Home » IT Services News » IT Services News No. 176 (Aug 2015) » Updates on Learning Environment

Updates on Learning Environment

Summer is always a busy time for the Learning Environment Services Team, and this summer has been no exception.

Work continues to improve the central classrooms generally and address concerns and issues raised by staff and students through the online Teaching and Learning Surveys, most notably the work has included:

  • Replacement of projectors and screens on Main Campus, which, as a result no projector on either Main Campus or Centennial Campus is more than 3 years old;
  • Re-organisation of projectors, screens and audio speakers in the Lecture Hall Complex to provide “dual” projection facilities and improved sightlines for students.  New height adjustable lecterns with new equipment control panels located on top that makes equipment use much easier will arrive during October;
  • More rooms added to the remote monitoring system to enable quicker response to problems and better resource management;
  • Launch of 3D printing service in Chi Wah Learning Commons (details can be found here);
  • Creation of a new “active learning classroom” using new furniture designed for education and “MoCows”; and
  • Installation of a new system in 20 rooms to better accommodate BYOD for both teachers and students.

Creation of a new “active learning classroom” with “MoCows”

Mobile Computers on Wheels or Mobile Collaboration Workstations (MoCows) - Created and used extensively by the Audio Visual Team at QUT (they have approximately 200 units), these mobile units allow us the ability to provide Hi-tech facilities for group activities and collaboration where required.  The large LED screens are “multi-touch” and can also be operated using the wireless keyboard and mouse. The current “herd” at HKU consists of 5 units for groups of up to 6 students, and will be set up to make sharing work with other groups very easy (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8TW7kP_qAQ ).

They have been set up in CPD-LG.60, Centennial Campus alongside a new furniture system which can be easily configured to accommodate traditional styles of teaching in addition to students working in groups (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE2GdSyDmwE).

MoCows – Mobile Computers on Wheels with a Multi-touch LED Screen at CPD-LG.60

MoCows – Mobile Computers on Wheels with a Multi-touch LED Screen

Improvements to BYOD access

A number of rooms have had a new piece of equipment installed to better manage the use of mobile devices in the classroom.  This system, which we are calling “classconnect2” not only allows the teacher to connect ANY device whether laptop, MAC, tablet or smartphone, it also manages up to 4 devices at any time, and even project those 4 images simultaneously.  Tests during the summer have been extremely positive.  If welcomed by our teaching staff, this system will be rolled out to more rooms over time.

Staff development

In addition to the improvements to the physical environment and the technology used, a major issue for the Learning Environment Services Team is the ability to continuously improve and enhance the skills of the team in order to keep apace of fast moving changes to technology and provide the classroom services required of us.

During the summer, all technical staff attended an intensive 3-day course delivered by InfoComm (the largest Audio Visual Training Organisation in the world) to prepare them for the CTS (Certified Technology Specialist) examination which is an industry recognized qualification and one which will allow them to plan, design and integrate audio visual systems “in house” rather than contracting the work to others. LES will be the only team in higher education in Hong Kong with this qualification, although many of the suppliers and contractors we currently use hold CTS certification.

Further, every member of the team has attended a 10-week course (0.5 day per week) on improving customer service in order that we can provide a clear, concise and consistent approach to our users.

Photo taken during the course for LES staffPhoto taken during the course for LES staff
Photo taken during the course for LES staff

Other developments in the pipeline 

LES is working to create a new, more informative and dynamic website which will include more images of rooms and facilities, videos on equipment use and facilities of interest to be found elsewhere, etc.  The new pages will be coming online throughout the autumn.

LES is also working with academic colleagues to create a small multimedia facility through which both staff and students can make recordings to support their teaching and learning activities and projects.  A 6-unit MAC audio and video editing suite is being set up alongside the recording facility on the second floor of the Chi Wah Learning Commons.

Full instructions on how to use these new facilities are located in the rooms, but anyone wishing to visit the rooms to see and try them out can contact LES to arrange a suitable time and a demonstration.

If you have any queries or comments about the facilities and services provided by LES, please let me know at tkelly@hku.hk


Mrs. Antoinette Kelly
Learning Environment Services Team
Tel: 3917 8728
Email: tkelly@hku.hk