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Home Stories2014 Success StoriesTak-Wai Chan, Hong Kong

Tak-Wai Chan, Hong Kong

  • date:2018-01-31
2014, Tak-Wai Chan, Hong Kong
Tak-Wai Chan
Tak-Wai Chan

Nationality: Chinese from Hong Kong

Company: National Central University

Position: Chair Professor

It was a hot and humid summer afternoon. The rain had just stopped. Guided by an enthusiastic assistant from the Institute of Network Learning Technology, I met the friendly and humorous Adjunct Professor Chan, and found out how humble and modest this information science expert and scholar could be.

Professor Chan majored in computer science. If it's not for the accent when he spoke, I would have no clue that Professor Chan was actually born and raised in Hong Kong. I had no idea that Professor Chan came from abroad when I first saw him, not to mention that he already served at National Central University for 25 years. The story started when he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989. Before graduation, invitations from all over the world, including Singapore, tried to persuade him to join and devote his expertise. Organizations and schools, like Institute for Information and Industry and National Taiwan University, were earnest about offering Professor Chan a position in Taiwan. Had little access to information that day, Professor Chan rejected other offers and chose National Central University to start his academic career. Professor Chan became famous and excellent in the areas of artificial intelligence and e-learning. He was the first to propose the "Learning Companion" concept and pioneered the first set of the "Synchronous E-learning System" in the world.

Studying in the United Kingdom to gain his bachelor, and advancing his research in the United States to obtain a master's diploma and a doctorate, Professor Chan cultivated students through digital learning, global insight and creativity. In the process to direct students to learn, Professor Chan discovered the simplicity of Taiwan students but with no ambition. It would be great for students in Taiwan to develop an international perspective at an early stage, make good use of computers and information systems, put their thoughts together and practice logical thinking through fingers by typing simultaneously to scratch out the momentary feedback coming from their minds. The substantial output and the flash of inspiration from the students would contribute enormously to the society.

Both an adjunct professor at National Central University and an outstanding researcher entitled by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Professor Chan has achieved the expectation of academia he set when first step on this island, despite the difficulties in communication and transportation encountered at the early days of his arrival. Professor Chan has not only overcome those difficulties one by one but also gotten along well with his peers. In Taiwan, Professor Chan lives at a relatively slow and relaxed pace compared to Hong Kong. Although salaries here could not compete with other countries around the world, prices of commodities were relatively low here.

The interview reminded Professor Chan of his willingness to work in Taiwan in the very beginning. Professor Chan had limited access to information before he came to Taiwan, but he believed the HiRecruit website established by the Department of Investment Services, Ministry of Economic Affairs, could help solve this problem. Although today the development of academia was restricted by economy and politics, Professor Chan would keep teaching students in Taiwan until he retired. Professor Chan appreciated his affinity with Taiwan and would continue to promote wireless e-learning and learning companion concepts with laptops in junior high schools and elementary schools in the future. These emerging research areas, currently ranked great in the world, would lead the primary education in Taiwan, benefit domestic talents, from the seamless integration of international education and research, and indirectly enhance their international competitiveness. May HiRecruit website keeps matching excellent foreign talents with domestic firms well.