The City University of Hong Kong is the first institute in Hong Kong to have the foresight to understand the importance and role of technology in advancing higher education. Leveraging technology for education has always been strategic for CityU. Since establishment in 1984, CityU has made numerous advances in the use of IT to support teaching, learning, research and administration.
For example, CityU was the first local university to understand the importance of an ERP to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs, with the implementation of the Oracle-based Banner system for students in 1997. In 2000, CityU was the first to establish the position of the CIO and its associated Office of the CIO, with the appointment of Dr J T Yu as the first CIO for the University. In 2001, our ERP was extended to include the Human Resources and Advancement modules. A personalized e-portal was also launched in 2002 to provide convenient one-stop access to important information and common functions.
In 2005, CityU adopted the Blackboard Academic Suite as the central unified e-learning platform to further strengthen the University’s efforts in providing state-of-the-art tools to support a wide variety of teaching approaches and learning needs.
CityU is also among the first higher educational institute in Hong Kong to provide total wireless access to all its staff and students, allowing teaching/learning activities to be done anywhere on campus as well as outside of campus through collaborations with local ISPs. In 2008, we made laptops more affordable to students through an innovative student notebook scheme.
In 2009, Dr Andy Chun was appointed CIO after Dr Yu’s retirement. In 2010, the University made available a suite of cloud-based services to staff and students through its launch of Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Live@edu for CityU, thus encouraging a new age of cloud-based collaboration and knowledge sharing.
In early 2011, CityU become the first in the Greater China region to launch Blackboard Mobile Learn. Together with other supporting mobile apps, CityU made anywhere anytime mobile-learning an integral part of its standard e-learning service offerings. The University further encouraged the use of mobile devices and tablets through various college or department-level ownership schemes, with the entire School of Law deploying iPads in 2011. Various funding schemes were also provided to staff/students to develop mobile apps to support teaching and learning.
To further enhance our sustainability and environmental efforts, in 2011 the University adopted EMC Documentum as our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. CityU became the first university in the Greater China region to implement ECM for HR/FO secured archiving through our Paperless Office Project to minimize paper usage and carbon footprint as well as improve work efficiencies through automated workflows.
In 2011, recognizing the growing importance of mobile devices, CityU redesigned over 100 top-level websites to follow modern responsive web design, allowing all its websites to be mobile-friendly as well as improving usability, SEO, and web accessibility. At that time, CityU was the first university in the world to mobile-enable all its websites. Furthermore, native mobile apps were developed for all core applications to further improve user experience and interactivity.
In 2011, sensing increasing cyber threats, CityU became the first local university to have fully implemented a modern Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system to provide a consolidated and holistic view of IT security throughout the campus, allowing the University to quickly contain and avert advanced IT security threats.
In 2012, CityU established an independent IT Security Office to oversee all information security related policies and guidelines. In 2013, with its Paperless Office service, CityU received the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification from BSI for compliance to international IT security best practices; the first university in Hong Kong and mainland China to achieve this. In 2015, we further upgraded our practices to ISO/IEC 27001:2013. At the same time, we also received the ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 certification for the quality of our IT Service Management System. This means IT infrastructure services supporting the Paperless Office service are being provided according to the highest international standards and best practices. Again, CityU is the first University in Hong Kong and among a handful in Asia Pacific to achieve this level of professional compliance.
In the University’s new Discovery-Enriched Curriculum (DEC), GE courses constitutes roughly a quarter of students’ credit requirements. With such as large population of students, course registration is a challenge. To ensure each student is given a fair chance during course registration as well as support University’s continue growth, in 2014 CityU became the first local University to put high-performance Oracle Exadata machine into production use to support its ERP and related systems. During 2014/2015 Semester B course registration, we achieved 10x better performance, allowing many more courses to be registered in less time.
Our learning management system (LMS) plays a very important role in supporting e-learning. To ensure our students/staffs have immediate access to the latest features offered by our vendors, in 2015 CityU became the first university in this region to leverage cloud-service for its LMS with the implementation of Canvas. Integrated with our other e-learning tools, CityU provides a 100% cloud-based environment for a modern teaching/learning experience supporting collaboration, social-learning, as well as flipped classroom pedagogy.
In June 2016, Professor Christian Wagner was appointed CIO.