Dr. Byron Choi Receives HKBU President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Individual Teaching

31 May 2022
Professor Alexander Wai, President & Vice-Chancellor, (left) presented HKBU President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Individual Teaching to Dr. Byron Choi (right).

Dr. Byron Choi, Associate Head and Associate Professor of the Department of Computer Science, is awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Individual Teaching 2021-22 by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). This annual award by HKBU gives recognition to Dr. Choi’s outstanding performance in teaching which is exemplary in many ways.

Since joining the Department of Computer Science in 2008, Dr. Byron Choi has been consistently making substantial contributions to students’ learning in various capacities, from in-class teachings and supervision on research postgraduates, to academic programme management at the undergraduate level. Especially in the past few years, he has gone extra miles to ensure that learning experiences have not been compromised by blended learning mode and intermittent campus closure.

With a straightforward teaching philosophy: “I teach by doing, students learn by doing,” Dr. Choi places strong emphasis on balancing knowledge with practical experience, and he often explains fundamental concepts on advanced computing via real-life scenarios. He facilitates students to grasp critical theoretical frameworks by citing well-known examples and programmes, and he designs interesting questions to deepen their understanding of the material. He also maintains effective communication with students using their favourite approaches like instant messaging mobile applications.

Dr. Choi’s supervision on research postgraduates is demonstrative of his learner-centred approach to teaching. Most notably, he supervised a Master’s of Science (MSc) student who is suffering from cerebral palsy (CP) and only able to move one finger and perfectly articulate five sounds. Under Dr. Choi’s guidance, the student successfully developed the CS2Joy software system, helping CP patients to control a computer that processes sounds as commands, rather than keyboards or mouses. This work was later awarded the Social Innovation and Entrepreneur Development Fund in January 2019.

Since 2015, Dr. Choi has graduated four PhD students, and his students have taken research positions at famous technology companies or universities in Hong Kong and Singapore.

In his role as the Programme Director of the BSc in Computer Science, Dr. Choi has been leading the continual improvements on the programme by keeping the curriculum up-to-date, relevant, and aligned with industry standard. Recent examples include the successful external accreditation with the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers (HKIE), and the introduction of a new concentration in artificial intelligence (AI). He also contributed to launching the interdisciplinary BSc Business Computing and Data Analysis programme in conjunction with the School of Business.

As Chair of the Department’s Undergraduate Management Committee, Dr. Choi has made a great effort on ensuring programme quality. At a particularly challenging time like the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic, classes have been conducted in a hybrid learning mode. Dr. Choi has secured a special UGC-grant for the strategic development of virtual teaching and learning that made online lab sessions possible. He also built a ZOOM extension to allow quick screen sharing, so that instructors can teach coding remotely. Other initiatives along this line include arranging for additional staff-student consultation, and conducting student surveys on their learning needs.

Dr. Choi has proven himself an asset to his department with significant contribution in teaching, supervising, and programme administration. The Selection Committee has found him a worthy recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Individual Teaching.