Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow

“Innovation” in teaching and learning is sometimes, wrongly, equated with the growing trend to use technology to enrich and enhance teaching and learning. The notion of “innovation”, as we shall discuss it in this issue, however, goes far beyond questions of technology. The innovations discussed in this issue touch upon multiple aspects of teaching and learning, including innovative teaching and learning vision and strategy, innovative learning environments, innovative processes, and, of course, innovative curriculum design, course delivery and assessment practices.

Some practices that are, indeed, innovative have not commonly been seen as such. Take, for example, leadership practices that nurture new career paths and inspire colleagues within and beyond the institution to experiment with new approaches in their teaching; or the creation of new visions of teaching excellence through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 2018); or even the creation of a humble e-newsletter such as this, with the aim of sharing and promoting innovative and impactful teaching practices. These are all, arguably, process innovations in a research-intensive university such as the University of Hong Kong.

With the increasing need for high quality, responsive, higher education in universities, such “innovations” are probably just as important as other, more technological innovations, if we are effectively to challenge the traditional, but still ubiquitous, view that academic teaching is, at its heart, a solitary, and rather lonely, task.

Although we cannot possibly include every exciting initiative in this single issue, I believe we have managed to bring a variety of perspectives on what is meant by “innovation” in teaching and learning. So, the articles in this issue focus on a range of innovations: innovations in classroom teaching (innovative practices in tutorial facilitation); innovations in learning environments (cultivating an interdisciplinary teaching environment within the Common Core curriculum at HKU); technological innovations (innovative use of wearable technology in teaching); innovative curriculum design (pedagogical practices in MOOC teaching); and innovative approaches to working with students as partners (a report from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this issue and will consider contributing to future issues. You are also invited to participate in some of the emerging innovative initiatives discussed in this issue so that we can, together, re-design and co-construct excellence in university teaching and learning at HKU and beyond.


Professor Grahame T. Bilbow
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow

Director, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Hong Kong

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