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Vice-Presidents and representatives from China’s C9 Universities and HKU met on September 20 and 21, 2010 at the Inaugural Symposium of C9+1 Universities in China held at HKU.Learn More

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In September 2010 a new 3-year undergraduate curriculum will be implemented to smooth out the transition to the full launch of the new 4-year curriculum in 2012. At the centrepiece of the new undergraduate curriculum is the Common Core Curriculum. In preparation for the partial launch of the Common Core Curriculum this coming September, about 70 members of the teaching staff, who are either teachers of Common Core courses, teachers of pilot Common Core courses or members of the Common Core Curriculum Committee, gathered together for a one-day forum on May 10, 2010 to share their experiences, concerns and plans.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Amy B.M. Tsui gave an opening speech, taking participants on a journey revisiting HKU’s conceptualization of the Common Core Curriculum and highlighting the world-wide trend in higher education where there is growing recognition of Arts and Humanities forming a crucial part of the undergraduate curriculum.

A major focus of the forum was the examination of what had been learnt from the pilot Common Core courses, with Mr Gwyn Edwards, Director of Common Core Curriculum, giving a broad overview. It has emerged from interviews with staff and sharing sessions that pedagogy for large classes, assessment, and teaching students with diverse background are the key issues faced by teachers. From lesson observations and interviews with students, it was learnt that students generally believe they have developed an enhanced understanding of the complexity of and the connections between issues in life.

A panel discussion moderated by Professor Joseph Chan, Deputy Chair of the Common Core Curriculum Committee, took up issues at greater depth. While Dr Harold Corke and Dr Jess King, who are both Common Core teachers, stressed the importance of maintaining non-science students’ confidence when making references to scientific concepts and formulae, Ms Kathy Griffin, who had sit in some sessions of the pilot courses and interviewed students in her capacity as commissioned professional writer for university publicity material, shared that students indeed feel very positive about the pilot courses. Students in particular treasure the inclusiveness of the classes, the new perspectives being brought to them, and even the different modes of assessment such as keeping journals and doing group presentations.

The other major focus concerned exemplar practices on which three presentations were given. Dr Sam Winter spoke on motivating students in large classes, Professor L.S. Chan shared examples of facilitating and assessing tutorials, and Dr Patrick Ng explained how interactive learning through various classroom activities such as participatory games was used in classes.

Besides learning from presenters, participants had the opportunity to share views at the two break-out sessions. Discussions in the morning break-out session focused on specific issues of concern including assessment, tutorials, pedagogy for large classes and teaching students from different Faculties while those in the afternoon on issues pertaining to individual areas of inquiry. The forum ended with a plenary session in which some of the practical concerns such as the running of tutorials were addressed.

Click here for the Programme Rundown

PowerPoint Presentations
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Motivating students in large classes by Dr Sam Winter
Facilitating and assessing tutorials by Prof L.S. Chan
Interactive learning in large classes by Dr Patrick Ng
What We have Learned from the Six Pilot Common Core Courses by Mr Gwyn Edwards

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Staff-student meeting on Common Core

On March 8, 2010 Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Amy B.M. Tsui and a number of staff, including Executive Director of CETL and members of the Common Core Curriculum Committee and the Teaching and Learning Quality Committee, met with fourteen students to discuss issues related to the Common Core Curriculum. The meeting was initiated by office bearers of the Students’ Union and its associated Faculty Societies in an attempt to address students’ queries over the implementation of the Common Core Curriculum in 2012.

Students were informed of why HKU would be implementing the Common Core in the context of undergraduate curriculum reform. In particular, the Common Core would enable students to broaden their horizons beyond their chosen discipline and would give them the opportunity to explore issues of profound significance to humankind in the 21st century. Teachers from various Faculties explained how the Common Core would be incorporated into their future curricula, and assured students that the Common Core would fit into professional degrees as well as double-degree programs involving multiple Faculties.

Since most Common Core courses would have a heavy weighting of coursework assessment, students were concerned about the workload implications. It was explained that student workload hours for each standard 6-credit course would be between 120 and 180, so coursework assessment should not lead to additional workload. The meeting ended with Professor Tsui’s remarks on the importance of constant dialogue between students and staff, and her words of thanks to the students for initiating and joining the meeting.

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The Symposium, hosted by HKU on the first of March 2010, took place at Rayson Huang Theatre, the University of Hong Kong.

Vice-Chancellor Lap-Chee Tsui gave a warm welcome to over 300 attendees from local tertiary institutions, UGC, Education Bureau, and other organizations, noting the significance of Standards Based Assessment and Honours Classification in the implementation of the new 334 academic reform.

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Assessment is a dynamic and evolving component of the undergraduate learning experience. Recognizing that conventional assessment practices may not adequately serve the changing needs of students and the changing expectations of university graduates, the Steering Committee on 4-Year Undergraduate Curriculum has put forward eight recommendations for consultation with Faculties, students and other stakeholders. Consultation is anticipated to complete in January and the Steering Committee plans to present its recommendations to Senate for consideration at its meeting in March 2010. The recommendations focus on the following areas:

  • University and Faculty Assessment Policies
  • Assessment Approaches
  • Forms of Assessment
  • Capstone Experience and Graduation Requirement
  • GPA Weightings and Honours Classification
  • Grading and GPAs at HKU
  • Provision of Feedback
  • Treatment of Failures
Student Consultation

On January 20, 2010 Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Amy B.M. Tsui and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Albert Chau met with over 20 students representing Faculty Societies, Students’ Associations of residence halls, the Independent Clubs Association and the Central Executive Committee of the HKU Students’ Union. Students shared their views on the recommendations put forward by the Steering Committee and had an open discussion with Professor Tsui and Dr. Chau on issues ranging from workload concern driven by diverse forms of assessment to provision of feedback from teachers. Input from students, as well as those from Faculties, will be considered by the Steering Committee when it finalizes its recommendations to Senate.

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Assessment Consultation Documents (HKU Portal Authentication is required)

University Life Trio is an annual event organized by the Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS) in which Year One students and their parents are invited to join a campus tour, a main program, and a tea reception. This year the event took place on January 17, 2010 and over 700 parents participated with much enthusiasm. The objective of the program is to help parents, students and the University work effectively together to facilitate students’ learning and growth.

It is the University’s conviction that parents, students and the University are collaborators in university education. At the Trio, Vice-Chancellor Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Professor Amy B.M. Tsui, and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Albert Chau addressed the audience on university teaching and learning and student life. There was also a panel discussion session and the Trio provided a good opportunity for parents to find out how students, other parents, and university staff address certain mutual concerns.

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Organized by Teaching and Learning Quality Committee, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker Professor Michael Worton
Vice-Provost (Academic and International)
University College London (UCL)
Date 10 December, 2009 (Thur)
Time 12:30 – 2:00 pm
Venue Theatre 5, 1/F, Meng Wah Complex, The University of Hong Kong

Summary

In this seminar, Professor Worton spoke about the challenges faced by UCL as a research-intensive university in promoting and recognizing teaching excellence. He outlined the strategies undertaken by UCL to meet these challenges and gave a vivid account of how teaching awards at UCL started many years ago with less than satisfactory responses but eventually emerged as a successful way to promote teaching excellence. Professor Worton also talked about UCL’s revision of promotion criteria for academic staff in order to emphasize the importance of teaching contribution. The seminar concluded with Professor Worton speaking on UCL’s vision for internationalizing the university, with particular reference to the challenges involved in internationalizing the curriculum.

 

 

About the Speaker

Professor Worton is Vice-Provost of UCL, who oversees the implementation of UCL’s Learning and Teaching strategy and is responsible for matters relating to quality assurance and T&L. He contributes significantly to the development of higher education in the UK and Europe and holds various important national and international appointments outside UCL. He was Chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)/Arts and Humanities Research Council Expert Group on Research Metrics, and is a member of the joint Steering Group of Universities UK, Standing Conference of Principals and HEFCE on Measuring and Recording Student Achievement. He has spoken widely in the UK and continental Europe on the internationalization of higher education. He has just undertaken a personal review for HEFCE and the UK Government of language provision in UK higher education. His research focuses on 20th and 21st century literature and on aspects of critical theory, feminism, gender politics, and painting and photography. He has published 9 books and more than 70 articles and chapters in books.

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Organized by Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS)

Service learning is a pedagogical approach under which students learn through active participation in structured community service programs. It will be an important element in HKU’s new 4-year undergraduate curriculum which, among other educational aims, emphasizes the advocacy for the improvement of the human condition.

On 15 September, 2009 the Gallant Ho Service Learning Scheme – Family Values was formally introduced by the Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, at the launching ceremony held at Rayson Huang Theatre. Following the Vice Chancellor’s address, a group of students who took part in the first project under the Gallant Ho Service Learning Scheme during the summer shared their experiences with the audience.

To enrich the audience’s understanding of service learning, five guest speakers were invited to have a dialogue on the topic. During the dialogue, Professor Amy BM Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, explained that the concept of service learning had actually taken off in the United States when the National and Community Service Act was introduced in 1990. Professor Tsui also pointed out service learning is tearing down the barrier between learning in the classroom and learning in the community. It is designed from a specific learning theory stressing active participation and it has a high emphasis on moral and civic values.

To find out more about how participating HKU students performed meaningful community service related to their academic studies in the first project under the Gallant Ho Service Learning Scheme, please view their presentation here.

    

Date 15 September, 2009 (Tue)
Time 5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Venue Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong
Officiating Guests Dr. Gallant Ho (BA 1965)
Prof. Lap-Chee Tsui, Vice-Chancellor, HKU
Moderator Dr. Sandra Tsang, Head, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, HKU
Guest Speakers Prof. Amy Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, HKU
Dr. Leong Chi Hung, GBS, JP, Chairman, Elderly Commission and Member of Family Council
Ms Christine Fang, JP, Chief Executive, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
Ms Lilian Law, Executive Director, The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong
Mr. Andy Hui, (LLB 3), HKU Student Representative

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The Steering Committee on 4-year Undergraduate Curriculum held its 4th Curriculum Reform Retreat on June 22-23, 2009 at the Aberdeen Marina Club. The theme of this retreat is “Student Learning Experience and Assessment”. Faculties responded enthusiastically and about 180 participants joined the Retreat, consisting of Deans, Heads of Departments and mostly staff members who are key players in the implementation of teaching and learning matters, teaching award winners, and members of the subcommittees of the Steering Committee. Of the retreat participants, over 30 are office bearers of student organizations and student representatives from Faculties.

The first session was devoted to the interpretation of the preliminary findings of the HKUSLEQ 08-09 whereas the two sessions on the next day were focused on assessment issues, particularly the move to standards-referenced assessment and First Year Experience (FYE). Students collectively made three impressive presentations to express their views on student learning experience, assessment and FYE.

Responses from the participants were very positive and encouraging. Please see below for the Feedback Report, programme rundown and the presentation files.
(Presentations with icons require HKU Portal login to access.)

Day 1: Monday June 22, 2009 (afternoon) (Grand Ballroom, 2/F)
From To Programme
Please click the PDF/VIDEO button to download the presentation files in PDF/WMV format
2:00pm 2:15pm Opening Address
Professor Lap-Chee Tsui (VC & President)
2:15pm 2:40pm Curriculum Reform Progress Report and Student Learning Experience
Session Facilitator: Mr Benny T.Y. Tai (Retreat Organizing Committee Chair)

(I) CR Progress Report (Plenary Session)

  • Overview of progress made on curriculum reform
    • Professor Amy B.M. Tsui (Chair of SC; PVC(T&L) & VP)
  • Progress report on Common Core (CC) Curriculum and overview of CC offerings for 2010
    • Professor Joseph C.W. Chan (Deputy Chair of CCC Subcom; SC member)
    • Mr T. Gwyn Edwards (CC Co-ordinator)
2:40pm 3:45pm (II) Student Learning Experience (Plenary Session)

  • Student learning experience: Preliminary findings of HKUSLEQ 2009
    • Professor Amy B.M. Tsui (Chair of SC; PVC(T&L) & VP) 
    • Dr Beverley J. Webster (CAUT Deputy Executive Director) 
    • Dr Albert W.L. Chau (Dean of Student Affairs; Chair of Student Learning Experience Subcom; SC member) 
  • Student learning experience: Findings of follow-up focus group interviews with students on HKUSLEQ findings
    • Professor David R. Kember (Professor affiliated with CAUT) (5 mins) 
    • Dr Susan M. Bridges (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Dentistry) (10 mins) 
    • Dr Y. Feng (Assistant Professor, School of Chinese Medicine) (5 mins) 
  • Q & A
3:45pm 4:00pm Tea Break (Marina Suite, 2/F)
4:00pm 5:00pm (III) Student Learning Experience (Break-out Session)

  • HKUSLEQ findings and identification of strengths and areas for improvement
5:00pm 6:00pm (IV) Student Learning Experience (Interactive Session)

  • Response from students and Reporting back from staff 
  • Q & A

Day 2: Tuesday June 23, 2009 (Morning) (Grand Ballroom, 2/F)
From To Programme
Please click the PDF/VIDEO button to download the presentation files in PDF/WMV format
8:45am 9:15am Assessment

  • Session Facilitator: Dr Stephen B. Pointing (Retreat Organizing Committee Member)

(I) Assessment: Current Practices at HKU, Issues and Implications – An Overview (Plenary Session)

  • Professor Esmonde F. Corbet (Chair of Assessment Subcom; SC member)  
9:15am 10:30am (II) Panel Discussion (Plenary Session)
Part A – Comments from panelists on key issues
Panelists: Member(s) of SC Subcom, Faculty academic staff and student(s)

  • Outcome-based learning and standards-referenced assessment
    • Professor Michael T. Prosser (CAUT Executive Director; SC member) 
  • Assessment standards and GPA
    • Professor Amy B M Tsui (Chair, SC; PVC (T&L) &VP)
    • Dr Otto Heim (Associate Dean (UG Student Affairs), Faculty of Arts) 
  • Assessment policy
    • Professor Stephen J. Andrews (Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching)-designate, Faculty of Education) 
    • Professor Esmonde F. Corbet (Professor, Faculty of Dentistry) 

Part B – Comments from the floor

10:30am 11:00am Tea Break (Marina Suite, 2/F)
11:00am 11:45am (III) Standardizing Assessment Practices and Assessment Policy (Break-out Session)
11:45am 12:30pm (IV) Interactive Session

  • Response from students and Reporting back from staff  
  • Q & A
12:30pm 1:30pm Lunch (Balcony & Board Room, 1/F)
1:30pm 2:15pm First Year Experience (FYE)
Session Facilitator: Professor L.C. Chan (Retreat Organizing Committee Member)

(I) Transition from School to University Education: Problems and Issues (Plenary Session)

  • Presentation of findings of FYE (2008-2009) and First Year Expectation Surveys (2008-09)
    • Dr Albert W.L. Chau (Dean of Student Affairs; Chair of Student Learning Experience Subcom; SC member) 
    • Professor Michael T. Prosser (CAUT Executive Director; SC member) 
  • Presentation of findings of FYE focus group interviews
    • Professor David R. Kember (Professor affiliated with CAUT) 
    • Dr David M. Pomfret (Associate Dean (Curriculum Development), Faculty of Arts; SC member)
  • Q & A
2:15pm 3:00pm (II) FYE Findings & Proposed and Implemented Courses of Action (Break-out Session cum Tea Break)
3:00pm 4:00pm (III) Interactive Session

  • Experience sharing from staff
    • Dr Albert W.L. Chau (Dean of Student Affairs; Chair of Student Learning Experience Subcom; SC member) 
    • Professor Ian Holliday (Dean of Social Sciences)
    • Dr Tsing Nam-kiu (Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning), Faculty of Science) 
  • Response and Proposal from students 
4:00pm 4:15pm Wrap Up and Look Ahead
Professor Amy B.M. Tsui (Chair of SC; PVC(T&L) & VP)
4:15pm 4:25pm Closing Remarks
Professor Richard Y.C. Wong (DVC & Provost)
4:25pm 4:30pm Filling out Feedback Form

 

Co-organized by
Steering Committee of 4-Year Undergraduate Curriculum and Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching (CAUT)

Speaker Professor Harry Lewis
Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Date 14 May, 2009 (Thu)
Time 11:30am – 12:30pm
Venue LG-06, Hui Oi Chow Science Building, The University of Hong Kong

Abstract

A central challenge in teaching science to non-science students is deciding what to count as success. Set the bar too low and success is achievable but unsatisfying to the teacher; set it too high and success is frustrating to all concerned; set it at the right level but in the wrong place and students may succeed but wind up both unsatisfied and frustrated. Most teaching in this genre aims at one or more of three goals: aesthetic (e.g. so students understand Newton’s Laws as a human intellectual creation like a great work of literature), or trust-building (e.g. so students understand that medical research can be expected to produce useful results in the future as it has in the past), or pragmatic (e.g. so students can make rational choices about installing solar panels). The speaker will argue for another justification: to enable students to fulfill their civic responsibilities, by understanding the moral and ethical implications of advances in science and engineering. A decision to pursue that goal has consequences: it biases the subjects taught toward applied science, and forces the teacher to grapple with normative and moral issues in which most scientists have no professional training. He will draw on teaching going on at Harvard to illustrate his argument.

About the Speaker

Harry Lewis is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University. His undergraduate and PhD degrees are from Harvard, and he has taught there since 1974. He is the senior member of the Undergraduate Admissions Committee, and from 1995 to 2003 he served as Dean of Harvard College. In addition to his special field of theoretical computer science, he also teaches an innovative general education course about principles of digital information technology and the societal dilemmas it is creating. His recent writings include two acclaimed books, Excellence Without a Soul: Does Liberal Education Have a Future?, which has been translated into Chinese, and Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion.

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