Online learning urged amid suspension

Local | Jane Cheung 13 Feb 2020

Teachers are encouraged to film or livestream lessons to facilitate online learning during period when classes are suspended, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said.

His call came in wake of last month's announcement that the suspension will last until March 2.

Writing in his blog yesterday, he said: "The suspension is not an extra holiday. Everyone should make good use of the time and continue to learn. The class suspension does not mean a suspension in learning."

He said the education bureau has invested HK$14 billion in promoting teaching with information technology in the past two decades, in addition to the HK$700 million in recurring costs for schools' IT expenses.

Schools, he said, can supply students with learning materials using e-mails and websites. "Teachers can also launch interactive teaching online through desktops, tablets or laptops according to the teaching and learning progress, so students can learn without the limitations of time and space."

Yeung cited examples of teachers filming lectures so students could watch and finish exercises accordingly. Those exercises are to be returned to the teachers as a reflection of their learning progress.

"There are many free and user-friendly online videoconferencing programs that allow up to 250 people in the same chatroom," he said, adding schools can use them to handle administrative issues while teachers can livestream lessons and interact with students in "virtual classrooms."

He added: "Livestream footage can be recorded too so students can rewatch and recap the materials anytime."

Yeung said some parents have expressed worries their children would idle away their time or even fall behind, while others are concerned about the curriculum being too difficult for parents to supervise.

"Schools will keep up their parent-school cooperation and maintain communication with parents, including informing them about the details of e-learning," he said.

Yeung also called on schools to compile weekly learning plans to retain students' motivation and interests in learning.

His call came as the Open University decided to adopt online learning until March 30, when on-campus lectures are expected to resume.

Similar arrangements to suspend face-to-face classes until late March have been made by The University of Hong Kong, Polytechnic,Baptist, City and Lingnan universities.

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