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The Speakers

Click on the speakers' name (in alphabetical order) to view their abstract:

David BOUD

Professor David BOUD,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,
University of Technology Sydney

Professor David Boud of the University of Technology Sydney, will provide commentary on the presentations.

Winnie CHENG, Patrick LAI, Margaret TAPLIN

Using assessment tasks as a vehicle to enhance students’ academic English writing across disciplines

Winnie CHENG
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Patrick LAI
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Margaret TAPLIN
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Students’ writing in academic subjects can serve two important purposes. One is as a tool to enhance their learning and to assess their grasp of the subject content, while the other is to prepare them more effectively for the specific writing genres and discourses of their future professions. In most cases, the major writing tasks that students undertake in their academic subjects are related to their assessment components. For students writing in English as a second or third language, there are multiple challenges that, due to time and curriculum constraints, are difficult for the teachers of academic subjects to address.

This paper will describe a project currently being conducted across nine academic departments in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The project aims to address the challenges of improving students’ writing in the context of their academic subjects by using the major writing activities, the assessment tasks, as a vehicle for enhancing their writing skills. There are three major ways in which this can be done: by designing innovative written assessment tasks that are conducive to effective, critical writing and thinking rather than simply cutting and pasting from other sources; by providing scaffolding to help them to plan and structure their writing effectively; and by including feedback not only on the content and grammar but also the rhetorical functions and structural pattern of their writing. Specifically, the paper will present examples of each of these approaches. Samples of students’ writing and extracts from their feedback on these activities will be discussed in order to explore the effectiveness of the strategies.

Christopher Charles DENEEN

Opportunities and challenges: Eportfolios as a means to assessment for learning

Dr. Christopher Charles DENEEN,
Faculty of Education,
University of Hong Kong

Over the past two decades, the growing enthusiasm for using eportfolios in higher education (HE) and moves to enhance the learning-orientation of assessment in HE have come together in the promotion of eportfolios as a means to learning oriented assessment. While the potential of eportfolios to fulfil this need is widely acknowledged, a critical discussion of the literature and current research is needed focusing on validated best practices and the effectiveness of eportfolios for learning oriented purposes.

Such a discussion has both local and global significance; the enhancement of assessment and the integration of information communication technology (ICT) are integral parts of standard-based HE reform movements within Europe, the United States, and Australasia. In Hong Kong, HE change under the 3-3-4 reform mirrors this global movement for enhancing assessment and ICT. Eportfolios have been rapidly promoted and enthusiastically adopted as a means to enabling 3-3-4 curricular outcomes through enhancing student learning and assessment. However, the pervasiveness of high-stakes, test-centric assessment culture in Hong Kong coupled with the challenges of integrating technology in the HE learning experience raises concerns about how stakeholders conceptualize and utilize eportfolios as assessment and whether they are leveraging appropriate technological opportunities.

This presentation explores both the literature on HE eportfolio use as well as the presenter’s current research. The focus of the presentation will be to present a model for understanding eportfolio use as learning oriented assessment, review what constitutes best practices as understood through empirical published research, and discuss the presenter’s current research findings within the context of Hong Kong and specifically, HKU.

Implications will be discussed in terms of promoting learning oriented assessment as well as leveraging ICT use for enhanced student learning in both a HK and global HE context.

Michael FUNG, Paul LAM

Peer-Creation and Peer-Sharing of Video Learning Resources for Active Learning

Michael FUNG, Fred KU,
Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Paul LAM,
Centre for Learning Enhancement And Research,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The use of the innovative teaching and learning strategies to be reported on this paper is closely tied with the expected learning outcomes of the Faculty. In particular, we see the need to develop our students’ ability to analyze data and apply information for facilitating business decision making, and to apply frontier information technology to enhance efficiency in all areas of business. Also, the Faculty is devoted to inspire our students to develop an innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirits

We initiated a video project approach starting the academic year 2010-2011 in the course DSME1040 Economics for Business Studies II. The video project required students to produce a short film, which incorporated with macroeconomic theories in class. The video project began by asking students to divide themselves into groups of six to seven. Then, students were required to incorporate the theories of a student-chosen topic into a short video, which lasted six to eight minutes. At the end of the course, videos produced by each group were presented and discussed for peer-learning.

We base our own work on a broadly learner-centred paradigm of teaching and learning where students are actively involved in the manipulation and construction of knowledge representations. Peer-teaching activities are learner-centred activities. The student-teachers learn as they actively construct knowledge through reflecting upon, organising and transferring what they have learnt into teaching instructions.

In our evaluation, students reported that the video project had made their courses of study more interesting and memorable, which in turn, had enhanced their learning experiences. They perceived the project was effective in relating theories with daily examples. Students claimed they also developed better teamwork skills upon completing the project.


Asking the Right Questions: Using Media Reports as Assessment Problems

Professor Rick GLOFCHESKI,
Faculty of Law,
University of Hong Kong

This presentation seeks to offer teachers a new approach to their assessment practices, one that can have a profound impact on how students learn. This approach, in which recent, media- sourced news items are utilised as assessment and learning tools, can help students to move away from the habit of short-term reproductive learning and develop more effective skills that go beyond the mere accumulation of knowledge. Moreover, it promotes the development of independent and life-long learning skills in a way that gives substance to those otherwise meaningless academic clichés. This approach – which is new to the law curriculum and indeed most curricula – re-conceptualises assessment as a learning opportunity rather than merely a measurement exercise. In doing so it abides by the principle of ‘assessment as learning’. It accepts as axiomatic that assessment is a major driver of student learning behaviour, and is premised on the beliefs that assessment is an integral part of student learning and that more effective student learning requires a reconsideration of how we assess students.

Tak HA

A study into the effect of assessment on learning

Tak HA,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The effect of assessment on students’ learning outcomes has been widely discussed in the higher education research literature (Gibbs and Simpson 2003, Biggs and Tang 2007). It can be argued that assessment is the single most important factor in determining the way students approached their study (Elton and Laurillard 1979).

This presentation is about a 3-year study which looks at the effect of assessment and other course experience and student characteristic variables (such as workload and motivation) on students’ learning, and in particular their learning approaches (Biggs, Kember and Leung, 2001; Biggs 1992). About 400 randomly selected first year undergraduate students accepted our invitation to participate in the study in 2010 fall. At the end of the fall and spring terms, they were asked to complete questionnaires about a randomly chosen course they have completed. The questionnaires collected data about the course, including different aspects of its assessment, the way the students approached their study in the course, and their motivation.

Up to now, four rounds of data have been collected. The preliminary results of the study showed that assessment (including nature of the assessment tasks and feedback on assessment) is one of the factors affecting students’ learning approaches in a course.


Embedding discovery in assessment tasks: outcomes and impact

Education Development and Gateway Education,
City University of Hong Kong

Department of Biology and Chemistry,
City University of Hong Kong

Cultivating a discovery-oriented attitude in university students is an essential part of their learning journey, because once they have established the habit of discovering aspects of the world around them it will have a lifelong impact. Facilitating a culture of learning through discovery has been adopted by faculty in the discovery-enriched curriculum in City University of Hong Kong. This paper reports on how students have developed a discovery mindset while engaged in an assessment task in which they were required to discover information for themselves. Traditionally, students studying microbiology learn about the subject matter in class, examining species in the laboratory and being assessed in an end-of-course examination. However, students studying in this course had a different learning experience; they were required to identify infected trees in different parts of Hong Kong as one of the assessment tasks in the final year of undergraduate study. During a period of five weeks, six groups of students identified over one hundred trees, the majority of which were graded as either at low or medium risk of infection. Apart from taking photos that showed how these trees were infected, they had to report the locations of the trees using a Google map, to explain the types of fungi discovered, to report on how different fungi fruited in the trees, and to propose how to manage the risk induced by the particular location. In a focus group interview, students described the challenges that they encountered during their discoveries, the skills they developed, their readiness to assess trees, the excitement they felt when making discoveries, the satisfaction they felt about the collective accomplishments of the groups, and the contribution that their project would provide good information to the Task Force on Tree Management for the Hong Kong Government.

Diane HUI

Fostering Student Learning and Building Communities of Learners in Assessment Mediated by Media and Mobile Technologies

Diane HUI,
Department of English,
Lingnan University

In response to the call to complement traditional approaches to testing to provide pedagogically useful and meaningful information for guiding learners in their future learning and performance improvement, and drawing upon the assessment and learning principles from the Assessment for Learning paradigm, guided practice and the Learning Sciences, this paper illustrates a synergy of integrative design and innovative practice of assessment for learning informed by pedagogical experiences with three English classes at a Liberal Arts university in Hong Kong, enhanced by the use of media and mobile learning tools (e.g., camcorder, iPads).

It aims to scaffold student-centered improvements in learning and teaching outcomes, and ascribe student agency. It is characterized by rich data from multiple sources throughout the course (e.g., pre-post course survey, grades, pre-post interviews, students’ e-journals and work examples, etc.) and the facilitation of feedback rich learning environments through: (a) staged multimodal assessment tasks (i.e., submission of a revised draft of a group written assignment individually presented by each student), (b) performance-based self and peer reflections, supported by multimodality with the use of technologies (e.g., mobile learning tools, e-portfolio), and (c) specific focus on feedback reading before announcing students’ grades.

Preliminary analysis and findings show that students made improvements in some areas of their performance. For example, students reported increased understanding of all the learning outcomes in their pre-post course surveys. Moreover, students’ use of mobile learning tools (iPads here) correlated significantly to the final course grade (p=0.049). Furthermore, the use of iPads fostered episodes of creative ideas and collaborative learning during assessment performance. In addition, students reported improved performance in their e-portfolio reflection presentations, and enjoyment completing the final test using computer terminals the first time, thus reshaping the status quo of the conventional writing exam format.

Therefore, productive assessment for learning needs to align with a synergy of design principles and innovative pedagogies, and the use of assessment data formatively at different stages of the teaching cycle to inform learning and teaching so as to scaffold the optimal learning environments and community of learners for potential projection and further improvement.

Cher Ping LIM, Vincent HUNG, Bruce LIU

Students Monitoring and Managing their Own Learning: The E-Portfolio Initiative in the Hong Kong Institute of Education

Cher Ping LIM, Vincent HUNG, Bruce LIU
Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology
The Hong Kong Institute of Education

This session discusses the development and implementation of the e-portfolio initiative in the Hong Kong Institute of Education that aims to empower students to monitor and manage their own learning trajectories as they progress through four or five years of undergraduate studies. It highlights the promising practices of supporting students to reflect upon their learning, identify learning gaps based on their self-assessment of 21st century competencies, and plan for their own learning needs. It also explains how students may use the e-portfolio as a showcase of their learning journey in the Institute and articulate the competencies that they have developed in the journey.

Based on the lessons learned from the pilot studies that include establishing buy-in from staff and students, developing support resources and system, and re-thinking and re-designing assessment tasks, this session shares with participants the key components that support the scaling up of the e-portfolio initiative in the Institute. The components include: professional learning sessions and walk-in clinics for students and staff, partnerships with staff to co-develop the assessment tasks and learning activities, senior management buy-in of the initiative for the core courses, support resources for self-learning, and ongoing evaluation of the implementation to refine the process.

Isabella Wai-Yin POON

Students to Design and Implement Assessment in a Student-Oriented Course

Isabella Wai-Yin POON,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

There are many advantages of using clearly specified criteria in assessing students’ works, especially when self- and peer-assessment are involved. However, the difficulties in formulating criteria are well-known and widely discussed. A group of teachers in the Faculty of Science at The Chinese University of Hong Kong had explored the potentiality of engaging students in the development of assessment criteria and the subsequent use of such criteria in self- and peer-assessment in science courses, and the implementation experience arisen from several pilot trials was summarized in Poon et al. (2009). While a number of benefits and difficulties had been identified, the innovative practice was in general welcomed by students. It was also found that though students were in general capable of assessing science content knowledge or professional skills, they appeared to be more confident and proficient in evaluating generic skills. In view of this, the practice had been extended to student-oriented general education courses, with improved implementation procedure including the use of technology. The practice and experience will be shared in this talk.

Hongyi SUN, Paula HODGSON, Janel M. CURRY

Formulae to engage students with D&I® assessment

Hongyi SUN,
City University of Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong

Janel M. CURRY,
Gorden College

With the discovery-enriched curriculum®, which is embedded in the outcomes-based teaching and learning approach at the City University of Hong Kong, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to discover, be creative and develop innovative ideas and solutions when they study in the university’s programmes. With traditional course-end paper-based assessment, students have neither the opportunity nor the space to experience or experiment with creativity. This paper reports a case in which first-year students studying in the course ‘Innovation and entrepreneurship for young professionals’ demonstrated their ability to discover and generate innovative solutions in an assessment task. Over a period of weeks, students, working in groups, searched the internet and held discussions with their peers to identify any emerging and pressing issues or problems in different walks of life as foci for their group projects. Each group was required to generate a prototype to address an issue or problem, and this included a five-year business plan. As the groups made their oral reports, the other student groups were required to make peer group evaluations, and each group also received feedback from a panel of experts from the educational and industrial fields. As observed by the teaching faculty, students with heterogeneous disciplinary backgrounds performed better than the homogeneous groupings. Second, a question-and-answer session with peer groups and the expert panel generated high-quality discussion, which proved to be a more effective learning experience than simply having a series of presentations. Third, the presence of a panel of experts from different disciplines provided evaluation from a range of different perspectives. By tackling real-life problems and issues in their assessment task, students underwent a process of discovery as they learned how to generate innovative ideas and solutions. This provided a much deeper understanding of the issues than mere ‘head’ knowledge, because they simulated real-world working practices, enabling them to tackle problems by sharpening their critical thinking. Importantly, the experience of creating their own intellectual property heightened their awareness of the need to respect the rights implicit in the ownership of such property.

Raymond WONG, Eva WONG

Helping Students with Teamwork Skills – Peer Assessment and Feedback

Professor Raymond W.Y. WONG,
Department of Chemistry,
Hong Kong Baptist University

Dr Eva WONG,
Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning,
Hong Kong Baptist University

The current perspective on education calls for a shift from teaching-centred to the learning-centred paradigm. To achieve this, rather than having assessment as an auditive process to check on what the students have learned, “assessment of learning”, assessment has to be used formatively, coupled with timely feedback provided to students, to help them improve and maintain their motivation in learning. Hence the concepts of “assessment for learning” or “assessment as learning” are commonly used nowadays.

An effective way of helping students to become more responsible for their own learning is to involve them in the assessment process. A notable example is to have peer assessment in team projects. As opposed to simply working in a group, students are asked to comment on each other’s work constructively as critical assessors. Peer assessment not only can encourage collaborative learning through binding students together into a learning group, but also can help them adapt to real life context; when entering the workplace, students will have to get used to assessing others and being assessed by others.

This presentation will showcase two examples of team work, posters and oral presentation. As a requirement of these assessment tasks, students had to take turns posting questions and critiquing the work of the other groups. In the process, not only did students have their content knowledge reinforced, they also learned to give and take criticism constructively to help them improve their work.