Staff perceptions of issues relating to the pre- and post-implementation of a credit based system
The purpose of this research was to examine the issues pertaining to the change to a credit based system (CBS) in its first academic year of implementation 1997/98. Through the use of a longitudinal study, interviews were administered to academic and management staff at the beginning and end of the first CBS academic year, to evaluate the expectations and the reality of the implementation of a CBS at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The findings disclosed that the faculty and its staff were prepared and reacted well to the introduction of a CBS. However, the development of this new system tended to be an amalgamation of pre-existing programmes. The overall expectations of CBS had to do more with the operational aspects of the new scheme than with the anticipated results of CBS itself. Final examinations were reintroduced to coursework-only subjects. The elective selection process was moved closer to the semester they were offered. A relationship was established between the extent of participants' previous CBS experience and ease of introduction. This finding was further significant as previous CBS knowledge resulted in frustration over the slow pace and the extent of the scheme being introduced. To ease the phasing-in process, it is recommended that staff be involved in the early stages of establishing CBS. There also appears to be a clear need for further advice, explanation and guidelines on the new grading system. The university may need to secure a centralised examination system, including an examination timetable. More training for management and staff on how to advise students is needed. A task group is suggested to standardise CBS administrative procedures university-wide. Furthermore, the university needs to encourage departments to open up their subjects and, at the same time, give their students real opportunities to take up the choices offered.