Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 3656-3666
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0896
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Blended learning could be seen as an ideal fit for Hong Kong given its dense urban population, mainly traditional campus-based universities, solid broadband infrastructure and a mobile phone penetration rate of over 200%. A blended approach can facilitate the use of emerging pedagogical practices such as “flipped classroom” thus enhancing students’ learning experiences and offering logistical benefits in the management of learning spaces under the pressure of student numbers. However, adoption of blended learning in Hong Kong has been quite slow. Successfully implementing blended learning requires a fundamental redesign, transforming the structure of and approach to teaching and learning (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). Blended learning design and implementation together with appropriate use of learning technologies creates a challenge for teachers (Laurillard, 2012). This is also evidenced by observations that many teaching staff in Hong Kong lack direct experience of learning online for themselves, not to mention their unfamiliarity with applying new blended approaches to their own students’ in- and out-of-class learning. Viewed alongside a recent survey of US universities reporting that students evaluated a blended approach as less engaging than fully online or fully face-to-face delivery (Bothwell, 2016), this suggests that more training and development is required to support staff in this area.

The BOLT foundation course, one of the core elements of the BOLT (Blended and Online Learning and Teaching) Project - a large scale cross-institutional project funded by the Hong Kong Government’s University Grants Committee - was developed to address the above needs. It is a two-module course which develops participants’ competence in designing and developing a blended learning innovation in module 1, plus implementation and evaluation of the innovation in module 2. After completion of the two six-week modules, it is expected that colleagues will have enhanced their skills and competence in blended and online teaching and learning.

In Fall 2015 and Spring 2016, the course was run as a pilot and a regular cohort respectively, with over 60 staff from five institutions in Hong Kong participating. Both quantitative and qualitative studies on the participants’ satisfaction, improved competence in blended and online learning, as well as the impact on their future teaching practice have been conducted. Findings show a very positive impact of the course. The participants were satisfied with the learning experience and their competence level tested by a systematic instrument has dramatically improved. Impact on participants’ current and future practice was also evidenced.

This paper introduces the BOLT project and foundation course design and development, reporting on the evaluation results in detail. Sharing this experience could be informative and valuable for all blended learning practitioners.

[1] Bothwell, E. (2016). US blended learning students ‘least engaged with teaching’, Retrieved from
[2] Garrison D. R., & Vaughan N.D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles and guidelines. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
[3] Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a design science: building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology, New York: Routledge
Blended learning, professional development, online learning, course design, course evaluation, impact.