46 - December 2005
of Information Services Strategic Plan 2005-2010
Dr. J. T. Yu
Information Services Strategic Plan 2005-2010 (ISSP)
was approved by the Committee on Information Services
and Technology (CIST), and then was formally endorsed
by the Senate in May 2005. A retreat was held on July
20, 2005, to consider the implementation of the Plan.
The retreat was attended by most of the senior staff
members from the offices that are closely involved in
the provision of information services, (namely, ARRO,
CIO, DSL, EDO, ESU, CSC and LIB). The group identified
the following five key areas of work, with some goals
set in each area. The CIST subsequently approved these
at its 8th meeting and its members were invited to suggest
via email to its Chairman (CIO) and Secretary (Acting
DCS) colleagues to join the working groups that may
be set up in the future.
Support in University database and services
Information Access Through Mobile/Wireless Devices
e-Learning is the first item for attention as it is
important in supporting the strategic development of
the teaching and learning at the University. Since the
adoption of the Blackboard Academic Suite (Bb6) as the
unified e-learning platform for the University, work
began with the conversion and migration of WebCT and
Blackboard 5 courses into Bb6, setting up a production
environment, training of users to familiarize with the
platform, and cumulating in the launch of the Blackboard
system at the start of Semester A 2005-06. In general,
the new platform is well received by staff and students,
with user support, service administration, server performance
and reliability commended.
launch of Bb6 in September 2005 was only phase 1 of the e-learning
project. To maintain its momentum, concerted effort has to
be expended to achieve the following goals:
for immersion and as part of the default learning environment.
Immersion is one of the four cornerstones of the IS Strategic
Plan. The aim is to immerse our students in an IT rich environment
to help them with their learning and to provide them with
an extra edge on graduation as being "IT savvy".
This is one of the elements essential to help our graduates
excel in today's work environment. In order to achieve this
goal, work to be carried out include:
all credit-bearing courses have an e-learning component
with a tentative target of 60%-70% adoption by 2006,
and full deployment by September 2007.
organizations and content management system (CMS) to
facilitate other academic related activities such as
programme management, hostel administration, intra-departmental
communications and materials repository, and developmental
the current e-Portal with the Blackboard one for a more
integrated environment which can offer pertinent academic
services from AIMS directly through the Blackboard portal.
the adoption and use of the e-learning platform with
add-on software for purposes such as anti-plagiarism,
animated or narrated presentations, and facilitating
e-Learning to trace and track student learning as part of
the evidence for outcome-based teaching and learning. Outcome-based
teaching and learning has been mandated by the UGC. An important
element of outcome-based learning is to show evidence of
student learning, particularly how students can reflect
on what they have learned, applied the knowledge and skills
to solve problems, and in the process, improve themselves.
In order to achieve this goal, work to be carried out include:
student e-portfolio to help students to document and record
their effort and progress at University.
student learning style and study strategies in order to provide
targeted resources for students to help them transform into
training for students and staff for better adoption of e-learning.
For e-learning to be adopted and used appropriately to assist
student learning, training for both students and staff is
important and necessary. Training for students may be regarded
by them as extra burden on top of the demands of their curricular
work, thus more emphasis has to be put on making appropriate
use of the online environment together with the one-stop-shop
concept (like the revamped My Learning tab in the e-Portal)
where students can easily browse through to find relevant
training materials and activities for their purposes. Training
for staff has to ensure that they can take advantage of
the new features and functions provided by the e-learning
platform with a sound pedagogical underpinning. Thus workshops
such as functions and features of new versions of Bb and
its CMS should be coupled with those for teaching enhancement.
ahead and making preparation so that teaching operations
could be maintained in 100% e-mode in case of a major disaster
that could lead to the closure of the campus.
project is guided by a Steering Group consisting of Dr J T
Yu (CIO), Professor Douglas Vogel (IS), Dr Jonathan Webster
(CTL), Professor Lilian Vrijmoed (DSL), Professor Steve Ching
(LIB), Dr Eva Wong (EDO) and Ms Maria Chin (CSC). The Steering
Group will continue to lead the e-learning project along the
line of the ISSP and progress reports will be submitted to
the CIST periodically.
Knowledge Management Services
Management Services is a key component of information services
that aims to provide timely, reliable, user-friendly, and
ubiquitous access to rich, high-quality, scholarly information
in both electronic and traditional form. To achieve this goal,
work to be carried out include:
and implement an organizational and technological framework
for building an institutional repository infrastructure.
e-book and other forms of digital collections (including
those subscribed from external sources or created from works
of students and staff) and their related services for promoting
both course learning and life-long learning. Publish excellent
quality student works in e-book format and disseminate them
worldwide through the Library's network. Identify and increase
visual and interactive materials to supplement text information.
any major disconnects between the Library and its users
on the knowledge management services. Get ready to serve
students who are accustomed to multimedia environments,
working in groups, and multitasking as opposed to other
traditional libraries that may still be text based, constructed
for personal use, and perform work in linear fashion.
and conduct programmes to equip our students with technology
and information skills appropriate for searching and accessing
quality information for their academic work. In particular,
promote students to make use of the information in the Library
as their primary source while those obtained from the World
Wide Web as secondary as the quality of the former in general
is much more reliable, more in-depth, and better than the
latter. Strive to provide user-centric and easy-to-use virtual
services similar to Google for easy searching and accessing
of information in the Library.
and integrate Library resources into the Content Management
System of Blackboard.
use of anti-plagiarism software to help students cite, organize
and present their papers, and educate them to respect originality.
Web and Portal Services
website and its portal are the main external and internal
communication channels respectively. To establish effective
communication, we need a web presence that effectively represents
the University and that provides the most reliable, and up-to-date
information possible. To achieve these goals, work to be done
a web architecture(s) for both the University web (accessible
by public) and the internal web (e-Portal and classified
websites accessible only by the university community) which
will present University's information in an attractive and
meaningful manner to targeted users as well as effectively
support standard communication functions of the University.
Standards, policies and best practices need to be defined
for the structure, format, system/network management and
security such that information can be delivered reliably
and presented in a professional and consistent manner.
information accuracy as well as a high quality and coherent
web presence by appropriately categorizing and segregating
information. The whole web content information lifecycle
needs to be carefully defined. Proper guidelines and best
practices on issues such as user authentication, identity
management, access rights and information security audit
are also required to ensure all web service providers comply
with the university regulations.
and recommend various training and support programmes to
in-house web developers for maintaining web standards across
departments. Criteria should be defined to measure the effectiveness
of the web pages and of the review mechanisms, to audit
the existing and new web pages to ensure compliance with
the current web standards.
to the University community the direction of development
of the University websites to facilitate further discussion.
Chinese Support in University Database and Services
the University policy regarding Chinese language on the Homepage
in that the internal code should be "Unicode" and
the default display should be in "Traditional Chinese",
the institutional database engine has been configured to accept
UTF-8 (an algorithmic mapping to represent Unicode data) and
is now ready to save Chinese data. However, further work still
to be done includes:
what kinds of institutional data are to be kept in Chinese
in addition to English. Currently, Chinese names of students
and staff, department name, programme title and award title
are kept in various local databases or documents. As more
students come from Mainland China, the need to store contact
addresses in Chinese instead of English has become obvious.
It is suggested that this data, once identified, will be
put into the institutional database in order to ensure a
single source of origin and easy access by users.
what sort of information services should be provided in
Chinese. For information services in the University serving
internal users, viz. students and staff, it may not be cost
effective to have them all bilingual. However, for services
to external users, say parents of students and prospective
students who might be more comfortable reading Chinese,
it would be helpful to incorporate Chinese language capabilities
in the service.
standards for translating English terms into Chinese. There
are variations in translating English terms into Chinese.
For clarity, it will be beneficial to adopt some standards
for the University. The glossary adopted by the HKSAR or
UGC may be good references.
which standard character set shall be adopted. The HKSAR
has developed the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set
(HKSCS) which has been included in the ISO 10646 standard
(the ISO 10646 standard is widely adopted by popular operating
systems and is working closely with the Unicode Consortium
to ensure synchronization). HKSCS contains special Chinese
characters that are commonly used in Hong Kong and are required
by the Government and the public in electronic communication.
It is essential to choose a font set that supports this
HKSCS to be adopted by the University and set the adoption
policies to cater for version changes. Moreover, it is also
necessary to sort out the criteria and approval procedure
for the creation of characters that are missing from the
what have to be done to ensure characters displayed and
printed correctly at end users' PCs. Displaying or printing
Chinese characters correctly at a PC is always a difficult
issue to tackle. The problem may lie with the insufficiency
of characters in the Chinese character sets used on users'
PCs. If this is the case, there might be the requirement
to allow users to download the University's character sets
for their individual use.
what areas the University can collaborate with other institutions
so that incompatibilities or inconsistencies can be eliminated
or reduced when Chinese documents are exchanged amongst
colleagues with expertise in this field to join the working
Increase Information Access Through Mobile/Wireless Devices
needs to develop a strategy to increase the information access
using wireless and mobile devices. Some of the major issues
need to be considered prior to its implementation are:
a limited number of types and brands of mobile devices (m-devices)
to be supported such as: PDA, tablet PCs, notebook, smart
phones, etc. This will include selecting service plans and
means of connecting to the Internet as well as choosing
and purchasing these devices.
the applications/usages/services and the information to
be provided through these m-devices.
and standardize the software for these m-devices.
and standardize suitable infrastructure/platform(s) as server(s)
and the necessary interfaces for synchronizing information
between these servers with the selected m-devices.
the process to review regularly the impact to the current
IT strategies and provisions brought about by the m-devices
and to adjust these strategies and provisions accordingly.
security into part of the operational plan implemented to
support wider access of mobile/wireless devices.