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Are you a prospective university student? Have you thought of what major you want to study in the future? Interest and ability are two key factors to consider in choosing your university major. Yet, how can you really visualize how classes in universities are like just by reading a bunch of colourful prospectus, giving only factual and static information of the courses?

Worry not! Our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) are here to give you a real taste of university courses which will help you make a better informed choice.

HKU is now providing three SPOCs taught by our very own Professors and lecturers:

Now on Offer: Critical Readings of Popular Culture

Registration
Register for this course by sending an email to liuyiqi@hku.hk telling us your English full name, school name, and school level and get a taste of your university life to-be!
The course begins in November. Registration is open until 15 November, 2017.

About the course
This four-module online course is designed to help you take a fresh, critical look at what seems familiar and ordinary. By drawing on various theories and analytical tools, you will become a sharp decoder of hidden messages in entertainment media.

Throughout this course, we will examine the following genres and topics:

  • Commercials: How do producers use film to convey the meaning they want to make?
  • Movies: What is the secret to Hollywood success?
  • TV dramas: Why are Korean TV Dramas so popular?
  • Print advertisements: Did you ever buy something because of an attractive advertisement? Why did you do that?

Assessment criteria for certificates
A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon completing the following tasks:

  1. Attempt all quizzes in the course, and get at least 60% correct.
  2. Participate in discussion forum by posting at least 1 meaningful post.
  3. Submit the final assignment.

A Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to learners who get higher than 80% correct of the quizzes, and receive a Grade A for the final assignment. More details about the final assignment will be introduced during the course.

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Stay tuned for these upcoming SPOCs:

Everyday Computing

Are computers outsmarting human beings? This course will help you to develop a “computational” mindset to analyze and formulate solutions for problems encountered in everyday life. We will investigate into how these problems are related to the Internet and the impact of computing technologies to humankind.
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Journey into Mental Ill-Health

Mental illness is often portrayed by mass media as a threat. This is hardly the complete story. With the use of experiential exercises, case studies, and film viewing, this course will guide you to understand more about mental health issues through reflecting on your daily life and learn to co-inhabit with people with mental illness.
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Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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“[The] place where knowledge formation occurs is right at that edge where you do not know what’s going to happen. If you did, it would just be repetition, it wouldn’t be discovery […] students get very excited at that moment,” said Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Director of Common Core (CC), after Professor Ricky Kwok’s sharing on March 7, 2017 about his experience of flipping the course CCST9003 Everyday Computing and the Internet.

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Last semester, Ricky and his course team began a new teaching and learning experiment. They have developed a series of videos to replace traditional lectures; and delivered 5 game-based workshops for students in their CC class (e.g., solving the Rubik’s cube, defusing bombs in a computer game, and solving encrypted codes). The main driver of the flipped approach was the dissatisfaction with the low energy level observed in lectures. “We (teachers) are just sending out sound waves that nobody cares to receive,” Ricky said.

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Participants of the sharing session had to experience this new way of learning first-hand. Prior to the meet-up, they were asked to watch several video clips on “recursion”, one of the algorithms that Ricky taught in his course. When they came in, they had to “compete” in an online game powered by Kahoot to check their preparedness, followed by a team-based, hands-on activity of solving a recursion problem with lego pieces. While groups of students in the actual CC course need to produce a video on the solution by the end of the two-hour class as a deliverable, our teacher-participants were asked to explain their solution to Teaching Assistants within 10 minutes. Feel the adrenaline? That’s what Ricky meant by “learning begins at the end of your comfort zone”.

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Ricky learnt from his own experience that the 4Cs – credit, collaboration, competition, and co-creation – were important in providing the motivation that students need. Here is his recipe:

Application in CCST9003 Advantage
Credit All classwork activities counted towards students’ final grade. Students had the incentive to participate in the first place.
Collaboration It is one of the criteria in the grading rubrics. Every group member needs to participate and demonstrate collaboration. Creates room for dialogue and peer-to-peer learning; where stronger students are motivated to help weaker students.
Competition Each group competed with the 29 other groups in the class.

Competitive elements, e.g., the fastest and most accurate team wins, students can leave the class once they completed the task.

An essential element to push for and maintain a high energy level, competition is a good motivator for an individual to strive for the better.
Co-creation A video had to be produced on the spot at the end of each class, showing how the solved the problem. Learning by teaching is encouraged; students can have solid take-aways and a sense of satisfaction when leaving the classroom.

“Just enjoy that learning and don’t care about the marks,” one of the CCST9003 students said in the video interview done after the last classwork activity. Perhaps this is great testimony that all the hard work of Ricky and his team paid off at the end.

The Common Core continued to be a sandbox of experimentation of new pedagogies. This semester, Mr. Matthew Pryor is also flipping his CCHU9001 Designs on the Future: Sustainability of the Built Environment.

Last but not least, feel the beat of CCST 9003 through this video.

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Organised by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)

Date : March 7, 2017 (Tuesday)
Time : 12:45pm – 2pm
Venue : Room 321, 3/F, Run Run Shaw Building (Main Campus)
Speakers : Professor Ricky Kwok (Course Co-ordinator and Teacher), Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
Facilitators: Teaching Assistants – Ms. Yuqian Chai, Mr. Xiangyu Hou, Dr. Tyrone Kwok, Dr. Leon Lei (Chief), Mr. Victor Wong; Course Manager – Mr. Donn Gonda
Respondent: Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Director of Common Core Curriculum

Registration

About the sharing:

The Common Core Curriculum Committee granted approval for running CCST 9003 – Everyday Computing and the Internet in the Scientific and Technological Literacy Area of Inquiry – as a Small Private Online Course (SPOC) in the first semester of 2016-17. Traditional in-class lecture materials were replaced by video recordings and other online learning materials, leaving more time for interactions in face-to-face sessions. For those of you who would like to know more about what happened, please sign up for this sharing session. The teacher-in-charge and TAs will show you how the course was re-designed, what in-class activities were used, and perhaps most importantly – the pains and pleasures of running this SPOC.

Please note that participants are required to watch a few short videos and send in some questions before coming to the face-to-face sharing. They will also be given hands-on exercises during the 75-minute session (so, we are serving light refreshment). Come prepared.

Sign up via http://bit.ly/2lEKso3 by March 3, 2017.
Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

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In December last year, we were excited to take over 200 local secondary students on the adventurous trip of our first SPOC – Critical Readings of Popular Culture! In the six-week self-paced course, students planned their learning sequence and schedule by themselves. They watched the required learning units to acquire the knowledge and skills needed, completed knowledge check quizzes to assess their understanding, and submitted their own critical analysis with reference to their own learning experience. More importantly, they were actively sharing their ideas with fellow learners in the discussion forums, supporting each other’s learning experience.

Watching all of these happening, we are proud to say: you are ready for university studies!

The course will launch again in May, with more up to date popular work introduced. Stay tuned with us and establish your critical thinking by viewing day-to-day popular culture works through new perspectives.

In the meantime, don’t miss out on two upcoming SPOCs from HKU: – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing, launching on Mar 1st and 8th respectively.

Get ready for your future study, starting from HKU SPOCs.
Register today!
Eligibility: Enrollment is only open for Secondary School Students.

Everyday Computing

This course aims to describe and explain various computational algorithms (e.g., Recursion, Google Map route finding, etc.). It will also help you in evaluating the pros and cons of computing services. At the end of the course, you will demonstrate your learning through a series of activities that will be held in a face-to-face session. This course will cover topics such as, divide and conquer, graphs, cryptography, and authentication protocols.

Journey into madness

Mental illness is often portrayed by mass media as a threat. But how much do we really know about mental illness? Mental health is fundamental to our overall well-being and influences us far more than we’d like to admit. This course will guide you through the considerations of defining abnormality and challenging the stigma attached to mental disorders. With the use of case studies and video lectures, you will gain a broadened understanding of those who struggle with mental illnesses.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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Everyday Computing aims to teach you how to make informed decisions in this information age. It is expected that everyone needs to have an efficient way to sift through and evaluate the myriads of information that is available through the Internet. The ultimate objective of this course is to help students develop a “computational” state of mind for everyday events. Specifically, the course will enable students to answer the following questions:

  • What daily problems need to be solved by a computational method?
  • Are such problems solvable?
  • By what means can such problems be solved?
  • Is it worthwhile to compute such problems?

We will also discuss intensively the societal impacts of computing technologies on our daily life.

Online lectures would be available for the whole course, making room for more in-depth learning in lecture sessions. Specifically, a face-to-face session will be conducted in collaborative workshop formats, whereby students need to work in teams to complete hands-on tasks corresponding to the topics covered in the course.

Our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) are here to give you a real taste of university courses. HKU is now providing two SPOCs taught by our very own Professors – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing.

Registration

Assessment criteria for certificates

A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon completing the first 5 basic badges. Each badge can be earned upon fulfilling these two criteria:

  1. Watch all video lectures and read through all topic materials
  2. Getting a 50% mark in each topic challenge questions

A Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to learners

  1. Collected all 7 badges
  2. Attended the Face-to-Face session

FAQs about HSST9003

Is it open to everyone?
Yes and no. Yes, it is open to public but limited to secondary school students in Hong Kong.

Is this course free?
Yes, It is absolutely free. And the best part is that there is another course “Journey into Madness” that is as good as HSST 9003 and it is also absolutely free.

Can I get a certificate out of it?
Yes, it offers two levels of certificate. Certificate of Completion and Certificate of Excellence.

How do I register for this amazing course?
You can click here to sign up and we will email you your free learning.hku.hk account.

I already signed up but I didn’t get any email, what should I do?
Usually, it takes few hours for us to send a reply. But not to worry. You can also check your SPAM mail just in case.

I’ve waited for hours, check my SPAM, but I still cannot find the email. What should I do?
You can email the course team directly through it CCST9003@teli.hku.hk

What is it like in the original Hong Kong class?

About the face to face session:
There will be two classwork activities for this online course and this will be part of the requirement to earn the certificate of excellence.

  1. Classwork #1 Keep Talking Game

    In this classwork activity, your group will collaborate to solve a series of puzzles and make sure that every bomb will not explode. So you need to keep talking so that nobody will explode.

  2. Classwork #2 Finding Dr. X

    In this classwork activity, your team will travel back in time to help the justice alliance to decrypt the messages left by Dr. X. Your team needs to find his whereabouts and help Prof. Kwok arrest him.

These classwork activities will be held on 8 April 2017, from 10:30 – 12:30, at CPD 3.41, 3/F, Centennial Campus, University of Hong Kong.

The course begins on 8 March, 2017. Registration is open until 22 March, 2017.

Eligibility: Enrollment is open only for Secondary School Students.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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Are you a prospective university student? Have you thought of what major you want to study in the future? What do HKU students learn in class?

Our Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) are here to give you a real taste of university courses. HKU is now providing two SPOCs taught by our very own Professors – Journey into Madness and Everyday Computing.

Journey Into Madness: A Free Online Course on Mental Health

Registration

About the course
When you hear the word ‘mental illness’, what kind of image comes to mind? Do you think of a homeless person babbling to a tree or wonder about that emo kid sitting in a dark room?

Mental health is fundamental to our overall well-being and influences us far more than we’d like to admit. Because mental illness is often portrayed as a threat, we immediately fear those who are associated with it. This course will help you unlearn those misconceptions about mental illness by examining the definitions of abnormality and challenging the stigma attached to mental disorders. Together, we will delve deeper into the following topics:

  • Madness: What is considered abnormal?
  • Diagnosis: How is one diagnosed with a mental disorder?
  • Depression: What impact does this growing illness have on youth suicide?
  • Stigmatization: What measures can you take to reduce stigma associated with mental health problems?

Through online lectures, discussion forums and a peer-review assignment, you will have a better understanding of what constitutes an individual’s mental health status.

Assessment criteria for certificates

A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon completing the following tasks:

  1. Attempt all quizzes in the course, and get above 60% correct.

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A Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to learners

  1. Attempt all quizzes in the course, and get above 60% correct.
  2. Submit an Anti-Stigma Campaign proposal to raise awareness of mental illness among Secondary School students (no more than 300 words)
  3. Perform two peer reviews by marking your classmates’ work

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Registration: http://bit.ly/hku_spoc
The course begins on 1 March, 2017. Registration is open until 15 March, 2017.

Eligibility: Enrollment is only open for Secondary School Students.

Like our Facebook page to receive more information on The University of Hong Kong Online Learning: https://www.facebook.com/hkuonlinelearning/

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Speech by President Mathieson: Girls4Tech is exactly what HeForShe envisages

On February 27, 2016, more than 120 bright young ladies from 17 local secondary schools gathered at HKU for the student-led event “Girls4Tech” to learn about careers in the tech industry and attempt hands-on coding exercises. Both our undergraduate organizers and the junior participants were greatly inspired by the experience.

At the one-day workshop, participants were engaged in a series of activities involving computing concepts such as coding, encryption, and sorting. In his opening speech, our President Professor Peter Mathieson encouraged young girls to challenge stereotypes and embrace new opportunities that our society has to offer in traditionally male-dominated sectors, including research, technology and computer science. “Technology is fundamentally about problem solving, and there’s no gender-specific environment to that,” he said. A number of distinguished women tech leaders also shared their career development journeys. Starting from March, participants will also be visiting tech giants such as Lenovo, Microsoft (Hong Kong), IBM, and Google to gain a deeper understanding of the tech industry.

“Girls4Tech 2016” was organized by TecHKU, short for The HKU Journal of Technology, formed by a group of students from the Faculties of Engineering and Social Sciences. This annual event aims to nurture computational thinking in secondary school girls and to inspire them on possibilities of developing a career in the tech sector. “We noticed that most companies in the region were trying to bridge the gender equity gap in technology by organizing similar events for university students, but we believed that such interests would be best triggered at a younger age,” said Vikay Narayen, student founder and consultant of TecHKU. According to a feedback survey conducted by TecHKU, 86.9% of the 85 respondents said they became more interested in tech after the event; 11% more reflected they are now interested to study ICT for the HKDSEs after joining the event.

(Source: TecHKU)

TELI was in full support of this event because we recognise the need to provide a broad range of knowledge exchange opportunities for our next generation, and we see the great potential of having our students empower their younger fellows. We deeply appreciate TecHKU’s initiative, which might have created life-long impact in the girls’ lives.

More photos of the event can be found on our Facebook and Instagram.
Stay tuned for more reports on the event.

Workshop video

Developing small private online courses (SPOC) is an increasingly popular teaching strategy in higher education. On January 26th, TELI’s SPOC team organized an interactive workshop offering participants a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in creating a video that can serve as an online lecture.

One clear advantage of restructuring a lecture into a series of short online videos is portability across time and space – it allows students to learn anytime, anywhere. Students are free to pause and review sections of the videos, which is not possible in traditional lectures. Condensing a two-hour lecture into short videos of about 6 minutes each also tend to be more engaging.

While creating an online course may seem a daunting task, it can actually be done by following a simple three-step approach: revisiting the course structure, storyboarding and scripting, then studio filming. At the workshop, a mock-up filming studio was set up to give our participants a taste of video production. They were invited to draft a short script in groups and speak in front of the camera and a green or blue screen that can be chroma-keyed into any background that you like. The responses were positive overall. Participants commented that this experience made them “feel much more comfortable when someone tells [them] ‘let’s shoot a video’” and “it’s doable.”

The recordings were edited by our team and sent to individual participants after the workshop.

It is TELI’s mission to provide technological support to teachers in creating online videos and e-learning materials. We are re-running this interactive workshop in March – please contact us​ to schedule your session.

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Organizer: SPOC team, Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI)
Date : January 26, 2016 (Tuesday)
Time : 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Venue :CPD 2.73, CPD 2.75 and CPD 2.77, 2/F, Chi Wah Learning Commons, Centennial Campus

About the interactive session:

Wondering what are the basics of an online course? Do you want to be innovative? But you don’t know where to start? If you have any of these questions, then maybe Small Private Online Course, commonly referred to as SPOC, might work for you. Come and join us in our series of TELI seminars on SPOC and learn its basic foundation and the different practices being applied in developing it.

In this interactive session, we will look closely into several SPOCs that are currently being developed in HKU. You will have hands-on experience with the different stages that spans from knowing the basic requirements to restructuring your course into an online mode, and from making a concise script to representing it visually through a storyboard. Plus, you can experience a mock-up studio filming and say a few lines in front of the camera. We will also explore different possibilities and options for collaboration to make your class more interactive, fun, and accessible through the use of different technologies and expertise available at TELI. This seminar is open to the first 30 registered participants to ensure that there is enough time to accommodate questions, provide comments, and give feedback for each participant. Late registrants will be placed in the waiting list and contacted when spots are available.

About the Team:

IMG_4027bOur team, formed with the support of a UGC grant, is part of TELI that takes charge of the development of SPOCs within HKU. It is composed of four researchers and one programmer handling ten different courses across five different faculties for its initial stage. Wincy Chan is an instructional designer and researcher for SPOC with interest in students’ social-cognitive and behavioural outcomes across learning designs. Her current projects cover student learning in the traditional and blended classrooms. Elizabeth Oh is the project manager who oversees all project- and research-related activities for the SPOC team. As an avid online learner, Elizabeth is passionate about assisting teachers and students to use technology to advance learning in engaging ways. Donn Gonda is a tech-savvy research assistant currently responsible for the engineering courses. He is experienced in creating online contents for teaching and research. Andrea Qi is a project associate and research assistant responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of a series of SPOCs. She is an experienced teacher in both F2F and online mode, and an active online course learner. Alex Yi is a technical officer responsible for the development of “Learning Design Studio” which is a handy tool to design teaching plan. He is proficient in various programming language and well adept in delivering courseware materials to the online platform.

This interactive session is open to the first 30 registered participants to ensure that there is enough time to accommodate questions, provide comments, and give feedback for each participant.

Registration

For enquiries, please contact Miss Bonnie Yu by email yka0201@hku.hk.

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On September 22 and October 20, 2015, the Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI) team facilitated an extraordinary “flipped-classroom” learning experience for the students in Professor Rick Glofcheski’s Tort Law class. The idea was to provoke their initiative in discussion of authentic legal issues.

“We don’t just sit in class and listen to really boring lectures or boring powerpoint slides.”

Student interviewed on her expectation before the session

To “flip” the classroom is to mobilise the classroom time to the greatest, that is to reserve as much time as possible for interaction among students. Before the large-group meet-up, short videos were prepared to consolidate students’ knowledge on legal principles, with each video covering a key concept.

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In groups of five, students were seated in Loke Yew Hall. They analysed news articles as if they were analysing a live case in front of them. Discussion was completely student-led. Tutors simply observed group discussions and supplemented their ideas at times.

“One of the best things about this class is that you have to learn to juggle different opinions… and you also have to learn how to express your own opinions in the best way possible.”

Student interviewed on her experience after the session

One interesting touch to the ‘Flipped Classroom’ was the use of Mentimeter, an online polling system. Students were invited to answer several questions online anonymously after watching the video lectures as well as to provide justifications for their answers. The answers were then shown at the beginning of the large-group class. In this way both students and tutors got a better understanding of common misunderstandings that might be incurred when learning about the topic.

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It was extremely rewarding to the team to hear that students and tutors cherished this experience and were looking forward to more. Students pointed out that unlike tutorials, they really do engage in a discussion with one another. Tutors also believed that by not “dictating” the classroom, students were allowed more spaces for discussions, and would eventually benefit from them.

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