The Mobile Learning @ CUHK project funded by TDG in 2012-2015 has started a campus-wide service called uReply that greatly enhances classroom interactions through the use of mobile technology. The system has attracted growing popularity among teachers at CUHK – usage doubled/tripled that of the previous one every year. At present, over one-fourth of the teacher population has requested user accounts to use uReply. In 2015, the system recorded accumulated page visits of over 1 million, meaning that roughly this number of interactions had taken place.
Classroom technologies in fact is highly related to the concepts of MOOC, SPOOC, MMCD and Flipped classroom – much attention has been paid to the preparation of multimedia learning materials while comparatively less effort is directed to change the dynamics in the classroom for more effective, interactive and innovative teaching and learning.
Through this project, we would like to acquire the essential resources needed to keep the service running, strengthen the hardware to cater for increased usage as well as to provide stronger buffer to prevent service interruption and data loss, and fund a few minor but highly meaningful extensions of the tools. Specifically:
- To fund the daily operations of uReply.
- To strengthen the infrastructure to meet new challenges now posed by increased users, increased data traffic, higher volume of storage, and the growing demand of interrupt-free professional-grade services. We propose new production servers, back-up servers, storage servers, testing servers, firewalls and routers and reach no single-point-failure configuration as soon as possible.
- Lastly, to respond to constant requests by teachers and students, we plan to build the following additional functions/services: a) course-level integration with the campus LMS and it also results in a new set of course-based learning analytic reports for participation and performances, and b) student-oriented functions for CUHK students to initiate interactions in the classroom, and c) a non-synchronous version of uReply which turns the question bank items into homework-type of self-learning resources.
The project is an extension of the Mobile Learning @ CUHK project funded by TDG in 2012-2015. The previous project had made considerable achievements. We have taken this opportunity to further consolidate our work as well as to explore new areas that are now made possible because of the latest advancement in mobile technologies and infrastructure.
Activities, process and outcomes
The project thus does not focus merely on the provision of technology only but also emphasizes on pedagogy as well as support. As for the pedagogy and support, we have run workshops and events on teaching and learning to teachers. We also suggested and recommended teacher to do user cases sharing on the interactive activities in their teaching. For usage, we have recorded over 1,800 teacher accounts registered, around 22,000 questions recorded in Question Bank, up to 17,900 sessions have been run in-class and over 3,800,000 page views recorded since 2012 till now. Also, we have further developed the platform and strengthened the service. High-Availability for the service is one of the achievements for us to provide stable and secured platform to serve the users.
Deliverables and evaluation
The project deliverables included: (i) for technology, development and consolidation of various mobile learning solutions which are then offered to all teachers and students in the University; (ii) for pedagogy, provision of ideas and resources that teachers can readily use the technologies for various effective teaching and learning activities; and (iii) for support, active dissemination of the technology and pedagogy to fellow teachers and students as well as provision of appropriate consultation and evaluation on a case-by-case basis.
Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices
The project has promotion and releasing of newsletters at least 4 times a year as well as announcing new features to CUHK teachers. Regular workshops have been run every semester. uReply User Forum/ Seminar is one of the annual events for teachers to have a chance to share their experience together with other teachers. Also, we have been to the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, City University, Baptist University and Polytechnic University and Jinan University (China) in 2017 to 2019.