Creating global computing education through cross-institutional collaborative learning alliances – Chui Chun Kit
… as for other professions, engineers are expected to be good communicators, be able to work effectively in interdisciplinary teams, to conduct themselves ethically and professionally, and to be able to constantly update and improve their technical and personal skills.’ (OECD, 2012, p.3)
Engineering education has been changing rapidly these years. With the fast pace of modern technology development, computing education nowadays is becoming global, cross-disciplinary, and distanced collaborative. Rather than having a team of experts physically sitting together in one place, the work is now undertaken by people located in different places and connected through virtual networks. While this seems to be the mode of collaboration for future computing engineers, the existing computing education in universities has not yet fully prepared students for the relevant competencies that they need to work effectively. Some of these competencies include lifelong-learning, teamwork and collaborative skills, presentation skills, creative thinking skills, and social responsibility.
With the above inspirations, I went to visit the School of Computing in the National University of Singapore (NUS) during April to May, 2016, using the funding obtained through the Teaching Exchange Fellowship Scheme offered by HKU. My idea is to establish cross-institutional collaborative learning alliances in order to provide our students with more up-to-date and global education. The starting point is to build a close partnership between HKU and NUS. Through the discussion with a number of teachers and scholars in NUS, I learned many important elements that could be the building blocks of the new pedagogy, for example, design of in-class activities in flipped programming classrooms, the enhancement of online instructional materials, and the use of online gamification platform in programming courses.
Based on these building blocks, we have started to plan for pilot and case studies that could better connect HKU and NUS. Prof. Ben Leong, a professor in computing, also an outstanding educator award winner in NUS, has agreed to join the alliances and co-teach the relevant courses with me in the Academic Year 2017-18. We will also develop an online collaborative teaching and learning platform to facilitate cross-institutional collaborative learning. One step further is to develop the instructors’ manual for general computer education together with colleagues in the alliances. In this way, the alliances will serve as a knowledge hub connecting students and teachers as well as hosting resources, including learning materials, user cases, assessment resources, and learning analytics.
Looking into the future, I plan to further expand the alliances to involve more universities overseas and in Hong Kong in order to create a truly global and collaborative learning environment for our students. The increased cultural diversity in the alliances will lead to a more complex and genuine learning environment since the real workplace for computer engineers has already turned into multicultural and multinational virtual networks.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2012). Engineering Assessment Framework. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=edu/imhe/ahelo/gne(2011)19/ANN5/FINAL&doclanguage=en