NTU HIGHLIGHTS August 2014  

Dean of Academic Affairs' Statement

Rong-Huay Juang

As a new semester approaches, NTU is introducing a basic subject certification testing program as a new means of helping students transition smoothly from high school to university. Students who test out of a subject by earning basic subject certification before enrolling this August will receive university credits without being required to take that subject.

Allowing students to test out of basic subjects will provide them with more time to broaden their knowledge by enrolling in courses in fields other than their majors. Students will also be able to take general education and interdisciplinary elective courses with the freedom of their extra time. The certification program is open to all students regardless of age or education, and currently, it covers six subjects: Freshman English, Calculus, General Physics, General Chemistry, General Biology, and Principles of Economics. We invite students to visit our basic subject certification testing website (http://apc.aca.ntu.edu.tw/fcc/index.aspx), where they can access our course syllabi and reading lists as well as take online courses on their own.

As this program takes an online form, I wish also to point out that the application of educational technologies is gaining importance through the concept of learner autonomy. For its part, NTU shares its educational resources through open online learning platforms such as OpenCourseWare and Coursera. NTU has also begun to aggressively promote the innovative learning approaches of the flipped classrooms.

In flipped classrooms, professors place learning autonomy in the hands of their students. By taking advantage of online learning platforms to guide students in self-study prior to classes, the flipped classroom allows professors to devote class time to helping students develop their discourse and argument abilities.

Flipped classrooms can also help reduce poor learning outcomes caused by the long length of academic semesters at NTU. For instance, a professor will have the option to pause classes temporarily for a week or two in the middle of the semester to allow students to study online material at home, and later resume classes for in-depth discussions. NTU professors are expected to begin applying this approach as early as September.

In addition to the flipped classroom, the Office of Academic Affairs is also promoting an innovative and interdisciplinary series of jointly-taught courses. In these courses, professors from different fields work together to design innovative curricula and attend each class as a team in order to jointly present lectures and lead class discussions. Jointly-taught courses engage students in discussions spanning multiple fields in hopes of inspiring more creative thinking.