Knowledge changes everything

by Christy Liu

News every month from the world of academia

Eric Tsui, programme leader of MSc in Knowledge Management
professor, Department of Industrial and System Engineering
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Photo: Edde Ngan

As the Hong Kong economy continues to transform, companies, government departments and non-governmental organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of knowledge management (KM).

To cater for a growing demand for professionals who are equipped with KM know-how, Hong Kong CyberU (HKCyberU), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's online arm, has been running a master of science programme in knowledge management for the past four years.

"The programme is a platform for degree holders with solid work experience to further develop their expertise in the rapidly growing area of KM," says Eric Tsui, programme leader, MSc in Knowledge Management, and professor, Department of Industrial and System Engineering, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

"The programme is offered with an online mode of study, but we also require students to attend seminars," Professor Tsui says. "Our objective is to equip students with a better understanding of the latest developments in KM."

Since KM is all about people, it is also the university's aim to help students establish a personal network through the programme. "We try to make our programme interactive. Apart from offering three face-to-face seminars for every subject, we regularly organise KM related events to enable students and graduates to network and exchange opinions," he adds.

The programme includes a number of subjects, most of which focus on key theoretical and practical knowledge. These include compulsory courses on managing knowledge, methods and tools for KM systems, organisational learning and managing and measuring intellectual capital. The programme also sheds light on strategic issues and case studies.

The programme has a flexible structure. Students may choose to take eight compulsory subjects and two elective subjects; or six compulsory subjects, one elective subject and a dissertation. "Students who choose to do a dissertation will be provided with a case study and guided by a teacher," Professor Tsui remarks.

In addition to the master's programme, the department also runs a certified knowledge professionals programme, focusing on the latest KM methods and techniques.

While the former helps information and knowledge management professionals update their knowledge about KM, and teaches people working in the field of information technology, human resources management, technology management and project management to apply KM; the latter targets people wanting to explore KM's applicability and impact in preparation for deploying initiatives in their organisations.

Once graduates enter the workplace, their job descriptions generally vary from chief knowledge officer, chief learning officer, director of learning and knowledge manager to director of innovation, innovation manager, knowledge broker and knowledge programme manager. "Some of our MSc graduates have been promoted immediately upon completing the programme. Our aim is for our students to obtain theoretical and practical knowledge, while also to establish networks that can help them further their careers," Professor Tsui concludes.

Taken from Career Times 18 July 2008, p. B14
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