Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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The University of Hong Kong

Teaching and Learning

Governance and Planning

Teaching and learning is central to the University’s Mission, which together with the University’s Vision and Role statements articulate HKU’s position as an English-medium, research intensive institution, committed to providing a campus-based education in a comprehensive range of academic disciplines for outstanding students by world-class academics.

Our academic pursuits, benchmarked against leading institutions across the world, are globally competitive and regionally engaged, committed to producing well-rounded graduates with lifelong abilities to provide leadership within the societies they serve.

In the past decade, HKU witnessed a historic reform in its undergraduate education. The new undergraduate curriculum was successfully implemented in September 2012. HKU took full advantage of this opportunity to re-envision our curriculum as a ‘total learning experience’. We have introduced new and innovative forms of learning, upgraded our infrastructure and extended learning into all corners of university life.

HKU Governance Structure

Forms of Learning

Experiential Learning

The incorporation of experiential and ‘out of classroom’ learning into the formal curriculum is standard practice in professional programmes and is increasingly being formalized in non-professional programmes at HKU. This bottom-up initiative has been made one of the common learning experiences in the 4-year curriculum.

Other experiential learning is also organised at University level. The HKU Worldwide Student Exchange Programme administers reciprocal academic student exchanges with over 280 partner institutions in 37 countries. Incoming exchange students contribute to internationalising the campus while outgoing undergraduates invariably return as more mature and resourceful individuals after having acquired a rich learning experience in a different educational, social and cultural environment.

Outcome-based Approach to Student Learning (OBASL)

Embedded in the plans for implementing the 4-year curriculum are strategies for making curriculum objectives and pedagogical concerns a more explicit focus. This is achieved through incorporating OBASL as an integral part of Curriculum Reform to ensure that the educational aims are achieved in students’ learning experiences rather than as a separate initiative in response to the University Grants Committee’s call. OBASL entails a shift in focus from teaching to learning. The ultimate goal is to engage students in deep understanding (deep learning) rather than a surface factual recall (surface learning) which teaching and learning research indicates is achieved through clear understanding and appreciation of the Learning Outcomes.

Problem-based Learning

The University adopts problem-based and student-centred learning to stimulate active learning among students. Authentic problems or situations are used as a way of stimulating students to discover and explore the key concepts and skills of the discipline in class, while teachers act as facilitators and guides in the process. This new learning method helps students to reason their way through problems, to think critically, and to learn to become self-directed lifelong learners.

Co-curricular Learning

The Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) and the General Education Unit (GEU) are the main providers of co-curricular non-credit-bearing learning activities at HKU. Students also engage in community service or advocacy projects which typically entail a process of training, service and reflection. CEDARS liaises with Faculties on how to better integrate service learning with the formal curriculum.

Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement

Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement Processes

All taught programmes, at both the University’s undergraduate (Ug) and taught postgraduate (TPg) levels, undergo similar quality assurance and quality enhancement processes. Details are set out in the University’s Quality Manual.

Teaching Excellence Awards (TEAS)

Teaching Excellence Award Scheme
2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012 /
2011 / 2010 / 2009

In 1996, the University introduced the Teaching Fellowship scheme to reward and promote good teaching. This scheme has undergone continuous improvement to emphasize the importance attached to teaching by the University. The awardees under this scheme were all professoriate staff.

This scheme was replaced in 2008 by the Teaching Excellence Award Scheme (TEAS) to encourage participation by both professoriate and non-professoriate staff.

The assessment criteria have been refined to distinguish two levels of teaching excellence, covering excellence in teaching and curriculum design for the Outstanding Teaching Award, and the additional attainment of excellence in leadership and scholarship of teaching and learning for the University Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award amounts have also been increased to bring them closer to the Outstanding Researcher Awards. Awardees are expected to contribute to HKU’s teaching and learning initiatives, including sharing their work and participating in the work of implementing the 4-year undergraduate curriculum.

All Faculties administer their own teaching award schemes. In some, receiving the Faculty-level award is a pre-requisite for nomination for the University-level award. These schemes enable nominees to receive useful formative feedback from their Faculty peers.

Awards and Scholarships for Students

Student scholarship and bursary information is available by linking from the University Home Page to the University’s Student pages.

Students who perform well in their studies may be awarded scholarships for overseas exchanges. The University has about 2,400 scholarships and prizes available for undergraduate students.

Scholarships and prizes are awarded on both academic merit and/or other specific conditions stipulated by the donors.

Undergraduates can apply directly for scholarships advertised on the Faculty notice-boards and on the Student Intranet. The Registry also advertises scholarships and prizes for students as they become available throughout the year.

Students are advised to periodically check the notices on the Faculty notice-boards and the e-notices on the University Intranet system via the HKU Portal for details of how to apply for the various scholarships during the year.

Teaching Development Grant (TDG)

The TDG Scheme underlines the University’s commitment to furthering its mission in Teaching and Learning. The TDGs are intended to support projects and activities that will have an impact on the strategic development and promotion of Teaching and Learning. To view completed TDG projects (awarded from 2005-2006 onwards), please click here. For HKU staff members who are interested in submitting TDG applications, please access News for Staff.

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