General education has in recent years become an essential part of tertiary education in Greater China. Complementing major programmes that offer specialized professional training or impart knowledge in a particular discipline, general education envisions whole-person development through heightened awareness of different facets of human concerns and through enhanced generic competence for lifelong learning. The ultimate goal is the balanced development of cognitive and affective capabilities in students so that they will become more knowledgeable and also grow into better and happier persons.
A GE curriculum that hopes to achieve such a goal must be supported by a highly reflective community of practice, be they teachers, curriculum designers, or administrators. They must constantly and systematically rethink the intended outcomes of the curriculum, devise new and better ways of its implementation, and assess its contribution to the good of the community of learners. To this end, the Office of University General Education at The Chinese University of Hong Kong will host a summer institute for practitioners of GE from June 27 to 29, comprising workshops, talks, and a GE Posters. The institute will be followed by a cross-institutional teacher and student conference on June 30. Both events are sponsored by a grant under the 2016 University Grants Committee Teaching Award.
The 2017 Institute on General Education cum Teacher and Student Conference serves as a platform for exchange of ideas on general education, with a vision to rejuvenate practitioners' commitment and to inspire more faculty members to get involved. The Institute will include four workshops and two panel discussions offered to invited participants. There will also be two public talks, GE Posters, and a concert offered to a wider audience.
Questions that may be addressed in the workshops and public talks include the following.
First and foremost, we may like to ask questions such as: Do our stated target learning outcomes accurately reflect what we want to do? If there is one essential learning outcome that underlines all GE programmes, what should that be? Are we effectively assessing students' attainment of our intended learning outcomes? Can assessment and learning be integrated?
Second, while the main venue of GE is still the classroom, such initiatives as service learning and civic engagement allow students to continue the reflection beyond the classroom, translating knowledge into action and putting theory into practice. In what ways do they enrich learning in the classroom and inspire constructive emotions, thereby contributing to students' development as a whole person? What programmes have been attempted and what valuable experience can be drawn from them?
Third, a growing number of institutions have included core texts in their GE programmes, offering a platform for both teachers and students to discuss perennial questions about human existence and moral values. Such programmes may also aim to prepare students to be lifelong learners by developing their skills in reading, writing and discussion by engaging in core texts. What core-text programmes have been implemented? What difficulties have been encountered and how are they overcome?
Fourth, as internet browsing is the main "reading" experience and technology-aided learning is all the rage, does reading real texts still matter? If so, how do we select texts for GE courses? How do we make students read?
|27 June (Tuesday)||Programme of Day 1|
|9:30am-12:30pm||Workshop 1 - Designing and Implementing 21st Century General Education||Poster Exhibition|
|2:00pm-4:00pm||Workshop 2 - GE-2.0: General Education in 2020|
|4:30pm-6:30pm||Public Talk 1: What is the essential outcome for GE?|
|28 June (Wednesday)||Programme of Day 2|
|9:30am-12:10pm||Workshop 3 - Critical Reading in GE||Poster Exhibition|
|2:00pm-4:00pm||Panel Discussion 1: Practice & Outcome of Reading in GE|
|29 June (Thursday)||Programme of Day 3|
|9:30am-12:30pm||Workshop 4 - Civic Engagement||Poster Exhibition|
|2:00pm-4:00pm||Panel Discussion 2: Service Learning|
|4:30pm-6:30pm||Public Talk 2: Back to the Basics: Reading as THE Foundational Skill|
|30 June (Friday)||Programme of Day 4|
|9:30am-6:30pm||General Education Teacher and Student Conference||Poster Exhibition|