Teacher: Dr Ho Koon Sing (Gray)
Department: Department of Chemistry, HKBU
The initiative of Practical Skills in Analytical Sciences is for the Year 2 Chemistry undergraduate students, although it is also used for the Master of Sciences degree students to refresh their memory for better preparation of the programme. The initiative adopts a blended learning approach, online videos, simple true-or-false-based assessments and discussion forums as the major teaching and learning strategies. The initiative aims to help students better connect between the lectures and laboratory classes, and enhance their practical skills of students in analytical sciences
Dr HO had created four mobile apps to support students on different aspects of their learning in analytical sciences, namely Analytical Chemistry Challenge (for proficiency test and self-learning), Organic Chemistry Challenge (for proficiency test and self-learning), ChemEye (for colorimetric measurement) and Chemistry Glossary (language enhancement), which provided student with new virtual learning venues. These apps were opened to all and could be download from Apple Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android), while the respective coding are available for other educators upon request.
Dr HO used four ways to collect feedback from students for evaluation purposes. First was the completion rate of the FutureLearn platform. Second, the qualitative feedback in the Discussion Forum was reviewed to monitor students’ learning. Third, the observations from the scientific officers were used to examine how well students had learnt practical skills. Fourth, a pre- and post surveys were conducted to investigate the changes in students.
Dr HO also reports the difficulties encountered. First, Dr HO found time-consuming to prepare the scripts for the videos. The video production (e.g., shooting, adding subtitles and effects, editing the videos etc.,) took up a lot of time and effort. Therefore, Dr HO paid extra efforts to realise all of these. Second, Dr HO needs to strike a balance between reaching the academic standards of the videos and make them engaging and short for students. The videos had to achieve a high academic standard for students to learn, while the videos cannot be too long and too boring for students to be attracted. Therefore, Dr HO spends time discussing with a professional video producer to refine the videos so that they can engage students and benefit their learning. Also, Dr HO needed to make the videos, simple true-or-false-based assessments, and discussion forums compulsory to increase the completion rate.
Dr HO will continue the initiative, but he might use another online platform (depending on HKBU’s policy). Dr HO also plans to develop similar initiatives for Advanced Analytic Chemistry and Basic Organic Chemistry.