Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

Common Core Curriculum

Development of Exemplary Courses on Scientific and Technological Literacy for the New Common Core Programme


The project aimed to develop several exemplary courses on Scientific and Technological Literacy in the proposed Common Core Curriculum of HKU’s new curriculum. The PI collaborated with teachers in Science and Engineering Faculties to instigate 6 new courses, which were offered as 6-credits broadening courses in 2009, as a trial to study the following aspects: (1) Offering of courses by teachers from different faculties, (2) Offering of science-oriented courses with a tutorial component, (3) Courses offered by the Science faculty on humanities or global issues, and (4) Offering of Common Core courses of mathematical nature. The courses were converted into Common Core courses during 2010, 5 for the Scientific & Technological Literacy (S&TL) and one for the Global Issues AOI. A set of student course evaluation questionnaire designed specifically for the courses was devised. Many of the questions were eventually modified and adopted in the Common Core course SETL questionnaire.

Sessions were held for the course teachers to share problems and useful practices they learned from their courses. Issues warranting attention and discussion brought up at the sharing sessions included

  • Classroom pedagogy
  • Competence of teaching consultants and teaching assistants
  • Assessment methods
  • Teaching students with diverse backgrounds in the same courses
  • Organization of tutorials, space and student grouping

Some of the problems are particularly pertinent to the S&TL AOI, since many teachers in science and engineering are relatively inexperienced with running tutorials. A workshop on facilitating tutorials was organized by the PI, but it is the imperative for faculties to work with the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning to organize workshops on conducting tutorials for their Teaching Assistants in the future. Through the study, good practices, issues of concerns based on students’ perceptions, tutors’ perceptions and lesson observations were identified. Suggestions and recommendations regarding to the concerned issues were also made.

Principal Investigator

Professor L.S. Chan, Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of ScienceContact

Project level

University-level project

Project Completion

August 2011

Deliverables (HKU Portal Login Required)

  • 6 Pilot courses organized
    • Electronic Technologies in Everyday Life, Dr. Hayden So (Engg)
    • Energy: Its Evolution and Environmental Impacts, Drs. M. Leung/Y.Q. Zong (Engg/Sci)
    • Understanding Climate Change, Dr. A. Switzer (Sci)
    • Hidden Order in Daily Life, Dr. P. Ng (Sci)
    • Origin and Evolution of Life, Dr. S. Pointing (Sci)
    • Feeding the World, Prof. H Corke (Sci)
  • Experience Sharing Session (April, 2010).
  • Pilot SETL of Common Core Courses
  • PBL Tutorial training workshop (May 27, 2010)

Click here to view the report “Study on Issues Concerning Organization and Undertaking of Tutorials in Scientific and Technological Literacy Common Core Courses.”