Enhancing teaching to meet challenges

Michelle Leung

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Preparing CityU students to grow from students to professionals at an internationally-competitive level is challenging, while getting staff prepared for the implementation of the four-year curriculum in 2012 is even more demanding.

To help both new and experienced colleagues cope with these challenges, the Education Development Office has organized the Strategic Teaching Enhancement Programme (STEP) for the second year. The aim of STEP 2007 is to help staff to adapt to the changing nature of the environment in which they work and incorporate significant learning opportunities in relation to Outcomes Based Teaching and Learning (OBTL) and e-learning into their classes.

At the opening session of STEP 2007, held on 25 January, Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Vice-President (Undergraduate Education), outlined the challenges that affect the teaching and learning environment at CityU. He said that a gearing-up phase in 2009 would be implemented mid-way to CityU’s transition into a university with a four-year curriculum. “We need to get ready and train ourselves to be physically and mentally fit for this challenge,” he said.

Professor Ho reported that the University had undertaken a series of initiatives to nurture CityU students using desired learning outcomes. These initiatives include the launch of General Education courses, efforts to enhance students’ communications skills, the provision of more internship opportunities and more in-class and out-of-classroom activities aimed at personal growth.

Professor Ho’s update was followed by a presentation by Dr Jerry Yu Jer-tsang, Chief Information Officer, who gave a brief recap of what the University had done to enrich the e-learning environment. A unified e-learning platform, the Blackboard Suite, was launched at the start of Semester A in 2005-06 to create a student-centred learning environment supported by technology, Dr Yu said.

“Starting in September 2006, all credit-bearing courses have corresponding Blackboard course sites created automatically. We are now preparing to launch another version which supports Chinese and organization sites for departments and programme use,” he said.

Since communication skills are highly valued in the workplace and one of the attributes of an ideal CityU graduate, Professor Lilian Vrijmoed Kwan Lee-ping, Dean of Student Learning, updated the audience about the University’s Language Enhancement Framework.

One of the key initiatives under the Framework is the launch of the English Clinics, a popular peer-tutoring service for CityU students. “Two other recent projects which help students improve their written and oral English are now being piloted in several departments,” Professor Vrijmoed said.

More in-depth discussions will be held from 1 February to 19 April during the 10 sessions that make up STEP 2007. Topics include the teaching and learning environment of the University and implementing OBTL with e-learning and other appropriate tools.

For more details and registration of STEP 2007, please visit http://www.cityu.edu.hk/edo/workshops/step.htm.

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