At TELI, our experts are constantly learning through doing – identifying problems, analyzing and reflecting on outcomes, and modifying solutions to produce the best results to enrich the teaching and learning experience at The University of Hong Kong.
While it was not always an easy task, we kept TELI’s spirit and ethos alive in everything we did– whether in catering to the specific needs of each collaborator or in providing them with high quality solutions.
Third anniversary of TELI
Looking back, I believe it was a message from the Provost’s Office that changed everything. It was April 2014. The thing was, for a few years I had been providing technical advice to the former VP-PVC (T&L), who had just stepped down at the time and would not be replaced until at least 6 months later. So the thinking was it would be “natural” for me to take care of the e-learning tasks, among a plethora of T&L endeavors, during the transition period. One of the tasks was to deliver 4 MOOCs to edX within a year or so!
I am lucky to have had the privilege of being supported by very capable HKU colleagues all along. In that initial period during which TELI was as yet non-existent, I was blessed with the fortune of being assisted by fabulous people like Mr. Pashur Auyeung, Ms. Trudi Chan, Mr. Ray Lau, and Ms. Rebecca Leung. The list stopped there. Yes, we just had a handful of colleagues in the “team” (or rather a makeshift cluster of staff, comprising of people from different HKU units), although HKU did have a few more instructional designers in the EPSU (E-Learning Pedagogical Support Unit), who mainly provided consultation services, rather than hands-on production support.
Big question here: How could we deliver the 4 MOOCs that we promised edX? The more important question, I figured, was: What’s the point in doing this, from HKU’s strategic point of view? I asked this because of an inspiring line from the former President and VC: “We are all transient.” My interpretation was: We needed to do something meaningful really quickly, given that we had very limited time. Indeed, what should be the fundamental motivation for HKU to produce MOOCs? My idea was threefold:
- We need to show that HKU can do high-quality e-learning work;
- We need to exert critical impact on HKU’s e-learning infrastructure; and
- We need to change, maybe just a tiny bit, the T&L culture by forming a closely knit community that would embrace a new way of teaching.
Simply put, we needed to empower HKU so that the university can continue to assert its leadership up against the “disruptive” trend of e-learning signified by the advent of MOOCs. Nevertheless, against such high-sounding “backdrop”, the big operational question still remained — How could we deliver the MOOCs, given that HKU had absolutely zero experience and embarrassingly few resources toward creating products of e-learning? Surely enough, a lot of struggles ensued, and we experienced a whole lot of “learning by doing.”
Fast forward to now, the TELI team (an official department of which I am the Head), established in October 2015 and endorsed by the Senate according to HKU’s 2nd E-Learning Strategy (the 1st one was in 2011), has 60+ full-time colleagues, specializing in the areas of instructional design, e-learning technologies, video production, system design and implementation, education research, as well as collaborations/partnerships management. We have produced 14 MOOCs, all of which are highly successful. A case in point: one of the HKU MOOCs, Dinosaur Ecosystems, was selected to be one of the Top-Ten courses in the edX platform, out of 2500+ active MOOCs on the platform.
The more exciting outcome is that TELI has grown into an EdTech innovations powerhouse capable of integrating video production, graphics design, software/app development, data analytic, and community building, toward generating genuine T&L and even social impacts, within and beyond HKU. This is evident through the fact that TELI is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust with funding in excess of HK$30m in designing and implementing a distributed computing system serving 26 NGO service centers to deliver public education and family programs/services.
In the near future (again, to remind you: “We are all transient.”), TELI will surely continue to provide its high-quality technical hands-on services for HKU Faculties and Departments so as to empower them to create more quality time and quality space, so that HKU can become a better place for learning. EdTech will continue to be the defining character of TELI. There is no doubt in my mind that TELI’s sustained leadership in e-learning, regionally and internationally, will lead to more unprecedented T&L and social impacts!
VideoVox, an interactive video and content management platform initiated by HKU 2018 Teaching Innovation Award winner Professor Michael Botelho (Clinical Professor, Faculty of Dentistry) and developed by TELI, provides teachers with new ways to present content and students with new ways to interact with videos. The platform has so far hosted Common Core courses’ lecture videos and quizzes, such as CCST9003 Everyday Computing and the Internet, and CCST9015 Electronic Technologies in Everyday Life.
Unique features of Video Vox:
- Time-stamped comments and questions in the video;
- Embedded questions along the video, and
- Thorough learning analytics.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in VideoVox!
Science of Crime Investigation
The CSI game app, which is developed by TELI, is used in the Common Core course CCST9010 The Science of Crime Investigation. The game integrates the technology of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) to allow students to investigate and study the crime scene in a more collaborative and engaging way. Students are grouped to conduct case studies and collect data as forensic investigators.
Each group of students is given an envelope with an AR map and AR markers and each student is required to scan the QR code on the envelope in order to join the crime investigation team.
After forming a team, students will have to collect clues and evidence, find the hidden neighbours from the AR markers, compile the clue list from AI chatbot and do the scene scanning of the AR map. After collecting sufficient clues, students can scan the AR map and talk to the supervisor chatbot to identify and verify whether their collected clues and evidence are accurate or not.
A mobile app has been developed for the common core course CCST9015 Electronic Technologies in Everyday Life, in which students learn to program cameras and robots through a tiny computer Raspberry Pi. To cater to a large class sizes and a lack of computer monitors, the TELI development team came up with a groundbreaking idea, which is to build this mobile app to extract the IP address of the Raspberry Pi, so that students can control it through their own laptops.
MOOCs by HKU
Upcoming new MOOCs
Mr Alex Chandra joined TELI as our Software Engineer in January 2019, and Ms Charlotte Chang was appointed as TELI’s e-Teacher-in-Residence of academic year 2018/2019 in January 2019.
Miss Jovy Chan, our Instructional Design Assistant, Miss Sally He, our Software Engineer, and Mr Dick Chan, our Multimedia Development Officer, graduated from TELI in March 2019. We wish them success in their future endeavors.
Our Intern Stories
I was assisting my supervisors in producing a video that provides some useful suggestions to the University’s teaching staff interested in producing a SPOC (Small Private Online Course). The most challenging and memorable part to me was creating animations using Vyond, an animated video creation platform. With support from my supervisors, I gradually acquired some video production skills and eventually completed the instructional video after multiple times of refinement. During my stay at TELI, I was able to hone my video-making skills. Apart from this, I appreciated the opportunity to work with a lot of brilliant and experienced TELI people - they gave me many suggestions and guidance throughout the tasks. My internship experience at TELI has equipped me with skills and confidence for my future career.
During my internship, I learned how to make an animated video, which was something that I’d never done before. This new experience indeed opened my mind to be more courageous when facing challenges. Additionally, I had to summarize 6 of the 7 course reports of SPOC implementation results into a 5-minute animated video. This was very challenging to me, especially for the self-exploring process of using Vyond to design every scene and align it with the narrative as well as the background music, and this was also my first time to compose a full and detailed storyboard to facilitate the later video production process. My supervisors provided helpful feedback and guidance to me, and I really have to thank them for their patience and support, as well as Ms Phoenix, my intern partner who gave me advice when I had difficulties in the video production task. Upon completion of this internship, I became more interested in learning more about course design techniques and implementation. I am so grateful to have worked with TELI for a month!
My task was to create an online course about how to develop an educational chatbot. Without any prior knowledge of building a chatbot, I still managed to master the techniques and skills required. Later, when I moved on to designing the whole course, I arranged the course content by revisiting how I myself came to understand how a chatbot works and created lots of important screenshots to facilitate others’ learning. I received a lot of help and advice on the use of the online platform, the design of course objectives and course arrangement from my supervisor and teammates. I am so lucky and delighted to have worked at TELI. This internship gave me a chance to apply what I have learned in class to my work.
In this internship, I assisted a project to create a chatbot course with my classmate Xiaohan. My task was mainly to develop contents of teaching Intent, Entities and Dialog, which are the main concepts of the chatbot. My task mainly included contemplating pedagogies to the delivery of scenario-based teaching which teachers are most likely to encounter at school. The collaborative work enabled me to learn from my classmate. Her ability to quickly understand OpenEdx, the platform of the online course, not only saved my time but also motivated me to work harder on my tasks. In addition, my supervisor, Lillian, always provided us with helpful feedback on refining the contents. My internship at TELI helped me develop time management and multi-tasking skills and I felt a sense of accomplishment upon completion of the internship.