As the end of the first semester in 2010-2011 draws near, a Common Core Teachers Forum was held on December 9, 2010. The aim of the forum was for Common Core teachers to share experiences and discuss issues pertaining to the teaching of Common Core courses. In this forum, over 70 teachers and tutors – some have taught in Semester 1 and others will be teaching in Semester 2 – came together as members of an emerging community to take stock of the progress of the Common Core Curriculum which has been formally introduced in the new 3-year curriculum in 2010.

In her opening remarks, Professor Amy B.M. Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning), affirmed that the contribution of teachers would have a lot of significance on the outcome of the Common Core journey which had just begun. Being the centerpiece of HKU’s new undergraduate curriculum, the Common Core has attracted much international media attention and many universities in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia are interested in HKU’s work in this area.

The forum was organized into four parts and the first was a presentation delivered by Mr. Gwyn Edwards, Director of Common Core Curriculum, on student feedback regarding their Common Core experiences. Based on first semester results of the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Learning (SETL) surveys, Mr. Edwards highlighted many interesting qualitative comments on areas such as the course structure, student workload, level of course difficulty, pedagogy, assessment, and so on. While most of the comments were very positive and encouraging, teachers were made aware that some students found it hard to cope with the level of difficulty and the amount of required readings for some courses. Overall, SETL scores were positive in terms of course effectiveness, tutorial effectiveness, as well as teacher effectiveness.

In the second part of the forum, participants were engaged in break-out group discussions that covered a variety of topics related to the teaching of Common Core courses. During these discussions, teachers and tutors who have taught in Semester 1 not only discussed the challenges they faced but also shared what worked well with students in helping them to learn. On the other hand, those who will be teaching in Semester 2 raised questions and sought suggestions on how to deal with some anticipated issues. After the break-out discussions, the last two parts of the forum involved a report-back from each group and a summing up session in which various views were summarized and future plans were shared.

To view Mr. Edwards’ presentation file, please download here. (HKU Portal login is required)

To view the issues raised at the Forum, please click here. (HKU Portal login is required)