Bulletin No. 1, 2020

The Corona Chronicle 9 really raising a hand. Some students could not help noticing the benefit and convenience of their teachers recording what they had said or showed and uploading this onto ‘Blackboard’ for review and revision. Since 17 February, an average of over 1,100 e-classes were held every school day, with over 70,000 participants. The average attendance rate was close to 90%. Online learning poses a huge challenge to CUHK’s 100 or so students with special educational needs (SEN), e.g., students with visual/hearing impairment, ADHD, autism or other learning difficulties. These students managed to struggle through the intimidating online experience with the help from the Disability Services Manager of the Office of Student Affairs, who, among other things, prepared notes for teachers on how to manage e-classes with SEN students in it. Technicians of ITSC also enhanced web accessibility on various e-learning platforms such as Blackboard and VeriGuide. Prof. Isabella W. Y. Poon , Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), who led the full adoption of the virtual mode of teaching and learning, recalled: ‘Our team was committed and self-motivated to go the extra mile to support students and teachers, whose enthusiasm, desire for excellence, trust, support and encouragement in turn energized the team. I have been much heartened to have received encouraging messages from many colleagues who were keen to work hand-in-hand to support each other to conquer the challenges.’ students who found themselves having to stay behind in mainland cities and recommence the school term from there. Between 30 January and 14 February, a total of 22 online workshops on the use of Zoom for class purposes were offered to over 9,200 students and over 2,700 teachers and technical and administrative staff members from academic departments and Faculties. The Special Funding Scheme for Online Learning was set up to provide timely support to teachers and to encourage them to come up with novel instructional strategies, e-assessment methods and teaching materials with Zoom and other online learning initiatives. A number of notebook computers were also available for use by students in need. The teachers could in theory conduct their classes from home or from their offices. Indeed, many of them did. For those who preferred to have a not-so-virtual lectern, some classrooms on campus equipped with the necessary gadgets including webcams were made available upon request. The CUHK Library consolidated its online materials and facilities as well as offering new resources in support of e-learning and teaching. For instance, members of staff and students could request an e-copy of an existing library print book if the e-copy was available. For books or journals with no e-versions, the Library tried to obtain the licenses for the chapters or articles where possible. Despite a few teething problems on the first few days, online classes got off to a remarkably smooth start, even for classes with over a hundred participants. Some students commented that more of their classmates participated in the discussion, resulting in a more active or engaging atmosphere, which is always conducive to learning. Even usually reticent students might be more willing to take part via ‘Chatbox’ or find it easier to push the button ‘Raise the Hand’ than Ms. Carol Chiu Director of the Information Technology Services Centre Prof. Isabella W. Y Poon Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) 1,100+ Number of e-classes held every school day