campus to Main Campus on the night before. With the assistance from units such as Information Technology Services (ITS) and Learning Environment Services (LES), storage areas were made available.

Multiple rehearsals

To ensure the smooth running of the event, multiple rehearsals had been conducted. With limited time available for each IPTBL session (only 4 hours each) and a tight schedule, time management was crucial to ensure students went through the complete TBL process. Intensive rehearsals and prior testing of the online learning system were necessary to minimize technical problems and possible delays in the actual implementation.

Looking Forward

The IPTBL programme had grown continuously from 2016 to 2017. In the future, the course team aims to continuously improve the online learning platform to provide more informative feedback to both the facilitators and students.

If you are interested in using technology in class or experimenting with new ways of teaching, contact us.

Jointly organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) and Division of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture

Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium banner

Details of the event:

Date : 10 April, 2018 (Tues)
Time : 12:45pm – 2:00pm
Venue : Room 622, 6/F, Knowles Building
Speaker: Mr. Mathew Pryor, Associate Professor (Teaching), Faculty of Architecture

Download PowerPoint slides

Abstract

Student engagement – “the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education.” (From the ‘Glossary of Education Reform’, Great Schools Partnership, http://edglossary.org/student-engagement/)

Persistent low levels of student engagement in his Common Core course CCHU9001 inspired Mathew to re-design the course using a flipped classroom approach, in which students participate in both pre-class and in-class learning activities. Overall student response was highly positive, with students feeling that they had been ‘activated’ and considered that their time had been invested in a worthwhile educational experience.


In this seminar, Mathew looks at the determinants of student engagement in both pre-class and in-class settings and reflects on how learning activities might be designed to promote engagement.

*A light lunch will be provided.

For enquiries, please direct your messages to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

This blog post is part of the ‘Flipped Classroom Professional Development Series’.

A flipped classroom constitutes of two components – learning online and learning in face-to-face (F2F) sessions. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps and considerations in preparing in-class activities, especially group activities, in a flipped class, with reference to ideas from academic literature. We will also introduce good practices of in-class activity design shared by practitioners in the Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices.

The Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices on December 6, 2017

The steps to preparing in-class activities are as follows:

  1. Designing the activities
  2. Setting up the activities:
    1. How to form groups
    2. Preparation before class
    3. What should be done in class
    4. Useful tools to support the activities
    5. How to set up infrastructure to support the activities

Step 1: Designing in-class activities
Throughout your 13-week course, it is ideal to blend different modes of learning and include diversified in-class activities to constantly stimulate your students. Here are some examples of in-class activity design shared by our practitioners:

  1. In-class collaborative writing – a case shared by the Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES)
    • In the pre-class stage, students have to access readings on Moodle, process the text, and make thorough notes on the readings.
    • In the in-class stage, the instructors will look for proof of notes. Only students with notes will be allowed to participate in the in-class activities. They will form groups of 3 or 4 and collaboratively draft a 300-500 word text based on the readings. They will have one hour of lesson-time to discuss how to produce the text.
  2. Weekly mass workshop sessions – a case in Mr. Mathew Pryor’s CCHU9001 Designs on the Future
    • In the pre-class stage, students need to watch a series of online videos.
    • In the in-class stage, students are expected to apply the content of online videos in problem-based activities and produce textual and visual responses. Examples of activities include:
      • Student-led discussions: Students are prompted to think about sustainability issues when given scenarios, or when given a role to emulate different stakeholders’ view on the same issue. They are sometimes instructed to research on cases at home and bring it to class, then discuss with their peers to identify common themes or make a collective argument.
      • Video making: Students provide individual and group response on their views on sustainability topics in form of a short documentary-like video. They are expected to pick up skills of basic storyboarding and cinematography, guided by mock exercises before producing graded work.
      • Gallery review and presentation: Students are invited to stick their coursework on walls, walk around, look at each other’s work and vote.

    A gallery review of infographics designed by students.

    • Features of Mr. Pryor’s activities:
      • Short (20 mins max): This is to ensure that there is a constant, strong dynamic in class.
      • Physically dynamic: Activities are designed in a way that require students to keep moving, post things on the board, and interact with their peers.
      • Many activities and output are internet-based. For example, in one activity, students are asked to sort a pile of words into categories based on a scenario prompt, take a photo of their sorting and upload it to an online forum. They will then compare their work in classroom discussions. Sometimes, students’ coursework will be posted online anonymously to encourage peer learning and discussion.

      Mr. Pryor prompts students to post a photo of their sorting activity results online, and immediately discusses with the whole class.

  3. Advanced negotiations simulation – an activity designed by Dr. Courtney Fung, Faculty of Social Sciences, for teaching International Relations
    • In this activity, students are expected to simulate real-world political negotiations. Individual groups assume roles of different nations, construct arguments from the perspectives of antagonizing stakeholders, and understand the constraints of international politics.
    • Features of this activity:
      • Problem-based: The materials selected for the students in the course are ongoing real-world crises, such as the North Korean nuclear dilemma, and UN’s intervention in the South Sudan famine.
      • The activity design ensures all students have a role to play in class.
    • Dr. Fung’s received the HKU Early Career Teaching Award in 2016 for her success in teaching. Learn more about her teaching approach here: video, PDF (Pg 26).

By designing activities of different nature, we can ensure students receive multiple stimulus and varied learning experience throughout the course.

 

Step 2: Setting up the activities

  1. How to form a group (group-size, group roles)
    How do you group students in in-class activities? What is the optimal group size? These questions may be difficult for many.If there are too many students in one group, some unmotivated ones may free-ride, piggy-back on groupmates’ effort and make minimal contribution; while a group too small would make the workload of individual students too heavy. The group size is critical in the design of in-class activities.

    While there is no “magic number” regarding group size in designing activities, it is optimal for students’ learning if there are fewer than 6 in a group, according to Mr. Patrick Desloge from CAES and Mr. Pryor. In CAES’ course, students form groups of 3 or 4 during collaborative writing activities. In Mr. Pryor’s weekly workshops, he arranges students into small, mixed groups – 3 in one group, 6 in one table.3 in a group allows room for each student to contribute their ideas without overburdening them.

    The rule of thumb is that we need to make sure each student in the group has his or her distinct role and own task(s) in the activity. This arrangement ensures that all group members are actively engaged and have their own contributions to make. Students will not be idle and bored, hence minimizing the chance of free-riding. Moreover, the workload for all students will be more balanced. It is also ideal to arrange students with different cultural or academic backgrounds into groups, giving them a chance to learn from each other.

    Apart from allocating roles and tasks for members within a group, teachers can also assign specific roles and tasks to individual groups. For instance, in  Dr. Fung’s negotiations simulation exercise, all students are assigned into group teams. Each group assumes the role of a particular nation. Within each group, students identify individual roles. As all students have a role to play, they can make unique contributions to the discussion.

  2. Preparation before class
    Learning aids
    Apart from forming groups, what should teachers do before class? Most of the speakers prepared learning materials such as worksheets to be used in class. This is to check and reinforce students’ understanding of content delivered in pre-class materials, support in-class activities, and improve students’ engagement during class. In worksheet design, most of the presenters chose to use problem-oriented or case-based content to structure the materials. These worksheets can also be used after class as homework.

    Reminders before class
    Another preparation that needs to be done in advance is to send out reminders to students to go through the pre-class materials in preparation for the in-class activities. Check out this article for more tips on how to prompt students to prepare for class.

  3. What should be done in class?
    The basic structure of in-class activities usually involves three stages:

    1. The input stage, where teachers brief students of the background information,
    2. The processing stage, where students process information and construct ideas, and
    3. The output stage, where students present their work and obtain feedback.
    1. Briefing
      Teachers should introduce the topic and provide background information of the learning activities through a short briefing. In Dr. Fung’s negotiations simulation activity, all students receive a one-page brief and a 10-minute presentation by Dr. Fung on the background of the scenario before they start working on their tasks.
    2. Building ideas
      After the briefing stage, students should be ready to process the information, explore the topic and generate ideas, in groups or individually. Examples of activities are case analysis, brainstorming, discussion, peer teaching, co-writing, and co-creating projects. This part should be led by students themselves, with teachers acting as facilitators and/or monitors. Teachers should take an active role in communicating with students from time to time, in order to provide timely support and suggestions.
    3. Dr. William Man Yin Cheung, Faculty of Science, offering support to students in group discussions.

    4. Presentation and feedback
      Lastly, students are encouraged to present their work for feedback and suggestions from peers and teachers. The presentation can be conducted in class or online. The following are some examples showcased in the symposium:

      • In Mr. Pryor’s course, students post their work on walls, transforming the classroom into a gallery. Students responded positively towards this approach – they enjoyed this activity as they were inspired by others’ work in an intuitive way.


      Reading each other’s work and commenting using post-its and stickers.

      • Professor Ricky Kwok suggested that game elements can be included in this stage to excite students, such as competition among groups as “that is where learning happens”. Find out how students learn in Professor Kwok’s class in this video: https://youtu.be/pm-W_0f-bkE
      • Check also this article on the 4Cs principles proposed by Professor Kwok in creating engaging in-class activities.
  4. Tools to facilitate in-class group activities
    Our speakers recommended the following online tools to facilitate cooperation and collaboration among learners, as well as communication between teachers and students:

    • Google Docs or Google Drive: In CAES’ in-class collaborative writing activity, students co-compose their work using Google Doc. This tool allows several students to work together simultaneously and to share individual input with teammates in real time.In Mr. Pryor’s course, Google Drive folders and Google Docs are created as portfolios for each group. Students are instructed to post their coursework using these tools. This practice allows students to review their peers’ work conveniently on one single platform and give honest feedback to each other.
    • Mentimeter: This is an easy-to-use, visual tool useful for assessment and presenting results. For example, it allows teachers to set Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and students to respond using their mobile devices. The results of students’ choices will be shown to teachers immediately, so that teachers can know students’ understanding of the learning contents and offer timely support and clarification. Teachers can also choose to display students’ choices in real time to the whole class, prompting further discussions based on the presentation.

    Mentimeter
    Using Mentimeter in a large scale flipped class.

  5. Setting up infrastructure to support in-class group activities
    Most presenters in the symposium, including Professor Kwok, Dr. Fung, Mr. Pryor, Dr. Ming-Yen Ng, Dr. Michael Botelho and Professor Rick Glofcheski mentioned that the physical setting of the classroom is essential in providing a better flipped classroom experience for students. An ideal setting would be a cafe-style classroom, i.e., a flat classroom with movable furniture, and the classroom should also be adaptable for a workshop format. As there are a lot of group activities in a flipped class, such a setting allow greater flexibility in grouping students. Also, seat arrangement planned in advance is greatly helpful for classes with a large number of students, as in Professor Glofcheski’s flipped Tort Law classroom with more than 200 students.

These are just some of the many possibilities of what you can do in class. Be creative and design your very own in-class activities. Contact us if you are interested in bringing technology into your classroom.

In the next blog post, we will discuss how to evaluate the effectiveness of your flipped class.

This blog post is part of the ‘Flipped Classroom Professional Development Series’.

For a flipped class to work, it is essential for students to prepare before class. Unfortunately, some teachers reported that some students did not prepare for class as instructed, no matter how much effort they made in designing pre-class activities. This lack of engagement can usually be attributed to (1) students’ resistance to flipping, a non-conventional style of teaching, and (2) their lack of motivation to prepare for class. To overcome these challenges, various solutions were proposed by practitioners in the Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices on December 6, 2017.

The challenges of engaging students with the pre-class activities

  1. Students’ resistance to the new form of learning: Many students in Hong Kong are used to learning in conventional lectures. In traditional lectures, it is often possible for students to sit through a class without prior preparation. Therefore, the pre-class learning which is mandated in a flipped class may seem like an extra burden for some students. In extreme cases, some students even formulated a mistaken impression that the teaching staff who use flipped approach are for “not doing their job”, according to Professor Rick Glofcheski from the Department of Law, one of HKU’s flipped classroom pioneers.
  2. Students’ lack of motivation to complete pre-class activities: There are many possible reasons behind, for example:
    1. Lack of assessments in-class to check whether students have done preparations;
    2. Unclear connections between pre-class and in-class activities;
    3. Repetition of pre-class materials in class.

A lack of engagement with the pre-class activities results in varied student preparedness, which greatly affects the flow of planned in-class activities. It is essential to ensure students understand the basic knowledge, without which class work and interaction with peers would be less meaningful. We have come up with a list of possible solutions to counteract these challenges and to ensure students prepare for a class.

How to minimize students’ resistance to this new mode of teaching?
As shared by Professor Glofcheski, the first step is to “consult the students with the model.” In particular,

  1. Let your students know why you use flipped classroom approach;
  2. “Explain it in terms of the outcomes, not only how this will help them achieve success in assessment, but also how this is relevant and aligned perfectly to what is needed in the future”;
  3. Explain the importance of taking ownership of their learning.

“For this to work, you have to consult the students with the model. Let them have input and they agree to go with this,” says Professor Rick Glofcheski.

Before your flipped class sets sail, make sure your students are all on board with the new learning approach, and are well informed with the expectations for them to paddle with you.

Mr. Sam Cole from the Centre for Applied English Studies also suggested that teachers need to explicitly tell students about the consequence of not preparing for class, as this will severely hinder the learning progress of those who have prepared. In Mr. Cole’s classes, students who have not prepared their notes as expected will be “separated” from their peers. “[They] won’t be collaborating with others, and … won’t benefit from that collaboration.”

How to motivate students to complete pre-class activities?

  • Create incentives for pre-class preparations. In Professor Ricky Kwok’s class, CCST9003 Everyday Computing and the Internet, the pre-class lecture videos are followed by knowledge check quizzes, which contribute to a small proportion (say 10%) of the final course grade. By using these formative assessments, students are not only incentivized to prepare for class, but also presented with the opportunity to test their own understanding of the video lecture content.
  • Use peer pressure. Mr Mathew Pryor said that peer pressure is a powerful tool to ensure online participation. To motivate students to watch videos before class, he arranged students to “work in small groups and … lead discussions based on the videos.” Students may feel embarrassed if they did not complete the pre-class work that are required to accomplish in-class activities through collaborating with their group mates.
  • Utilize video analytics. On top of the number of students having watched the videos, video analytics can give teachers important information about student behaviour while watching the videos. For example, sections of a clip that records a significantly higher number of viewing reflects points of interest or confusion. Teachers can then follow up with students in class to identify the reasons behind and provide further clarification when necessary. This shows students that the teacher monitors their pre-class activities. When students see the connection between pre-class and in-class learning, they would feel more motivated to prepare for future classes. To learn more about video analytics, check out this article: Data-assisted instructional video revision via course-level exploratory video retention analysis (Lei et al., 2017).

Key underlying strategies for designing pre-class activities

  • Constructive alignment. It is essential to have a holistic planning to align the pre-class activities with face-to-face in-class activities, the assessment and learning outcomes. So that students would appreciate and adapt to self-learning and preparation before class (Wang, Su, Cheung, Wong & Kwong, 2013). One way to achieve this is to design in-class activities that require students to apply the content they have learnt from the video. This will create a washback effect that motivates students to complete the pre-class work beforehand. If students do not see how the activities are linked to or could help them to complete the in-class activities and assessment, they would be less motivated to prepare for class. If you are interested in further exploring the concept of constructive assignment and student preparation, check out the following video and our free online course University Teaching.

  • Create and implement a mechanism to assess students’ understanding when they interact with online learning materials. Always follow up with students’ online responses and check their learning progress in class to consider if further review or explanation is required for the whole class or individuals. Students are less motivated if they know that teachers do not check their pre-class preparation work.
  • When designing the pre-class activities, be realistic about what students can learn on their own, and also be considerate about the time and effort that students need to complete the work.

One step further

Interested in learning more about the topic? Here is a perfect opportunity for you to dig deeper and discuss with fellow teachers and researchers – On February 28, 2018, Dr Lily Min Zeng will talk about how to engage students in the pre-class preparation for flipped classroom and potential options from adaptive learning in a seminar organized by the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Dr Zeng is also running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled University Teaching. New sessions start every month. Don’t miss!

Got more ideas to share? Contact us.

Further reading

Wang, X., Su, Y., Cheung, S., Wong, E., & Kwong, T. (2013). An exploration of Biggs’ constructive alignment in course design and its impact on students’ learning approaches. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(4), 477-491.

If you are interested in learning more about Professor Rick Glofcheski and his experience in flipping, check out these two articles:

  1. Flipping the Classroom (HKU Bulletin, May 2016, Volume 17, No. 2.)
  2. EdTech Flips Out: The developing needs of students are at the centre of the expanding flipped learning model (Education Technology, Issue 30, Aug-Sept 2017)

fc_AGMTLC_.jpg

New tech gadgets enable us to teach better. By using GoPro cameras, Google Glass and the Lightboard, Mr Fun Man FUNG from the National University of Singapore (NUS) transformed his Chemistry course into an exciting blended learning experience. As an enthusiastic instructor and a member at the Institute for Application of Learning Science and Educational Technology (ALSET) at NUS, Fun Man constantly experiments with different educational technology. He shared his successful pedagogies in a seminar entitled “Inspiring and Innovating with Technology-Enabled Blending Learning Experience (TEBLE)” on January 25, 2018.

Filming instructor’s point of view (IPOV) videos using GoPro cameras

One key component of Fun Man’s flipped Chemistry Course is his self-produced lab-instructional videos. These videos demonstrate laboratory experiments step-by-step, and are filmed by the instructor himself using GoPro cameras – one strapped on his chest and another on his forehead. IPOV means first person point of view – You will only see the instructor’s hands, but not the person, on screen. As you watch these videos, you will go through the steps as if you did the experiment yourself. Fun Man borrowed this filming idea from first person perspective video games, and this filming perspective has been proven to be facilitative in learning by research (Green and Bavelier, 2006).

A demo video produced by Fun Man.

IPOV videos are also more realistic and engaging, compared to third person point-of-view videos where the instructor is filmed by a cameraman. Before switching to IPOV videos, Fun Man had a cameraman film him demonstrating laboratory experiments . The videos were staged and scripted, hence less authentic and relatable. The process of filming was also challenging – as the cameraman did not have a background in Chemistry, he did not know what to focus on while filming, and Fun Man had to go through an extra hurdle of giving him filming instructions. It is more straightforward and efficient for Fun Man to film the demonstration himself using GoPro. Thanks to this IPOV technique, the instructional videos became livelier and more authentic. They also served as a useful resource for students to refer to for after-class revision.

The videos were well-received by students. The table below summarizes students’ feedback – all students agreed that the videos improved their confidence and skills in conducting experiments.

Students’ Perception on GoPro Lab

Questions Disagree very much Disagree Agree Agree very much
I find the GoPro video on experimentals enhanced my learning. 0 0 8 (38%) 13 (62%)
I am eager to try the experiments after watching the videos. 0 0 11 (52%) 10 (48%)
I would have preferred to enter the laboratory without watching any video demonstrations. 14 (67%) 7 (33%) 0 0
The GoPro videos improves my confidence in conducting the experiments on the actual day. 0 0 11 (52%) 10 (48%)
The GoPro videos improves my ability to operate the instruments and machine in the actual lab. 0 0 11 (52%) 10 (48%)
Overall, GoPro lab teaching is more effective than direct instructions from the lab manual. 0 1 (5%) 9 (43%) 11 (52%)

A few tips from Fun Man when using GoPro:

  1. The major challenge of using GoPro is movement and camera shake. Some footage may be blurred as a result, or the camera focus may not be what you intended. To minimize camera shake, you need to move very slowly during filming and have a sense of physical awareness. You may also need to spend more time editing your footage.
  2. Footages filmed by cameras mounted on different parts of the body are good for different purposes – “GoPro mounted on forehead gives better capture for lab demonstration,” but the view is shakier. “GoPro mounted on chest is excellent for tutorial capture,” except in a dim classroom.
  3. One limitation of GoPro is that it is mainly designed for outdoor filming. So the quality of indoor footages may not be as satisfactory as outdoor ones.

Live-streaming IPOV video using Google Glass

In addition to GoPro, Fun Man also uses Google Glass to conduct live demonstrations in class. The aim is to offer consistent teaching to all students within the same lab group.

Live-streaming IPOV videos using Google Glass.

Google Glass. (Image credit: Mr Fung Fun Man)

Conducting live demonstrations facilitate learning by:

  1. Allowing all students to observe the demonstration setup clearly, without being blocked by taller classmates. This also enables more students to observe in case of large classes, as students at the outer edge of a large huddle may experience difficulty in seeing the demonstration clearly.
  2. Addressing students’ common questions and offering early support to all of them: In the lab sessions, students work in groups and Fun Man walks around to respond to their questions. It is not uncommon for multiple groups to have the same questions. While the teacher is willing to respond to individual groups repeatedly, he can at most interact with one group at a time. The last group Fun Man attended to will obtain help way later than their peers. By live-streaming through Google Glass, students’ common questions can be addressed at the same time.
  3. Stimulating students to think about previously unconsidered points and/or raise more questions. This creates a constructive platform for both students and teachers to build knowledge upon each other’s ideas.
  4. Raising students’ confidence and interest while working.

Having discovered the usefulness of Google Glass, Fun Man further suggests that it could be explored in real-time teaching for distance learning curricula.

Producing DIY videos using Lightboard

Apart from pre-lab videos, Fun Man also produced talking head videos for his flipped class using Lightboard. Lightboard allows teachers to write down notes and diagrams on a glass board before them, while maintaining natural eye contact with the audience. Fun Man believes that this is a dynamic and engaging way to convey knowledge. It is also a very convenient way to produce videos as there is no need for post-video processing. All you need to do is to simply teach in front of the camera and upload the recording.

The only minor problem with Lightboard is an inversion of your hand gesture since the video is a mirror image. For example, when you explain a clockwise movement with your hand movement, it will appear as anti-clockwise in the video.

Despite this minor drawback, Lightboard videos were popular among students in the 2016/17 cohort and “resulted in a significant improvement in overall student performance”, compared to students in the 2015/16 cohort who did not learnt through Lightboard videos, comments Fun Man. Students who learnt using Lightboard videos achieved higher Average Grade Point. More students managed to reach A-grade standards, and fewer failed. They also commented more positively on the module and teacher effectiveness than their peers in the previous cohort.

AY15/16(Without Lightboard videos) AY16/17(With Lightboard videos)
Enrolment size 641 456
Average Grade Point 3.51 (sd=1.1) 3.85 (sd=0.86)
Students in Band 1 (A+/A/A-) 26.05% 29.17%
Failures (D+/D/F) 7.96% 2.85%
Overall opinion of the Module 3.586 (response rate = 76%) 3.8 (response rate = 90%)
Overall effectiveness of the teacher 4.225 4.3

Listening to Fun Man sharing his experience and practical tips in using various filming devices was very rewarding. We would like to express our gratitude to him for inspiring us to further explore the ways to enrich students’ blended learning experience with technology.

If you are interested in using technology in class, or simply want to try using GoPro or new gadgets, contact us.

Further reading

  1. Learn more about Fun Man’s work from his Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
  2. If you are eager to dig deeper into how he uses GoPro, Google Glass and the Lightboard, check out his publications below:
    • Fung, F. M. (2015). Using first-person perspective filming techniques for a Chemistry laboratory demonstration to facilitate a flipped pre-lab. J. Chem. Educ., 92 (9), 1518-1521. [Link]
    • Fung, F. M. (2016). Explore technology-enhanced learning using Google Glass to offer students a unique instructor’s point of view live laboratory demonstration. J. Chem. Educ., 93 (12), 2117-2122. [Link]
    • Fung, F. M. (2017). Adopting Lightboard for a Chemistry flipped classroom to improve technology-enhanced videos for better learner engagement. J. Chem. Educ., 94 (7), pp. 956-959. [Link]
  3. Dr. Rachel Lui, Faculty of Science, also uses the Lightboard in teaching Mathematics. Check out her example here.
  4. Fung Fun Man (2016). Seeing through my lenses: A GoPro approach to teach a laboratory module. Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 99-115. [Link]

fc_AGMTLC_.jpg

This blog post is part of the ‘Flipped Classroom Professional Development Series’.

Successful lessons begin with intentional, detailed, and pedagogy-embedded planning. In designing your flipped class, it is important to think from students’ perspectives right from the planning stage. This is to ensure they feel prepared for engaging in an active flipped classroom. In the Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices on December 6, 2017, practitioners from multiple disciplines in HKU shared their very own experience in designing pre-class activities. This blog post is a toolbox of effective pre-class activities and useful tips in planning a flipped class.

Benefits of Pre-class Preparation by Students
One of the key dimensions of flipped learning is the preparation students need to do before class in readiness for deeper exploration of the subject content and application of their knowledge and skills in class. This is the essential stage for students to acquire foundational knowledge.

Yaya, a Year 5 medical student points out that, “If you do sit down and watch the video and you go to the flipped classroom, it’s very rewarding because you know you can apply the knowledge. And when you can answer the questions, you know I’ve grasped some of the key knowledge.”

One major benefit shared by the teachers at the symposium is the availability of pre-class resources and activities on the online platform that allow students to personalise learning. Students can access the content anywhere, anytime, and can study it at their own pace. They have the control and flexibility of when and how the learning materials are used to suit their learning styles. This mode of learning gives them an opportunity to learn to take the ownership of learning.

Furthermore, as students acquire the foundational knowledge before class, more class time can be devoted to interactive activities that requires actual application of knowledge and higher-order thinking skills. It allows more time for student-teacher as well as student-student interactions, which students and teachers greatly appreciated. Freeing up class time enabled teachers to go beyond fundamental concepts, run collaborative group activities and prompt discussions.

“It takes time in class to explain the abstract concepts to students There was no room for them to ask questions and to talk about what they understand… It can now be more flexible because students take their own time and complete it [pre-class activities] at their own pace and then in class there is real discussion happening. We focus on what students don’t understand from the packages [pre-class activities],” says Ms. Heidy Wong, Assistant Lecturer, Centre for Applied English Studies (CAES).

Recommended Pre-class Elements: What to Prepare
Online learning platform

  • Create / Provide an online learning platform where students can have access to all learning materials. You may choose to use Moodle, a platform which has been adopted by most teachers in HKU. An alternative is Open edX, a newer, more flexible platform for blended learning, where teachers can host a wide range of file types, including videos, polls, and even code their own plugins to suit their teaching needs.
  • Maximize student interaction by embedding a tool or component to the platform that promotes multiple ways communication, either synchronised or real-time, such as a discussion forum. This encourages all students to share their thoughts and ask questions about the pre-class learning materials and activities. It also gets everyone involved in knowledge-building and cultivates a sense of belonging among students in the online community.
  • Go through the online platform with the students and teach them how to use the resources. Some students may need the demonstration on how to find and use the materials as they will need to adapt their learning strategies.

Pre-class videos
Flipped learning is often associated with the use of pre-class video as they can motivate students to learn and help them build their conceptual understanding (Long, Logan & Waugh, 2014). At the symposium, most teachers have used videos as the main vehicle to deliver course content before class.

  • Condense lecture content into short videos. Shorter videos are much more engaging than long explanatory videos (Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014). In Mr. Mathew Pryor’s experience, he redesigned his original 90 mins lecture down to two 8-10 mins videos for his course, CCHU9001 Designs on the Future. He commented that it is a “valuable instructional design exercise”.
  • When speaking in the video, be concise, animated and enthusiastic (Guo et al., 2014). Along with meaningful audiovisual aids, this keeps students interested and focused while watching.
  • Use different types of videos (e.g., talking head, learning glass, whiteboard and tutorial demonstration videos) and integrate the videos with graphics and animations.
  • Add interactive components and knowledge checkpoints to the videos. Various forms of knowledge check questions can be embedded at the end or at any point of the videos. This increases students’ attention span and provides better engagement (Santiago, Kasley, Guo & Phillips, 2017). Examples of interactive components introduced in the symposium include:
    • The SCORM package: Introduced by Mr. Sam Cole, Ms. Heidy Wong and Mr. Patrick Desloge from CAES, SCORM is an interactive online package which allows teachers to embed questions around the video. The short quizzes with instant feedback provide students with formative self-evaluation for their understanding of the content and learning progress.

The SCORM package for formative self-evaluation.

  • Video commenting tool: Dr. Michael Botelho from the Faculty of Dentistry and Mr. Mathew Pryor are developing a video commenting tool where students can add reaction tags and textual comments directly at specific points of the video, which the teacher and fellow students can respond to. This also maximizes the learning experience by allowing students to share their opinions and ideas as they prepare for class, socializing the online pre-class stage.

Other online learning resources
While videos can be a useful resource, it is not the only way of engaging students in pre-class learning. Think about how best to engage your students before coming to class. It may involve using different digital media and activities, but the focus should always be on what the student needs to learn and not on what media to use.

  • Provide relevant and authentic reading materials. Besides getting students to read sections from the textbook, the teachers found that authentic reading materials (e.g., news articles, websites, blogs) can help students to better understand the topics and relate to their everyday life.
  • Look for open-source educational resources. Some examples include documentaries, infographics, websites, blogs, news clips, journal articles, Khan Academy videos, Youtube trending clips, movies and TV clips. Teachers can customise and integrate them into their curriculum, which help to widen students’ perspectives and enhance their learning experience.
  • Utilise and integrate specific technologies (e.g. Kahoot!, Google forms, Google docs, mind maps) to engage students and create a cohesive learning experience.

Examples of Pre-class Activities
Below are some examples of pre-class activities that our teachers employed in their courses or planned on implementing.

  • Initiate short discussion before class. This can arouse student interest on the topics as they prepare for further discussion in class, which encourages deep learning and helps students work towards mastery of the content.
  • Get students to submit online polls and surveys. Not only can interesting pre-class polls and surveys arouse students interest for the content, but they also help the teacher to assess students’ understanding and gauge their perspectives of the topics.
  • Design pre-class activities that require students to collaborate in groups before class. This encourages students to help each other to understand the materials and start building knowledge upon one another’s ideas.
  • Ask students to do preliminary research or analysis for acquiring the basic knowledge of certain topics. Teacher can then dive into activities that develop higher order thinking for specific topics in class. Students may read different materials or do research on different assigned topics. Then they can share their findings in class with other students in small groups.

For a flipped classroom to work, both teachers and students have their part to play in the pre-class stage. Teachers need to plan pre-class activities carefully, and students need to make preparation accordingly.

In the upcoming blog post, we will share strategies as to how to ensure students prepare for class.

Reference
Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos. In Proceedings of the first ACM conference on Learning@ scale conference (pp. 41-50). ACM.

Long, T., Logan, J., & Waugh, M. (2014). Students’ perceptions of pre-class instructional video in the flipped classroom model: A survey study. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 920-927). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Santiago Jr, J. M., Guo, J., Eng, D., Kasley, K., & Phillips, P. (2017, April). Introduction to Engineering Using Google Docs and Interactive Video in Support of an Online Flipped Classroom Approach. In 2017 ASEE Pacific Southwest Conference, Tempe, Arizona.

fc_AGMTLC_.jpg

This blog post is part of the ‘Flipped Classroom Professional Development Series’.

Flipped classroom encourages deep learning. In today’s fast-paced world, students are confronted by an increasingly complex and uncertain future. How are we going to prepare them for these challenges? Flipped classroom might be the key.

What is ideal learning like? We may have different ideas in mind, but some key aspects of learning better include improving efficiency, effectiveness, quality, and perhaps satisfaction. One of our endeavours to ameliorate our ways of learning and teaching is employing the flipped classroom approach. “At HKU, flipping the classroom has been a grassroot movement of T&L change,” said Professor Ian Holliday in the Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices on December 6, 2017. In this blog post series, we will introduce key concepts of flipping with real cases in HKU.

IMG_0711.jpgThe Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium – Sharing of Pedagogies and Practices, December 6, 2017.

What is Flipped Classroom?
Flipped classroom is “the practice of assigning lectures outside of class and devoting class time to a variety of learning activities,” (DeLozier & Rhodes, 2017, p. 141). Students take an active role in exploring new ideas, investigating complicated cases, constructing arguments, solving real-life problems, and creating a synergetic learning community with fellow learners. In a flipped class, “[students] are no longer recipients of just passive learning, but active shapers of their own learning and problem solvers in the class,” said Professor Holliday.

Flipping in HKU: A Grassroot Movement of T&L Change
In HKU, flipping the classroom has been a grassroot movement jointly initiated by practitioners in a wide range of disciplines. These pioneers showcased their fruits of their endeavours at the Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium, with more than 200 teaching staff and researchers from various faculties and institutions attending. In particular, they shared the highlights of their courses, and discussed the effectiveness as well as scalability of the pedagogies used. Students benefiting from flipped learning also shared their views in the discussion panel.

The Symposium at a Glance

  • Welcome Speech
    Professor Ian Holliday, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning)
  • What is Flipped Classroom and Why We Flip it?
    Dr. Lily Zheng, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
  • Classroom Flipping in CAES
    Ms. Heidy Wong (Assistant Lecturer), Mr. Sam Cole (Senior Lecturer) and Mr. Patrick Desloge (Senior Lecturer), Centre for Applied English Studies
  • Flipping a Science Foundation Course – Experience and Challenges
    Dr. Rachel Ka Wai Lui (Lecturer) and Dr. William Man Yin Cheung (Lecturer), Faculty of Science
  • Common Core: New Approach – The (re-)making of CCHU9001 ‘Designs on the Future’
    Mr. Mathew Pryor, Head of Division of Landscape Architecture, Associate Professor (Teaching), Faculty of Architecture
  • Flipping a Classroom like Solving a Rubik’s Cube
    Professor Ricky Y.K. Kwok (Associate Vice-President (Teaching & Learning)) and Ms. Andrea Qi (Honorary Lecturer), Faculty of Engineering
  • Flipped Classroom – Chest Pain
    Dr. Ming-Yen Ng, Clinical Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine
  • Advanced Negotiations Simulation
    Dr. Courtney Fung, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Flipping a Dental Classroom
    Dr. Michael Botelho, Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry
  • Flipping a Large Class with Authentic Materials
    Professor Rick Glofcheski, Professor, Faculty of Law
  • Student Panel
  • Discussant Panel
    All speakers

Discussant panel

  • Closing Remarks
    Dr. Susan Bridges, Assistant Dean (Curriculum Innovation), Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

Flipped Classroom and Deep Learning
Flipped classroom encourages deep learning, in contrast to surface approaches – a recurring theme in all presentations. In today’s fast-paced world, students are confronted by an increasingly complex and uncertain future. It is our responsibility as educators to prepare them for these challenges. Flipped classroom, an approach that facilitates deep enquiry, helps prepare our students for the future.

Speed, complexities and uncertainties are three major challenges that the current generation faces. In this digital age when information is at an arm’s reach, many students want to obtain more information in a shorter time. However, this convenient access to information may numb the need to deeply engage with the content, causing a shallow acquisition of information and sacrificing quality for quantity.

In a world that is moving increasingly faster, the job market is also rapidly transforming. Despite alternate opportunities emerging, the fast evolution of market trends and new technologies makes the future of the working world less predictable. It will only become more difficult for students to foresee and prepare for the future by the time they graduate.

Critical thinkers and problem solvers, however, will adapt to changes and thrive in every field. Deep learning is the key to help students become good problem solvers. In particular, we should

  1. prompt students to interact with content and engage in deep enquiry
  2. generate ample opportunities for meaningful F2F interactions with peers and the teaching staff.

How can we achieve this? Flipped classroom might be the answer, due to its emphasis on deep learning. Unlike traditional lectures where the professor stands on stage to deliver content, students in a flipped class enjoy substantial opportunities to actively learn through discussing and exploring with their peers and teachers.

“Flipped classroom is reacting to the issues of speed, complexities, and uncertainties in this modern world”, summarizes Dr. Susan Bridges in her closing remarks.

One step further
To further expand the flipped classroom movement within and beyond HKU, we have prepared a series of blog posts summarizing various key aspects of flipped classroom.

An online repository of case documentation, useful resources and research findings will be available soon.

Interested in flipping your class? Contact us.

Reference

  • DeLozier, S. J., & Rhodes, M. G. (2017). Flipped classrooms: A review of key ideas and recommendations for practice. Educational Psychology Review, 29 (1), 141-151. [Link]

Organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Flipped Classroom Learning Symposium banner

Details of the event:

Date : Dec. 6, 2017 (Wednesday)
Time : 9:30am – 1:00pm
Venue : CPD 3.28, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Abstract

Have you ever imagined a class, where students are actively engaged in exploring new ideas, investigating complicated cases, solving real-life problems, and creating new knowledge to challenge conventional thinking? We invite you to witness this vision become a reality by flipping the classroom.

In this half-day symposium, practitioners will share with you the rational, pedagogical strategies, challenges and solutions in adopting the flipped class approach. Together with award-winning teachers, innovative educators, and students who have experienced flipped classrooms, we explore the paths towards effective teaching and learning.

Registration

Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

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