HKU begins overhaul

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am

Academics at University of Hong Kong have begun the complex task of switching over their programmes to the new outcomes-based learning approach that universities have to adopt along with four-year degrees in 2012.

HKU is consulting staff on how to introduce the approach, which aims to raise standards by setting clear objectives for students and encouraging skills such as critical thinking, communication and teamwork.

Its Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching is holding workshops for all faculties on how to achieve the objectives, rewrite the curriculum and change the assessment process. It will present a report next month to the senate, which will decide on the implementation plan.

Registrar Henry Wai Wing-kun said HKU aimed to introduce outcomes-based learning approaches across all courses from next year and complete the process before the launch of four-year degrees in 2012, ahead of University Grants Council requirements.

Professor Amy Tsui Bik-may, pro-vice chancellor for teaching and learning, said: 'At the institutional level we are quite confident that all our programmes will meet the express aims of outcomes-based learning. But it is a major challenge to our whole system of degree classification. We haven't ruled out getting rid of the degree classification but we are unlikely to go down that road.'

Professor Mantz Yorke of Lancaster University, who spoke at HKU this week about the UK's experience with outcomes-based learning, said the Burgess Group - which reviews classification of UK degrees - concluded that a Higher Education Achievement Report issued alongside the degree class was the best solution.

'HKU will have to rethink their degree classification system because outcomes-based learning changes the measurement of students' achievement,' he said. 'I think it will affect the whole way it goes about assessing students' work.'