28 August 2023, Hong Kong –– Microsoft is committed to nurturing talent with future-ready skillsets to achieve more in the future. Following the start of the new academic year, Microsoft Hong Kong collaborates with the eight UGC-funded universities to drive the development of AI adoption and enable the use of Generative AI, powered by Azure OpenAI Service. The technology will be available for professors, teachers, researchers, and students across the academic, research and operational domains of these institutions, revolutionizing the teaching and learning model, and equipping students with the necessary skills to utilize AI in their academic and professional careers.
The eight participating universities include The University of Hong Kong (HKU), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), City University of Hong Kong (CityU), Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Lingnan University (LU) and Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). (The list is under JUCC member list’s order)
Generative AI will undoubtedly gain widespread adoption in society, serving as a powerful assistive tool to enhance the productivity of educators and students in their work. Aligned with its longstanding commitment to upskill talents with in-demand digital skills, Microsoft is collaborating with the universities to harness the potential of Azure OpenAI Service’s GPT models in developing their own solutions, as well as providing a series of workshops to the users to empower them to fully utilize the technology to do more with less. The solutions will benefit from Microsoft’s comprehensive end-to-end enterprise-grade security measures, safeguarding sensitive research and ensuring data privacy within the academic environment. The potential general capabilities with generative AI within universities include:
- Course design and evaluation – GPT models aid course design by generating course content, supporting assessment designs, and contributing to course improvement. It offers valuable recommendations to enhance curriculum development in higher education settings.
- Student engagement and consultation – Generative AI solution can act as an online advisor to answer student inquiries, provide guidance on course materials, and assist with academic support. It can also provide career planning suggestions, enhancing access to information and resources, significantly improving the engagement with students.
- Research and literature summary – Generative AI can retrieve information from a vast array of research papers, books, and other academic sources. Researchers can then generate research background information by identifying suitable and relevant resources. It can also easily generate citations and summarize relevant information from these sources. University research usually involves sensitive and first-hand information, Azure OpenAI Service’s enterprise-grade security can safeguard the privacy within the school.
- Master chatbot for university-wide operation – The solution can also be set as a campus-wide 24/7 virtual assistant, responding to queries related to admission, student support, campus-specific information and Alumni office information, etc. For internal staff operations, it can be a tool to centralize all operational documents and provide guidance to staff members across departments, such as HR, finance, and procurement.
“The partnership with Microsoft demonstrates HKU’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and highlights our dedication to fostering innovation in teaching and learning. The integration of GenAI will undoubtedly enhance our students’ educational experience and provide our faculty with powerful tools for research and collaboration. The University is confident that we can further advance the frontiers of knowledge and make a significant impact on the global academic community,” said Professor Ian HOLLIDAY, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) of The University of Hong Kong.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor POON Wai-yin Isabella, said, “Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning using AI is a major trend for higher education institutions. Collaborating with Microsoft Hong Kong to promote the application of generative AI in the University will accelerate this educational transformation. CUHK encourages teachers and students to apply suitable AI tools for enhancing educational activities, considering the unique needs of different disciplines. The University has also issued guidelines on the use of AI tools, aiming to assist teachers and students in maximizing the advantages of AI applications.”
Professor WONG Kwok-yin, Vice President (Education) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University said, “PolyU embraces the use of Generative AI and recognizes its enormous potential in sparking innovation and creativity in teaching and learning. While promoting the use of generative AI tools, the University also upholds the principle that students should be accountable for their own work and ensures academic integrity. The collaboration with Microsoft demonstrates our commitment to working with industry partners to explore new frontiers in knowledge and research and bring innovative experience for students.”
“CityU is leading local universities in integrating cutting-edge digital teaching methods and interactive learning experiences,” said Professor Ray CHEUNG Chak-chung, Associate Provost (Digital Learning) of City University of Hong Kong. “By leveraging advanced technology, we can create a dynamic learning environment that equips students with the skills required to thrive in the digital era. We can foster their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities in preparation for future success. CityU is committed to nurturing a digitally competent and technologically responsible generation, thus augmenting our contributions to society,” he said.
Dr. Albert CHAU Wai-lap, Vice-President (Teaching and Learning), Hong Kong Baptist University, said, “HKBU embraces Generative AI and empowers staff and students to use it in learning and research. We enable the responsible and ethical use of AI, while recognizing the importance of human uniqueness, creativity and diversity of views. This collaboration is an important step for us to realize the potential of this cutting-edge technology. “
“We are grateful for Microsoft’s support of revolutionizing teaching and learning. As the first university in Hong Kong to embrace GenAI and recognize its potential to transform education, we focus on how GenAI can foster new pedagogical approaches, improve productivity, and support knowledge advancement. To further encourage our members to initiate innovative ways of using GenAI tools, we also launched the Education and Generative AI Fund. Faculty are invited to submit proposals integrating GenAI tools into teaching and learning. All these efforts are to cultivate the next generation of talents. We have to prepare our students for this new world.” Said Dr. Sean MCMINN, Director of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Center for Education Innovation.
“Adopting Generative AI at Lingnan a really good example for everyone at Lingnan to show that innovation and research are part of our learning, and that the dissemination of knowledge is no longer a static thing,” said Professor S. Joe QIN, President Designate and Acting President of Lingnan University.
Dr. Gary CHENG Kwok-shing, Executive Co-Director of the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology of The Education University of Hong Kong, said, “As a higher education institution with a primary focus on teacher education, EdUHK has promulgated the ‘6-P pedagogical approach’ to enhance learning and teaching efficacy through the responsible use of new technology. The collaboration will enable the University’s students and faculty to unlock the potential of generative AI tools, driving educational innovation and ultimately benefitting the school sector.”
“Recognizing the instrumental role young talents play in shaping our world, our collaboration with the universities in Hong Kong aims to propel Generative AI technology powered by Azure OpenAI Service to the forefront of education,” said Cally CHAN, General Manager of Microsoft Hong Kong and Macau. “Through providing hands-on workshops to instill knowledge of AI application to enable widespread AI usage within campuses. By harnessing this cutting-edge technology, we firmly believe it can modernize the educational experience and equip future talents with the skills required in this fast-changing world.”
To maximize the potential possibilities resulting from AI integration in education, regulatory policies from universities are utmost crucial to identify what users can and cannot do with the technology, and to ensure it is used ethically and responsibly, avoiding harmful behaviour and threats to integrity. In addition for Microsoft, the advancements in AI are guided by our approach to responsible AI. The Microsoft AI principles of fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency are applied to the needs of education institutions, and products are designed in collaboration with industry experts. Further, new innovations are built on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, compliance, and privacy.
According to Microsoft’s Work the Trend Index, 88% of leaders in Hong Kong anticipate that employees will need new skills in the AI era. Microsoft is committed to supporting educational transformation to foster young talent on their journey to becoming future-ready, equipped with the necessary critical thinking and digital skills. The goal is to cultivate AI literacy and development in the education sector, ultimately uplifting Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology development.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.