Welcome to BOLT News
A Tale of Two Modules
Blended Learning: Redesigning the Learning Experience
Grassroots Approach to PD at HKIEd
The BOLT Project
Project Leaders: Prof. LIM Cher Ping
Mr. Darren HARBUTT
The BOLT Project Newsletter
In this quarterly newsletter we will share news, updates and resources relating to the BOLT Project and to the bigger picture of online and blended learning in general. The project website at www.bolt.edu.hk is the place to go for all the background and latest updates about the various components of the BOLT project. This UGC-funded collaboration between five Hong Kong tertiary institutions promotes blended learning via a number of exciting initiatives ranging from the BOLT foundation course – open to educators from all participating institutions – to more localised in-faculty support and capacity building. In this first issue of BOLT news we’ll be doing a bit of scene-setting and catching up with recent events. For future issues we hope to open up the conversation to voices from outside the project as well, so if there’s a story you’d like to share, please reach out to us at email@example.com
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
On Wednesday 17 February 2016, the participants of the BOLT foundation course came together for the second and final face-to-face session of Module 1: Designing Blended Learning to work on the module’s last theme – Learning on the Move - as well as enjoying the lunch, the awarding of BOLT Certificates to some and BOLT Champion awards to others, and a chance for participants to regroup before embarking on Module 2: Implementing Blended Learning. The participants from all five participating institutions (and more!) had spent the previous 6 weeks getting first-hand experience of blended learning in action, sampling synchronous and asynchronous instruction in both online and face-to-face modes. Feedback shows how much colleagues valued the experience, with many focusing on the face-to-face components of the course and the chance to form part of the BOLT learning community as highlights.
Some colleagues said their ‘farewells’ after the session to continue working on Module 1 online, and for the majority it was ‘see you soon’ rather than ‘goodbye’ as they enjoyed a two week break before returning to start Module 2. This second module is currently still underway, with participants putting their Learning Innovation Plans into practice, evaluating their interventions and preparing case studies to report back on their findings. This action research approach starts right at the beginning of the first module, with colleagues describing a ‘challenge’ in their own teaching and learning context which they attempt to explore during the two modules of the course, based on eLearning tools and techniques built on sound pedagogical foundations.
One of the main challenges facing BOLT participants is how to combine a busy professional schedule with additional study, particularly exploring an area as large as blended learning. From a course-design point of view, the key to easing some of this pressure while maintaining interest across both modules is flexibility. This second cohort of the BOLT foundation course allows much more space for personalisation than the first, particularly in accommodating the needs of colleagues with widely differing teaching & learning scenarios and desired outcomes; the course attempts to cater equally well for those who are trying a flipped approach for the first time with a small group of learners to those who are working on more long term plans of developing course-wide innovations. Exciting times as more projects come to completion and more success stories get told. Stay tuned…
Designing Blended Learning
Implementing Blended Learning
A TALE OF TWO MODULES
Prof. LIM Cher Ping
Mr. Brant KNUTZEN
Ms. YANG Danlin Lynn
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
The term “blended learning” has gained much currency in Hong Kong and elsewhere. “Blended” may be simply perceived as a mixture of modes in which students learn both online and face-to-face, but a more complex definition includes the transformative potential of blending:
“Blended learning is the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences…such that the strengths of each are blended into a unique learning experience…Blended learning is a fundamental redesign that transforms the structure of, and approach to, teaching and learning” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008, p.5)
Are Hong Kong universities meeting the needs of current students in terms of providing flexible and engaging online learning environments? Are teachers in higher education in Hong Kong equipped and supported to respond to the challenges of rapid change and required pedagogical innovations for quality learning and teaching? Given Hong Kong’s dense urban population, and its mainly traditional campus-based universities, blended learning is particularly appropriate and attractive as an approach to pedagogical innovation. Blended learning may encompass and enable emerging pedagogical practices such as “flipped” classrooms, which enhance teaching and learning practice – and may also be of logistical benefit in the management of learning spaces and the pressure of student numbers.
Professor LIM Cher Ping, from HKIEd and the co-leader of this project, writes of the difficulties of “the scaling up of blended learning” even when the research literature convinces us of its benefits, and that this process represents “an enormous challenge” (Owston, 2013):
Front-line teaching staff may not share the same vision (Bohle Carbonell, Dailey-Hebert, & Gijselaers, 2013), and there can be a gap between the staff’s existing competence and that required by the innovations (Fisher, 2005). As teaching staff play a pivotal role as gatekeepers to innovations, their professional development is the key for innovations to be effective and scalable (Dede & Honan, 2005). (Lim, 2013, BOLT project proposal Appendix B, p.18)
While all Hong Kong’s higher education institutions are very aware of such challenges and tackling them in their own ways, the BOLT project supports pedagogical innovation and learning and teaching quality by sharing resources, experiences and expertise inter-institutionally.
A Fundamental Redesign of the Learning Experience
at The Hong Kong Institute of Education HKIEd
A BOTTOM-UP GRASSROOTS
Early Childhood Education blended learning sharing session (8 Mar 2016)
Blended learning sharing by Psychology ambassador Dr Emma Buchtel (18 Nov 2015)
Each institution in the BOLT project has adopted their own unique perspective on the professional development of faculty staff. While PolyU has developed a formal professional development foundation course, IEd has focused on a complementary bottom-up “grassroots” approach via the formation of a professional learning community. Combining these perspectives within one overall project provides additional impetus to the capacity building of blended learning in Hong Kong higher education.
BOLT “ambassadors” at IEd are faculty staff who are pioneers in implementing blended learning in their teaching. They are leading staff capacity building by sharing their innovative blended learning practice, and by mentoring and peer-coaching staff who are less experienced in the blended learning approach. All these ambassadors share a common vision of building a culture for the enhancement of teaching and learning through blended learning.
After developing a professional development prototype of this bottom-up “grassroots” approach of capacity building for blended learning, this project will share the prototype with other faculties in the Institute, and other higher education institutions in Hong Kong. This prototype will eventually be adopted by the Institute as a professional development approach towards blended learning.
Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL)-Hub
The IEd Faculty of Education and Human Development has funded the TEL-Hub office to support technology-enhanced learning within the faculty. This office is manned by a blended learning consultant and specialist to provide one-to-one support for faculty staff to explore blended learning practice, and offers an attractive venue for hosting small-group sharing sessions and meetings. In addition, the TEL-Hub office is equipped with the latest hardware and software for the support of blended and online learning, and demonstrations of cutting-edge teaching technologies.
Department-based Sharing Sessions and Workshops
Departmental sharing sessions are organized every month in order to highlight the experiences of BOLT ambassadors as they explore how blended learning could enhance their students’ engagement and outcomes. Several sharing sessions and hands-on workshops have already been organized and delivered for departments such as Early Childhood Education, Education and Policy Leadership, International Education and Lifelong Learning, and Curriculum and Instruction. Future planned sessions will be hosted by the Psychology and Special Education and Counselling departments. The BOLT consultant and specialist also attend meetings of team-taught courses to provide input and support for technology-enhanced teaching and assessment, to demonstrate new tools to better support student collaboration, or to consult on curriculum re-development.
PI: Prof. LIM Cher Ping firstname.lastname@example.org
Consultant: Mr. Brant KNUTZEN email@example.com
Specialist: Ms. YANG Danlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-Investigators: Dr. Darren BRYANT, Dr. Emma BUCHTEL, Ms. Christina HAN, Dr. Bick Har LAM, Ms. Mabel SHEK, Dr. William SIN
Team Members: Dr. Theresa ALVIAR, Dr. Kenneth CHAN, Dr. Savio WONG, Dr. Annie HU, Dr. Vivienne LEUNG, Dr. Teresa NG, Dr. Jae PARK
Mr. Darren HARBUTT
Prof. LIM Cher Ping
Mr. Brant KNUTZEN
Ms.YANG Danlin Lynn
Miss Arinna LEE
Miss Birley CHAN
Mr. Anthony HO
BOLT NEWS TEAM
Follow us on
- Two more modules of the BOLT project are coming soon, CMALT Professional Development and Contemporary Trends and Future Innovations in eLearning. Find the most up-to-date news on these modules on www.bolt.edu.hk
- The BOLT project goes on tour with an upcoming seminar: BOLT Roadshow: Blended learning in Hong Kong being held in TWO venues: Hong Kong Baptist University on Tuesday 10 May and The University of Hong Kong on Tuesday 31 May