connect*ed project

Beyond the e-portfolio:
supporting connectivity and communities of learning in a virtual environment

connect*ed is a three-year, cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional project, funded by UGC Funding Scheme for Teaching and Learning Related Proposals (2016-2019 triennium)(HKU2/T&L/16-19).

The project aims to stimulate students to form virtual online communities of learning supported by a faculty mentor to explore more deeply how their individual learning experiences affect their development as university students and as human beings. 

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Enrichment Year 

Started in 2018-19, all third-year HKU medical students took up a mandatory, credit-bearing Enrichment Year (EY). Students conducted service or humanitarian work, research, pursued a higher degree, or went for university exchange anywhere in the world, having flexibility in an area of study of their own choosing. The idea of EY is crossing boundaries from multiple perspectives, including curriculum, disciplinary, geographic, cultural, and learning space. We identified that there might be social isolation among students when they are not physically present on campus. We also saw the need to connect students’ EY experience with specific learning outcomes. Therefore, we pursued this project, connect*ed – to facilitate students’ connections with one another and with education.


Organizations / Insitutions


online virtual community 

connect*ed used a commercially developed social media platform – Workplace by Facebook creating a virtual community to support students’ learning.  We have chosen from a wide range of virtual communities for learning.  Based on students’ pilot testing, we have identified that students would like to have a platform that is user-friendly, easy to learn/use, and mobile-friendly. In 2018-19, 33 mentors and 206 HKU students involved. 

Interactions within connect*ed (EY1819)




Interactions within connect*ed

connect*ed is an online learning network that supports academic and personal growth through mentorship and inquiry-based exploration of professional goals. It aims to help students during their EY to (1) feel connected when geographically distant,(2) connect their disparate experiences with professional goals, and (3) make connections beyond individual, solitary reflection.

  • Students and mentors participation
  • Student reflection and interaction for
  • Administrative announcements
  • Resources for students
  • Leaderboards on completion of IP
  • Sharing of media coverage
  • Support from team and mentor
  • Social sharing
  • Interviews of mentors
  • Birthday posts, festival greetings and tips for surviving EY
  • Updates and safety recommendations
  • Minimize anxiety or stress by sharing empathetic posts acknowledging the situation and this difficult time
  • team and individual messaging