HKBU-Led Project Team Receives Prestigious UGC Teaching Award

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The Academic Integrity and Ethics-Augmented Reality (AIE-AR) team led by Dr Eva Wong, Director of the Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), has received the University Grants Committee (UGC) Teaching Award 2020 in recognition of its outstanding impact on student learning and achievement.

The AIE-AR team also includes Professor Cheung Siu-yin, Professor of the Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health at HKBU; Professor Kong Siu-cheung, Director of the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology at The Education University of Hong Kong; Professor Paul Lam, Associate Professor of the Centre for Learning Enhancement And Research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; and Dr Andrew Morrall, Senior Teaching Fellow of the English Language Centre at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The team received the prestigious award from Mr Carlson Tong, Chairman of the UGC, at the award presentation ceremony held today (28 September).

The AIE-AR team introduced a unique pedagogy that uses augmented reality (AR) to present case-based scenarios of abstract issues of academic integrity and ethics (AIE). Since the project’s inauguration in 2014, a total of 12 “Trails of Integrity and Ethics” (TIE), which cover ethical issues in various disciplines, have been established on university campuses in and outside of Hong Kong to introduce real-life situations to students in an innovative digital learning environment.

Using their smartphones and AR along a Trial, situated within the campus real environment or on a virtual digital map, at locations where the lessons are intrinsically meaningful, ethical dilemma cases will pop up and students would be confronted with the consequences of their actions in the game before they ponder their next move. Analysis of the data collected from participating students showed that after exploring TIEs, their understanding and awareness of the AIE issues improved significantly.

Professor Roland Chin, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKBU, said this is the second year in a row that HKBU has won the prestigious UGC Teaching Award. This resounding achievement shows HKBU colleagues’ teaching excellence and commitment to high quality education. The project shows the team’s innovative spirit and creativity, and turns the learning of an abstruse and extremely important subject of academic ethics into an inquisitive journey for students.

“Nurturing responsible young intellectuals sound ethical standards and professional integrity is fundamental to our HKBU education. This award-winning project is an embodiment of the core values we uphold, and a paragon of our quest for innovation. I am sure it will continue to flourish and benefit even more students in Hong Kong and beyond,” said President Chin.

Dr Eva Wong said that she was deeply grateful for the recognition from the UGC. She pointed out that the project team’s approach has combined case studies with situated learning, bringing the cases into real-life settings through the use of technology.

“Our approach is extremely student-centered, working with students as partners and change agents, whilst adopting cutting-edge technology to explore and integrate moral and ethical issues into the curriculum and co-curriculum. We want students to think more deeply about moral and ethical issues, to explore the consequences of their actions and to change their behaviours appropriately. Our design hallmark is to move the students into the centre of the action, placing them in settings where they need to contemplate the consequences of their decisions and actions, and to do it through the lens of academic integrity,” said Dr Wong.

The AIE-AR project is characterised by 3As: Adoptable, Adaptable and Amenable. It provides a general blueprint for how TIEs can be developed in any area of interest.  This pedagogical strategy has been extended beyond its four member universities, bringing benefits to secondary schools and other post-secondary settings. The project team is also collaborating with institutions in other countries, including India and the Philippines, to adopt and adapt this highly accessible design to their own teaching and learning. The 12th trail, the first one outside Hong Kong, went live in March 2020 at Silliman University in the Philippines. As of today, this project has benefitted over 10,000 students.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the AIE-AR team again demonstrated their creativity by further extending the project’s potential, with six TIEs being selected for online deployment to continue student learning. Furthermore, the first virtual “TIE-General via Google Earth” was introduced as an orientation activity at HKBU in August and over 1,000 students explored the TIE.