Micro-Modules of Reflective Journal Writing for University General Education Foundation Programme aims to teach students of the General Education Foundation (GEF) Programme a set of skills necessary for proper reflective-journal writing. It takes the form of micro-modules. The GEF courses “In Dialogue with Humanity” (UGFH1000) and “In Dialogue with Nature” (UGFN1000) both require students to submit reflective journals. The Independent Learning Centre has been collaborating with the Office of University General Education to offer workshops for students on reflective journal writing since 2013. Each year, the workshops attract around 2000 voluntary attendances; the attendance figures as well as the evaluation questionnaires show that the workshops are well appreciated. In order to continue this good practice, to promote e-literacy and to enhance its quality by encouraging students to learn proactively and to think more critically about different subjects, a series of micro-modules is suggested.
This micro-module series will be embedded in the GEF courses to ensure that all students (up to 3,900) will have access. A trilingual online learning platform (responsive website) and corresponding workshops will be created. The various aspects of reflective-journal writing—namely, its definition, its ways of analysis, the thinking process involved, the language requirements and the proper academic style—will be introduced through the online learning platform. Students will learn through guided video presentations, interactive and reflective exercises, suggested readings and writings submitted through the Platform. After students have gone through all the learning steps on the online platform, face-to-face workshops will be provided for discussion and further explanation on areas of greatest concerns. The content of these workshops will be developed based on analysis of the submitted writings.
The project aims to: 1) enhance student’s academic literacy for general education; 2) encourage students to learn proactively; 3) enhance students’ critical thinking skills and 4) promote e-literacy by teaching students of the General Education Foundation (GEF) Programmes (“In Dialogue with Humanity” and “In Diagloue with Nature”) a set of skills necessary for proper reflective-journal writing. It takes the form of micro-modules.
Activities, process and outcomes
A series of micro-modules that combines online learning platforms (Chinese and English) and workshops have been developed to achieve system-level improvements in teaching and learning activities in the university. Most of the modules contained: 1) written explanations; 2) short video clips; 3) interactive exercises for reflection, reviewing the content and self-assessment; and 4) feedback questions for suggestions. “Maps” with different suggested “Learning Route” (English platform only) and “Video List” (both Chinese and English platforms) have been included in the platforms to provide guidance as well as choices for the student to achieve their learning goals. Followings are the links of the password protected platforms:
Chinese Platforms: http://www.ilc.cuhk.edu.hk/go/GEWriting
English Platform: https://www.ilc.cuhk.edu.hk/workshop/GE/ReflectiveWriting
Students who are interested to deepen their understanding and enhance their critical thinking ability are welcome to attend a corresponding workshop. Topics prepared base on the feedbacks collected from the platforms or questions bring alone by the students will be discussed. Teachers will further explain the area with greatest concerns and engage students to share their reflections. Judging from the access rate, the feedback responses and the result and comments from the evaluation questionnaires, we can confirm that students found the content of the micro-modules very practical, meaningful and useful; they also agreed that the design of the micro-module is good for learning how to compose GE reflective journal and able to encourage self-learning.
The research findings of the micro-modules have been published in conference proceedings, in academic journal and as posters. The project has also been presented in international conferences, Exhibitions and workshops.
Evaluation and Reflection
The micro-modules were evaluated by student’s access rate and study progress, response questions, survey (evaluation questionnaires) and focus group study. The large amount of voluntary users suggested that the micro-modules were welcome by the students. Feedback responses, survey’s result and student’s comments were quite positive. Students found the design of the micro-modules useful and suitable for learning. They suggested that more authentic examples with explanation would make the micro-modules even better. Judging from all the data, we could believe that the project objectives have been met. In order to engage every student enrolled to the GE Foundation Programmes, project members have suggested that the micro-modules could be included as one of the assessment requirements in GE Foundation Programmes.
Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices
Micro-modules for academic writing are relatively new in CUHK. The principles of developing these GE micro-modules can be used by other disciplines to develop their own micro-modules. The unit or department who wish to promote active learning and enhance student’s academic literacy and e-literacy can take reference on the design. Furthermore, this project is also a good example of how units or departments can collaborate to create effective micro-modules for academic writing. Univesities in China, like, Fudan University have shown interest in the micro-modules.