CS student scoops international award for web-based education research

Michelle Leung


Ms Apple Fok Wai-ping, a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and a former primary school teacher, has received an international award for her research paper on a new e-learning system which facilitates personalized learning.

Ms Fok outperformed fellow entrants from the US and Europe to clinch first place in the Fifth International Competition of PhD Students on Research in Web-based Education Area. This achievement demonstrates once again that CityU’s excellence in applied research is enjoying world-wide recognition.

Her award-winning paper, entitled “PEOnto - Integration of Multiple Ontologies for Personalized Learning”, looks into the development of a new Personalized Education System which helps teachers and students exploit the myriad possibilities of using web resources to meet the learning or teaching needs of individual students and teachers.

The 12 international referees from 10 different countries praised Ms Fok’s paper, emphasizing several features of her research such as her innovative and unique approach and the overall quality of her work.

The competition was held at the IASTED International Conference on Web-based Education (WBE) from January 23 to 25 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. WBE is an annual international conference organized by the International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED). Accepted papers authored by PhD students were eligible to enter the competition, but only four out of over 20 entrants were selected for the final session this year.

“I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor Horace Ip from the Department of Computer Science, for his sincere guidance and the stringent quality control he exercised over my work,” Ms Fok said.

Under the sponsorship of the Quality Education Fund from the HKSAR Government, Ms Fok is now leading two research projects on e-learning systems.

When she was a local primary school teacher, Ms Fok obtained her bachelor’s degree (with first class honours) in Computers in Education from CityU through part-time study.

Her outstanding academic, research and professional teaching have brought her a number of awards and scholarships in the past few years. In 2005, she won the “Best Paper Award” at the 9th Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education in Hawaii for a research paper on a web-based learning system, and she was one of the six awardees to receive the Hong Kong Association of University Women Thomas H C Cheung Postgraduate Scholarship in the same year. In 2001, when she was a primary school teacher, she received a Commendation Certificate from the Committee on Respect Our Teachers Campaign and the former Education Department.


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