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Hong Kong’s CityU launches online learning platform

City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has taken the lead in introducing the CityU-Learning system in view of the serious challenges posed by the coronavirus epidemic.

Resources were pulled together rapidly to roll out this online learning platform according to the original class schedule, online and in real-time on 7 February 2020. More than 2,000 students attended classes at the same time at each session.

CityU was the first local university to conduct such online learning on a campus-wide scale. The new platform tentatively replaces traditional classroom teaching and dramatically curtails face-to-face contact to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus.

The President of CityU has been leading the University in this initiative. He noted that facing successive challenges, the team has been thinking out of the box and, with the support of faculty, providing students with the best possible options.

The CityU-Learning system integrates the university’s learning platform and a communication tool that replaces the face-to-face component.

Around 1,200 staff attended training sessions prior to the 7 February 2020 commencement date. The University is closely monitoring the online platform to maintain teaching and learning during this challenging period.

To prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading on campus, the University through its faculty and staff has contributed to a number of anti-virus measures, such as predicting the virus spreading and promoting the One Health concept, supplying alcohol-based hand-rub, making available electronic thermometers, and providing surgical masks.

E-learning on the rise in Hong Kong

According to an earlier article by OpenGov Asia, educators across Hong Kong are turning to online portals to ensure students do not fall behind.

Several schools, especially international schools, are trying to have their students “attend” a regular school day. Some are providing students with an interactive classroom experience via different web-based video conferencing tools.

They are working to continue live interactions between teachers and students as online instruction is adopted, as well as more collaborative interactions among students with online instructional programmes. However, some schools are still sending worksheets to students.

Educators have become accustomed to delivering home learning in a suspension for typhoons, which is typically one to two days.

During the protests, teachers started using more videos, and afterwards reviewed delivery of home learning across schools so that they could be better prepared for further suspensions, one educator noted.

OpenGov Asia also reported that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus caused the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE) of the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has deployed an innovative interactive platform based on internet technology and virtual reality (VR) to deliver online teaching and learning, in order to reduce contact among students.

Two courses, including one from the Industrial Engineering curriculum – Virtual Reality of Systems Engineering (IMSE3137) and an HKU Common Core course – Virtual Worlds, Real Bodies (CCHU9056) – have made use of the online video communication platform Zoom and the imseCAVE VR technology.

This is based on research and development from HKU researchers at the Department of IMSE with support from the Innovation and Technology Commission and Industrial collaborators.

As Hong Kong reckons with an onslaught of uncertainty, its education system is relying heavily on the openness of teachers and students to e-learning becoming the new norm.

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