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An overview of a web-based course : from design to evaluation

Authors Qian, Peiyuan
Ko, Ice W. P.
Wu, Madeline C. S.
Hsieh, Dennis P. H.
Renneberg, Reinhard
Yu, Jianzhen
Issue Date 2001-12-12
Source Proceedings of the first teaching and learning symposium, Hong Kong , Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning Quality, and Center for Enhanced Learning and Teaching, HKUST , 12 Dec. 200l, p. 190-196
Summary With emerging technologies, Web-based teaching and learning has become one of the revolutionary directions in state-of-the-art education. In September 2001, we launched a Web-based course, “ESCE 500 Introductory Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology” at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). This course was a collaborative work with the University’s Center for Enhanced Learning & Teaching (CELT) and was implemented through the WebCT platform. Of all the courses offered at HKUST, ESCE 500 employs the highest percentage of Web-based teaching, with only the final written examination not delivered online. ESCE 500 was a password-protected course targeting MSc Environmental Science and Engineering students who did not have sufficient background in chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology for the Core Course “ESCE 520 Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology”. Our Web-based teaching facilitated traditional classroom education by providing the students with a flexible learning environment without temporal and physical barriers. This flexibility was exceptionally important for the part-time students who were the majority in the MSc Program. They could only spend limited time on campus due to the constraints of their full-time jobs. In addition, students were encouraged to learn in an independent and collaborative environment. At the same time, the instructor maintained active interactions with the students through the built-in Email Box and Discussion Forum, as well as through telephone calls. A preliminary survey showed that the students highly appreciated this kind of innovative teaching environment. The materials in the Web-based course were considered very useful in making up their deficiency in related fields. As expected, the students mainly relied on the printouts downloaded from the course for study purposes, yet most of them still visited the Website frequently for the figures in the course content and the messages in the Discussion Forum (the printout files of the course content were figure-free because most of the figures are copyright-protected). The students enjoyed articles (in the Discussion Forum) that were related to real-life issues, such as the topic of “Biological and Chemical Weapons”, after the 911 terrorist attack on US. In rare situations, the students voluntarily offered their feedback or initiated discussions among themselves. In summary, ESCE 500 was an HKUST pioneer course in delivering instruction purely through the Web, except for the final examination. The course is in line with the University’s intention of making greater use of the Internet in teaching. We anticipate that our experience and findings may facilitate other instructors in designing their Web-based teaching.
Language English
Format Conference paper
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