Teaching and Learning at The University of Hong Kong HKU

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The University of Hong Kong (HKU) aims to transform traditional on-campus education, removing the learning barriers of location and access. Besides providing the highest-quality MOOC learning experience, we also aim to launch outreach programmes to secondary schools to nurture future generations to engage in an active and self-directed lifelong learning. Starting from 2016, we have partnered with HKFYG Lee Shau Kee College (HLC) to organize a MOOC K12 learning campaign.

Empowering Secondary School Students through MOOCs

This project aims to address the needs of i) enriching students’ multicultural exposure, and ii) equipping students with generic skills and attitudes at secondary schools (K7-K12) in Hong Kong.

Generic skills (e.g. critical thinking, communications, creativity) and attitudes (e.g. global citizenship, lifelong learning, self-directed learning) are not nice-to-have value-adds but in huge demand today. There are needs of helping students to develop these skills and attitudes in an integrative and experiential manner, and to become a self-directed and global-minded young thinker for future study and work. Although extracurricular activities and liberal studies can facilitate students learning generic skills and attitudes, we believe there are limited opportunities in local secondary schools in Hong Kong for students to enrich further.

Unlike a university curriculum, local secondary schools usually has a standardized secondary education examination curriculum (HKDSE). In this standardized curriculum, it is difficult for students to find their interested courses such as taking a cutting-edge STEM subject or doing a self-initiated humanitarian project as these are often not available at local schools. Furthermore, for classes comprised of students with diverse learning needs, teacher’s support may be scarce and not timely. Therefore, students may not be fully aware or well informed about possible future learning opportunities or careers that can be pursued.

With this MOOC-based virtual exchange, we hope to provide a learning opportunity that is the most international available anywhere in the secondary school community. The project aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Facilitate students to gain exceptional learning experiences based on their own interests and outside their standardized curriculum;
  • Facilitate students to develop generic skills and attitude for nurturing globally-minded young thinkers.

MOOC Mentorship Programme has started since 2016. Students can have free access to quality education through MOOCs, which traditionally the courses can only be accessed by attending foreign institutions. One-to-one teacher-student mentoring is provided with continuous supervision and support throughout the academic year. The University provides MOOC learning workshops to students, and mentor training for teachers. Two MOOC Symposia have also been organized for recognizing students’ MOOC learning achievement.

Starting from 2019, MOOC Scholar Scheme will be introduced to students. This Scheme provides curriculum acceleration measures in the form of grade-skipping as successful applicants will be promoted from S.1 to S.3 or from S.2 to S.4. For students who have attained excellent academic performance on both their schoolwork and MOOC learning as well as showing discipline and maturity in their characters, they can then apply this Scheme. The project team has reviewed the guidelines listed in Reference Manual for Implementing Gifted Education in School: Acceleration Programmes published by Education Bureau, and has found that no similar initiative has been experimented in Hong Kong before.. This MOOC project provides an alternative to students who are capable of performing at one or more levels beyond the current level and fulfilling the aforementioned criteria. They would most benefit from grade-skipping. Participation in the Scheme is entirely voluntary.

Courtesy:"HKFYGCourtesy: HKFYG Lee Shau Kee College

Cultivating Young Thinkers through Self-Regulated Learning

The project adopts a number of pedagogies to enrich learning:

  1. Teacher-student mentoring – Mentors encourage and advise students in the early learning stage, such as helping students to believe that they have the ability to complete MOOCs. These mentoring help to build students’ self-efficacy, and they can then take on more challenges in MOOC learning (e.g. taking more demanding MOOCs)) and persist a longer MOOC learning journey.
  2. Self-directed/Self-regulated learning – Students can learn how to plan and control their learning process (content and pace of learning). They have to set goals, organize and self-evaluate their knowledge growth, which help to develop their high metacognitive skills. Prompt feedback through machine-graded assessments in MOOCs helps to guide students towards what they can do to improve and learn. Students can also attempt the questions several times until they master the concept, which is favourable to students who are less proficient in English.
  3. Inquiry-based learning – The diversified scope and flexible schedule of MOOCs allow students to choose their own interested courses and have a different learning experience other than their standardized secondary school education. This helps to develop their own interests, nurture their curiosity, and regulate their attention and memory acquisition. MOOCs also provide students with opportunities to solve complex problems in a different context, which is an authentic approach to deeper learning.
  4. Peer learning – Students can interact with learners all around the world in forum discussions. Through exchanging ideas with their peers (who are often professionals in the field) in the forum, students can construct their knowledge together and evaluate their prior knowledge to develop their critical thinking skills.

Significant Engagement among Students and Communities

Around 410 students have voluntarily participated in the MOOC Initiative starting from 2015, including 280 junior form students (S.1 to S.3) and 130 senior form students (S.4 to S.6, who need to take a public examination at S.6) joining. As English is used as the medium of instruction in the school, students generally have a higher English proficiency. Furthermore, according to the school’s admission record in 2018, most of the students are considered as Band 1 to 2 (top 33% to top 66%) students. In the pilot stage, we only allowed students with good academic performance to participate in the Initiative through teacher’s nomination. Later on, we have also allowed all S1 and S2 students to join the campaign through self-nomination. Furthermore, among the junior students, three of them are qualified to join the MOOC Scholar Scheme, and one S.2 student has decided to join the Scholar program. He will be promoted from S. 2 to S.4 in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Since the Project is still in its early stage, we have implemented this MOOC learning project in one secondary school only. However, the project team has also discussed with different parties, explaining the impact and mechanism of the Initiative for possible collaboration and project expansion:

  • The University of Bristol on educational research
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on mentor training
  • Hong Kong SAR Education Bureau on educational policy and regulations
  • Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools on self-directed learning advocacy
  • Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (The largest youth service organisation in Hong Kong) on self-directed learning advocacy

Leon Lei

Life-changing Experience through MOOC Learning

Until June 2019, over 40 students have completed more than 130 MOOCs produced by world-renowned institutes, such as MIT, Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University, etc. We have conducted pre- and post-mentorship surveys to collect feedback from students. Results indicated that 77.5% of (31 out of 40) students agreed or strongly agreed that the advocacy and training support they received have provided a positive impact on their participation in MOOCs. Meanwhile, 52% (14 out of 27) of students would like to join the mentorship programme next year. Furthermore, there are more junior students and their parents interested in the project and have asked for more details.

93% (26 out of 27) of the survey respondents agreed that MOOCs have a positive impact on their studies. We have also interviewed some of the participating students, and students were satisfied with the Initiative. In particular, the stories of two outstanding learners are shown as follows:

  • Kitty is a MOOC enthusiast who has completed over 20 MOOCs in 2 years’ time. In particular, her experience in taking a MOOC about Japan offered by one of the most famous universities in Japan, Wasada University, has given her advantage in interviews. It was beyond the imagination of the interviewers that a high school student can complete all these MOOCs in two years’ time. As a result of her participation in this project and her MOOC performance, she has been selected to participate in a competitive exchange programme to Japan.
  • Crystal is also a MOOC enthusiast who has completed over 30 MOOCs in 3 years’ time. She shared that her participation in these MOOCs has enriched her resume and given her the advantage in various university admission interviews. The outcome of her MOOC active participation is receiving a conditional offer of studying Engineering at The University of Hong Kong. She also pointed out that the MOOC certificate issued by MIT is highly recognized in the field, and added that one of her MOOC peer learners has landed a job because of the certificate. She also shared about the aspiration she drew from some of the professionals she met in the MIT MOOC alumni meeting. She believed that the MOOC she took has broaden her horizons and inspired her to continue to learn more from other MOOCs. After consolidating our survey findings and students’ sharing, we believe that both students and parents are interested in experimenting with our MOOC learning project.

With the aim of nurturing students as lifelong learners in mind, HKU would like to continue bringing the MOOC learning experience to communities. If your institution or school is interested to partner with us to launch a MOOC high school learning campaign, please feel free to contact us.

Written by

  • Dr. Leon Lei, Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative, The University of Hong Kong
  • Mr. Tony Wei, HKFYG Lee Shau Kee College
  • Ms. Sharon Keung, Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative, The University of Hong Kong

Further Reading

Some say online teaching is nothing more than putting lecture videos and assignments online, but Ms Charlotte Chang, e-Teacher-in-Residence at TELI and founder of Ms Charlotte Academy, sees it differently. In a presentation entitled “A Teacher’s Journey into Online Education: Taking the Leap, Reflecting in the Process, and Reaping the Rewards”, Charlotte reflected that her journey started when she noticed the inefficiencies of traditional classroom teaching and realized that, with online education, she could enjoy quality interaction with students while “distilling” her lessons and curriculum and presenting only the most ideal parts.

Taking the Leap

Charlotte pointed out that the adaptation of curriculum teaching into online materials was not simply a process of repackaging, but rather a comprehensive upgrade of the whole teaching package. As such, adaptability and suitability were her key considerations when she was creating her online teaching content: for example, how could she structure, time, and sequence the lecture videos in order to aid student understanding the most?

After transitioning to online teaching, she gained a wider student reach, but that didn’t mean that she has to repeat her core teaching content again and again; instead, she let students study the videos and materials at their own pace, thereby saving a lot of her teaching time and allowing her to keep the teaching content and student learning experience fresh and updated all the time.

Charlotte""Ms Charlotte Chang shared her insights about online teaching.

Reflecting in the Process

Charlotte summarized her journey of creating online lectures and teaching materials in 6 steps:

  1. conceptualizing the structure and flow of the lessons,
  2. writing the video script,
  3. adapting lessons into video scripts,
  4. storyboarding,
  5. filming, and
  6. post-production of the filmed lessons.

She highlighted that her lesson contents were not the only parts of the course enhanced through the use of multimedia; rather, the whole production process allowed her to explore alternative ways for content delivery and presented chances for her to keep refining and improving her pedagogical approach and her curriculum.

Although she found it challenging to transition from interpersonal and interactive classroom delivery to on-camera presentation, she emphasized that the advantage of producing video lectures was that teachers could capture their best contents and show students only their best teaching moments.

Reaping the Rewards

After stepping out of the traditional classroom setting, Charlotte found that students who adapted to online learning were more proactive in asking questions and reaching out to her for feedback and advice. Furthermore, she shared some examples with the audience and reassured them that online teaching indeed offers teachers higher-quality and more intimate interactions with students and contributes to a more fruitful teaching and learning outcome for both teachers and students alike.

Ricky""Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) of HKU, responded to questions from the audience.

Food for thought

Towards the end of the lecture, audience members raised some questions for further discussion:

  • Why do we need to and how do we educate or persuade teachers to pursue e-teaching?
  • How can we consider whether a particular course would be compatible with the online course format of structured videos?

The full lecture video is as below:

If you need more advice on structuring and planning your online course content, don’t hesitate to contact us!


group photo

Representatives from nine institutions gathered at the fifth annual Asian e-Table to share their plans of commoditization of e-learning. We are glad to hear that our e-learning partners are scaling up e-learning not just on the teaching level, but also on the institutional level, i.e. credit recognition and regulations.

This year, we welcomed our new e-learning partner, SURFnet, a collaborative ICT organization for education and research in the Netherlands, to join our existing Asian consortium (in alphabetical order):

  • Kyoto University
  • National Taiwan University
  • National University of Singapore
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • University of Macau
  • Yonsei University

Accrediting with Open Badges

christienSharing from Ms Christien Bok (Middle), Team Lead of Educational Service of SURFnet.

Lack of formal recognition for online learning undermines its values in students’ minds. One solution that many institutions have adopted is to award certificates for recognizing students’ skills and experience. In the Netherlands, SURFnet has developed an Open Badges system eduBadges, which is under pilot testing by 10+ Dutch higher education institutions. Unlike a traditional paper certificate, each Open Badge allows the badge community to link back to the information about who, why, and for what this badge was issued, displaying a more cooperative and complete picture of students’ achievements. The badges, being the digital indicator which includes the issuer and value of the badge, contain unalterable digital information circulating among the badge issuers (e.g. educational institutions), badge earners (e.g. students) and badge consumers (e.g. employers).

The badge awarding system itself serves as a means to enhance the flexibility in education and helps make students’ profile to be more visible on various online platforms. All in all, this “e-portfolio” helps students become more career-ready and, at the same time, makes them more aware of which skill sets they can improve, and motivates them to earn more “badges” in the future.

Harnessing the Power of Educational Data

Student data collection is under close watch, ever since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) became effective. The educational research field is scrambling for ways to comply with the tougher regulatory environment. In Singapore, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has built an encrypted data storage system ALSET Educational Data Lake, securely housing the learning data of 120,000+ NUS students and alumni, including registrar data, job placement and salary data, module bidding, etc. From infrastructure (e.g. the data lake itself), staff training (e.g. how to access raw data) to data management policy (e.g. governed by the Learning Analytics and Data Advisory Board and the Learning and Analytics Committee on Ethics), NUS has produced very detailed codes of practice for ensuring data is ethically used and protected. Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) of HKU, saw this data infrastructure as “the key towards institutional intelligence”, guiding universities to actualize the commoditization of e-learning.

slidesStructure of The ALSET Educational Data Lake of the National University of Singapore. [Image credit: National University of Singapore.)

Looking Forward

The one-and-a-half-day event was a valuable opportunity for institutions to exchange experiences and generate synergy in transforming learning and skills in the information age. Professor Toru Iiyoshi, Deputy Vice President for Education of Kyoto University, pointed out in his keynote speech that the “e” in “e-learning” stands not only for “electronic”, but also “effective”, “efficient”, “engaging”, “evidence-based”, “empowered”, “experimental”, etc. In order to enhance the scalability and sustainability of institutional e-learning adoption, collective intelligence and efforts from within and across institutions are necessary to realize the commoditization of e-learning.

Contact us if you are interested in digitizing your classroom teaching.

Interpreting Vernacular Architecture in Asia

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About this course
This course is about architecture. But it’s not about grand structures such as monuments or royal palaces. Rather, it is about the built environment that the ordinary people live in. Instead of the architectural techniques, we use stories to understand the processes through which people make their building decisions.

We use Asia as the backdrop for the discussion of these topics. Partly because of Asia’s rich heritage and diversity, but also due to the unique complexity that the people in the region face as they go through rapid economic, social, and cultural changes.

In this examination of the connection between vernacular buildings and peoples’ cultural identities, we will review real-world examples and talk to experts in the field. At the end of this course, you will gain a unique perspective about the everyday environment that you live in – one perhaps that you’ve never had before. You will begin to understand and appreciate the value of the ordinary built environment around you.

Whether you are an avid architect or you simply just care about the built environment you live in, this course is for you.

What you’ll learn
Throughout the course, we will examine a wide range of topics, such as:

  • what is vernacular architecture
  • how climate and the availability of building materials influence building decisions
  • vernacular architecture in rural and urban settings
  • cultural sustainability and the conservation of the vernacular built environment.


Breathing new life into learning

When was the last time you enjoyed learning so much that you couldn’t stop doing practice questions and reviewing your lecture notes? If it’s hard to recall, that’s because for most of us, moments like these are rare and sparse. However, let’s be honest – it’s probably not difficult for us to identify the last time we couldn’t stop ourselves from watching YouTube videos or going through our Instagram feed. Why is it that our experience in consuming learning content is so drastically different form our experience in consuming social content? On the flip side, if there were elements of social content in our learning, would it make our learning more enjoyable?
With the rise of online learning platforms and accessibility to connectivity and on-demand content, our society’s repertoire in online education content has also expanded rapidly. Though the contents are more accessible, without the appropriate tools and activities, sometimes it’s easier to disengage in online education due to the lack of student interaction. In fact, the typical low completion and engagement rates of MOOCs are a telling indicators of the lack of intentionality in online education.

So why does this gap exist? When we take a step back to look at traditional face-to-face learning, we also observe this trend, where there is an observable lack of student engagement in the common lecture-centered model. This goes to show that the root problem is not so much the delivery (online versus face-to-face), but rather the design and intentionality of incorporating right tools and learning activities on the educators’ part.

In a learning context, there are two dimensions of interaction – one is social interaction with the instructor. This facilitates the learning process on the communication level. Studies have shown that having a socially engaging context to learn enhances the learners’ experience and their development in transferrable skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Think about it – we probably learn much more from a debate with our friends about whether Apple or Android is better than from looking up a bunch of specs online. Why? Because social interaction enhances our ability to respond to stimuli, thus facilitating learning. In an online learning context, incorporating components of social interactions can also enhance students’ learning, such as discussion forums, peer assessment and feedback processes.

Another dimension of interaction is the interaction with the content and application of the knowledge being taught. “Learning by doing” is crucial in the learning process. Imagine a child learning the concept of addition theoretically without being given a scenario to count. The theories and concepts will get lost in a bunch of numbers rather than being retained. Thus, opportunities to engage and apply the content knowledge is crucial in learners retention and understanding of the subject, especially in fields such as mathematics and sciences where conceptual theories must be made applicable in real-life contexts.

In face-to-face learning environments and online contexts alike, it is critical to incorporate components of both levels of interaction. For online learning, when technological tools are applied effectively, even the most difficult mathematics and science fields can be conquered by learners. The new TELI course “Engineering Calculus and Differential Equations” uses the interactive tool Geogebra to help learners practice mapping their solutions to complex equations and receive feedback on the spot to learn dynamically.

Breathing new life into learning

Have you ever found yourself struggling to stay awake in a lecture despite having a full night’s rest? Or have you ever found yourself sitting in class spending more time looking at the clock counting down the minutes until the end of class than looking at the slides that are being taught? Before you feel ashamed, rest assured that we all have such dreadful experiences at some point in our lives, too. The inevitable reality is that even the highest performing students have experienced moments when learning becomes lifeless and draining. Sometimes, even the instructors need some inspiration to re-ignite their passion for teaching their classes!

Learning across different levels of education, especially in Hong Kong, has become suffocating to a certain degree. There is an observed lack of enthusiasm and energy on both sides of the equation—for both the teachers and the students. Public examinations, such as the DSE exams, are considered by many people as main stressors to our K12 pupils, allegedly leading to some traumatic outcomes. In Hong Kong, as early as primary schools, it is not uncommon to find students having an aversion to learning because it is mainly associated with homework and tests.

But learning doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it shouldn’t. Learning should be life-changing and life-giving. Imagine that instead of being overwhelmed with memorizing formulas, you are excited about learning new knowledge. Or, rather than being afraid to make mistakes in projects, you are free to fail in the trial and error process knowing that it is an adventurous journey that would lead to new innovations. Or, instead of having a fleeting moment of gratification seeing an A on your report card, perhaps you can find greater joy in adopting what you have learned in supporting your community and witnessing the social impact you have created.

At TELI, we believe that what we have described above is possible – that learning is a lifelong journey of passionate and exciting growth. In order to see this to become a reality, the TELI team tries to contribute a tiny bit by producing quality content (videos, visuals, games, applications) and working with teaching staff to design and implement innovative learning activities for different contexts of learning at HKU, such as our online courses, face-to-face sessions, and blended learning activities.

Our brand new course “Engineering Calculus and Differential Equations” aims to bring this revitalized spirit of learning to life by incorporating interactive tools, real-world examples, and dynamic content. Don’t miss out!

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Multiple experts from across faculties at The University of Hong Kong and professionals engaged in gender-related developments in Asia will address the ways in which gender is understood, constructed and performed. Drawing from a variety of perspectives – cultural studies, economics, education, law, linguistics, psychology, public health, politics, social policy, and sociology – we begin by questioning meanings of gender in different cultural settings and historical moments. What do the representations of our currently used categories such as man, woman, transgender, queer, cisgender, bisexual, or intersex mean in different contexts? How are conversations about gender taking place in Asia and how do they converge or diverge from those happening elsewhere?

Taught by over 20 HKU and industry instructors.

Enrol now

The course is a comparative, interdisciplinary and cross-sector conversation which encourages reflective thinking about practices of gender. It courts and questions the fixity of language, traditions, laws, and practices as well as the resilience of stereotypes, biases, and structures which perpetuate myths, hierarchies and discrimination.

Unravelling the interlinkages between these conversations and categories equips you with the skills needed to identify, recognize and reject outmoded or biased constructions of gender as well as the power hierarchies these embed within social relations. We will examine why gender equity is so important and yet hard to achieve. We scrutinize social and legal constructions of gender which continue to operate as though gender is binary and explore a more inclusive approach which reflects the gender continuum within the context of entrenched power structures. Through understanding gender and its relations with society, we look for solutions to eradicate gender discrimination and gender-based violence.


Additionally, as digital technology plays an ever-increasing role in contemporary construction of social realities of people, the course looks into how, if at all, these networked communities offer new expressions of gender as performativity and the ways in which these replicate, reproduce or refashion traditional gender categories and roles.

Then we turn to challenge our everyday practices of gender and how they colour our approaches, assumptions, and biases (conscious and unconscious) about the ‘other’? The course invites scrutiny of the practice and performance of gendering self and others. At the same time, it is a reminder that gender is not just about identity but also about power. The course examines manifestations and causes of gender inequality and its inextricable link to structural and institutional forces of discrimination. To better understand the interaction between identity and power, we look at gender-based violence. The #metoo movement has exposed not only the depth and scale of violence but also unmasked the asymmetries of power. Power and privilege are enjoyed by a select group while the voices of others remain invisible and ignored.

We conclude by looking at local, national and global efforts to address gender disparities in society in various domains. We invite you to reflect on the course materials and to connect them to your daily life. How can your new understandings about gender generate a ripple of change around you?

Click here if you cannot access YouTube.

What you’ll learn

  • How to explain and apply key theories and concepts relating to historical and contemporary definitions of and perspectives on gender.
  • How to examine the immediate and long-term implications of gender inequality in different sectors drawing on contemporary challenges around gender.
  • How to take actions to enhance your literacy around gender issues.
  • How to cultivate a broadened perspective on gender, identity, and power in the daily lives of all global citizens.

The course is OPEN and FREE for everyone, and will commence on July 9th 2019.

Enrol now

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FinTech Ethics and Risks is the second course in the HKU FinTech Professional Certificate Program. Upon its initial launch on May 15th, 2019, over 5,000 learners from 154 countries and regions have joint and actively engaged in the discussions around the ethical impact of FinTech.

Learner distribution of FinTech Ethics and Risks.

FinTech has started a global revolution and will keep accelerating the transformation in the financial services industry in the coming years. There are many ways in which FinTech can improve the lives of people around the world; however, those same technologies can also be used to enslave, coerce, track, and control people. Accordingly, it is necessary to consider the implications of the introduction of these technologies so that they are utilized properly, regulated sufficiently, and their adoption does not come at the expense of societal growth.

Trailer and course introduction

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This 6-week online course covers 6 modules, representing the full spectrum of finance, technology, and the introduction of FinTech solutions globally. We will discuss questions that are not often asked or addressed when new technologies are adopted, for examples:

  • Why should we adopt FinTech solutions, and what are the best ways to introduce disruptive technologies?
  • How does blockchain technology change the way we provide financial services, and how should blockchain technology be governed?
  • Is FinTech creating risks in cybersecurity and how can technology help us prevent financial crimes?
  • As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developed and widely adopted, will human biases and prejudices be built into such mechanisms?
  • And at a larger scope, should FinTech lead to a decentralized, democratized system of finance, or will existing institutions adopt FinTech strategies to cement their existing hold on the financial markets?

The course instructors, Mr David Bishop and Mr David Lee, are award-winning teachers from the Faculty of Business and Economics of The University of Hong Kong. Incorporating their expertise in the subject and their enthusiasm for teaching, the course is highly informative, interactive and engaging. Using animated case studies and conversational videos followed by carefully designed prompt questions, learners are immersed in an intellectual journey of exploring the transformational impact of FinTech. They are exposed to different opinions, inspired by the sharings from learners, and encouraged and challenged by the teachers’ comments and feedback. At the end of each module, the instructors would summarize the discussions and provide further resources, insights, and considerations on the weekly topic.

Roundup video

Week 1 roundup

The course is progressing weekly with an increasing number of learners joining this global discussion. No matter if you are a FinTech enthusiast, a finance or technology professional, or just a consumer of financial product and service, you are all welcome to join this course and your input will help grow this learning community.

The course is free and open to everyone, and you can upgrade to a verified certificate for your career advancement or professional development. From May 30th to June 5th, 2019 (11:59 pm EST), you can use code “SUMMER20” to save 20% on the verified certificate, both for the course FinTech Ethics and Risks and the HKU FinTech Professional Certificate Program.

Register nowDetails

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Promoting and Enabling Technology-Enriched Learning: Challenges and StrategiesThis is an event organized by Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative (TELI).

Details of the event:

Date : 30 May, 2018 (Thursday)
Time : 3:00pm – 4:30pm
Venue : CPD-LG.59, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Speaker : Ms Charlotte Chang, e-Teacher-in-Residence, The University of Hong Kong
Respondent : Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning), The University of Hong Kong


To teachers who are used to the setting and dynamics of a classroom, getting started in online education might seem daunting. After all, creating online courses involves adapting and rewriting course content, reenacting lessons on camera, and reorganizing class structures to enable student interactions in a completely different context—or, in other words, nothing short of overhauling traditional modes of teaching in large part. All this effort, however, is not only manageable with the right support, but also immensely rewarding for any teacher—practically, pedagogically, and intellectually.

In this seminar, Charlotte Chang, TELI’s e-Teacher-in-Residence, will use her own journey into online education as a starting point to reflect on the obvious and not-so-obvious (often even counter-intuitive) opportunities that await teachers who undertake a similar endeavor.

In the first part of the talk, “Taking the Leap”, Charlotte will reflect on the intellectual impulses and practical considerations that led her to create an online course. What ultimately convinced her that this daunting task would be worthwhile?

In the second part, “Reflecting in the Process”, Charlotte will share insights on the many opportunities for professional and intellectual growth that she found, often unexpectedly, throughout the course creation process. In optimizing and refining content and pedagogy for the course, she was motivated to strive for nothing less than the “best of her teaching”. An online course, ultimately, should not just be a repackaging of existing courses in a virtual format; rather, it is an opportunity for the educator to enhance and enrich existing curricula, teaching materials, pedagogical approaches, and student engagement.

In the final part of the talk, “Reaping the Rewards”, Charlotte will elaborate on the benefits of online education that classroom teaching cannot offer. Apart from practical rewards like eliminating the time spent on repeating core content, online education offers many less obvious, perhaps even counter-intuitive benefits to teaching and learning, such as deepening interactions with students with a wide range of learning styles and abilities.

Charlotte’s reflections on her journey as an online teacher should resonate with fellow educators from diverse academic fields who wish to embark on their own explorations of online education and the immense opportunities that it promises.

About the Speaker
Charlotte Chang, TELI’s “e-Teacher-in-Residence” in 2018-19, founded the online English education platform Ms. Charlotte Academy in 2017. After a year of writing a curriculum, developing materials, and filming and editing lessons, Charlotte launched her online course “Core Concepts of English” in late 2018. In the course, which currently enrolls over 200 students, Charlotte uses an analytical framework based in linguistics concepts to teach Hong Kong adults the unchanging rules of English syntax, introducing students to a systematic, structure-based approach to understanding how English works and how it differs from Cantonese/Chinese.

Charlotte’s core belief as a language teacher is that every student with basic analytical skills can gain a “big picture” perspective of how any language works, even if it is as different to their native language as English is to Chinese. Online education, which enables students to absorb and internalize new knowledge at their own pace, is a fitting format that facilitates this type of analytical teaching and learning.

Prior to her career in online education, Charlotte graduated from Harvard University in 2012 and worked as a secondary school teacher from 2012 to 2014. From 2014 to 2017, she experimented with and refined her linguistics-based approach to teaching English before finally writing her own curriculum. Her transformation from “traditional” to “online” teacher gave her much insight into the many benefits that technology can offer education, both in facilitating teaching and enhancing learning.


Enquiries should be directed to enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

On May 7, the first FinTech in Africa conference in Hong Kong was held at HKU. The South African Consulate General, the Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Acorus Capital and the Asian Institute of International Financial Law (AIIFL) collaborated to bring the Conference to HKU campus.

One of the key themes was to discuss how FinTech can be used to provide the world’s unbanked population with access to financial services, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of the unbanked population is situated. The FinTech initiatives in Africa are currently being driven by three main hubs in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. FinTech has been experiencing a 24% annual growth rate in the past 10 years in addition to a steady increase in foreign direct investment in Africa. The following are some highlights of the discussion panels of the conference.

Discussion Panel 1: African FinTech – Development, Opportunities and Investments

Discussion panelists (from left to right): Moderator Maxine Barnett (Acorus Capital), Elliott Hoffman (Paxful), Coen Jonker (Tyme Global), Gareth Lai (Lumen), Douglas Arner (HKU)

In the first panel discussion, the panelists addressed the issue and means to reach the high unbanked population dominating Africa’s key regional markets such as Kenya and Nigeria. The relations for FinTech adoption in Africa are generally associated with identification, connectivity, and costs. To investors, the interest in FinTech investment in the continent lies not only in economic rewards but also in social gains.

In addition, according to Acorus Capital, Africa has seen successful uses of biometric technology, for example, a SA-based firm called ‘Paycode’ reaching customers in remote areas and delivering financial grants to farmers in rural areas. Biometrics technology is used for the purpose of verifying users’ identity, and at present, the platform has 4 million registered users.

Ghana made headway in the continent in creating interoperability among mobile money operators through Africa’s first government-initiated mobile money interoperable payment system, creating convenience in fund transfers from one mobile money wallet to another across networks.

TymeBank, SA’s first fully digital bank launched in Feb 2019, saw transformative results in providing the unbanked population with their quick and easy FinTech solution to financial access. Customers can gain access to Internet bank services and open a bank account within 3-5 minutes, which is 10 times faster than opening a bank account in a physical bank and bank cards can be printed within minutes in Tyme’s Kiosk. Currently, more than 300, 000 customers have opened a TymeBank account.

Discussion Panel (2): Banking, Payments, and New Technologies –
Blockchain, AML, eKYC, Digital Identity and Beyond

Discussion panelists (from left to right): Angela Itzikowitz (ENSafrica & University of the Witwatersrand), Max Song (Blockdynamics), Steve Wong (Belt and Road Blockchain Association), Nick von Christierson (Diginex), Moderator: Musheer Ahmed (Fintech Association of Hong Kong)

The second panel discussion and Q&A session focused on the current landscape of FinTech in Africa, including how banks and financial institutions are adopting FinTech and Blockchain and responding to Telcos. The panelists also shared lessons that can be taken from Asia to apply in Africa and lessons from Africa to other parts of the world.

When asked how banks are responding to FinTech, the panelists suggested that similar to the approach in China, mobile payments are seen as a key initiative to growing Africa’s banking sector and fostering inclusive economic development.

Telcos is a dominating force in the African FinTech landscape. According to Diginex, one of the four digital banks focusing on blockchain, Telcos are developing into international banks in Africa, driving P2P and gaining scale in user adoption and returns and becoming more centralised using M-Pesa and Safari.com. The concentration of Telco power in Africa is seen as a good phenomenon, particularly in light of the inherent way in which Telcos can acquire customers and offer cross-border services compared to the less digital native bank services that may be harder to scale.

It was pointed out from the panel that investing in FinTech investments in Africa need market intelligence and knowledge of the jurisdiction. While Kenya became the front runner in the mobile money space through M-Pesa, the attempts to adopt the M-Pesa model in SA was unsuccessful. It was mainly because SA is fairly well banked and its main challenge is not about access. There was also another lower-end product “Mzanzi” in the market before M-Pesa.

Professor Angela Itzikowitz of ENSAfrica additionally highlighted that one of the biggest obstacles in finance in Africa is the cross-border exchange culture. The success of TymeBank was largely due to its fee structure and facilitation of broader financial inclusion. The panel also referred to two new players in the market in SA, Bank Zero (a mutual bank) and Discovery Bank (a behavioural bank).

It was suggested from the discussions that Africa can take the lessons from Asia’s FinTech development, learn from Asia’s failed attempts, and apply the successes in its context. On the other hand, it was also suggested that the world can learn from Africa’s FinTech experiences in terms of financial inclusion, whether it’s their experiences with M-Pesa or the well advanced e-KYC space in SA, etc.

All in all, the speakers in this conference helped to bring to surface many lessons we can learn and apply in appropriate contexts while adopting FinTech.

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