1st anniversary of CityU-Learning – pioneering a new era in online teaching

Helen Mok

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1st anniversary of CityU-Learning

Exactly one year ago, an innovative online learning platform was rolled out at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) in record time in response to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Since CityU-Learning went live on 7 February 2020, staff and students from 110 countries and regions were able to attend real-time classes in accordance with the original class schedule over the year.

CityU was the first publicly funded university in Hong Kong to conduct such extensive online learning on a campus-wide scale, and possibly one of the first in the world.

At the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, CityU immediately responded under the leadership of President Way Kuo. CityU-Learning was developed and launched within a few days. 

So far, over 220,000 classes have been conducted, with around 5.8 million visits from around the world. “Thanks to the efforts of faculty and staff across campus, our innovative breakthroughs in e-learning have enabled students to continue learning,” said President Kuo.

CityU-Learning was launched well on 7 February before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, which was in March 2020, enabling teachers and students to conduct real-time online teaching and learning according to schedule. Statistics show that at least 2,000 students have been attending classes through the platform every hour, and 4,000 students at peak hours on each weekday, since the February launch. This is an outstanding achievement in higher education sector.

CityU pioneers online teaching and virtual reality (VR) technology. In March 2012, CityU presented the exhibition “Pure Land: Inside the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang” using VR technology developed by CityU to view inside Cave 220 for the first time in the world. This high-tech cultural extravaganza was highly significant in terms of the exhibition of archaeological discoveries, the development of digital technology as well as the sustainable conservation of cultural relics.

By combining the pioneering technology on VR, CityU-Learning has had a huge impact on teaching effectiveness and students’ lives. Our students have experienced no delays to progress through their degree programmes, and so they can graduate as planned, and teaching and research activities can be planned accordingly.

Moreover, CityU-Learning has evolved steadily into CityU-Learning 2.0, which offers teachers greater flexible and more convenient technologies for hybrid classes, i.e. simultaneous face-to-face and online classes. At the same time, the University has started utilising its know-how in VR technology to conduct virtual experiments on different courses. According to a campus-wide survey, online teaching and the hybrid mode are both effective ways of teaching.

“CityU has overcome tremendous difficulties thanks to our rich experience to continue teaching and research during the pandemic. We will continue to pay close attention to developments, and respond effectively,” President Kuo said.

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