CRESDA helps keep track of students’ soft-skills development

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Universities offer a wealth of learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom, many off campus.
 
In the absence of suitable tools, students often find keeping track of all their activities and the various skills that they develop, hone and deploy to be a challenge.
 
To address this need, educators at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have designed and developed a unique mobile-friendly platform that enables students to keep a record of their out-of-class activities.
 
The IT platform is called CRESDA, which stands for Central Repository on Student Development Activities. It is the first online central repository in a university setting in Hong Kong.
 
CRESDA helps students to find out about, enrol in and record their participation in student development activities and programmes, according to Professor Horace Ip Ho-shing, Vice-President (Student Affairs), who is spearheading the project.
 
“CRESDA promotes students’ self-development and enhances their career planning and employability by recording all the information about their soft-skills development activities and achievements,” Professor Ip explained.
 
From the University’s point of view, CRESDA, which was developed by the CityU Enterprise Solutions Unit (ESU) and launched in June 2016, ensures student development programmes and their Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) are aligned with the CityU Ideal Graduate Outcomes (IGOs), which include the following:
·         effective communication, language, numerical and IT skills for a variety of professional settings;
·         multi-disciplinary critical thinking skills for solving problems and creating new ideas;
·         cultural awareness to collaborate effectively in a broad range of teamwork situations;
·         a positive and flexible approach to lifelong learning and employability; and
·         ethical and social responsibility required of professional citizens in a global society.
 
In addition, it allows for the efficient retrieval and presentation of students’ personal development records by stakeholders using different search criteria, such as ILOs, dates, organising units, student groups, etc.
 
For students, CRESDA captures and categorises their soft-skills development activities and outcomes neatly and systematically under one cyber roof. CRESDA also provides summaries of students’ on-going achievements with reference to the CityU IGOs.
 
“The reports that CRESDA generates are holistic, covering areas ranging from spiritual development and physical fitness to psychological-emotional health and career concerns,” Professor Ip said. “CRESDA can be seen as the near equivalent of a self-reflection journal or an all-in-one ‘student activity account’ for the digital age, which students can use subsequently to show to prospective employers when job seeking.”
 
CRESDA is not just for students. For staff, CRESDA provides a complete picture of students’ participation and preferences in personal development activities. The data can also be used for better programme planning, design and promotional campaigns. From the University’s perspective, the data captured is worth its weight in gold in terms of big data analytics and strategic planning.

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