On 15 May, over 1000 visitors from UIC, other Chinese higher institutions and industries attended UIC’s First IT and eLearning Expo. There was a huge exhibition with plenty to see as well as a whole day of presentations about various topics related to information technology and eLearning.

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Crowd of Zee

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Opening Ceremony

Welcoming everyone were the two MCs for the expo, Year One Applied Economics (AE) student, Mr Yao Zewei, and Year One e-Business and Management Information Systems (EBIS) student, Ms Ding Zixi. They introduced UIC’s Vice President, Prof Zee Sze-Yong, who discussed the importance of eLearning and how it is being integrated with traditional classroom practices. Prof Zee pointed out that internet has greatly enriched teaching content, and the application of electronic media teaching can stimulate students' interest and greatly improve teaching quality.

ZeeProf Zee Sze-Yong addresses the audience

“ELearning provides a new way of learning and increases the feasibility of learning anytime, anywhere, thus providing the possibility for lifelong learning. ELearning is not an alternative to traditional teaching, but it is constantly colliding with traditional teaching,” said Prof Zee.

Prof Zee also said that when UIC was building a new campus, it attached great importance to the construction of campus information systems and increased investment in infrastructure and talents. In accordance with international standards and the principle of sustainable development, UIC planned the hardware and software facilities for campus information. The system promotes school administration, teaching applications and academic development.

Presentations

UIC Associate Vice President, Prof Lilian Kwan, then came on stage and spoke before introducing ACE teaching and eLearning Manager and lecturer, Mr Edward Martin. Mr Martin began his presentation by announcing the pre-launch preview of UIC’s new Teaching and Learning Support web page. The page is a collaborative platform to connect members of the UIC community and enhance the teaching and learning process at the college. Official teaching and learning policy documents will be posted on this page. The web page will also connect all interested parties with resources related to UIC’s unique combination of Whole Person Education and Outcomes Based Teaching and Learning. Faculty members were encouraged to submit content and participate in on-going discussions on the evolution and development of the college’s innovative and unique educational model. The new page includes links to iSpace and other subscription services available to UIC community members.

KwonProf Lilian Kwan speaks at the expo

Mr Martin’s presentation also introduced the concept of a Community of Practice (CoP) and concluded with an invitation from Prof Kwan for interested faculty members to get involved with the exploration of forming CoPs at UIC under her leadership. The new UIC Teaching and Learning web page preview can be accessed directly via the UIC home page.

Ed1Mr Edward Martin discusses eLearning resources at UIC

Following Mr Edward’s presentation was UIC’s Chief Information Officer and Deputy Registrar, Dr Ricky Hou, who discussed UIC’s in-house Developed Academic Registry System. Dr Ricky Hou spoke of how UIC developed its own Academic Registry System with limited resources.

Ricky HouDr Ricky Hou talks about UIC’s in-house Developed Academic Registry System

‘Insights on Smart Campus Based on Cloud Computing Services Platform’ was the presentation topic given by China Telecom Expert on Cloud Computing and Disaster Recovery, Mr Li Chaoning. Following Mr Li was Beijing Tangview representative, Mr Victor Chai, who provided a talk on ‘International eLearning Trends’. Tangview is working as a partner with multi-national companies such as Microsoft, Saba, Duntroon, SAP and Trivantis.

Li ChaoningMr Li Chaoning speaks at the expo

On stage next was ELC Senior Lecturer and Course Convener, Mr Darrell Rea. As a member of UIC’s eLearning sub-committee, Mr Rea has given many eLearning Lectures and has experience with utilising a wide variety of eLearning concepts and application. For his presentation, Mr Rea decided that instead of providing a lecture on what he has done, or the latest eLearning tools, or how to use them, his lecture presented an update of one eLearning definition, and offered six eLearning precepts. Those precepts were: What is it for; Have access to different tools; Know how to use the tool; Focus; Time; Students Perspective.

During his explanation of ‘Rea’s Six eLearning Precepts’, Mr Rea also introduced a new category of eLearning called ‘Directed Self Learning’ which can run alongside the well-known definition of ‘Self Directed Learning’. Finally he warned of the issue of the ‘Weakest Link’ - explaining that there are so many areas that could go wrong in eLearning, in the hope of avoiding them.

DarrellMr Darrell Rea discusses his eLearning precepts

Division of Science and Technology (DST) Foreign Intern, Ms Jillian Abercrombie, presented on behalf of the Applied Psychology (APSY) department, discussing the department's efforts to introduce e-learning tools into APSY courses. A video was presented introducing the active learning classroom initiative set forth by the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) and APSY, where students will be able to access an assigned article at a station within the classroom and interact with both the professor and their peers. Ms Abercrombie also talked about the APSY teaching supports experience using different e-learning tools available on iSpace and both the advantages and disadvantages of the tools.  

JillMs Jillian Abercrombie speaks on behalf of APSY

In the afternoon, presentations continued alternating between Chinese and English. Associate Director of General Education Office (GEO) and Assistant Professor, Dr Milen Jissov, discussed his use of eLearning tools within the classroom, which included showing videos, and having the students write responses to what they had seen. After the class, Dr Jissov photographs or scans the students’ written responses so they can be uploaded to iSpace for students to access and reflect on later.

MilenDr Milen Jissov discusses his use of eLearning tools within the classroom

After Dr Jissov, the next UIC member to speak was Mr Martin, this time discussing ‘UIC’s eLearning resources’. He introduced various eLearning resources including ‘Todaymeet’, which is an online chat platform that audience members logged into in order to ask questions to Mr Martin during his presentation. Mr Martin emphasized that this resource is well suited for students who may not be confident in their speaking abilities but want to be able to contribute to the classroom discussion. Mr Martin also introduced iSpace, UIC’s version of moodle, which is the homepage for many of UIC’s online teaching activities, including tracking attendance, submitting assignments, sharing course resources and more. Mr Martin also briefly introduced: Turnitin - a website that checks student work for plagiarism; MyET – An online speaking practice platform with voice recognition technology; Panopto – A moodle compatible ‘campus’ version of YouTube that can be used for submitting video projects or recording student presentations; and lastly Kahoot – an online real-time quiz platform.

The next speaker was Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS) Senior Lecturer, Ms Roser Cervera, who discussed ‘the flipped classroom’. The flipped classroom idea is something Mr Cervera and her colleague, Betsabe Riera, have been implementing in their Spanish language courses at UIC for several years. The premise of the idea is that instead of the teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom, the room is flipped so that the teacher is instead engaging with students. This promotes more hands-on learning activities which holds students attention better, and helps them learn more effectively.

RoserMs Roser Cervera discusses the 'flipped classroom'

Ms Cervera also introduced various eLearning software she uses in her classroom, including Panopto and Kahoot, as well as a website called Mentimeter where students can answer poll questions. In order to make her presentation more interactive, Ms Cervera had audience members use the Mentimeter website to answer a poll, as well as complete a quiz on Kahoot at the end of her presentation.

The last UIC faculty member of the day to speak was DST Associate Professor, Dr Kuo Yi-Lung, who discussed online peer assessments. Dr Kuo presented his findings that having his students complete online peer assessments was beneficial both for the students, and him. For his courses, Dr Kuo has students give peer reviews to other students in their groups, which helps them to improve their writing skills as they have to spend time commenting on different elements of the group work. The process encourages students to be reflective of their own efforts, and it also saves the professor time having to input paper copies, in addition to being more environmentally friendly as it is saving hundreds of pieces of paper.

YiLung KuoDr Kuo Yi-Lung speaks about online peer assessments

The Exhibition

There was plenty to see at the exhibit set up around the T1 Multi-Function Room. A total of 22 internal and external exhibitors displayed innovative IT applications in the four areas of big data, cloud computing, smart campus and eLearning.

A mix of UIC departments and outside companies set up booths at the expo. External companies included: Beijing Tangview Technology, Blackboard China, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Dahua Technology, Dell, Macroview Telecom, Roy Mark, Sony China, Toshiba, Zhuhai Tak Luo Bao and Kingsoft.

Various UIC departments had booths set up with teaching staff demonstrating how their department integrated eLearning into their curriculum. For example, many professors at UIC use Turnitin, online discussion forums, as well as online polling websites to make their courses more interesting and interactive.

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Award Presentation

At the end of the expo, there was a presentation to give out certificates to select exhibitors. An award for most creative booth was given to Dell. Macroview received a certificate for best presentation. The most interactive booth award was given to Zhuhai Tak Luo Bao.

dellwinnersDell recieving their award for most creative booth

macroview winnersMacroview recieving their award for best presentation

zhuhaitak winnersZhuhai Tak Luo Bao recieving their award for most interactive booth

Additionally, three awards were given out to recognize excellent internal exhibitors, with the criteria being based on innovation, interaction and presentation. These were awarded to the APSY, GEO and the Information Technology Services Centre (ITSC).

internalwinnersAPSY, GEO and ITSC recieve their awards

The First IT & eLearning Expo at UIC was a huge success, demonstrating that many UIC faculty members are already implementing many elements of eLearning into their courses, which is making learning more accessible, fun, and interactive for their students. This innovation in education is coupled by developments in the technological field, which will only bring more opportunities to the future of eLearning.

Reporters: Samuel Burgess, Samantha Burns
Photographers: Deen He, Samuel Burgess, Samantha Burns
Editor: Deen He
(from MPRO)

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