Home > UGC Publications > Speeches and Articles > 2001 > Speech by Chairman, UGC at the Opening of the Second Conference for "The Development of a Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Community with the Integration of Information Technology" on 26 April 2001

Speech by Chairman, UGC at the Opening of the Second Conference for "The Development of a Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Community with the Integration of Information Technology" on 26 April 2001

Dear President, Prof Wong, Prof Fu, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank the Organising Committee for inviting me to speak at this Conference on "Experience and Prospectus of Web-based Teaching and Learning in Hong Kong".

The UGC always regards teaching and learning as the primary mission of higher education institutions in Hong Kong. Students deserve education at its best and without sound teaching and learning, no institution can claim to have succeeded, even if great achievements are made in other areas. The holding of this conference illustrates that UGC-funded institutions share this view and the big turnout is solid evidence of your commitment to the cause of effective teaching and learning.

The UGC's firm belief in the importance of teaching and learning quality is manifested by the special support it gives to the institutions over the years, in the form of Teaching Development Grants, or in short, TDGs.

TDGs, as its name suggests, are intended to encourage institutions to develop and adopt innovative approaches to teaching, and to improve the quality of learning environment. Since the first allocation in 1994, a total of over $356 million has been disbursed to the institutions. Many of the TDGs projects have matured and, as they showed, have become part of the regular curriculum of many academic programmes.

A good example of TDG's being put to good use is Hong Kong Baptist University's efforts towards the development of a diverse range of teaching approaches like web-based teaching, multi-media action learning and case studies method, covering a wide spectrum of disciplines. In fact, today's conference is an extension of a project funded by TDGs to integrate information technology with the development of a Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Community.

Web-based teaching and learning is getting increasingly popular worldwide. It enables both teachers and students to explore new dimensions of teaching and learning. Through this TDG project, the Faculty of Social Sciences of HKBU has developed a Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Community enhanced by advances in IT, which includes construction of an Intranet, transforming course content into web-based or web-enhanced environments. What these transpire in actual terms is that within this virtual community, students can now have instant access to all the requisite material through the subject homepages, and can share with fellow students on the Internet their problems and findings in study and research work. For teachers, they can transcend the boundaries of a classroom and interact freely with their students.

The UGC is delighted to see good progress in this project. Both the students and teachers have now become more accustomed to the use of IT in teaching and learning, resulting in increasing student-teacher interactions, and an improvement in quality of subject substances. The creation of this virtual community brings liveliness to teaching and learning and its popularity will increase with time.

The UGC considers it essential for these experiences and good practices to be shared among teaching colleagues. To this end, I am grateful to the Hong Kong Baptist University for organising this Conference, which conveniently heralds in the Second Teaching and Learning Conference, organised by the eight UGC-funded institutions and to be held from 24 to 26 May this year. That Conference, sponsored by the UGC, will provide a further opportunity for institutions to showcase good practices and to learn from one another. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Finally, I wish the organisers and all participants of this Conference a very successful and fruitful series of discussions.

Thank you.