Sustaining and Extending the Impact of UGC-funded Teaching and Learning Project “Enriching Senior Year Places Students’ Learning Experience through Curricular and Co-curricular Activities in Hong Kong’s Universities”

Senior Year Admitted (SYA) places in eight UGC-funded universities are specifically allocated to local students with recognized sub-degree (Higher Diploma [HD] / Associate Degree [AD]) qualifications. Students utilizing this scheme are admitted to the third year of a four-year undergraduate programme to complete their undergraduate study with a reduced curriculum based on a credit transfer accumulation policy, which recognizes prior learning experience. The SYA student population has grown rapidly in recent years, reaching 5,000 places since 2018/19 academic year.

Based on worldwide and local evidence-based studies, the learning needs of SYA students are different from those first-year-first-degree (FYFD) counterparts that the institutional offerings “mismatch” their learning needs, affecting their learning experience. Therefore, their unique needs should be emphasized. Two significant factors underpin the “mismatch”: (1) the imperfect programme alignment between sending sub-degree and receiving degree programmes leading to incomplete credit transfer, thus heavy study load (some students take eight subjects per semester); and (2) the lack of adequate academic skills, psychological support, career support and international exposure. Even though they are admitted to the third year, they are in fact first-year students in the new environment.

To meet the learning needs of SYA students before, during and after transition and to enhance their learning experience at the university, the deliverables of SYA project include: (1) an interactive resources website shared among the project participating universities to facilitate and advise SYA students from the first point of study interest all the way to graduation; (2) a comprehensive database documenting historical admission records of articulation pathways (programme transfer), subject-to-subject credit transfer and displaying the curriculum for SYA students’ academic planning; (3) a series of educational curricular and co-curricular activities enhancing students’ transitions into degree programmes and subsequent learning experience; (4) institutional benchmarks and guidelines shared by participating universities concerning expectations of SYA students and the assessments of their achievements.

In addition to the anticipated positive impacts of the project on SYA students’ learning experiences, this project will lead to a paradigm shift from competition to collaboration by establishing a regular communication mechanism among sending sub-degree and receiving degree programmes. The online platform will facilitate the transparency of credit transfer from sub-degree to degree programmes, while the courseware or other curricular and co-curricular activities will facilitate smooth transition processes and meet the learning needs of SYA students.

For further information about the preceding UGC-funded SYA Project, please visit the UGC Funding Scheme for Teaching and Learning Related Proposals (2016-19 Triennium).

Enriching Senior Year Places Students’ Learning Experience through Curricular and Co-curricular Activities in Hong Kong’s Universities

Senior year Admitted (SYA) in universities are UGC funded and allocated specifically for graduates of sub-degree programmes. SYA students will be admitted to the university based on a credit unit transfer system and complete their studies in 2 years. The SYA student population is growing rapidly, so their unique learning needs should be emphasized.

However, based on worldwide evidence-based studies and the local pilot study conducted by the project leader, SYA students are suffering from a “mismatch” between their learning needs and institutional offerings. This “mismatch” is affecting their learning experiences. Two significant factors underpin this “mismatch”: (1) the imperfect programme alignment of subject credit transfers between sub-degree and degree programmes which leads to heavy study loads (some students take 8 subjects per semester); and (2) the lack of adequate basic academic competency skills, psychological, career support and international exposure. Even though they are admitted to the third year, they are in fact first-year students in the new environment.

To fulfil the needs of SYA students, the specific objectives of this project are to: (1) meet the learning needs of SYA students before, during and after their transition into the degree programmes in the participating universities; and (2) enhance SYA students’ learning experience by improving their academic competencies, future career preparations, library searching skills, individual well-being, and internationalised experience during their time at university. Accordingly, the 3 major deliverables will be: (1) a student-centred online support system with interactive multimedia courseware shared initially among the 4 participating universities to administratively monitor, facilitate and advise SYA students from the first point of study interest all the way to graduation; and (2) a series of institutionally transferrable educational curricular and co-curricular activities enhancing students’ transitions into degree programmes and subsequent learning experience that will tie in seamlessly with the online support system; and (3) institutional benchmarks and guidelines shared by participating universities concerning expectations of SYA students and the assessments of their achievements.

In addition to the anticipated positive impacts of the project on SYA students’ learning experiences, this project will lead to a paradigm shift from competition to collaboration among sub-degree and degree programmes to provide flexible and diversified admissions. The online platform will facilitate the transparency of the subject alignment for credit transfers from sub-degree to degree programmes, while the courseware or other curricular and co-curricular activities will facilitate smooth transition processes and meet the learning needs of SYA students.

For further information, please visit the UGC Funding Scheme for Teaching and Learning Related Proposals (2016-19 Triennium).