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Abstract

Constructing a Conversational Learning Community: A Case Study
Adams Bodomo and Lucille Hu

In this paper we outline a learning model, The Conversational Learning Community that we have been developing mostly through web-based course activities (e.g. Bodomo 2006, Bodomo 2008). We show that the core features of this learning model involve strategies to enhance instructional interactivity. We identify three main types of instructional interactivity: learner-learner, learner-instructor, and learner-resource. We then argue that the most important feature embedded within the WebCT platform that can be exploited for achieving interactivity is the Discussion forum. As empirical evidence for this argument we present a report of activities from a recently taught course on Language and Information Technology. The report shows that of all the sections within the WebCT platform such as Course Notes, Glossary, Quiz Section, Presentation Forum, etc., the Discussion forum was by far the most patronized by students. We also propose certain facilitative measures that various agents within the WebCT platform management group, such as technical support staff, can do to enhance the use of online learning tools like WebCT for achieving an interactive learning community such as the Conversational Learning Community that we have developed over the years.

Teaching Journalism with Blogs, Wikis, and other Web2.0 tools
Rebecca MacKinnon

In January 2007, the Journalism & Media Studies Centre implemented an open Wordpress-based blogging platform on which faculty and staff can publish blogs for their courses. Depending on each faculty member's technical skill levels, the nature of each course, and other factors, each course blog is used to communicate with students in different ways. Some JMSC courses also require students to have their own blogs or contribute to a group blog, via the free Edublogs platform. The New Media Workshop, the JMSC's core online journalism course, combines a course blog with individual student blogs. The course has also utilized several other "web 2.0" tools including: a class wiki; a public RSS feed (via Google Reader); a private Google Group; social bookmarking via del.icio.us; and blog tracking via Technorati. This presentation will demonstrate how these tools were used over three semesters the "New Media Workshop" course, and provide some examples of how other JMSC faculty have utilized blogs in courses such as Media Law and International Reporting.

Rethinking the use of information technology in teaching and learning
P C Lai and A S H Mak

There are many benefits of using information technology (IT) in teaching and learning as documented by numerous studies. The greatest benefits include multimedia means of presentation that offers many options of communication media for more effective instruction. The word multimedia connotes, first of all, a mix of interesting and lively presentation alongside of the teacher, textbook and blackboard. Secondly, it also includes an extensive list of communication modes - by messages, online discussion forums, video conferencing, bulletin boards, etc. There is also an added benefit of wider accessibility of instructional materials. Essentially, IT has meant that students can obtain instructional materials at any time and on any day as long as they have access to a computer and the Internet.

We have practised IT in teaching for many years out of convenience and familiarity with the technology. Our original intent was to use IT as a unifying tool to help us organize our lectures and consolidate materials scattered in different places. But now, we find that the benefits highlighted above increasingly add burden on the use of our time and interrupt our daily routines in specific time periods, much like the never ending ringing of a telephone. The wider accessibility of instructional materials also brings about a gradual rise in class absentee rates.

It appears ever more obvious that the use of IT in teaching and learning is a partnership. While teachers make concerted attempts to incorporate IT to facilitate learning, students must also reciprocate with active learning and specific attitudes. This paper examines the differing perceptions between members of the teaching/learning partnership. It also speculates ways to improve the learning environment noting difficulties in bridging the perceptual gap.

Turning Mobile Phones into A Mobile Quiz Platform to Challenge Players' Knowledge
Vincent Tam, S W Cheung, Wilton Fok, K S Lui,  Jade Wong and Beta Yip

In the past few years, many new mobile technologies including the 3G, WiFi or mobileTV have created unprecedented learning opportunities on mobile devices. Furthermore, such technologies continuously fuel the rapid growth of new fields of research like the edutainment for educational entertainment. In a recent project awarded by the Hong Kong Wireless Development Center, we have developed a mobile quiz game system on 3G mobile phone networks in China, Hong Kong or other countries to facilitate learning anytime and anywhere. Our developed mobile quiz system is so generic that it can be readily extended to any wireless network. In this paper, we discuss about the design and possible uses of our quiz system in mobile learning, and also share the relevant experience in system development with the evaluation strategies carefully examined. After all, our work shed light on many interesting directions for future exploration.

Autonomous language learning via online corpora: a Law case study
Nigel Bruce

Students entering the new 4-year curriculum in 2012 will need to become self-reliant in adapting to new academic literacies. In the English Centre??s provision for law students, we have developed a suite of online resources designed to encourage students to take responsibility for enhancing their legal English usage without direct tuition. They do this by exploring subject-specific case databases for examples of how key legal terms are actually used in context. This million-word database was built up through collaboration with law teachers of core law subjects of Tort, Contract and Criminal law, among others, who nominated the key cases their students would be expected to read or consult. The effectiveness of the resource is measured through PowerPoint presentations which serve as peer tutorial to a class of fellow law students. In this presentation, I discuss the descriptive agenda behind this language learning resource, how the corpora are structured and accessed, and the concordancing software that allows students to discover and explore the most high-frequency language patterns of legal usage within a range of legal subjects. Discipline-specific corpora or databases are an increasingly popular resource in tertiary and other advanced learning contexts, where textbooks and dictionaries cannot provide the ad hoc guidance that ESL students need in the course of their studies. The way in which the corpus is accessed avoids problems with copyright, as users are unable to access more than 300 words at a time of the underlying texts.

Assessment by Electronic Portfolio
Benny Tai

Portfolio for educational purpose is a collection of work that a learner has selected and collected to show growth and change over time. It also contains the learner's reflection on the individual piece of work. An electronic portfolio by using electronic technologies allows the portfolio developer to collect and organize portfolio artifacts in many media types (audio, video, graphics, text). Many electronic portfolios are now database driven, web-based and the artifacts can be hyperlinked. This allows the portfolio to be more durable and accessible.An electronic portfolio can be used as an alternative form of assessment in addition to its other functions like enhancing student learning or being a record of student achievement.Electronic portfolio allows the student to include multiple examples of work done within a range of time which could be a better representation of the student??s work. It also provides opportunities for the student to reflect on his/her learning in the process of building the portfolio. These characteristics of electronic portfolio enable assessment to be focused not only on the product but also the process of learning. This presentation will examine the experiences of using an electronic portfolio system (OpenW) developed by the author in the assessment in various courses including general education courses, core courses in a discipline and inter-disciplinary courses. Different assessment objectives, strategies, grading principles and relationship with other assessment methods are developed to suit the needs of different courses. Students?? comments on their experiences will also be analyzed.

Cross Disciplinary Collaboration in Web 2.0 Learning
Henry Lau, Winnie Lai, and Nicol Pan

The TDG project is a first attempt to embark on inter-faculty collaboration by introducing the innovative use of ICT for teaching and learning and scaling up the existing good practice to encompass other academic disciplines, namely the teacher education of the Faculty of Education. This project carries forward the foregoing work of the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department on e-learning with ICT under the pedagogy of Problem Based Learning (PBL) using case studies, and to offer an exciting and innovative dimension to both knowledge capturing and sharing for students from the teacher education and industrial engineering disciplines. One of the main features of the project is the new Web 2.0 feature to facilitate and stimulate intellectual dialogue and the formation of active learning communities among student teachers by the use of interesting online case studies derived from real local school contexts.

Online Resourcing for Problem-based Curricula: The HKU Faculty of Dentistry Approach
S Bridges, J Dyson, M Botelho, E Corbet and J Wong

Problem-based learning (PBL) in Dentistry is a recognised approach to curriculum design that has been adopted in a variety of forms throughout the world. PBL curricula reflect constructivist principles of collaborative learning through small group problem-solving, and content integration through the examination of real-life, complex problems. Face-to-face training in the PBL process provides important scaffolding for learners in group problem solving. Self-directed learning is also a major facet of PBL and the issue of supporting independent student learning, particularly for undergraduates making the transition from traditional curricula, is a pressing one. One practical solution is to build the infrastructure for online support of self-directed learning. In 2005, the Faculty of Dentistry at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) began use of WebCT to support online learning in PBL. Since then, purpose-built " learning objects" in the form of video recordings and surrogate virtual reality (VR) simulations as navigable QTVR (QuickTime VR) panoramic files have been developed in-house and incorporated in the WebCT platform. Timed release supports self-directed access to these resources as each problem scenario comes under investigation. More recently, the consolidation phase of the self-directed learning process has been reinforced through use of WebCT. At the final phase of a problem cycle, undergraduate students develop group "products" or assignments which are submitted online with assessment feedback also provided through WebCT. This demonstration will share both the use of learning objects in a problem cycle as well as concept mapping tools for "product" development and online submission.

New places new spaces: exploring physical and virtual learning environments
Bob Fox

ICTs and especially new web 2.0 technologies offer exciting new ways of working with our 'digital native' students. The opportunities we now have to work and study virtually provides us with an imperative to re-think how we use physical spaces and time for study in universities. This presentation explores new learning and teaching opportunities to cater for the 4 year curriculum reform in 2012 and raises questions about how we manage these new pedagogical spaces.

ePortfolios: a tool for transforming learning
Lillian L.C. Wong and Elaine Martyn

Electronic Portfolios are a creative means of selecting, organizing, summarizing, sharing and presenting artifacts, information, and ideas about learning and personal growth. The self- critical and reflective processes of portfolio development and the communication and technology skills of portfolio creation are important learning experiences. The purpose of this presentation is to explore how eportfolios are being used and their potential for transforming the learning process. This presentation will introduce the eportfolio currently in use in professional English courses in the English Centre, demonstrate how an eportfolio may support/transform learning, strengths and pitfalls of portfolio use, and potential for enhancing language learning in the 4-year curriculum . Sample eportfolios using the Sakai system demonstrating learning process and outcomes will be shown for illustration. A symbiotic relationship exists between the professional English course and eportfolio development. The course learning process and eportfolio construction proceed in a synchronized fashion over one semester. Students receive feedback from peers and teacher throughout the process of developing their eportfolios on the Sakai system. Such editing and evaluating learning experiences and critical self-awareness contribute to the final eportfolio which contains a sample of a student's work conveying the range of abilities, attitudes, experiences, and achievements. Eportfolio is not just a tool for a course, but a means for collaboration between departments or faculties. It could play an important role in the 4-year curriculum. Students developing eportfolios for University life could be used to demonstrate their enhancement progression over four years at HKU. It could be a useful means for developing entry, learning, and exit/showcase portfolios.

Designing for Learning:  A Learning-Centred Approach to Blended Curriculum Design based on the University of Waterloo Model
Diane Salter

Although the importance of engaging students in learning through interactivity during the learning process is well documented, in face-to-face and in blended or online courses, curriculum is often developed with a focus on presenting content rather than on learning design that promotes engagement with content. This session will provide an overview of changes taking place internationally in thinking about the design of online and blended courses using the University of Waterloo model as an example. At the University of Waterloo an approach to learning-centred curriculum design was developed that combines the T5 model of instructional design (Salter, Richards, Carey 2004) with ‘Learning Mapping’ to plan an aligned, blended course design. The ‘T5’ model is an approach to instructional design that emphasizes Tasks (learning tasks with deliverables) and Feedback as the primary vehicles for learning. This presentation provides an overview to:

  • Describe changes in thinking in course design from a teacher centred to a learning centred approach
  • Demonstrate the instructional design model developed at the University of Waterloo to promote best practice in curriculum design
  • Describe the concept of the Learning Mapping process and how it can help design aligned curriculum consistent with OBASL (outcome based approach to student learning)
  • Discuss the use of this model in curriculum design for the online environment to allow the incorporation of interactive features based on pedagogical choices
  • Discuss educational implications of this model for rethinking the use of classroom time from lecture (delivering content) to coaching (ongoing conversations that are embedded within larger traditions of discourse: science, the arts, history, literature, mathematics etc.)

Dialogue Mapping in Facilitating Small Group Discussion
Fung Fai Ng

Dialogue mapping is a graphical technique for creating a shared map of a meeting discussion. It is used to capture the key questions, ideas, and arguments that come up as the discussion unfolds. The questions, ideas and arguments are organized and displayed in a network-like map for everyone in the meeting to see. It serves as a group memory and a focus for the members to think, discuss, argue, share, decide and plan. A typical dialogue mapping system consists of a graphic program running on a computer which is connected to a data projector. The map is projected on the screen so that every member sees how it is developed.In student-centered problem-based learning, students are usually arranged in small group to tackle a problem scenario. A problem scenario is an open-ended and ill-structured problem in an authentic context. It allows students to explore the problem from different viewpoints, different pathways, with different learning styles, and to arrive at different solutions. Students discuss and work through the problem scenario to achieve the desired learning objectives. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the potentials and effectiveness of using dialogue mapping to facilitate small group discussion in a student-centered problem-based learning environment. Lessons learned, benefits achieved and problems involved in the implementation process will also be discussed.

Creating an On-Line Global Classroom (Tele-conferencing)
Lucy Cummings

This presentation will share the challenges and opportunities inherent in using an on-line format to create a stimulating and cohesive global classroom.  The Faculty of Social Science’s on-line “Human Security” course (FOSS0003b) was developed as one of HKU’s contributing courses to the Universitas 21 (U21) undergraduate certificate program in global issues.  Since 2005, HKU students have taken this course with selected students from four other universities of the U21 network -- the University of Auckland (New Zealand), the University of British Columbia (Canada), the University of Melbourne (Australia), and the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom).  While students have clearly benefited from and enjoyed the course’s global student body and on-line learning medium (students have posted blogs, worked through wikis, participated in on-line simulations in the fictional country of Zanda and edited content on Wikipedia), overcoming some of the challenges encountered (such as poor working group cohesiveness, slow server response time for overseas connections, and insufficient HTML design support) will be critical to insure the long term success of this and similar global courses.

Integrated web-based environment for studying evidence-based medicine
Janice Johnston, Kenneth Hon, Kerstin Schag-Grandi

The core objectives of the undergraduate MBBS evidence-based medicine (EBP) curriculum are to teach medical students how to assess the patient or clinical problem, ask answerable clinical questions, acquire the best relevant evidence, appraise the evidence, and apply it back to the patient or clinical problem. WebCT, a commercial learning management platform, was utilized by the School of Public Health and Department of Community Medicine to support all aspects of the students’ EBP learning process.

Employing a problem-based approach to learning, the students usually begin their learning process by examining a patient video, which is accessible from WebCT, and could be viewed repeatedly by students either individual or group setting.

Once the patient is assessed and problem identified, the students formulated answerable clinical questions, and then acquired relevant evidence by searching through online databases. This phase is again assisted by our online platform, which is linked with the university’s medical library system and supported by numerous online databases and informatics resources (e.g. Medline and PubMed).

The appraisal phase focuses the students on learning the various designs and statistical tools that are employed in clinical research as well as on studying the validity and reliability of this research. Our online platform provides various resources to support their learning of statistics and study design and has been well accepted and utilized by the medical students.

e-Learning Opportunities: A Case of e-Course Development for Japanese Studies Course
Jeanne Y C Lam, K S Cheung, Tarloff  Siu Wo Im, Mito Atsuko

As an extension arm of The University of Hong Kong, HKU SPACE is committed to providing high quality continuing education programmes and lifelong learning opportunities to the community. Besides programme qualities, teaching support qualities were also highly concerned. One of the teaching support provided to teachers and students is e-learning services.The School has begun to provide e-learning service since 1999 an a Learning Management System (LMS) has been introduced to teachers and students. Throughout the decade, the number of students using online services has been increased steadily. In 2004, the School adopted Blended learning Policy. The Policy stated that all award-being programmes should provide teaching with appropriate mix of traditional face-to-face classes and online supports for information dissemination, material sharing and communication. Since then, the School's students enjoyed more online teaching services.In 2007, the School has established an e-learning development project team named the CyberSPACE. The objective of setting up the project team was to provide pilot study to selected courses to find out the effectiveness of e-course provision to the learners. With just less than a year's development, the Multimedia Course and Japanese Studies Course have already been developed. During the development process, programme leaders, teachers and technical developers had worked closely to ensure high quality courses can be delivered to the students. Most importantly, obstacles and barriers, both in pedagogy and technical areas, were overcome together.In our demonstration, project manager, project developer and teacher will share their experiences during the project development. Those developed e-Courses will be demonstrated by the teachers and the benefits of the e-Courses, as supplements to face-to-face classes, will be shared. Cost, development schedule, problem faces and difficulties found will also be shared. Our demonstration would give the audience some insights on having e-Courses to supplement their teaching.

Teaching Economic Forecasting with MOODLE
Ka-fu Wong

In 2008 Spring, I taught the course of Economic Forecasting at the Master of Economics level. The course has no teaching assistant. In this paper, I would like to share my experience in teaching the course with the help of a course management system called MOODLE. My experience shows MOODLE can help reduce teachers' workload while maximizing students' learning experience.

Informal and Collaborative Learning Spaces
Nicol Pan

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious tertiary education institutes within Hong Kong, and the Asian region. Like other world-class universities around the world, HKU is going through some major educational reforms both in its curriculum structure and pedagogical approaches. One of the areas of these changes is the increasing adoption of IT in teaching and learning across faculties, and especially for collaborative types of learning activities. The study will investigate the teaching and learning at HKU, with a focus on collaborative learning outside conventional lecture rooms , and the social and cultural dynamics of such learning spaces.

Identifying the barriers to effective ILN integration into teaching programmes
Angie H.Y. Sun ,Robert Fox, Allan H.K.Yuen

The online Interactive Learning Network (ILN) is a community-building environment designed to scaffold virtual education communities of practices where teachers and students work together as teams and engage in reflective, collegial interaction and patterns of working. However, the present use of ILN by teachers is very limited. ILN is used mainly for posting messages, notices, uploading Power Points and for viewing timetables, etc. This suggests that ILN is under-used by the faculty.

This TDG project aimed to identify barriers to effective use of the ILN environment in the Faculty of Education and to encourage better use of the learning management system. This presentation will outline current usage of the ILN and summarise views by teachers, technical and administrative staff on the value and use of ILN.  Resources management and pedagogical needs for virtual learning environments within the Faculty will also be discussed.

Improving Teaching and Learning of Medical Statistics by a Web-based Statistical Platform
D Y T Fong, V C L Chiang, K F Lam, S S K Leung, C F Lee, S P Lau and S S C Chan

Teaching medical statistics to nursing and medical students has always been a challenge. Traditional teaching lacks emphasis on the use and interpretation of statistics in real-life research studies. Moreover, there is lack of easily accessible statistics resources tailored to medical and nursing students. Therefore, we have developed an online platform for teaching and learning of medical statistics.This platform does not replace in-class teaching but assists students on learning the use of statistics in practice. It has different user access levels. The platform features a Training Room with over 20 scenarios made up from the nursing and medical literature as well as real life problems in the press. For each scenario, students are challenged on the use of statistics in practice and alerted how misleading messages may be delivered if statistics is not properly used. Besides, the platform also offers self-learning materials, a Discussion Room, Frequently Asked Questions, and Glossary to help students learning and recalling concepts and terminologies in statistics. The platform was evaluated by 128 undergraduate full-time nursing students in a 8-week course and 42 part-time students in Master of Nursing in a 11-week course. The median number of logins (range) was 6 (1-26) for full-time undergraduates and 28 (8-133) for part-time master students. The part-time students had also raised more topics in the Discussion Room (mean was 0.2 for undergraduates and 28 for master students). At the end of the course, high proportion of students agreed the platform helped learning (88% for undergraduates and 95% for master students), recalling terminology (80% for undergraduates and 89% for master students), promoted greater student enthusiasm (75% for undergraduates and 87% for master students, enhanced critical thinking skills (72% for undergraduates and 87% for master students). Moreover, 94% undergraduates and 92% master students recommended using the platform. The web-based platform appears to be effective and well-accepted by students. Maintenance of the online platform is resources demanding. Nevertheless, the online platform will continue to evolve to enhance teaching and learning of medical statistics.

Technology and Instruction in Art History
Roslyn Hammers

In this presentation, I will demonstrate how I use technology to teach art history. Instruction in the discipline of art history requires observation and contemplation of art objects. Students must look paintings, sculptures, architecture, and other visual materials in order to explore history. Information technology in the form of projected computer-generated imagery greatly assists in the delivery of visual materials to the classroom. I will offer a short presentation of an art history lecture to demonstrate how computer imagery in an innovative PowerPoint format (one that does not use bullet points!) can effectively enhance student learning through the delivery of primary documents in both visual and textual forms. I will also explain how I have established a supportive learning environment for each of my courses through various programmes in the Hong Kong University computer network.

Exploring Students’ Engagements with Online Discussion
Liping Deng, Allan H. K. Yuen, Robert Fox

Much of the research literature on E-learning has focused on teacher' experience and perceptions while student' voices have largely been unheard and their experiences undocumented. This study explores student’ perceptions and attitudes towards voluntary online discussion as an extension to face-to-face teaching. Questionnaires and focus group interviews were used as the main method of data collection. Factors that might influence students’ online participation were explored. Four levels were summarized from the literature and questions were designed accordingly: 1) individual; 2) peer; 3) course; and 4) institution levels. Finally, the implications of the findings for designing authentic and meaningful online discussion to supplement face-to-face classroom teaching will be discussed.

Dynamic-PDA-use for learning: An undergraduate student experience
Yanjie Song

PDAs have been increasingly developed and used in education. In PDA educational application literature, much research has focused on using designed tools or learning systems on PDAs to support prescribed learning tasks, and less attention has been paid to PDA use for learning from perspectives of students. Understanding student perceptions of PDA use will help researchers and teachers understand student needs and preferences of PDA use for learning. The paper reports on a one-year case study of PDA use for learning by an undergraduate student in the Department of Engineering at an English medium university in Hong Kong. Data were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews, student reflective e-journals, student artifacts, retrospective interviews and observations. In the data analysis, both categorization and contextualization strategies were adopted to provide a well-rounded account of the inquiry. The research results show: (a) the PDA could be used as a package of tools for different learning tasks. These tools include: multimedia access, multimedia collection, communication, connectivity, representation and scheduling; (b) these tools were rarely used individually, but used together with one or more tools on the PDA for varied learning activities; (c) the same tools could be used differently for learning depending on the user's motivation and capacity, immediate settings, institutional factors, etc. The paper concludes that PDA use for learning was closely related to the user's motivation and capacity, the chosen tools, the specific settings and institutional factors. The uses for learning were dynamic and subject to changes from situation to situation. The paper proposes the concept of dynamic-PDA-use for learning, and suggests that understanding and adopting this concept in learning will help improve PDA educational practices and allow dynamic and flexible PDA use for varied learning activities.