The impact of technology on thinking, learning, and teaching differently

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Drawing on the traditions of autoethnography and reflective practice, this paper
explores the experiences and reflections of one of the longest-serving foreign
academics in China's Sino-foreign Higher Education (SfHE) system. He started
out at UIC (United International College, a collaboration between Beijing
Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University). After UIC, he moved to
another SfHE institution, UNNC (University of Nottingham Ningbo China),
where he currently serves. The paper examines early deficit views of non-specialism, contrasting with the more recent embrace of interdisciplinarity and
problem-solving-focused (rather than discipline-focused) approaches. Some
principles from a recent approach to software testing, Metamorphic Testing, are
explored as an example (and a further lens) for re-examining traditional ways of
thinking, learning, and teaching.
The paper is structured on reflections on various aspects of life for an academic
in the context of SfHE in mainland China. Reflective practice, guided by
authoethnography, and critical analyses of relevant literature form the main
methodologies. The paper also includes (and addresses) informal and focus group discussions about attitudes to non-specialism, in both traditional research led higher education (HE) and liberal arts HE, contrasting with the more recent embrace of interdisciplinarity being seen in SfHE.
The author’s multidisciplinary background provides a foundation to explore and
identify parallels across disparate disciplines. Insights from one discipline,
through this parallel view, can provide support and inspiration for others.
Solutions from one discipline can provide starting points for solutions in others:
the specific example of action research in English as a second language (ESL)
teacher training compared with software engineering’s Kaizen is used to illustrate
this parallel and opportunity. Experiences from Metamorphic Testing provide
insight into opportunities to think (and teach and learn) differently.
This is the first explicit use of Metamorphic Testing principles to suggest
alternative perspectives for teaching and learning. The COVID-19 pandemic, and
its effect on education, has led to many disruptions and innovations. A small
silver lining of the terrible situation has been the development of new ways to
deliver education and engage learners. This paper provides new ideas for further
imagination, and re-imagination, of HE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education (ICOIE 2022)
EditorsEva Tsang, Kam Cheong Li, Philips Wang
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong Metropolitan University
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789888439690
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022
Event2022 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education - Hong Kong Metropolitan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 13 Jul 202215 Jul 2022


Conference2022 International Conference on Open and Innovative Education
Abbreviated titleICOIE 2022
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • Autoethnography
  • COVID-19
  • Metamorphic Exploration (ME)
  • Metamorphic Testing (MT)
  • Open Education Resources (OERs)
  • Professional Development


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