Students coming to the OUHK make a personal commitment to the University; and in return, the OUHK makes a commitment to them. That commitment is not simply to providing high quality education that will enrich students personally and society generally. The OUHK also commits to providing students with support, care, and opportunities to develop personally and socially. Even after graduation, the University remains in touch with its alumni and looks for ways to support and nurture them in their post-university lives.
Providing rich opportunities for student self-discovery
Joining hands with the wide world
Overseas exchange programmes are an essential part of the OUHK’s engagement in global culture, with every School offering study tours and exchange programmes themed for its students. One recent new initiative was the extension of a longstanding partnership between the School of Education and Languages and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Applied Linguistics, which led to a new credit-bearing course on Intercultural Pragmatics for students of the English Language Studies and English Language Teaching programmes in addition to the original 3-week summer immersion programme open to all students of the School. At the same time, the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration has introduced a required Global Immersion Programme which, among other things, will see all its new full-time students carrying out two weeks of study at renowned universities from around the world. With copious funding and scholarships available from both government and private sources, OUHK students nowadays are well-placed to travel and explore the world as part of their OUHK education.
Getting students ‘workplace ready’
Through internships, placements, visits, career guidance and training, the Student Affairs Office (SAO) does its utmost to help OUHK students find the careers that best suit their skills and temperaments. Recently, utilizing funding from the Government’s Quality Enhancement Support Scheme, the SAO launched a structured programme to guide students through their internships, including the pre- and post-internship periods. It includes a ‘Toolkit for Work Supervisors’ and two online learning modules to help students improve their job hunting skills and reflect on their internship experiences, resources which are proving useful to both employers and interns. The Hong Kong Young Industrialists Council (YIC) continued to sponsor the signature internship programme to Vietnam by injecting HK$170,000 this year and expanding the network of employers there. A similar expansion took place for the Shanghai internship programme, run in collaboration with the Hong Kong-Shanghai Youth Association. In total, the number of OUHK students who took part in internships locally and abroad rose to over 3,100, all of whom gained valuable working experience while also forging professional networks and broadening their cultural horizons. A further OUHK initiative is the Career Success Scheme (CSS), a programme that meticulously helps participants prepare in the areas of job-hunting and the gaining of job experience. This year, the scheme offered over 200 experiential learning opportunities for its participants, both locally and overseas, including roles as volunteers at the China International Import Expo 2018. Indeed, so successful has the programme proved that several companies have asked the OUHK to nominate its CSS students for their graduate trainee positions.
Nurturing students’ entrepreneurial spirit
The SAO runs a university-wide programme called Open InnoChallenge (OIC) to unleash students’ creativity, cultivate their entrepreneurial skills and help them translate innovative ideas into viable operations for profit-making and for social good. The programme is linked to a business proposal competition which grants seed money and incubation support to winning teams. In 2018, 10 teams were selected; each was given HK$100,000 and linked up with experts and consultants in their corresponding fields. In January 2019, 39 students went on a Social Innovation Tour to South Korea, where they visited start-ups, traditional family businesses and Korean universities, and took part in intensive project-sharing activities.
Teaching through technology
New technology is revolutionizing the way universities teach and support their students, and the OUHK is quick to embrace the best of it. Carrying on its pioneering adoption of 3D and virtual reality (VR) technology for teaching back in 2015, it has now adopted two new VR technologies specifically for its Nursing students, the first university in Hong Kong to do so. One of these, the Digital Virtual Dissection System, is an anatomy training aid that enables students to perform unlimited VR dissections. The other, the VR Cave Learning System, allows multiple users to interact within the same scene — incredibly useful for situations that are difficult to simulate in the classroom, such as emergency situations in hospital wards. Students in the School of Nursing and Health Studies have also benefited from the recent introduction of a new mobile learning app which supplements and supports classroom teaching on the cardiovascular system. At a more general level, the Student Affairs Office has also launched a mobile app designed to engage with students more closely and enhance the levels of support being provided for them. The new app, ‘OU-SEA’, alerts users to internships, exchange programmes and job opportunities, directs them to sources for financial assistance, fills them in on campus events and activities, and more.
Library expands student involvement
In a move to get more students familiar with its facilities and resources, during the year the OUHK Library significantly expanded its student trainee programme. Over 20 students were taken on as Library Assistants, roles in which they are both assisting the Library and learning more about its inner workings. Some have also served as Library Ambassadors, undertaking useful promotional work such as leading library orientation tours for new students. In another initiative, the Library has teamed up with the Department of Creative Arts and the Tin Ka Ping Centre of Chinese Culture on a project to showcase creative work by OUHK students and faculty and promote interdisciplinary learning. Kicked off in January 2019 with a launch ceremony and a talk on ink-wash animations at the Library, the project featured a display of ink-wash animation art by Creative Arts students. This was the first in a planned series of talks and associated art displays to be held in the Library over the coming year.
Alumni activities cement long-term student relationships
New alumni group formed
Continuing the OUHK’s tradition of strong alumni support, a group of past graduates in the field of Chinese Medicine Nursing have recently set up the new Chinese Medicinal Nursing Association of the Open University of Hong Kong (Alumni). This represents the second Nursing-related alumni group associated with the OUHK, and is already proving an asset in terms of bringing together OUHK graduates in the field and building solidarity between them.
Keeping alumni in touch with their alma mater
The OUHK now has 13 alumni groups in a wide variety of disciplines, with regular alumni meetings and events. In recognition of their great support for the University, in June 2018 a special dinner was hosted for alumni group representatives by the Alumni Affairs Office of the Public Affairs Unit. Attended by several members of senior management, the dinner was an excellent opportunity to bring alumni groups up to date with the latest developments in the university, as well as to solicit their support for organizing alumni activities in celebration of the University’s upcoming 30th Anniversary. Later, in February 2019, around 100 full-time alumni with families and friends joined together on campus for a poon choi reunion, with souvenirs distributed to alumni enjoying significant anniversaries and a host of games.