News writer - Malcolm Chan
The KEEP Seminar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been held on Oct 22, Thursday from 14:00 to 16:00 in Lecture Theatre, William M W Mong Engineering Building at CUHK. The series of KEEP seminars at the eight partner institutions serves to provide the latest updates of the KEEP (Knowledge and Education Exchange Platform) Project and demonstrate its major features.
The seminar was opened by Professor Irwin King, one of the Principal Investigators of the KEEP team, who gave an overview of various MOOC websites developed by higher education institutions all around the globe. These websites, such as Coursera, edX, ewant and xuetangX are all partners with KEEP.
Professor King gave the background and current development of MOOC on a schematic level, highlighting the partnerships that KEEP currently are engaged, as well as the blueprint and the innovations of KEEP. In the first year after launch, the KEEP team will focus on data collection; from the second year onwards, the focus would be shifted to analytics. The KEEP team would essentially obtain meta-data from its partners and do co-branding with them. Any processed data would be shared back to the partnering institutions. In addition to relying on partners to provide contents, KEEP also actively crawl for educational resources from Hong Kong and store them on the KEEP education cloud. It also encourages user contributions of contents by allowing users to create their own Moodle or Open edX courses, which can be shared with the whole world.
The KEEP project embodies education, technology and information. In line with this, the KEEP education cloud introduces MOOC/LMS integration, which bridges learning management systems such as Moodle with MOOC to facilitate teaching and learning; functional modules can be developed using KEEP's API to fight plagiarism (VeriGuide) or enable speech recognition for pronunciation practices, etc.
The four products, KEEPSearch, KEEPCatalog, KEEPCourse and KEEPoll were introduced.
KEEPSearch is a search engine which returns education-specific results. Filtering is supported; related search terms are shown on the left for refining results.
KEEPCatalog is a one-stop shop for educational software, hardware and services. Each item is accompanied by screenshots, descriptions and user reviews. Users may suggest an uncatalogued product by submitting a form.
KEEPCourse is the section where all the online courses are, including KEEP Moodle and KEEP Open edX.
KEEPoll is a polling facility that can be deployed for getting instant feedback. Two question types, multiple choice questions and open-ended questions are supported. In the demonstration, participants were given the chance to interact by responding with their mobile devices in one of the following four ways:
KEEPoll is great for classroom interaction. Realtime results are available and previous polls can also be reused. While in the past smartphones and tablets probably weren't welcomed in the classroom; now, as Professor King says, most educators encourage students to "bring your smartphone, bring your tablet" to class.
KEEPoll for iOS is also compatible with Apple Watch. Users can install the app and input response with the help of Siri. The demo video shown during the seminar has been released onto YouTube for review at https://youtu.be/Sfv0x8zKcNI. The app for Android is expected to be released in one or two months.
On the seminar, the partnership of KEEP and edore, a local startup promoting micro-learning, was briefly introduced. edore@KEEP is effectively a micro-module platform, where small chunks of media-rich learning contents are developed. It is believed that “students can find content and information they’re interested in, get immediate feedback on their progress, and learn in easily digestible segments.”
Professor King concludes by presenting the future work of KEEP, including learning and education analytics, gamification, social and collaborative enhancement tools, and mobile and wearable education technology. As for gamification, KEEP will be co-branding a game engine (PaGamO) which models a world in which a user's territories may be expanded with points gained from taking quizzes and answering questions. KEEP will also develop social and collaborative enhancement tools to facilitate groups and peer assessment, etc.
A summary of the Q&A session is given as follows:
Q: What are the learning and education analytics for?
A: To help teachers teach better and students learn better. For example, the analytics could help discover sections of a course that many students repeated multiple times and thus need to be revised. From the administration perspective, they can help with checking homework turn-in rate etc.
Q: Is it possible to convert a course from Moodle/Blackboard to a format compatible with the KEEP platform?
A: Although there is no existing solution, the KEEP team is working to write down the relevant procedures for doing so.
Q: Is the KEEP Platform restricted for the use of local students and teachers?
A: The KEEP Platform is open to the world, yet the main target users are Hong Kong students and teachers.
Q: Will the responses made on the KEEP Platform be anonymous?
A: No, because we want your account to be tied to your institutional account so that feedback can be returned to your institution. That said, we are looking forward to introduce anonymous features for that purpose.
Q: Who can upload contents?
A: Only teachers can upload contents. Their account status will be verified with the institutions' database.
Q: How will the collected data be used?
A: KEEP does collect data from the usage of the system. For the course contents, the contributor retains ownership. However, the user's behaviors are analyzed and sent back to the institution, similar to what is happening when using Blackboard or other systems.
Q: Will there be any certification for completing a course?
A: KEEP is considering offering some kind of certification issued by the platform. Certifications issued by other institutions remain to be negotiated with the institutions individually.