Transdisciplinary Experiential Learning Fund

The Transdisciplinary Experiential Learning Fund enables innovative and immersive experiential learning projects/activities aligned with the Common Core. Students and/or teachers can apply for funding which enables students either individually or in teams to engage with transdisciplinary experiential learning involving real-life challenges beyond the campus. Activities should foster collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, and should have local and/or global impact. Activities can take place in Hong Kong, in the Mainland, or internationally.

More details can be found on: 

What are the English language needs of our first year students? An exploration of the Common Core Curriculum

Message from Centre for Applied English Studies

Dear All,

We are very pleased to announce that Ms. Miranda Legg from the Centre for Applied English Studies will give a talk at Room 6.66, Run Run Shaw Tower at 1:00pm on 9th April 2014 (Wednesday). The title of the talk is “What are the English language needs of our first year students? An exploration of the Common Core Curriculum “.

You are cordially invited to this seminar, the details of which can be found in the poster below.

No registration is required.

Thank you very much.

Centre for Applied English Studies
The University of Hong Kong


Director of Common Core Curriculum

Message from Professor Amy B.M. Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) and Vice-President

Dear Colleagues,

Director of Common Core Curriculum

DSC02113As some of you may know already, Mr Gwyn Edwards, Director of Common Core Curriculum, will step down from the Directorship at the end of December 2013, having served in that capacity since its inception. Mr Edwards has played an important role in the conceptualization of the Common Core Curriculum as well as its implementation. His very broad knowledge base, deep insights into profound issues confronting human societies, and collegial intellectual engagement with colleagues have inspired many to contribute their best to the Common Core Curriculum. I wish to express my deep gratitude to Mr Edwards for taking on a highly complex and onerous task and making it a success.

An international recruitment for a new Director has been underway. In the interim, Professor Gina Marchetti, Professor of Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Arts and Convenor for Global Issues Area of Inquiry, has kindly agreed to serve as the Acting Director from December 23, 2013. To facilitate the transition, Mr Edwards has kindly agreed to serve as Deputy Director on a part-time basis from mid-February 2014. I wish to thank both Professor Marchetti and Mr Edwards for their commitment to making a difference to undergraduate education at this University.

Amy B.M. Tsui
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) and Vice-President
Chair of Language and Education

Marks of Excellence: Gathering, Analysing and Reporting Direct Evidence of Students’ Learning and Achievements

Due to the large number of participants anticipated, the venue will be changed to T5, Meng Wah Complex.

Professor Dai Hounsell, Vice-Principal for Assessment and Feedback, University of Edinburgh

Against a background of curriculum transformation in higher education and calls for greater accountability for quality, there is a growing interest, nationally and internationally, in evidence of excellence in students’ learning. Two closely interwoven questions are raised. How can university teachers best use assessment and evaluation to capture the breadth and depth of learning outcomes being demonstrated by students? And how can the students’ distinctive achievements be communicated more widely, within and beyond the campus? The seminar will explore these twin questions, with particular reference to recent curriculum change at HKU.


Seminar 2: Evidence of Experiential Learning

Date: 6 December, 2013 (Friday)
Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Venue: T5, Meng Wah Complex

The second seminar focuses more closely on the enhanced opportunities for experiential learning which is one of the hallmarks of the quality of undergraduate education at HKU. It considers how excellence in experiential learning can be captured and communicated, focusing particularly on strategies that are complementary to traditional forms of assessment and feedback, including those that capitalise on advances in communication technologies.

For details and online registration of seminar 2, please go to:

Seminar 1: The Evidence Challenge

Date: 3 December, 2013 (Tuesday)
Time: 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Venue: T5, Meng Wah Complex

In reviewing the challenges of capturing and communicating evidence of excellence in learning, the seminar will:

  • invite participants to explore what kinds of learning-and-assessment opportunities would seem to align well with what types of learning outcomes
  • provide illustrations of such opportunities drawn from real-life course and subject settings in established universities
  • highlight key steps that need to be followed in designing and implementing valid and robust assessment-for-learning initiatives

For details and online registration of seminar 1, please go to:

About the Speaker
Professor Dai Hounsell is currently Vice-Principal for Assessment and Feedback (part-time) at the University of Edinburgh. From 2009 to 2012 he was the University’s Vice-Principal for Academic Enhancement, and Professor of Higher Education from 2000-2012.

He has published widely on assessment and feedback and many other aspects of university learning and teaching, served in various editorial and refereeing roles, and led several multi-institutional higher education research and development projects with external funding. In 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship by the Society for Research into Higher Education.

Throughout his career, a key concern has been with evidence-informed approaches to the advancement of excellence in university teaching and learning, within and beyond his own institution. He has coordinated initiatives for the Quality Assurance Agency and Universities Scotland (Integrative Assessment 2005-07), the Higher Education Academy (Innovative Assessment Across the Disciplines 2006-07) and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (Leading Change in Assessment and Feedback, 2012-13). Internationally, he has advised the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, the South African Academic Development Association, and the Netherlands & Flemish Universities Quality Assurance Agency. Since he and his wife Jenny created the Enhancing Feedback website three years ago, it has attracted 27,000 visitors from across the world.

Common Core Distinguished Lecture Series – Lectures 4 & 5

Common Core Distinguished Lecture Series – Lectures 4 & 5

To celebrate the full launch of the Common Core Curriculum, the Common Core Curriculum Committee is holding a distinguished lecture series which consists of five lectures.  The first three have been successfully held in the first semester and we are pleased to announce that lectures 4 and 5 will be held in March 2013.

These lectures will examine some of the key issues in the Area of Inquiry (AoI) of China: Culture, State and Society and Global Issues respectively. To enable students to further engage intellectually with the speakers and raise questions related to the lecture topics, a conversation session will also be held with the speakers in the same week of their lectures.  All students who have attended the lectures are most welcome to participate in the conversation sessions.

Lecture 4 – China in the 21st Century: Domestic Dilemmas and International Challenges (China: Culture, State and Society AoI)
Speaker: Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom (University of California, Irvine)

Date: Monday, March 4, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 7:15 pm
Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre

Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s Conversation with Students

Date: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Venue: Room 112, Knowles Building

Lecture 5 – Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing when we need it most (Global Issues AoI)
Speaker: Professor David Held (Durham University)

Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 7:15 pm
Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre

Professor David Held’s Conversation with Students

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Venue: Room 112, Knowles Building

(Seats in the Rayson Huang Theatre will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis on the evening of the lecture.  Webcasting of the lecture will be available in other venues.)

The lecture series is sponsored by Mr Alex CH Lai賴振鴻 (BSc(Eng)1985).

For registration, please visit
For enquiries, please mail to or call 2219 4957.

U21 Educational Innovation Conference 2012

Video: Nurturing global citizens in undergraduate education
Keynote presentation by Professor Amy B.M. Tsui at the U21 Educational Innovation Conference 2012

On November 8-9, 2012, the U21 Educational Innovation Steering Group organized a sixth international conference at the National University of Singapore. The event, entitled “Transformative Education in the 21st Century”, aimed to address two themes, namely enhancing active student engagement and broadening educational experience. 46 participants from institutions around the world joined the conference and heard the following keynote speeches:

  1. Bringing breadth and integration to undergraduate education
    by Professors Daniel Bernstein (University of Kansas, USA)
  2. New media literacies and personalized learning
    by Professor Michael McManus (University of Queensland, Australia)
  3. Self-direction as a path of transformative learning
    by Professor Gary Poole (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  4. Nurturing global citizens in undergraduate education
    by Professor Amy Tsui (The University of Hong Kong)

To learn more about the conference and to download the keynote presentations, please visit this website. To read the news release of the National University of Singapore, please click here.

Common Core Distinguished Lecture Series – Lecture 1: Why the Humanities Matter

Message from Common Core Curriculum Committee

Lecture 1: Why the Humanities Matter
Speaker: Professor Sander Gilman, Emory University

Date: Wed October 17, 2012
Time: 6:45 – 8:00 pm
Venue: Rayson Huang Theatre (Main venue)
(Webcasting in other venues will be available)

The debates about the value of the Humanities taking place in North America and Europe have been answered to a degree by the new curriculum at the University of Hong Kong.  These debates, however, ask not only HOW we should study the Humanities but also WHY we should do so. The answer to this is more than simply topical: What value does such knowledge have for us, for our world, and for our time?

About the Speaker:
Professor Sander Gilman is a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University. A cultural and literary historian, he is the author or editor of over eighty books.

For twenty-five years Professor Gilman was a member of the humanities and medical faculties at Cornell University where he held the Goldwin Smith Professorship of Humane Studies.  For six years he held the Henry R. Luce Distinguished Service Professorship of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology at the University of Chicago and for four years was a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Medicine and creator of the Humanities Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has been a visiting professor at numerous universities in North America, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, China, and New Zealand.  Currently, he is a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

The distinguished lecture will be followed by a conversation with the speaker on Thursday, October 18 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in Room G-07, Main Building.  Students who have attended the lecture on October 18 are most welcome to participate.

For enquiries, please mail to or call 2219 4957.

[bsbutton size=”small” style=”warning” icon=”icon-play” iconcolor=”white” text=”Registration” link=”″ target=”This page”] [bsbutton size=”small” style=”warning” icon=”icon-play” iconcolor=”white” text=”Learn more about this Distinguished Lecture Series” link=”” target=”This page”]

Report on University Studies: Lessons Learned from an Award-Winning Common Core Curriculum at Portland State University

Dr Candyce Reynolds discussed the successes and challenges of running a general education programme for 18 years at the seminar entitled “University Studies: Lessons Learned from an Award-Winning Common Core Curriculum at Portland State University (PSU)”.

Organized by the Common Core Curriculum Committee and the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, this seminar was held on June 22, 2012 to provide an opportunity for participants who engage in Common Core teaching or associated activities to learn more about “University Studies”, the award-winning general education programme at PSU. The session was attended by over 40 of our staff members.

The structure, stages of development and curricular goals of the programme were described in the seminar. Dr Reynolds also presented examples of tools and methods used to assess student learning in University Studies courses. To ensure sustainability of the programme, she pointed out that the followings issues should be carefully attended to:

  • Creating opportunities for learning community development
  • Developing a culture of institutional assessment
  • Promoting and rewarding good teaching in general education at faculty and university levels
  • Managing students’ expectations about traditional modalities of education.
[button link=”” color=”orange” shape=”rounded” size=”small” align=”right”]Download Presentation[/button]

Click here to access the presentation slides presented by Dr Reynolds at the seminar.

To know more about PSU’s comprehensive general education programme and its recent developments, please visit their website.

Report on ePortfolios as a Tool to Promote Integrative Learning

A CETL seminar on “ePortfolios as a Tool to Promote Integrative Learning” presented by Dr Candyce Reynolds was held on June 20, 2012. Candyce Reynolds is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University (PSU), Portland, Oregon, USA in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy.

The seminar discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to ePortfolios and benefits relating to their use. Dr Reynolds also shared the experience of assessing ePortfolios at PSU with the audience.

[button link=”” color=”orange” shape=”rounded” size=”small” align=”right”]Download Presentation[/button]
  • To learn more about Dr Reynolds’s presentation, you may download her powerpoint or click here.
  • Examples of ePortfolios are available here.
  • For the Freshman Inquiry ePortfoilio Guide of Portland State University, please click here.

Curriculum Reform Seminar by Mr Simon Kemp

The Steering Committee on 4-Year Undergraduate Curriculum and the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) jointly organized a seminar entitled “Embedding Experiential Learning into the Curriculum and Linking to Extra-Curricular Activities” on Oct 24, 2011. Mr Simon Kemp, Director of Employability and Employer Engagement from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, was invited as the speaker.

At the seminar Mr Kemp defined the meanings of experiential learning, employability and education for sustainable development in universities. It is pointed out that most employers find 1) the ability to work well in a team, 2) the ability to adapt to new situations, 3) communication skills, and 4) work experience to be the important attributes of graduates. In order for experiential learning to be effective, learners must be actively involved, they must reflect on the experience, apply their analytical skills to conceptualize the experience, and use new ideas gained from the experience. Quoting the examples of experiential learning activities in the University of Southampton, Mr Kemp highlighted the beneficial outcomes for graduates, institutions, employers and the society, though there may be possible barriers that need to be paid attention to, such as lack of resources, professional accreditation, and risk of ruining well established contacts.

Click here to see the presentation

About the Speaker

Mr Simon Kemp is the Director of Employability and Employer Engagement, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton where he has worked since 1996. He has been recognised as an innovator in pedagogical theory and case study practice through the award of a National Teaching Fellowship from the UK’s Higher Education Academy. His teaching and research interests lie in Environmental Management Systems (EMS), Carbon Footprinting, Environmental Law, Waste Management, and Education for Sustainable Development. He has coordinated over a hundred sustainability projects with industrial partners for teaching and assessment projects in sectors such as construction and demolition, retail, freight handling, energy, waste, and health care taking some to ISO14001:2004. One of his main current projects is leading the University of Southampton in a national ‘Green Academy’ project to embed sustainability across the institution.