Development of the problem-based learning model for transitioning undergraduate students from classrooms to research

Principal Supervisor

Professor Leung Wing Por, Department of Chemistry


3 years

Approved Budget

HK 250,000

  • Project Objectives
  • Description of process, outcomes or deliverable
  • Evaluation
  • Dissemination, diffusion and impact

Project Objectives

The project aims are to develop a comprehensive teaching model for implementing problem-based learning into the final-year projects for chemistry undergraduate students, and produce a collection of self-learning materials to promote students to gain intensive experience on independent scientific research.

Description of process, outcomes or deliverable

It involves designing and implementing the teaching and learning activities, and assessment tools to enhance students’ abilities in carrying out independent chemical research. An assortment of self-learning materials were produced to enhance their research skills such as literature searching, advanced laboratory techniques, and professional oral and written presentation skills. A Moodle site was developed for the course to facilitate student learning and course administrations. The Moodle site served as a central repository for the developed learning materials.


The developed model and learning materials were implemented into the two-semester final-year projects for Chemistry undergraduates. Feedbacks were collected from students, teaching assistants and teachers to evaluate and fine-tune the developed protocols and materials at the end of the 2nd semesters. The responses are mostly very positive. The majority of the students (> 85%) agreed that the problem-based learning course that they have finished is much more effective than the traditional laboratory courses in promoting students’ various professional skills such as presentation skills, project planning and management skills, and skills for effective and efficient team work, etc.

Dissemination, diffusion and impact

To share our practices and experiences gained in working in this project with the colleagues of the other departments and faculties in CUHK, and also with the teachers of the other tertiary institutions, the contents of this project and our experiences have been presented as five oral presentations and three poster presentations in various seminars and workshops.

The developed model will be incorporated into our new 4-year curriculum as compulsory final-year projects for chemistry major students. Our developed model should also be useful to the other science departments in the tertiary education sector, as final-year project is a very common teaching practice among us.