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Online teaching at ITC

Face-to-face teaching and hands-on laboratory and studio sessions have been suspended since the end of the Chinese New Year holiday on 3 February 2020 in response to the challenge of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. ITC senior management has closely monitored the situation, devised prevention and control measures, as well as coordinated and facilitated online teaching resources with various parties in their efforts to help students continue with their learning. Nearly 60 online classes were smoothly conducted via MS Teams in the past five weeks. Subject lecturers, and local and overseas students interacted with each other in an online environment.

(from left): Dr Tracy Mok (Associate Head of ITC), Dr Desmond Chau, Eric Wong, Prof. Jintu Fan (Head of ITC) and Prof. Jason Choi (Chairman of Departmental Learning and Teaching Committee) inspire subject lecturers with innovative online teaching methods.


The lecturers share some of their thoughts.


Fashion Visual Merchandising - Dr Eunsoo Baek, Assistant Professor

Running a class without the physical presence of more than 80 students was challenging at first, but I find that there are always positive sides of a new attempt. Advanced technologies allow us to communicate in digital settings almost without constraints and sometimes better with the digital natives like our students.

For the tutorial sessions that include lots of hands-on activities, I’ve transformed them into online activities. The most useful toolkit is an online survey platform that can contain diverse formats of contents such as images and videos and different types of questions ranging from multiple choice to open-ended essays.

Online tutorial worksheet

Promoting group discussion was the most tricky part but soon solved by selecting a facilitator for each group. To encourage and manage the participation of students in their group activities, they had to submit the name list of the “attended” group members in the worksheet. 

“I feel students respond more actively in this digital setting than a physical classroom, probably because they are born to be digital natives.” Dr Baek said.

Fashion Design and Knitwear Design - Dr Joe Au and Dr C.P. Ho

To carry out the online teaching of design subjects, we modified the teaching format and delivered the theory-based materials first. We also encouraged students to participate and maintained interaction by asking related questions through online ‘chat’. A Q & A session was scheduled near the end of the lecture and students were able to easily review the teaching materials. In general, the design students were quite positive about the online teaching arrangement for the essential theory-based materials found in fashion and textile design practices.

Colouration and Finishing for Knitwear - Dr Nuruzzaman Noor, Research Assistant Professor

As we transitioned into the use of digital technologies to reproduce the lecture experience, the excellent infrastructure and technical support at PolyU has helped my students and I stay connected and engaged, so as to maintain student learning outcomes. Successful distance-learning has required self-discipline, organisation of easy access to course materials and most importantly, the support and active involvement of students. My experiences show online instruction as a streamlined lecture delivery method that allows interaction with students in a fluid, interactive manner. This includes the use of online tests, crossword puzzles, modular lecture sections, live chats with students, etc. Whilst the online lecture delivery method is unlikely to make physical, in-class lectures obsolete any time soon, the value of incorporating digital technologies and remote learning principles has been an extremely valuable, if unexpected, experience that will likely play a larger role in all aspects of my teaching in the future.

Crossword puzzles created by Dr Noor to encourage interaction during online class

Advanced Apparel Technology - Dr Roger Ng, Senior Teaching Fellow

I redesigned and reworded the course contents into a story that involved product development activity to simulate the request of quotations between buyer / fashion designer.  Besides, style information is discussed interactively among groups of students via Google document.  All of the groups can share their ideas with each other as well as other groups.

Online quiz: students make intuitive guesses on the penalty for production error.

Online quiz: identifying the production mistake.

“I became a DJ of a radio programme, and the students became my fans. We shared stories about product development processes, and played games to guess the consequences of making silly or careless mistakes. It was fun,” Dr Ng said.

Bra Construction; Introduction to Intimate Apparel and Activewear Design; Intimate Apparel Design Project - Ms Nico Liu, Instructor

Videos of bra sewing steps with clear subtitle and labeling are produced. Students are encouraged to watch the videos in advance and raise questions during the online class.

Video scene of bra sewing step (with labeling)

To enhance the learning exprience,  a mobile app is being developed to create anaugmented reality (AR) table-top learning environment. It integrates the real environment with virtual learning scenarios in a student-friendly and engaging manner.

AR scenarios to show the attachment method of a shoulder strap to a bra cup with stitches and measurement details

Student Feedback

After the first week of online teaching, students became more accustomed to the new learning mode. They were supported by the user-friendly interface and stable internet connection and provided the following positive feedback:

“Saved a lot of time and money on travelling (to the university)”

“I can replay the content anytime, which is conducive to my self-learning process”

"As I am an introvert, I feel more comfortable asking questions in the chat room during the on-line session"

However, some challenges have inhibited the learning progress of the students. The first and foremost problems are probably self-motivation and self-discipline. Students found it difficult to stay focused during the online classes, and were often distracted by family members, pets, TV, online games, etc.

Another challenge is the absence of in-person interaction with the subject lecturers and classmates. A productive and effective online group discussion can a difficult task. “We can express ourselves better if we see each other’s facial expressions. Online chatrooms don’t allow that.”

Students who are studying design and technology face another problem – the lack of practical workshops and studio sessions.  “I learnt pattern-cutting techniques and 3D draping techniques quickly under the supervision of my lecturer face-to-face in the design studio. Watching videos at home is completely different.”


Latest development on face-to-face activities at PolyU

Given the sudden surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, PolyU announced the suspension of all face-to-face activities until further notice on 21 March. The University is closely monitoring the evolving situation to determine future arrangements for essential face-to-face activities.