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    Lingnan’s President chairs digital panel at QS China Summit

    The QS China Summit 2024 held in Shanghai on April 17-18 saw Professor S. Joe Qin, President of Lingnan University, chair a special session examining ways in which digital innovation is reshaping the world of higher education.

    The high-profile participants in this Presidential Panel Discussion focused on the foreseeable impact of new technology like generative AI on course content and teaching.

    More broadly though, they also considered how universities can help China become a global leader in an era when digital developments are driving rapid change in so many different spheres.

    The invited panellists included Professor Zhang Dongxiao, Provost and Executive Vice President of the Eastern Institute of Technology in Ningbo and Professor Lyu Peiming, Executive Vice President of Tongji University in Shanghai.

    Joining them on stage was Ms Alice Wei Wei, senior consultant for QS Quacquarelli Symonds, as well as Professor Chen Zhi, President and Chair Professor at Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College (UIC) in Zhuhai.

    In addressing the given theme of “Fostering Distinction in Chinese Higher Education through Digital Innovation”, each of the speakers highlighted both challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and made it clear that, like it or not, every person on campus must be prepared for a period of significant transformation over the next few years.

    In his preliminary remarks, Professor Qin outlined how Lingnan had been a pioneer in Hong Kong in terms of digital uptake since his appointment in 2023, for instance, the university has already made ChatGPT freely available for all students, faculty members and administrators – and expects them to make full use of its advantages.

    In addition, as from the 2024/25 academic year, a core course on generative AI will be part of the curriculum for all first-year undergraduates. It will teach fundamental concepts and practical skills, while also dealing with ethical considerations, so that students can benefit from positives the technology offers and know to avoid the negatives.

    Prof Joe Qin noted that such moves reflect Lingnan’s whole-person approach to higher education and, importantly, will give students and graduates the kind of skills needed to excel in their chosen careers.

    “Digitalisation is really revolutionising our cognitive tasks,” he said. “And with the adoption of generative AI tools at university level, it feels like China is helping students to learn faster and in more individualised ways.”

    These advances will have major implications not just for higher education, but also for the pace of economic development in South China’s Greater Bay Area and beyond. In short, many of today’s standard practices are set to be transformed by new possibilities.

    To illustrate this, the panellists drew on their own experiences to show how AI adoption is changing the curriculum for sciences and humanities and why student skill sets must evolve, without sacrificing essentials like critical analysis and good writing.

    Indeed, a recent QS survey found that problem solving and creativity are increasingly viewed as key workplace skills. AI will devise solutions but must be guided by human ingenuity.

    Please click here for the detailed write-up.