HKCyberU offers neat and tidy path to grasp knowledge management Eric Tsui Yue-hong from Polytechnic University's department of industrial and systems engineering has a habit of putting information in order. He filters his e-mails, classifies them by putting them in different folders and keeps a personal depository that enables him to retrieve information rapidly. Those habits are encouraged among students doing HKCyberU's master of science in knowledge management programme, of which Professor Tsui is a co-leader. The online learning arm of PolyU is the only institution in Asia-Pacific offering the knowledge management course, while similar courses are available in the United States. The skills fostered by it had wide applications in today's information age, either for companies or individuals, said Professor Tsui. They involve setting strategies for grouping e-mail, creating a group or individual environment for self-reflection - perceived as conducive to effective learning, aligning appropriate technology to support knowledge processing, and leadership and interview skills. 'All these competencies are useful for increasing productivity, making quality decisions, leveraging the expertise of staff across a region, and reducing the time for making price solutions,' said Professor Tsui. Individuals also benefit from a well-organised work habit. Professor Tsui often attends seminars and social gatherings to expand his social capital. He keeps all the name cards given to him, scans them and keeps them in his depository. 'You never know when a piece of information will be useful so it's better to keep whatever you have in a way that it can be retrieved easily when you want it.' He also values keeping a work-life balance. 'One of the fundamental principles of knowledge management is to have to a happy mind. Happiness drives a lot of things.' The master's course is interdisciplinary. Students are exposed to case studies from different industries and asked to carry out knowledge management projects related to a field of their choice. One student helped 10 local hospitals develop a multichannel system for the reporting of medical incidents. Hospital staff report such incidents to senior management through fax, e-mail or other channels, while the management consolidates information on a monthly basis and decides on the need for any remedial action. 'Knowledge management draws on concepts in management, IT, human resources and leadership,' said Professor Tsui. 'Rather than delving into the in-depth knowledge of any particular industry we teach students the process and techniques to create an environment for knowledge retention and elicitation.' Besides learning online, students engage in class exercises during tutorials held each semester. Companies have also been invited by HKCyberU to give presentations on their 'knowledge management journey'. The institution has established an international network of experts who act as online facilitators and also deliver workshops in Hong Kong, according to Professor Tsui. He said the course had seen an increasing number of enrollees from outside Hong Kong, including Italy, Switzerland, Japan and Australia, who travel to the territory at times for workshops. The course is also offered at MPhil and PhD levels. Having tracked local job advertisements in newspapers over the past three years, he found that more than 400 jobs demanded either knowledge management skills or prior knowledge management experience.