Dr Jason Chan
Department of Chemistry
Course Taught: CHEM 1004 Chemistry in Everyday Life


Chemistry is often referred to as the central science. And when Dr Jason Chan took up teaching CHEM 1004 “Chemistry in Everyday Life” two years ago, he was determined to make this common core course a central element of his students’ education at HKUST.

Jason’s initial building blocks for bonding were academic depth and rigor. He then injected real-life examples into the course content. A magnetic style of presentation followed to attract and fascinate as well as foster understanding. To demonstrate basic principles and theory, he mixed together exciting demonstrations, engaging experiments, animated video clips and experiential learning – forming an efficacious compound with a motivational effect on students.

Group work has also been an essential part of Jason’s approach. Students journey together through self-chosen topics, conducting “kitchen table”-type experiments that can be carried out at home. Self-initiative, exploration, observation, analysis, and evaluation are the result – the fundamental attributes of every scientist. Equally important, such hands-on experience generates and fortifies enthusiasm for chemistry.

Jason’s passion for teaching has earned plaudits from learners and fellow lecturers alike. Students comment positively about his prompt email responses and careful assessment of every project, which make them feel their capabilities and efforts are respected. Meanwhile, colleagues recognize his effective balance between academic rigor and informal learning atmosphere, and his gift for establishing connections between chemistry and people’s lives.

Jason serves as an excellent role model, demonstrating how thoughtful design and teaching can truly fulfill the goals of a common core course: to broaden students’ horizons, spark their passion for learning, and support the lifelong pursuit of excellence.

Prof Ben Chan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Course Taught: CIVL 1160 Civil Engineering and Modern Society


Prof Ben Chan has taught CIVL 1160 “Civil Engineering and Modern Society” since 2009. This long period of shepherding has included successfully transforming the course into a common core offering in 2010, guiding students through an effective introduction to the field, linking engineering decisions to societal development, and clearly showing the significance of civil engineering.

A distinctive feature of Ben’s teaching is his innovative use of the visualizer. He draws a lot of cartoons, sketches and graphs on the visualizer to communicate with students. He has found drawing and sketching particularly helpful in explaining complex concepts in a straightforward way to students who often hail from non-engineering backgrounds.

Keen to keep learners tuned in, Ben also includes social media in his pedagogical portfolio. For example, he asks students to produce videos on a civil engineering topic, post them on Facebook, and undertake Facebook-based peer assessment. In doing so, Ben has achieved that seeming paradox and much sought-after instructional goal: a fun assignment.

In praise of his course design, participants highlight Ben’s perceptive choice of content, practical knowledge, and use of real cases, leading to a much greater interest in Hong Kong’s major infrastructure projects.

Caring and concerned for those he teaches, Ben is happy to spend time explaining concepts further, an attitude with constructive impact on participants and perceptions of teaching and learning. He is described as an instructor “willing to answer students’ questions immediately and give advice on projects” while another evaluation notes it would be a great loss to future learners should the course cease to run.

For building keen interest in his subject through novel and absorbing methods and recognition of student needs, Ben well deserves his Honorary Mention as an outstanding common core teacher.

Prof Raymond Wong
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Course Taught: COMP 1942 Exploring and Visualizing Data


Over the years of teaching COMP 1942 “Exploring and Visualizing Data” since 2011, Prof Raymond Wong has captivated his diverse common core classes through a winning combination of new concepts placed in familiar surroundings. He uses decision-making examples from real life to illustrate the ideas he wants to put across. He chose Microsoft Excel, a tool already known to most learners, to help them get to grips with data and how to turn it into communicative graphics.

In his teaching, Raymond has shown on-going enterprise and innovation. Student-instructor communication is nurtured by questions designed to make learners really think. And to spur active participation, he gives out coupons in class, allowing holders to be exempt from answering one question in an assignment! Role-playing is another novel approach to help consolidate learning in a memorable way.

Raymond’s thoughtfully prepared materials are accessible and effectively organized. Learners appreciate his animated PowerPoints that go step by step through the content and his attentiveness to students’ understanding before moving on to fresh ideas.

He welcomes and values feedback, using it to enhance his future teaching and learning. In turn, the lasting impact on class participants is clear. Praise includes the course’s introduction to quantitative methods that train up capabilities to define, analyze and solve problems in daily life. COMP 1942 has also been hailed by one alumnus as: “The most well-structured and useful common core course I took at HKUST… where I learned techniques that I now rely on every day as a researcher.”

With his continuously creative approach to teaching and strong commitment to his students, Raymond has certainly earned his Honorary Mention for excellence as a common core instructor.

Common Core Teaching Excellence Award Recipients

2016 Award Recipients

 
The Common Core Teaching Excellence Award
Dr Jason Chan
Department of Chemistry
Course Taught: CHEM 1004 Chemistry in Everyday Life


Citation
 
 
The Honorary Mention
Prof Ben Chan
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Course Taught: CIVL 1160 Civil Engineering and Modern Society


Citation
 
 
The Honorary Mention
Prof Raymond Wong
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Course Taught: COMP 1942 Exploring and Visualizing Data


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Award Recipients of the Common Core Teaching Excellence Award

2017

Award Recipients of the Common Core Course Excellence Award

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012


2016 Award Presentation Ceremony
More About the Award