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Wednesday 8 December 2021
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Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Project Sharing Seminar – Getting Students Interested


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

Details of the workshop:
Date : 16 November 2021 (Tuesday)
Time : 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue : via zoom
Speaker : Dr. Luke Fryer, Associate Professor / Assistant Director (Programmes), CETL, HKU
Principal Investigators : Prof. Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, Dr. Luke Fryer, Dr. Alex Shum

(HKU Portal login required)


How can we get meaningful feedback from students about their course experiences? Talking to a few students can help but is hardly comprehensive. Course evaluations can be helpful, but return rates are often low and students often fail to seriously complete them unless they love or hate an instructor. These evaluations also force students to condense months of experiences into a few Likert responses; certainly not the most accurate means of assessing students’ experience.

This TDG, and the related programme of research, trialled a new mobile platform aimed at making Lecture Hall, Tutorial, Classroom feedback (student to teacher) easy, regular, and informative. The focus of these trials were larger-scale courses within the Common Core curriculum.

Trialling of the platform was completed in four Common Core, three first/second year conducted by the science faculty, and one Postgraduate Certificate course across two academic years. Students were asked to report their interest in specific lecture/tutorial experiences on the mobile platform. These micro-analytic data were modelled to understand the impact of specific learning experience on students’ interest in the course and the broader domain going forward.

Modelling across the trials highlight the very different role of classroom experiences, with group learning and heads-down writing tasks being particularly critical drivers of students’ long-term interest. Students’ prior knowledge of course contents and their prior interest were critical moderators of students’ interest in course tasks, particularly for authentic, practical learning experiences.

Findings point to the value of course offering a wide variety of learning experiences that are accessible to the full gamut of a course’s students. Recent trialling points specifically towards the important role of formative testing as a critical source of feedback about the learning process for students. Opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge in larger groups, individual opportunities for students to consolidate their knowledge with writing tasks and short lectures to support less confident (but interested) students’ engagement were all highlighted by the programme’s findings. Specific suggestions for practice and future research will be discussed.


  1. Fryer, L. K., Shum, A., Lee, A. & Lau, P. (2021). Mapping students’ interest in a new domain: Connecting prior knowledge, interest, and self-efficacy with interesting tasks and a lasting desire to reengage. Learning and Instruction. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2021.101493
  2. Fryer, L. K., Zeng, L. M., Shum, A., Wong, C., & Ho, C. C. (2021, June 16). “Was that Interesting?” & “Does it Matter?”: The implications of On-Task learning experiences. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/mhdg5
  3. Fryer, L. K., Shum, A., Pickett, E., George Viche Akom, & Wotherspoon, T. (2021, October 14). Finding classroom tasks interesting: Building towards a lasting desire to re-engage in four foundation courses. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/n8vr6
For information, please contact:
Ms. Lavina Luk, CETL
Phone: 3917 5272; Email: ytluk89@hku.hk