Supplemental Instruction Scheme nurtures life-long learners

Audrey Chung

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has expanded the Supplemental Instruction Scheme, a student-centred learning activity, to all faculties and schools starting from September.

The Scheme, now in its sixth year, will be boosted this year with the introduction of a comprehensive training programme, awards for outstanding leaders and a brand new learning portal.

Under the Scheme, students from Years 2 and 3 are recruited as leaders and receive guidance from their supervisors, who are academics from various departments. These leaders then meet Year 1 students twice a week to discuss academic work and share tips on effective learning strategies.

The aim is to help students master effective life-long learning skills and enhance knowledge management. These initiatives reflect CityU’s commitment to cultivating a caring learning culture and improving the quality of education on offer.

This year around 120 Supplemental Instruction classes will be offered to business students studying Accounting, Economics, Information Systems and Management Sciences. Science and engineering students will receive courses on Applied Physics, Biology and Chemistry, Building and Construction, Computer Science, and Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management.

Dr Margaret Poon Chong-ching, Associate Professor in the Department of Accountancy, is spearheading the Scheme. She recently won a Teaching Development Grant from the University Grants Committee to expand the Scheme.

Over the past five years, hundreds of CityU students from the Faulty of Business, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Law, Division of Building Science and Technology and Community College of City University have participated as either leaders or recipients.

“The Scheme has been well-received by all students involved,” Dr Poon said. “I’m delighted to see the Scheme expanding to other faculties and schools, meaning more and more students will benefit.”

To help participating teachers understand supplemental instruction from a global perspective, Dr Glen Jacobs, Executive Director of the International Centre of Supplemental Instruction Scheme at University of Missouri, US, was invited to CityU for a half-day workshop in September.

According to Dr Jacobs, over 1,500 institutions in 29 countries have participated in training workshops at his centre. The Scheme was a success because it helped students study better, he said.

“I’m pleased with what CityU has done about the Scheme. I believe it will help students better understand course content, inspire them to learn and help them with their future careers,” he added.

Mr Joseph Chan Kai-nin, Director of Student Development Services and a co-organizer of the Scheme, delivered a talk at an orientation for student leaders on the meaning of learning.

“The ultimate goal is to enhance critical and analytical thinking. We aim to help students develop a habit of reviewing course materials and discussing their academic work with fellow students. More peer sharing can improve exam performance,” Mr Chan said.

“We hope students can master the skills of learning, not only about understanding, but also for analyzing and application,” he said.

Details of the training sessions and scheme are available at: http://fbweb.cityu.edu.hk/bba/lec

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