E-learning experts share experiences in US

Sharon Ng

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Dr Eva Wong Chow Yee-wah, Director of the Education Development Office, led a four-member City University of Hong Kong (CityU) delegation to attend the Blackboard World ’08 conference in the US on 15 to17 July. CityU delegates shared their experiences in using the e-learning platform to support the University’s curriculum and co-curriculum.

 

More than 2,000 e-learning experts from 28 countries and regions attended the conference and CityU was the first tertiary institution from Asia to be invited as speakers. Dr Wong, Mr Peter Mok For-che, Associate Director of Computing Services, Professor Jonathan Webster, Head of the Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, and Dr Crusher Wong Siu-kwan, Senior Education Development Officer introduced the operation of Blackboard at CityU and the efforts to maximise its performance so as to maintain its stability and security. The CityU delegates were also interviewed by the conference organiser.

 

CityU uses Blackboard as a unified e-platform for students and teaching staff to conduct e-learning and information exchange. Its involvement in this international conference is a mark of recognition for the University’s achievement in making use of information technology to support students’ learning.

 

“CityU is the tertiary institution in Hong Kong which has implemented an e-platform to conduct teaching and learning as well as information exchange on the largest scale. It is our pleasure to share useful experiences with experts from all over the world,” said Dr Wong.

 

E-learning is a priority in the University’s Information Services Strategic Plan 2005-10, which is included in every credit bearing course offered using the Blackboard e-learning platform.

 

In the early days of implementation, the emphasis was on making course content more interactive and attractive to the students. As the staff and students became more familiar with Blackboard, and with the tools and functions provided by or added to it, teaching staff made use of the discussion forums, and now blogs and wikis, to further engage the students, Dr Wong said.

 

She added that a recently launched university-wide pilot project uses Web 2.0 technologies to facilitate English learning between CityU students and native English speaking students.

 

Blackboard has become part and parcel of the everyday life of students and staff. It has been activated to conduct e-learning in 70% of courses and is also used for co-curricular activities. A maximum 3.5 million hit rate in a day has been recorded for 30,000 students and staff.

 

The University will review and update the capacity of the Blackboard system to meet the increasing demand, Dr Wong said.

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