Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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Imagine, experiment, partner with students, build capacity - These are some tips in implementing the blended learning approach shared by expert practitioners in a seminar on February, 26, 2018. Entitled “Blended Learning: Are we Blending and at the same time, Enhancing Student Learning?”, this seminar featured Professor Bob Fox, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education Portfolio, the University of New South Wales (UNSW); Dr. NS Wong, Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences; and Dr. Allan Yuen, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, HKU. The three speakers shared exemplary cases from various disciplines and their lessons learnt from implementing blended learning.

What is Blended Learning?

“Blended learning is the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences,” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p.5). In addition to that, it is the fusion of formal and informal; as well as synchronous and asynchronous elements in the curriculum, as pointed out by Dr. Yuen. With more and more teachers shifting to this approach, “blended learning is now the norm,” said Professor Fox.

Elements of Blended Learning

Blending different modes of learning in a course is an effective way to enhance student learning. The following is a list of examples introduced by the speakers:

  1. Replace traditional lectures with tutorials and group activities:
    • In a Civil Engineering course in UNSW, traditional lectures were transformed into small group and individual tutorials, where students work through the content with a study guide. This mode of learning is problem-based, activity-led and self-paced. Weaker students can obtain extra tutorial support, while more advanced students are encouraged to support weaker one for badges.
    • In Dr. Wong’s course on metabolism, students are guided to form “communities of active inquiry” – together they explore concepts, re-synthesize information, propose new questions and complete in-class exercises. By blending “student-based research-style learning” into the course, “in-depth learning is positively promoted”, commented Dr. Wong.
  2. Use of ed-tech
    • Videos: In UNSW, videos developed for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are re-used in flipping on-campus courses. This is termed as the ‘BOOC Flip’ (Blended Open On-campus Course).Dr. Wong also developed videos for his course CCST9006 Scientific and Technological Literacy. Here is a glimpse of his course:
    • Learning Management Systems, such as Moodle, are widely used as a gateway for students to coordinate learning, including conveniently access course materials, submit assignments, receive feedback and discuss with their peers.
    • Adaptive learning platforms: In UNSW, the course team of MATH2018 Engineering Mathematics 2D used an adaptive learning platform called Smart Sparrow to develop self-paced adaptive online tutorials for students, replacing F2F tutorials.
    • The MATH2018 course course team also developed a Ninja game. This game consists of a series of exercises with progressive levels of difficulty. Students need to work their way up until they obtain the black belt. This creates incentives for students to learn better.
    • 3D and VR technology: In BLDG1021 Industrial & Infrastructure Construction, an undergraduate course offered by the Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW, students receive industry training through stepping into the AVIE mining space, an immersive 360-degree construction site environment. It is a virtual space and a safe environment to gain industry-relevant experience.
  3. Experiential learning and industry partnering
    • In BLDG1021, faculty partners with professional builders and create opportunities for students to get involved in real world construction projects off-campus.

Tips for Developing Effective Blended Learning Experiences
To maximize the impact of blended learning, the speakers offered the following tips in implementing the approach:

  1. Pilot and experiment
    While it is exciting to incorporate new modes of teaching into your course, it can also be worrying for some – What if it does not work? One way to minimize risk is to pilot test your new ideas and conduct controlled experiments, advised by Professor Fox.
  2. Partnership with students
    1. Work with students in developing course materials
      One effective way to develop materials that best suit students’ needs is to involve them in the development process. For example, UNSW pays students to develop resources for them and help faculty members innovate. In Dr. Wong’s case, he creates student internship and once invited a student to produce a short video for him to use in a practical session.
    2. Obtain student feedback
      Dr. Wong collects student feedback through administering questionnaires at the end of the course. The feedback is essential for making modifications to the course.
  3. Capability-building for staff
    As pointed out by Professor Fox, teachers need ongoing support in developing blended learning resources and materials. Learning from UNSW’s example, the following should be done on the institutional and administrative level to ensure effective implementation of blended learning strategies:

    1. Develop curriculum models, frameworks and strategies for all faculties to buy into
    2. Build partnership with faculties and students
    3. Offer ongoing support to faculties and staff in team-building and capacity-building
    4. Provide resources, technologies and/or funding
    5. Provide promotion and encouragement to staff to get involved in improving teaching and learning
      • In UNSW, the promotion and tenure system has been refined to ensure that teachers get rewarded and promoted for their efforts made in teaching and learning. 400 academic positions which are education-focused have been set up. Teachers who choose this academic track can focus on teaching and learning instead of research for 5 years. After the 5-year period, they can decide whether to switch back to research track.

Imagine new ways to teach
Learning is fundamentally about change,” said Dr. Yuen. “Students nowadays are very different from us when we were still students”. In order to enhance student learning, it is necessary for us to reconsider our pedagogy and imagine new ways to teach, using blended learning and other digital technologies. To Dr. Yuen, “blended learning / e-learning is not a simple technological adoption, but a call of teachers to carefully examine their pedagogical practices from a new perspective.” He believes that only by “allow[ing] our imaginations to be at work”, can we unleash the “enormous potential for growth and engagement” of higher education. He left us with two thought-provoking questions:

  1. How do we shape and reshape new learning environment for the New Generation Learners?
  2. What is your imagination in 5 years? How are you going to teach your subject in 5 years?

Dr. Wong believes that by shifting from traditional lectures to blended learning, we are setting students free from a rigid and often unengaging mode of learning. In order to maximize students’ freedom and effectiveness in learning, we need to set our imagination free in innovating our pedagogies.

What is your vision for your classroom in the future? Share your ideas with us.

Further reading

  1. Designing In-class Activities for Flipped Classroom: A Step-by-step Guide
  2. Getting Students Ready for Your Flipped Class
  3. Designing Your Own Flipped Classroom: Online and Pre-class Elements
  4. Flipped Classroom: A Grassroot Movement of T&L Change
  5. Garrison, D., & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles and Guidelines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Explore the “secrets” of dental materials and digital dentistry together in the Materials in Oral Health MOOC offered by the best dental school in the world.

Register now!

Click here if you cannot access Youtube.

We all need healthy teeth, don’t we? Have you ever wondered why titanium, ceramics and some synthetic polymeric materials are the “materials of choice” in oral health care? What are the “secrets” that make these materials so special for dental implants and other restorative procedures?


HKU Dentistry ranking No. 1 in the World has the vision to bring together the expertise and best practices in dental materials and biomaterials in the rerun of the MOOC Materials in Oral Health. The course is taught by a professional team of 30+ local, regional and international dentistry professionals and experts in dentistry and dental materials. What does this course cover? This 4-week Oral Biomaterials course unveils the exciting and unique properties and clinical implications of some state-of-the-art dental materials, including titanium, zirconia and modern synthetic polymer-based composites. We are also going to look at the crucial roles of CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing in dental application and digital orthodontics.


Oral biomaterials today is an exciting area encompassing contributions from professional dentistry to biology, chemistry, physics, material science, mathematics and engineering. Whether you are dental practitioners and dental technicians, non-dental practitioners, dental students, university students from various disciplines, or senior secondary school students – this course will open your eyes to the magic of dental materials science. If you are a prospective university student, this course can open up new and exciting opportunities possibly leading to new career paths.


Join us in the upcoming Materials in Oral Health MOOC on 23 March 2018 (HKT)!

Register now!

Follow our Facebook pages: HKU Online Learning and Dental Materials Science, Faculty of Dentistry, HKU!

Learners’ Stories

Who are the Teachers in the MOOC course?

Week 1
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Dental Materials: Metal
  • Ceramics – Introduction to Dental Materials: Ceramics, Zirconia and Alumina
  • Surface Treatment – An Introduction to Surface Treatment Methods; Surface Treatment Method: Acid Etching
Dr. Nikos Mattheos (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Materials used in Implant Dentistry
  • Ceramics – Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs. Titanium
Prof. Niklaus Peter Lang (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – What does the Future Hold for Titanium and Its Alloys?
Dr. Justin Paul Curtin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Titanium and Its Applications in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Edmond Ho Nang Pow (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – Ceramic Materials Used in Restorative Dentistry, Introduction in Types and Indication
Prof. Timo Närhi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – The Development and Advantages of Glass Ceramics
Dr. Hamdi Hosni Hamama (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Surface Treatment – Acid Etching: Bonding to Enamel and Dentine
Week 2
Prof. Damien Walmsley (The University of Birmingham, UK)

  • Modern Composites – Choice of Dental Fillings: Silver or Composites
Prof. Pekka Vallittu (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Modern Composites – An Overview of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in
    Dentistry; Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) : Chemistry, Properties, Fibre Types and Orientation; Applications of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in Dentistry
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – An Introduction to Dental Cements
Prof. Cynthia Kar Yung Yiu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – Introduction to Glass Ionomer Cements (GIC) and Resin-modified Glass Ionomer Cements (RMGIC)
Prof. Josette Camilleri (The University of Malta)

  • Modern Cements – Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Properties and Modifications; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Radiopacifier; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Modifications in Mixing Liquids and Additives; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Hydraulic Properties and Bioactivities
Dr. Manikandan Ekambaram (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Clinical Material of Choice – Classification and Composition of Resin Dental Adhesives; Resin Adhesion to Tooth Tissues; Indications of Resin Dental Adhesives
Week 3
Dr. James Kit Hon Tsoi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Digital Dentistry
Dr. Walter Yu Hang Lam (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – 3D Digital Stereophotogrammetry; Intraoral Scanner
  • Other Digital Techniques – Shade Matching
Prof. Michael Bornstein (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Oral Radiology; The Basic Principles of Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Andy Wai Kan Yeung (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Henry Wai Kuen Luk (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – CAD/CAM Technology in Crown Fabrication – An Introduction
Dr. John Yung Chuan Wu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Orthodontics – Diagnosis and Treatment Methods
Dr. Winnie Wing Shan Choi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Digital Dentistry in the Field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Dominic King Lun Ho (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – Digital Probing
Dr. Will Wei Qiao (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – 3D Printing
Week 4
Dr. Tian Tian (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Adhesion in Restorative Dentistry
Dr. Xiaozhuang Jin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – A Finite Element Study on Dental Bond Strength Tests
Dr. Prasanna Neelakantan (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Impact of Root Canal Irrigants on Root Filling Materials
Prof. Will Palin (The University of Birmingham)

  • Spectroscopy – Introduction to Spectroscopy
Prof. Edwin Kukk (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – Surface Analysis: What is a Surface?; Methods to Study the Surfaces: ESCA; ESCA Study of Titanium
Dr. Sari Granroth (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – ESCA Study of Titanium

Sneak Previews
Have a taster of what will be taught in this course!
(Sneak preview playlist here.)

The Application of Silicon and Silicon Compounds in Dentistry – Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna
- “Silicones find a wide range of biomedical applications…”

Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs Titanium – Prof. Niklaus P. Lang
- “Shortcomings with titanium are mostly aesthetic in nature…”

What is Digital Dentistry? – Dr. James Tsoi
- “Digital dentistry is one of the emerging fields in dentistry…”

Materials used in Implants – Dr. Nikos Mattheos
- “Osseointegration is a remarkable story of scientific discovery…”

More sneak previews here.


Week 1 Teaser
Week 1 Teaser
Week 2 Teaser
Week 2 Teaser
Week 3 Teaser
Week 3 Teaser
Week 4 Teaser
Week 4 Teaser
Week 5 Teaser
Week 5 Teaser
Week 6 Teaser
Week 6 Teaser

Register now! 課程登記指引

HKU Online LearningWhatever you know and wherever you are we invite you to join us on a journey to consider how the local and the global intersect to make Hong Kong cinema an integral part of popular culture around the world as well as a leading force in the development of world cinematic art.




Highlights of the course

  • Develop your critical and historical thinking skills through analyzing the interconnected relationship between the global scene and local lives in HK films;
  • Broaden your perspectives on identity issues through finding the familiar in the foreign in Hong Kong cinema;
  • Deepen your perspective on the impact of globalization on your own society through analyzing Hong Kong cinema.


  • 通過分析香港電影業的本地市場與國際舞臺之間的關係,培養您的批判和歷史思維能力;
  • 在香港電影中不熟識的場景尋找熟識的細節,從而拓展您對身份問題的了解;
  • 通過分析香港電影業,讓您更明白全球化對社會的影響。

The course was awarded the 2017 MOOCr Awards – Bronze Award (Course Management and Promotion) in the 4th Greater China MOOC Symposium.


Follow us on Facebook for more updates!


Further Reading

  1. Gina Marchetti, Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park and Stacilee Ford (2017, March). Enter the Future: Behind the Scenes of a New MOOC, Viewfinder (No. 106), pp.8-9.
  2. Gina Marchetti, Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park and Stacilee Ford (2018, January). MOOCs Turn Local into Global, AsiaGlobal Online. Retrieved from http://www.asiaglobalonline.hku.hk/moocs-turn-local-into-global/
  3. Film Matters Magazine (9 February 2017). New HKU MOOC: Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens Premieres on 7 February 2017.
  4. 翟啟豪:港大免費網上課程 全球視野看港片影響力 [Translation: Free HKU online course - Hong Kong Cinema Through A Global Lens] (HK01, 9 February 2017)
  5. Amy Nip. Switch onto movie action with HKU online course. (The Standard, 7 February 2017)
  6. Enid Tsui. University of Hong Kong launches MOOC to teach film buffs how Hong Kong cinema conquered the world (South China Morning Post, 6 February 2017)
Related Items 


Fostering stronger inter-collegiate links and sharing of knowledge expertise have always been high priorities in the World’s No. 1 Dental Faculty in the World. From January 29 to February 2, 2018, Dental Materials Science of the Faculty of Dentistry collaborated with HKU TeLi to run a winter programme in Applied Oral Sciences (AOS) at Prince Philip Dental Hospital.

AOS is a 5-day blended learning programme which aims to share (i) innovative methods and best practices in dental materials science research and on-campus instructions, as well as, (ii) technology-enriched pedagogies in teaching and learning, in particularly, in MOOCs and MOOC-based teaching and learning design to dentistry and medical faculties in mainland China and Korea.

AOS participants included 80+ students and teachers from 22 dental and medical schools from Korea and China, The list of institutions of the participants are as follows: BengBu Medical University , China Medical University , Chonnam National University , Fujian Medical University , Guangxi Medical University , Harbin Medical University , Hunan University of Medicine , Huzhou University , Jinzhou Medical University , Jiujiang University , Kunming Health Vocational Institute , Nantong University , Pusan National University , Qinghai University , Shijiazhuang Medical College , Taishan Medical University , Tangshan Vocational and Technical College , Tianjin Medical University , Wenzhou Medical University , Wenzhou Medical University Renji College , Wuhan University , and Xingtai Medical College.

The programme was packed with intensive knowledge sessions of featured lectures, as well as, experiential learning and interactive workshops.

Professor Jukka Matilinna introducing the newest endeavours of Dental Materials Science Faculty.

Dr. James Tsoi talked about teaching and learning in Dental Materials Science.

Deepening Knowledge in Dental Materials Science Research

Through featured lectures conducted by Dental Materials Science faculty, students gained insights in some popular Applied Oral Health research areas including Biomechanics in Orthodontics, Biomaterials for Our Life and Current Approaches and Future Challenges in Dental Pulp Regeneration. These face-to-face sessions also allowed participants to interact with leading academics and dental professionals, as well as, peers from different universities.

Experiencing E-learning and Innovative Pedagogy

All the participants were enrolled in a customized version of the MOOC course for AOS. This enabled the participants to experience the courseware, in particular, the learning activities and bite-sized pedagogy, as well as, the newest science in Dental Materials Science education through videos such as close range surgery demonstrations, stereo-photogrammetry and digital rendering of oral cavities in authentic clinical cases.

A sneak peek of the MOOC: Materials in Oral Health!

TeLi colleague’s sharing of MOOC development.

A platform to Scale MOOC Learning Initiatives beyond the Region

In addition to experiencing the educational methodologies in the MOOC course, educators and teachers from visiting institutions were engaged with a practical session – learning how to deliver content using MOOCs and integrating trending technology in teaching. TeLi shared experiences in MOOC development and production with the teachers, and guided them through the course framework and various key components of the course. Among the topics discussed were pragmatic skills in storyboarding and video production, managing schedules and resource requirements. Many teachers were eager to ask questions and some also shared their own experience and challenges encountered in blended learning and online courses.

The sharing with mainland educators and students enabled TeLi and the Dentistry faculty to transfer our experience to future e-learning creators in professional Dentistry, and empowered the participants to pass on their new experience to more people in the mainland.

It is our hope to inspire more inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching oral health care, and possibly e-learning pedagogical design and research.

Contact us if you are interested in creating knowledge exchange opportunities with us!


Further reading

MOOC experience sharing with delegates of Anhui Medical University

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


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.

All are welcome!


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.

    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.


“Knowledge Transfer” has long been described as the “third mission” of higher education institutions, with teaching and research being the first two missions. HKU TeLi has been actively engaged in the sharing of knowledge, including technology, expertise and skills with global, regional and local institutions in innovations in methods and pedagogies for the enhancement of efficient teaching for teachers and effective learning of students.

On January 25, 2018, 30 delegates of teachers, students and young professionals from the Anhui Medical University (AHMU) gathered at the Prince Philip Dental Hospital for an introduction to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and an intellectual exchange on MOOC-based learning and HKU examples of MOOC development.

MOOCs which make use of the concept of bite-sized learning, are efficient in sharing knowledge to a critical mass of learners, any time, anywhere and with any device; encouraging self-regulated learning, as well as, lifelong-learning. The global interest for MOOC’s potential is on the rise, and China’s MOOC market has expanded exponentially in recent years. Our team illustrated HKU’s endeavours in e-learning with two of TeLi’s professional MOOCs, Materials in Oral Health and Implant Dentistry, addressing how MOOCs couple innovation with technology and on-campus teaching pedagogy i.e. PBL brings global learning to the next level.

Explaining the advantages of MOOC over chalk-and-board education.

During the session with our guests, TeLi showed and demonstrated how MOOC videos serve as one of the core vehicles in delivering contents and information. We demonstrated how frontier technology can be incorporated into course materials to make learning more visual and effective. This includes 3D rendered scans of mouth cavities, 3D printing, stereo-photogrammetry, as well as, close range video demonstrations of step-by-step surgery techniques. Our guests were also guided through the MOOCs’ online courseware on Coursera, navigating and observing the design of an online course and its integrated components. Some features new to our guests are prompting questions embedded in videos (used to check the learners’ understanding), forum questions built by the learner community, and authentic clinical implant cases based on on-campus problem-based learning (PBL).

Showing our guests the use of close-range suturing demonstrations in MOOC videos.

The two-hour session was not only a great opportunity for us to share and showcase HKU’s experience in professional MOOC development and production with dental practitioners and educators at AMHU, it was nonetheless, a meaningful intellectual exchange with mainland institutions. We hope that our visitors are empowered to build their own MOOC courses, and are encouraged to inspire others in China’s teaching and learning community to explore MOOCs. May this exchange lead to a better teaching and learning experience for all.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about MOOC production, MOOCs based learning or in producing your own MOOC!

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)


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]


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.

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.

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