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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!

fintech ethics and risks banner

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.

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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?

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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 banner

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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Click here if you cannot access YouTube.

Register now

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.

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