7. Teaching and Learning Support and Student Resources
7.1.1 The University has a strong infrastructure to support T&L and student life. Institutional goals, strategies and monitoring mechanisms direct the development and delivery of these support services. In addition, individual Faculties implement other initiatives to support T&L in respect of their academic programmes.
7.1.2 Some of the T&L support and services are already mentioned in previous Chapters, including CAES and the School of Chinese are committed to enhancing students’ competencies in the English and the Chinese languages and in communications (see Sections 1.8 and 1.9); GHELC and the Horizons Office support respectively students’ experiential learning activities and learning outside Hong Kong (see Sections 1.10 and 1.11); and TALIC provides dedicated support to our teaching staff for their professional development and discourse (see Section 6.3). Other support services are set out below.
7.2 E-learning support
7.2.1 The University’s e-learning strategy focuses on the enhancement of student learning experiences, adopts a learner-centred approach, and is supported by evidence and science of learning. It emphasises the strengthening of the existing capacity to provide a rich learning environment for students through the innovative and effective use of technologies. It sets out the goals of e-learning and the corresponding measures to achieve these goals. Reviews are conducted regularly to ensure that HKU will remain agile and competitive.
7.2.2 While ITS provides and supports the centralised learning management system Moodle and the lecture-recording system Panopto, TALIC is the major provider of e-learning pedagogical support. It provides support to Faculties on e-learning operations (e.g. designing flipped classroom sessions, developing online learning courses and enhancing the learning management system). It serves as an “innovation powerhouse” to enable quick experimentations of new pedagogies and new modalities of contents delivery. The establishment of the Teaching Innovation Production Studio addresses the need for a more technology- and media-rich learning environment. TALIC also collaborates with the E-learning Team of ITS to provide professional development opportunities to Faculties in the enhancement and innovation of T&L through technology. Individual Faculties have also implemented different forms of e-learning initiatives, some cases of which are facilitated by TALIC and generated from TDG projects. To better equip teachers for online teaching, TALIC, collaborating with ITS, provides a range of support, including webinars, online workshops and a one-on-one consultation service for teaching staff. Teachers can make an appointment through the consultation service booking system. Alternatively, they can seek help from TALIC’s tech experts when they encounter online teaching problems, using email or an instant messaging application. TALIC has also created a website about online T&L (https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/), which serves as an information hub for both teachers and students to access the latest information on T&L arrangements, useful resources and support.
7.2.3 To address the rapid development in generative artificial intelligence, TALIC has developed a guide for teachers to support them to redesign assessment tasks in courses (Appendix 7.1).
7.3 Classrooms and IT services
7.3.1 ITS manages a wide range of technologies, facilities and services in support of T&L in the University, including an advanced information technology (IT) infrastructure with IT facilities and associated support services, SIS (see Section 7.4), the physical and virtual learning environments (i.e. the digital space in support of T&L) (see Section 7.2). It offers training courses, workshops and end-user support services to enable staff and students to make the best use of these technologies, facilities and services.
7.3.2 The Learning Environment Services Team, powered by ITS and University Libraries, manages the physical learning environment, including centrally managed classrooms and lecture theatres, and the Learning Commons. To enable teaching with technologies by bridging physical and virtual learning environments, classrooms and lecture theatres are designed and built in different sizes and configurations to suit various teaching and pedagogical needs like blended learning. The Learning Commons are equipped with modern learning facilities that encourage and facilitate individual and group study.
7.3.3 A set of Learning Space Design Guidelines and Standards prescribing the requirements of the University in future learning space projects and equipment upgrades is at Appendix 7.2.
7.3.4 In addition to the centrally managed Moodle learning management system and the Panopto lecture capture system, a Moodle Zoom block and Moodle Teams block for lecture recording is developed where teachers can start online classes and record their lectures conveniently and students can view the lecture recordings in Moodle courses to facilitate T&L for both normal and class suspension periods. Guidelines on “Recording of lectures and other classroom activities” is at Appendix 7.3.
7.3.5 The Information Technology Policy Committee (ITPC) advises and reports to the Council on all matters relating to the development and support of IT on the University campuses. It provides high-level governance in relation to institutional resource allocations and setting of priorities for the capital and operational development and support of IT. ITPC also provides oversight on the formulation and implementation of the institutional IT strategy and University-wide IT related policies. In addition, the ITS has set up Faculty User Forum to solicit user inputs for ITS related to the needs of the University community with respect to IT development and support for teaching, learning and research as well as the provision and implementation of IT facilities and services of the University. Faculty User Forum coordinates with faculties and departments for effective, legitimate and safe use of the University-wide information infrastructure systems and facilities, and promotes awareness on the compliance requirements related to relevant laws and policies.
7.3.6 A copy of the Terms of Reference of the ITPC is at Appendix 7.4.
7.4 Student Information System
7.4.1 SIS is an integrated suite of systems developed to support student and administration services. At its centre is a large-scale student records and administration system, with which a number of satellite systems interface and exchange data. It is equipped with a number of core functions and modules covering admission, student registration, student records, student fees calculation, course information and learning outcomes, class scheduling, course selection and enrollment (including declaration of major/minor programme(s)), academic advising, and degree audit, grading, transcripts, Academic Attainment Profiles, degree audit, student and Faculty self-services, degree certificates, student registration cards, hall application, student financials, student awards, lockers, achievement cards and progress reports for research postgraduates, and interfacing with other University systems (e.g. Moodle and SFTL).
7.4.2 The user guides and reference materials facilitating staff and students in using the System are available on the HKU Portal.
7.4.3 The relevant teaching unit should input course information for new courses and update course information for existing courses in the SIS Course Info Template after approval has been obtained (see Chapter 3) to ensure that the course information is up to date.
7.4.4 Approved changes to curriculum or programme requirements necessitate updating of the relevant SIS Program Guide, which shows the course lists of the programme(s) declared by individual students.
7.4.5 The work of SIS is monitored jointly by the ITS and the Academic Support and Examinations Section of the Registry via the SIS Monthly Progress Meeting.
7.5.1 The University of Hong Kong Libraries is an essential part of the educational facilities provided to staff, students and graduates of the University. The Libraries advances the T&L, research, and knowledge exchange pursuits of the University through its outstanding resources, people-centred services as well as its innovative and collaborative approaches. The Libraries consists of the Main Library and six branch libraries, namely Dental Library, Fung Ping Shan Library, Lui Che Woo Law Library, Music Library, Tin Ka Ping Education Library, and Yu Chun Keung Medical Library. The Main Library and the six branches are located across the University (https://lib.hku.hk/general/location/index.html).
7.5.2 Notable within the Main Library is the Division of Archives, Special Collections, Preservation and Conservation, which comprises the University Archives (Archives), Special Collections, Preservation and Conservation Unit. University Archives manages University-wide records management programmes and houses the official, inactive records of the University as well as the unofficial and personal records of its wider HKU family; whereas the Special Collections acquires western rare books and a unique collection of materials relating to Hong Kong including colonial governmental publications and some personal and corporate archives of local communities. Preservation and Conservation Unit provides services in caring for the physicality of the Libraries’ holdings by performing preservation activities and conservation treatments which maximise the lifespan and accessibility of the collections for our communities.
7.5.3 The University Libraries offers a congenial environment for study and research. The Libraries also provides a wide range of information resources including a comprehensive collection of books, journals, audio-visual materials and a rapidly expanding collection of article databases, e-books, e-journals, e-news. Many of these electronic resources are available on the web by authenticated access.
7.5.4 The Libraries conducts user satisfaction surveys on a biennial basis to collect users’ feedback to identify performance gaps and studies user preferences for print and electronic materials, and the Library environment. The Libraries also learns about users through user experience research, in line with global academic library best practices. Future plans for improvement and development are drawn up based on the survey and research results.
7.5.5 The Library Committee, a committee of the Senate, advises the Senate on the management of the Libraries and the information services provided through them. It also advises the Libraries on the annual recurrent budget submission.
7.5.6 A copy of the Terms of Reference of the Library Committee is at Appendix 7.5.
7.6 Academic advising
7.6.1 The University has a university-wide academic advising system to help Ug students understand the aims of University education, the culture and ethos of learning, the available educational options and the paths that could be taken so that they can draw their own roadmaps to achieve their goals and monitor their own progress (Appendix 7.6).
7.6.2 The academic advising system emphasises the construction of learning relationships especially for students in their first year of study and developmental processes as their studies progress. It is based on a comprehensive network involving four key components which interact with each other: Faculty, central, residential and online. All first-year students have an assigned Faculty Academic Adviser whom they are encouraged to meet in the first year of study and whenever they need advice on their studies. In addition, all students have access to central and specialised academic advisers upon their request. For students living in residential halls, residential student advisers are available. Online academic resources are also available to both teachers and students.
7.6.3 The AAFYEC, a sub-committee of TLQC, oversees the implementation and monitoring of academic advising across the University. AASO provides administrative support to the AAFYEC and is responsible for the coordination and implementation matters and arranging workshops and presentations on academic advising for students and staff. Moreover, all Faculties, residential halls and colleges and CEDARS are actively engaged in implementation of the academic advising system.
7.6.4 Statistical data are collected through SLEQ-UG and SIS Advising Tools developed by AASO. The annual SLEQ-UG survey contains a section on academic advising to gauge the use and helpfulness of the academic advising system to students.
7.7 First year experience and academic induction
7.7.1 The Senate approved in March 2012 the six goals on FYE and academic induction (Appendix 7.7).
7.7.2 The University’s FYE and academic induction activities are overseen by the AAFYEC. The Committee takes charge of high-level coordination of FYE activities, reviewing SLEQ-UG findings on FYE, monitoring follow-up action(s) to address student concerns and reporting annually to TLQC.
7.7.3 A number of FYE initiatives have been implemented, in respect of the promulgation and organisation of induction activities, student learning support, class scheduling and residential hall and college activities. An online survey is conducted to collect students’ feedback on the induction activities.
7.7.4 In achieving the FYE goals, all Faculties, university offices, CEDARS, student organisations and community partners contribute to the design and implementation of induction and orientation activities. CEDARS hosts the one-stop FYE website for new students to obtain essential information on registration, orientation and induction activities, and essential academic and non-academic induction information contributed by the various stakeholders.
7.8 Student scholarship
7.8.1 The University administers a large number of scholarships and prizes to deserving students, primarily in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements. Many schemes also take into consideration students’ non-academic achievements and financial needs. These scholarships and prizes are mostly funded by donations. The award of scholarships and prizes is a belief in investing in human capital and providing deserving students with the opportunities to excel and prosper.
7.8.2 The AASO of the Registry is the central office which assists Senate’s Board of Academic Awards in overseeing the establishment, promotion and awarding of scholarships and prizes. The Terms of Reference of the Board of Academic Awards is at Appendix 7.8. AASO provides a one-stop service for students related to the application and award of scholarships, as well as coaching advice for interviews.
7.8.3 For scholarship schemes that are open for application and administered by SO, they are publicised through the AASO website (https://aas.hku.hk), and through bulk emails. In addition, the Scholarships website provides information on external scholarship schemes (i.e. those offered by parties outside HKU).
7.8.4 Faculties, departments and units also play a key role in that they directly administer a number of scholarships and prizes. Each Faculty has a Faculty Scholarship Coordinator who acts as the point of liaison between the Faculty and AASO.
7.8.5 AASO has worked together with the Development and Alumni Affairs Office to develop the “Internal Manual for Scholarship and Prize Administration” (Appendix 7.9) for better coherence and coordination with Faculties and Departments.
7.9 Student affairs and resources
7.9.1 Under the leadership of the Dean of Student Affairs, CEDARS (https://www.cedars.hku.hk/) creates opportunities, garners resources and collaborates with partners:
- to achieve the HKU educational aims for Ug and postgraduates;
- to advance wellness, citizenship in local and global communities, social commitment and whole person development among all students;
- to bring out the full strengths of students and maximise their exposure and experience of students in the realms of intellectual, personal, moral and social development;
- to effectuate mutual engagement between staff and students;
- to develop a collegial, inspiring and gratifying working environment for staff that promotes aspiration, advancement and overall wellness; and
- to become a leader in student support and co-curricular programme in Asia.
7.9.2The main areas of work of CEDARS include:
- provision of outside classroom non-credit bearing co-curricular learning and general education opportunities to foster students’ whole person development;
- internationalisation and integration of different cultural backgrounds;
- professional counselling services and mental health education;
- placement and graduate employment support;
- building a supportive, inclusive and diversified campus (covering catering, housing (see Section 7.10) and amenities centres);
- financial support and educational funding for individual students and student projects;
- advisement and support for student societies, individual students and student projects; and
- support services for students with disabilities or special educational needs (SEN) (see Section 7.13).
7.9.3 CEDARS adopts a systematic approach to assure the quality of their programmes and activities. Evidence and feedback are collected through diverse methodologies and from multiple stakeholders to inform goals, designs and implementation of its programmes and services. For benchmarking purpose, the instruments for collecting feedback are standardised.
7.9.5 The Committee on Student Affairs discharges and reports to the Senate on matters of student welfare and facilities. The various functions of CEDARS are monitored by the Committee on Student Affairs and its sub-committees:
- Careers and Placement Committee;
- Committee on Campus Life;
- Committee on Catering;
- Committee on Halls;
- Committee on Personal Development and Counselling;
- Governance Committee of the Residential Colleges; and
- Governance Committee of CEDARS-administered Student Residences.
These sub-committees as well as the Dean of Student Affairs advise, and submit annual reports to, the Committee on Student Affairs. The Terms of Reference of the Committee on Student Affairs and its sub-committees are at Appendix 7.10.
7.10 Residential education
7.10.1 Residential education plays a significant role in complementing the formal curriculum in the achievement of the University educational aims (Appendix 7.11). The Committee on Halls advises the Committee on Student Affairs on all matters pertaining to student residence and student welfare in residential halls and non-residential halls, as well as the development and planning of halls of residence. Both the Residential Colleges and CEDARS-administered student residences have their respective governance committees to oversee the management and development of these residences. These governance committees report to the Committee on Student Affairs.
7.11 Sports and exercises
7.11.1 CSE is responsible for the management and operations of the University sports facilities, namely Stanley Ho Sports Centre, Henry Fok Swimming Pool as well as two satellite fitness centres (CSE Active on the Centennial Campus and B-Active next to MTR HKU Station) and two other off-site venues at Suen Chi Sun Hall and Ho Tim Hall which house multi-purpose rooms and a mini-gym. Apart from managing the University sports facilities for students’/staff’s recreational and training use, the CSE (www.cse.hku.hk) also designs and implements the UNI-SPORTS, UNI-ADVENTURE, Sports-for-All and Exercise is Medicine on Campus programmes to encourage members of the HKU family to stay fit and healthy and improve their physical and mental well-being. The programmes aim to provide participants with not only an appreciation of the link between regular physical activity and well-being but also the opportunities to develop skills needed for life-long sports, activity involvement, chronic disease prevention and management.
7.11.2 There are 6 main categories of Uni-Sports: a) aquatics; b) dance and physical fitness; c) golf; d) marital arts and archery; e) rackets and ball games; and f) yoga and Pilates. The programmes are available to beginners, intermediate-level participants and experienced performers.
7.11.3 Uni-Adventure aims to provide opportunities for those who wish to explore new and dynamic educational experiences. Through a series of challenging outdoor activities and initiative exercises, participants will experience unique learning opportunities to enhance leadership and communication skills and strengthen self-esteem and personal development.
7.11.4 Sports-for-All programme is another extension arm of CSE to promote the health and well-being of the HKU family. Unlike Uni-Sports and Uni-Adventure which are run mostly on training-course basis, Sports for All offers different kinds of health and fitness events and activities in various formats such as talks and seminars, taster programmes and workshops.
7.11.5 CSE also runs the Active Health Clinic (www.ahc.hku.hk/) that conducts health and fitness programmes and education via its Exercise is Medicine on Campus (EIMOC) initiative (www.eim.cse.hku.hk/). The Active Health Clinic serves as a hub for clinicians, exercise specialists and other allied health professionals in promoting health and physical activity among special populations and individuals who are at risk of developing inactivity related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and osteoporosis. The EIMOC initiative, a partnership with the University Health Service, is tasked with improving the health and wellness of all HKU staff and students by promoting physical activity as a vital sign of health.
7.11.6 HKU is the first campus in Asia to be recognized through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Gold Level Campus, demonstrating HKU’s commitment to actively engaging in and providing physical activity opportunities (education and programmes) to enhance staff and students’ healthy and active lifestyles.
7.11.7 Another key role of CSE is to offer students with intramural competitive sports opportunities at inter-hall / -faculty / -varsity levels. CSE applies varying levels of support to University Teams by providing coaching, facilities and other subsidies. CSE’s High Performance Training Unit is unique amongst universities in Hong Kong and is available to provide professional strength and conditioning advice and training to athletes of University Sports teams.
7.12 Health service
7.12.1 The University Health Service provides for the health needs of students and staff with the aim of promoting and maintaining their physical and psychological well-being through the provision of accessible and cost-effective primary health care and health education (https://www.uhs.hku.hk/).
7.13 Services for students with special educational needs
7.13.1 CEDARS’ SEN support assists students with documented disabilities to have equal learning opportunities in university education. It provides a one-stop service for students with SEN, including those with physical and sensory disabilities, learning and developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, chronic medical illnesses or multiple disabilities. It works with Faculties, residential halls and colleges, as well as other support units to provide a full range of services to support students’ learning and mainstreaming to the campus life (https://www.cedars.hku.hk/cope/sen-support).
7.13.2 The SEN support team in CEDARS also provides individual needs assessment to students with SEN and communicates the reasonable academic recommendations to the faculties, course teachers and Examinations Office in an individualized Letter of Reasonable Accommodations/Adjustments. The SEN Contact Person in each Faculty disseminates the information to the teachers and implements the logistic arrangements.
7.13.3 Two resource guides for staff, “Removing Barriers: Joint-care Guide on SEN/ Disability Support” (https://cedars.hku.hk/SENguide) and “Walk with me – Joint-care Guide on Student Psychological Wellbeing” (https://www.cedars.hku.hk/walkwithme) inform staff the best practices on supporting student with disabilities and those with psychological distress. Guidelines on preparing teaching materials for persons with visual impairment (http://www.eounit.hku.hk/en/guidelines/guidelines-on-preparing-teaching-materials-for-persons-with-visual-impairment) are available on the Equal Opportunity Unit (EOU) website to facilitate arrangements in individual courses. Web accessibility practices (https://its.hku.hk/kb/promoting-web-accessibility-within-the-university/) can also be found on the ITS website. Awareness-raising materials, training and programmes are developed and conducted by CEDARS and EOU for both staff and students. Feedback is collected after the completion of these activities.
7.14 Discrimination and harassment
7.14.1 The University is committed to creating, promoting and maintaining an environment of equality of opportunity for members of the University community, free of any discrimination and harassment. There are in place an established Equal Opportunity Policy (https://www.eounit.hku.hk/images/content/about-us/Equal-Opportunity-Policy.pdf), Guidelines Governing Relationships Between and Among University Staff and Students (http://www.eounit.hku.hk/en/guidelines/general-guidelines) and Procedures for Handling Discrimination/Harassment Complaints (https://www.eounit.hku.hk/images/content/complaints-enquiries/Procedures-for-Handling-Discrimination-Harassment-Complaints.pdf).
7.14.2 The Equal Opportunity Committee, established by the Council and the Senate, has responsibility for advising the University, its staff and students on policies, good practices and positive steps for enhancing integration and diversity, and reviewing University policy in providing equal opportunity for all its members and the public, in accordance with the general direction given by the Council (Appendix 7.12). The EOU, led by the Equal Opportunity Officer, provides support to the Equal Opportunity Committee, promulgates equal opportunity at the University, handles discrimination and harassment complaints and enquiries, and discharges associated duties (http://www.eounit.hku.hk/en/about-us/vision-and-mission).
7.14.3 In accordance with the current Procedures for Handling Discrimination/Harassment Complaints (https://www.eounit.hku.hk/images/content/complaints-enquiries/Procedures-for-Handling-Discrimination-Harassment-Complaints.pdf), the Discrimination Complaints Committee shall be set up, as deemed appropriate by the President and Vice-Chancellor upon recommendation of a preliminary inquiry report on a complaint, to undertake a full-scale investigation and to make findings upon the complaint. The Discrimination Complaints Committee shall consist of a Chair who shall be a lay member of the Council, a staff member, one student member, one Senior Equal Opportunity Advisor, one member from a list of Equal Opportunity Advisers (staff members nominated by Heads of Departments), and where the complainant or the respondent is a postgraduate student, a nominee from the Postgraduate Student Association.
7.14.4 With a view to enhancing students’ awareness of and sensitivity to generate more thoughtful and respectful use of language in academic work, a guideline on the use of inclusive language in academic work has been developed for reference by students (https://tl.hku.hk/2018/07/use-of-inclusive-language-in-academic-work-a-guideline-for-undergraduate-and-taught-postgraduate-students/).