Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow
It is with great pleasure that I pen this welcome to the first issue of our new e-newsletter, ‘Teaching and Learning Connections’, which aims to connect people who are interested in teaching and learning at the University of Hong Kong and beyond.
Over the years, it has been CETL’s role (and, of course, pleasure) to provide support for teaching and learning at the University and to facilitate dialogue about pedagogy between staff across campus. The Community
of Practice (CoP) Project we started last year, with generous funding from the University Grants Committee, has been an important catalyst in this respect, and has provided us with a new and promising prospect for connecting even more people and sharing good practices even more widely.
What is unique about the CoP Project is that it has allowed us to surface many good practices and innovative teaching methods which might otherwise have remained unknown to the larger teaching community at the University; it has also provided a means of promoting such practices more widely, and stimulated lively dialogue among colleagues, usually around the ‘join-the-conversation’ events we co-organise. Over the past year, such events have focused upon emerging topics relating to assessment for learning.
During this time, I have been extremely impressed with the expertise and excitement displayed by our colleagues when they share their experiences in teaching, learning and assessment, and with the genuine interest shown by colleagues who attend events, and the thought-provoking questions they ask.
All of which nicely demonstrates that, once people who share a passion are connected in a meaningful way, great things start to happen. Indeed, I believe that there is no end to what can be achieved when people come together in such ways.
It is our hope that this e-newsletter will support the development of a learning community at the University of Hong Kong in the area of teaching and learning. As Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) state, a community of practice ‘provides a social forum that supports the living nature of knowledge’i. With the growing number of people the community is attracting, this e-newsletter will serve as a forum for updating people on latest developments, provoking interest and debate, and keeping us all well connected as a community of teaching and learning practitioners.
Besides being a channel for us to communicate and collaborate in a more collegial manner, the community can also foster the conditions necessary for pedagogic innovation. I am confident that valuable insights will come out of our on-going conversations across the community, whether the topic is assessment, broader pedagogy, experiential learning or e-learning, to name but four areas.
So, I should just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown an interest in our burgeoning learning community and to welcome all HKU colleagues and friends to ‘join the conversation’. I wish ‘Teaching and Learning Connections’ great success in bringing people together in ever more creative ways.
i Wenger, E., McDermott, R., Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press. P.12.