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Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Virtual Summer Sandbox Series: Ready, Steady, Learn!

Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Ready… As we ready ourselves to welcome our students back to campus this coming semester, how can we
move forward with face-to-face teaching, while building on our online teaching experiences?

Steady… This is the time for us to steadily reflect on our learning from a year of online teaching. We need a space to share and bounce back our ideas with different people from —fellow teachers in HKU and other institutions to our own students—as we hear their thoughts and concerns about coming back to campus. This virtual Sandbox Series will give you the opportunity to rethink, redesign, and reimagine your face-to-face teaching.

Learn! Our Sandbox Series has effectively assisted over 150 colleagues in their course design process. Join us in learning more about how to engage in course design, including tips on how to effectively integrate online, and blended components into your courses.

The Virtual Summer Sandbox consists of five sessions. All sessions will give the participants a space for creative thinking, expert feedback, and support for iterative redesigns. We shall adopt the following format:

  1. Presentation: This part will involve a presentation on key aspects of course design
  2. Group discussion: The second part will involve group discussions organized into theme-based breakout rooms allowing us the chance to join a community of learners including fellow teachers, disciplinary experts, and course designers.

We are excited to have you join us in this series! Let’s create a more engaging learning environment for our students!

[21 Jul 2021] Session 1: From online teaching to face-to-face teaching: Blending the two experiences

Session 1: From online teaching to face-to-face teaching: Blending the two experiences

Date : 21 July 2021 (Wed)
Time : 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Prof. Thomas Chiu (CUHK), Dr. Sean McMinn (PolyU), Dr. Meike Sauerwein (HKUST)
Session Facilitator : Mr. Donn Gonda, CETL, HKU

After a year of online teaching and learning, we ask ourselves, what’s next? What did we learn from these online experiences that we can bring into our face-to-face teaching? In this session, the speakers will share their online teaching experiences, the activities they used to engage the students, and how these practices will affect their face-to-face teaching. During the breakout session, we will have an in-depth discussion with the speakers to share, explore, and reflect on the possibilities of various online pedagogies that we can adopt in our face-to-face teaching.

About the Speakers

Prof. Thomas Chiu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, an Associate Director at the Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, and a member of Policy Research @ Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His major research areas are STEM education, learning technology, and teacher education. Currently, he is an Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, a book review editor of Interactive Learning Environments, and sits on the editorial board of various journals including TechTrends and International Journal of STEM Education. He champions the student voice, and facilitates partnership working, ensuring that student engagement is central to his teaching activities. He recently proposed a model of student engagement for online learning.
Dr. Sean McMinn is the Director and Adjunct Associate Professor for the English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Professor of Language. Having nearly 20 years’ experience in higher education, Sean has taught a range of subjects, such as EAP, Digital Literacies, and Social Complex Systems, and has research interests in educational technology, digital literacies, and networked learning.
Dr. Meike Sauerwein is a Lecturer at the Division of Environment and Sustainability at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her research and teaching interests lie in the holistic assessments of the environmental impacts of products and how such knowledge can be utilized for consumer education. Meike has a strong passion in teaching and enjoys exploring various tools and methodologies to make lectures interactive and engaging. She is leading projects on the development of educational tools such as serious games and gamification to teach life cycle thinking and sustainable consumption concepts. Meike recently won the Interdisciplinary Programs Office Teaching Excellence Award 2020 and the Common Core Course Excellence Award 2021 for her individual and team-teaching efforts.

[28 Jul 2021] Session 2: Blending the virtual back into F2F teaching

Session 2: Blending the virtual back into F2F teaching

Date : 28 Jul 2021 (Wed)
Time : 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Venue : Zoom
Speakers : Mr. Mathew Pryor, Associate Professor (Teaching) in Faculty of Architecture, HKU; Ms. Lynn Lin, Digital Learning Designer, HKU
Session Facilitator : Mr. Donn Gonda, CETL, HKU

From F2F to virtual, and now back to F2F again (…mostly). And with that the next challenge for teachers is how to blend the best of our online classes (and the various EdTech skills we acquired along the way) back into a new F2F format. While every course has its specific characteristics, difficulties in engaging students and generating opportunities for meaningful peer interaction and collaboration are commonplace. In this seminar, Mathew and Lynn will share their recent research studies into students’ experience of online courses, and look at how their Digital Exhibition Space (DES) e-learning platform has been helping colleagues both inside the campus and beyond create a flexible blended learning environment that can support both dual and hybrid-mode teaching.

About the Speakers

Mr. Mathew Pryor is an Associate Professor (Teaching) in the Faculty of Architecture, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK). He combines more than 20 years of experience as a practicing landscape architect with teaching and research in the Division of Landscape Architecture at HKU. Through his courses in design, sustainable development, and construction technologies, he has developed a pedagogical approach based around the socialization of online learning and transdisciplinary teaching. He was a recipient of a HKU Teaching Innovation (Team) Award (2020) and UGC Teaching (Team) Award (2019). He has recently completed TDG Studies on ‘Understanding the Role of Positive Emotion in Student Engagement’ and ‘Addressing student stress in design studio’.
Ms. Lynn Lin is a Digital Learning Designer at HKU. She has educational background in Psychology and EdTech. She is the lead designer of the Digital Exhibition Space (DES) 3D Virtual Learning Platform, and through her role at TELI provides e-learning solutions and support for teachers at HKU. Lynn’s research engages with issues of student socialization, engagement, motivation and academic performance in the technology-supported learning environment. She has published and presented studies at several recent academic conferences.

[12 Aug 2021] Session 3: Mind over stress: Rethinking stress to promote students’ well-being and resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Session 3: Mind over stress: Rethinking stress to promote students’ well-being and resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Date : 12 Aug 2021 (Thu)
Time : 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Dr. Imelda Santos Caleon, Assistant Dean - Partnerships, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Session Facilitator : Dr. Ronnel King, CETL, HKU

Stress is a normal part of human existence. Excessive and chronic stress is associated with myriad psychological and physiological problems. Heightened level of stress has been associated with threatening situations, such as the ones wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with these perspectives, the usual tendency of individuals is to avoid stressors or attenuate the stress that they experience. However, individuals, in many instances, cannot control the nature of stressors that they encounter; the use of stress-avoidance strategies may also be counter-productive. During this session, the participants will be introduced to the potentially productive approaches of framing stress and stressors and appraising stressful conditions. The correlational and casual associations of such approaches with well-being and resilience will also be discussed. The promise and potential of utilizing such approaches in teaching and learning, especially during the stressful periods of transition and uncertainty in mid- and post-pandemic classrooms, will also be presented and discussed.

About the Speaker
Dr. Imelda Santos Caleon is an Assistant Dean on Partnerships, Programme Director of the Lifelong Learning, Cognition and Well-being Research Programme, and Senior Research Scientist at the Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Dr. Caleon received Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees from NTU. Her research portfolio amounts to about USD3.5M of competitive research funds. Her research interests are in the areas of positive education and science education, with a particular focus on resilience, mindsets, and metacognition. Her research was published in many peer-reviewed and high-ranking journals. She is currently leading a longitudinal study that focuses on the nature of stress experienced by students during the pandemic and the association of students’ stress mindsets with well-being and resilience. She is also a co-editor for a Springer edited volume entitled “Positive Psychology and Positive Education in Asia: Understanding and Fostering Well-being in Schools”, which is due for publication by the end of 2021.

[19 Aug 2021] Session 4: And we’re back! An Instructional Designer’s Guide to engage and connect with your students

Session 4: And we’re back! An Instructional Designer’s Guide to engage and connect with your students

Date : 19 August 2020 (Thu)
Time : 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Mr. Donn Gonda, CETL, HKU
Session Facilitator : Dr. Cecilia KY Chan, CETL, HKU

In the past academic year, we have seen an uptick in different innovations and approaches in teaching and learning. Most of our teachers experimented with integrating technology in teaching and increased their capacity to deliver an engaging experience in an online setting. Now that we are coming back to the campus, what are some of the “learning” from e-learning that we can bring back to our face-to-face teaching? This session will explore easy-to-use apps and some of their basic features to improve collaboration and communication among teachers and students. We will look into practical tips to kick-start your face-to-face teaching.

About the Speaker
Donn Gonda is an instructional designer at the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and a lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. His areas of expertise are developing and evaluating higher education courses, teaching and training instructional design skills, and leveraging analytics and research to innovate teaching and learning. He has led several e-learning projects, including MOOC, SPOC, blended learning, and flipped classroom.

[25 Aug 2021] Session 5 : See you in class?!?!

Session 5 : See you in class?!?!

Date : 25 August 2021 (Wed)
Time : 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Venue : Zoom
Student Panel: Alfred, Amruth (PhD student, Year 2); Chan, Vernice (MBBS, Year 6); Huq, Monirul (PhD student, Year 3); Li, Kexin Sofia (BBA Acc&Fin, Year 3); Nguyen, Blue (MSc LIM, Year 1); Yu, Sichen Sistine (BASc FinTech, Year 2)
Session Facilitator : Ms. Hannah Wong, CETL, HKU; Ms. Jiahui Luo, CETL, HKU

Are we ready to meet face-to-face? Let’s face it, most of us have been used to the idea of teaching from the comfort of our offices or our homes and taking classes from coffee shops, MTRs, or busses. As we open up our campus and welcome our students in September, we wonder …

  • What are students’ expectations when they come back to the classroom?
  • Are they also ready for these changes?
  • Do they have questions for us such as:
    • Are we anxious about meeting our students face-to-face again?
    • And are we equipped to engage our students in a post-pandemic setting?

Alfred, Vernice, Monirul, Sofia, Blue, and Sistine, our student panel, will explore these questions with us and reflect on how it will affect our teaching practices this coming academic year.


About the Student Panel

Mr. Amruth Alfred
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science,

PhD student, Year 2

Amruth is from Sri Lanka. He is highly passionate about how the universe works and curious to know how and why things work. So, he came to study physics and astronomy for his undergraduate degree at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). After that, he completed his MPhil in Astrophysics and started his PhD at HKU. His current research focuses on revealing the nature of dark matter. In his spare time, he loves playing competitive video games and also teaching complicated concepts about the universe to anyone who is willing to listen.
Ms. Chan Hui Yan, Vernice
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS),

Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Year 6

Vernice is a final-year medical student at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) with interest in medical education and student wellbeing. She is the co-founder of a voluntary near-peer teaching (NPT) initiative for medical students, which aims to support students and foster inter-cohort collaboration through student-designed and led teaching sessions conducted online. Her project was awarded an HKU Teaching Development Grant and won First Place and People’s Choice awards at the inter-university RSLEIHE 2021 award scheme.
Mr. A B M Monirul Huq
School of English, Faculty of Arts,

PhD student, Year 3

Monirul grew up in Khulna, a city in southern Bangladesh adjacent to the mangrove forest the Sundarbans and the Bay of Bengal. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in the School of English at The University of Hong Kong, where he is working on literary representations of mythical texts as counternarratives to ecological crises. While doing his research, Monirul has also worked as a teaching assistant and part-time research assistant. He has contributed to the edited collections The Great War and Our Mindscapes: Centenary Essays (2017) and Translation Studies: Exploring Identities (2015).
Ms. Li Kexin, Sofia
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance [BBA(Acc&Fin)],

HKU Business School, Year 3

Sofia is a year three student from Inner-Mongolia studying accounting and finance at HKU Business School. She spent a summer studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science and had work experiences from India. She is extroverted and loves exchanging ideas with people from diverse backgrounds and with different values.
Ms. Nguyen Wai Nam, Blue
Master of Science in Library and Information Management (MSc LIM),

Faculty of Education, Year 1

Blue is currently in her first year Master of Science in Library and Information Management (MSc LIM) programme at the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). Coming from a Visual Arts and English Language teaching background, she is also the teacher-librarian at The Methodist Church Hong Kong Wesley College.
Ms. Yu Sichen, Sistine
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences [BASc(FinTech)],

Faculty of Engineering, Year 2

Sistine is a year-2 student from Shanghai, studying FinTech at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). During the hybrid teaching in the past year, she had attended both online zoom classes and face-to-face lectures. She hopes to get further involved in the transformation of the banking industry with technology and commits herself to the better future of worldwide finance.

About the Facilitator

Ms. Wong York Hay, Hannah
Faculty of Education/Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning,

PhD student, Year 2

Hannah is a second-year PhD student from the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). After completing a Master’s degree in English Language teaching at the Institute of Education, University College London (UCL), her current PhD thesis at HKU focuses on entrepreneurship education within the context of higher education in Hong Kong.
Ms. Luo Jiahui, Jess
Faculty of Education/Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning,

PhD student, Year 1

Jiahui is a doctoral student at the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining HKU, she obtained her MPhil degree from the University of Cambridge, UK. Jiahui’s main research area is in assessment in higher education, with a focus on evaluative judgement, assessment literacy, and generic skills assessment. For more information about her research, please visit http://spsweb.edu.hku.hk/profile.php?sid=101337

For information, please contact:
Ms. Lavina Luk, CETL
Phone: 3917 5272; Email: ytluk89@hku.hk