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What is this course about?

Week 1 Teaser

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Week 3 Teaser

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Week 6 Teaser

Week 6 Teaser

What was it like being a dinosaur? Where did they live? Who did they live with? Were things anything like they are today? How do we even know all this?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in our upcoming Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Dinosaur Ecosystems! Starting from February 8th 2017, Dr. Michael Pittman of the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Earth Sciences, together with Professor Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (Chinese Academy of Sciences), will lead you on an expedition to the Gobi desert to unveil a famous ancient ecosystem!

In this course, we will take you to Erlian, Inner Mongolia, and leading museums and institutions to explore:

  • dinosaur biology
  • how palaeontologists reconstruct ancient ecosystems using fossil and modern evidence
  • the traits and significance of a Late Cretaceous dinosaur ecosystem.

Our milestones
Dinosaur Ecosystems is the first MOOC on dinosaur in Asia; also the first MOOC offered by our Faculty of Science. It is the first time that we send crew members to the desert and world-renowned museums to film. Our course was also featured on the edX homepage, edx newsletter and various media reports and the HKU Convocation Newsletter Summer 2016 (Pg 15, MOOC in the spotlight: Introduction to Dinosaur Ecosystems).

Our course featured on the edX homepage!

List of media reports:

  1. Interview by Noreen Mir on RTHK Radio 3: Dr Michael Pittman – Dinosaur Ecosystems
  2. 港大首辦免費「恐龍證書課程」 網上教學無限年齡 [Translation: HKU’s free online course on dinosaurs open to all] (Sing Tao Daily 星島日報, February 6th, 2017)
  3. 免費讀港大網上課程:恐龍生態系統 [Translation: HKU’s free online course: Dinosaur Ecosystems] (Mingpao OL 明報OL, February 7th, 2017)
  4. Switch onto movie action with HKU online course (The Standard, February 7th, 2017)
  5. Tracking the last days of the DINOSAUR (China Daily Hong Kong, February 8th, 2017)

A Roaring Start
With the collaborative efforts from multiple parties, our course had a roaring start. The enrollment number jumped from 2,000 to 3,000 two days before launch, and even doubled on the next day. By the end of the course (as at March 27th), we had 8,996 learners from over 100 countries!


Learners’ Comments
Check out what our learners said about our course:

Sharing Knowledge, Sharing Joy
To celebrate the joyful success of our course, Dr. Pittman hosted a party on February 8th, 2017 with almost 50 HKU colleagues and members of the general public at Stephen Hui Geological Museum. More details here.

A fun drawing competition titled “The Year of the Dinosaur” was also organized to engage dinosaur lovers in the community. The following is a selection of fun dinosaur-themed Chinese New Year scenes designed by creative young minds:




Dinosaur Ecosystems @ Hong Kong Science Museum
To promote the course, we had set up, for the first time, a booth in the T. rex exhibition in Hong Kong Science Museum.

“T-Rex Revealed – The Augmented + Virtual Reality Experience” was a recent exhibition where you could interact with dinosaurs with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. Our course instructor, Dr. Michael Pittman, was the advisor of the exhibition.

Dr. Pittman also brought along souvenirs of our course to Science Alive 2017 on March 4th and 5th at the Science Museum. He gave a lecture on “Dinosaur Appearance: New Discoveries” and set up an exhibition counter introducing his research and our MOOC to the general public.

Left: One of our learners, Jason, travelled all the way from Macau (a 2 hour roundtrip) to meet Dr. Pittman!
Right: It was a delight to know that our young learners love our course poster!

For more photos, check out our Facebook photo album!


New Discoveries: Reconstructing Dinosaurs with Lasers
These few months had been a busy time for Dr. Pittman, who had to simultaneously teach a huge class online and work on his research. In February 2017, he “and his collaborators reconstructed the first highly detailed body outline of a feathered dinosaur based on high-definition images of its preserved soft tissues”. This important science discovery was published in Nature Communications and featured in various media outlets such as National Geographic and BBC News.

Dr. Pittman shared his discoveries in a press conference on March 1st, 2017.

His discoveries were featured in the following websites:

  1. Dinosaur hunting in Inner Mongolia: Gobi Desert a treasure trove for University of Hong Kong-led expedition (Post Magazine, September 12th, 2015)
  2. 港大古生物學家利用新技術準確重塑恐龍身體輪廓 帶羽毛恐龍真貌首次展現 [Translation: Major breakthrough in knowledge of dinosaur appearance: HKU palaeontologist reconstructs feathered dinosaurs in the flesh with new technology] (HKU Press Release, February 27th, 2017)
  3. Lasers flesh out dino-bird profile (Phys.org, February 28th, 2017)
  4. Laser light uncovers hidden secrets of feathered dinosaur fossils (PBS Newshour, February 28th, 2017)
  5. Ce dinosaure à plumes qui avait déjà tout d’un oiseau [Translation: This feathered dinosaur that already had everything of a bird] (Le Parisien, February 28th, 2017)
  6. 港大古生物學家以激光新技術 重現1.6億年前近鳥龍 [Translation: HKU palaeontologist reconstructs 1.6 hundred-million-year-old Anchiornis with new laser technology] (Apple Daily, March 1st, 2017)
  7. 港大首用激光技術 重塑侏羅紀近鳥龍真身(有片) [Translation: HKU reconstrcuts Jurassic-era Anchiornis with laser technology] (Hong Kong 01, March 1st, 2017)
  8. 港大古生物學家利用新技術重塑帶羽恐龍真身 [Translation: HKU palaeontologist reconstructs feathered dinosaurs with new technology] (Hong Kong Economic Times, March 1st, 2017)
  9. 港大教授以激光拆解化石 細膩還原近鳥龍 [Translation: HKU palaeontologist deciphers fossils and reconstructs Anchiornis with lasers] (on.cc, March 1st, 2017)
  10. 港大新技術首次根據恐龍軟組織影像重塑羽毛恐龍的身體輪廓 [Translation: HKU reconstructs feathered dinosaurs based on images of dinosaur soft tissues using new technology] (Metro Radio, March 1st, 2017)
  11. 港大用新技術 成功勾劃侏羅紀動物近鳥龍外貌 [Translation: HKU successuflly reconstructs Jurassic-era Anchiornis with new technology] (Singtao Daily, March 1st, 2017)
  12. 近鸟龙真面目还原 [Translation: Revealing what an Anchiornis really looked like] (Sinchew News, March 1st, 2017)
  13. Lasers reveal the secrets of a feathered dinosaur fossil (Popular Science, March 1st, 2017)
  14. Laser technique sheds light on pivotal Chinese feathered dinosaur (Reuters, March 1st, 2017)
  15. Lasers flesh out dino-bird profile (Paris AFP; Yahoo! News, March 1st, 2017)
  16. This Laser Reconstruction Of A Four-Winged Dinosaur Is Incredible (Gizmodo, March 1st, 2017)
  17. This Might Be The Most Accurate Dinosaur You’ve Ever Seen (IFL Science!, March 1st, 2017)
  18. Incredible Anchiornis pictures reveal what dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago really looked like (The Sun, March 1st, 2017)
  19. Scientists reconstruct a Jurassic-era dinosaur and discover how it moved (Mashable Asia, March 2nd, 2017)


Dinosaurs on TV!
Dr. Pittman and his 3D dinosaur model even made it to TVB’s Big Boys Club (兄弟幫) in April! In the two episodes titled “Unveiling the Secrets of Dinosaurs” (Part 1, Part 2), he shared fun facts about dinosaurs, his archeological experiences and how he uses lasers to reconstruct dinosaurs from fossils. In the latest episode titled “Precious Dinosaur Fossils”, he brought along dinosaur eggs and teeth fossils and explained how fossils were formed.


Interested to learn more?
Check out this interview of Dr. Pittman where he explained the importance of studying dinosaurs and producing this course.
Don’t forget to take a glimpse into the artistic process of crafting the MOOC.

This course is just the beginning of our exploration of dinosaurs. Stay in touch with us through our Facebook and Twitter!

jimsil-2“It’s very important, through the traditional curriculum to emphasise the importance of technology, not just because it is important for everybody to learn about programming, but to me, it’s more about understanding the roles of technology, and where the technologies are the basic principles, and where they can be applied,” Charles Mok

It was our pleasure to have Hon Charles Mok, Legislative Councillor for the IT sector to share his views on building ecosystems and nurturing talent in FinTech at TELI-vision with Professor Douglas Arner and Professor Ricky Kwok.


Be equipped with a broad spectrum of skills

In FinTech, technologies and the market change at a very fast pace. According to Charles, to meet the continuous transformation of the “Tech” and the “Fin”, those in the industry as well as those aspire to be part of FinTech and related industries must be equipped with a broad spectrum of skills and knowledge to bridge between different interrelated disciplinary areas including finance, technology, law, data science, computer science and psychology, etc.

“Let’s say if somebody is interested in the future of leveraging technology in various different areas – AI, financial services or even other areas, you need skill that is not just in finance, not just in computer science; but also in areas such as statistics obviously for big data for data analytics; in sales, psychology is actually very important, and many of the social sciences and so on.”

“Because of the interlocking, interrelated industries and applications in FinTech, we are seeing many of the same kind and same magnitude of changes in different particular areas of our living”, Charles suggested. “The pressure for professionals to upgrade themselves to keep up with all these developments is tremendous and is going to be increasing. I think young and new professionals have to get themselves ready using either their own time to take courses, including online courses.”

Be international and interdisciplinary

Taking online courses is one way to broaden student’s horizon and gain exposure to ideas and views from other countries through the digital media. Charles observed that, “it’s a good sign that young people today are taking global courses and not just courses in our own economy”, he iterated that one needs to be more international and global.

The role of universities today, in addition to providing interdisciplinary and international education to our next generation of university graduates, is to help develop digital literate citizens through integration of technology in university education. “It’s very important, through the traditional curriculum to emphasise the importance of technology, not just because it is important for everybody to learn about programming, but to me, it’s more about understanding the roles of technologies, and where the technologies are the basic principles, and where they can be applied,” Charles suggested.

On one hand, universities bear the responsibilities to nurture future talents, on the other hand, it is also part of its mandate to educate the public and raise awareness of the needs to equip oneself with some kind of technological background.

The challenge in attracting talents

In Hong Kong, we have many bright and high achieving students, but why are univerisities not attracting many top students in science and engineering disciplines in recent years compared to decades ago?

Charles pointed out that, “we saw in the last 30 plus years, Hong Kong has transformed from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, especially including financial services. That particular transformation has turned Hong Kong into one of the world’s top financial services centres, but at the same time it also led to our industry and our people overly focused on some of the shorter term gains.”

This trend is not entirely local, and in order to break the vicious cycle, we must first change the mindset of the mainstream society. Charles remarked that, “in this environment, it had been quite difficult for the industry, for us to attract, to incentivize the industries to let’s say, invest more in longer term endeavours, R&D and so on.”

No matter what, people are the most important assets. “I think for us to try to attract people to come back into technology in Hong Kong or other economies, we have to be able to create the good jobs that pay well, give them opportunities for a career growth,” Charles suggested.

There is no easy way in terms of how to build an ecosoystem and nurture FinTech talents, and it continues to be a challenge with roles for everyone from universities to students, government, industries and the general public.

To learn more about the FinTech discussion at TELI-vision from our special guest Charles Mok with Professor Doulgas Arner and Professor Ricky Kwok, please click the following links to view the videos.

The Role of Universities in FinTech and Online Education (Part 1)
The Role of Universities in FinTech and Online Education (Part 2)

Coming soon

• Research and Development (R&D) and Interactions with Industries
• FinTech Opportunities in HK – Regulatory Sandboxes and New Trends
• The FinTech Landscape in China – What’s Next?


jimsil-2“We couldn’t build a campus in every city, so if we could export our educational services through the online model, I think it would be warmly welcomed.” Regina Ip

We are happy to have Hon Regina Ip to chat with Professor Douglas Arner and Professor Ricky Kwok at TELI-vision. Regina is a member of the Executive Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Chairperson and founder of the Savantas Policy Institute. She is also someone who completed HKU’s Introduction to FinTech MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and is here to share her online learning experience and her views on the opportunities and challenges in the new FinTech era for Hong Kong’s future. Let’s first look at some highlights from the interview.

Douglas: What made you decide to do the course? And was this the first online course you have done?

Regina: I have heard a lot about FinTech, but I did not really know what FinTech is all about, i.e. what sort of technologies are involved and what sort of new products, new business. Yes, this was first online course and I was very excited about it.

Douglas: In terms of your experience with the course, what did you like? What worked? Were there things about the course that we could change or improve?

Regina: The FinTech course was highly comprehensive, with lectures by you. I think your lectures were one of the most lucid. Because you are a professor, I think you have a practice or a habit of speaking clearly to students, and you brought in experts from different backgrounds, lawyers and entrepreneurs, etc. to the course. There were also interesting used cases, which helped me to gain insights into what’s really happening. The beauty of this sort of course is that every module is not too long, about half an hour in length. So for part-time learners like myself, at the end of a long day, I can do one or two modules at my own pace. I think I paid maybe $100 US for a Certificate, but that’s purely for fun. I wasn’t going for grades, that sort of thing.

Ricky: I’d like to know about how you find the interaction with the courseware.

Regina: There were quizzes and there was an end-of-course survey. I did all of that. I thought those were useful. The quizzes were not that challenging. The surveys were interesting, and the used cases were very interesting. And to help myself, I jotted down notes during every module, and I kept my FinTech notes, to make sure I don’t lose the knowledge.

Ricky: Do you think we should also try to further promote Hong Kong based MOOCs to the mainland, or to the Greater Bay Area?

Regina: I think that is a very good idea. Education is definitely one area for cooperation within the Greater Bay Area, 9 + 1. The mainland authorities think very highly of our top universities. They are highly ranked, i.e. University of Hong Kong is highly ranked and highly international. We can’t build a campus in every city, so if we could export our educational services through the online model, I think it would be warmly welcomed.

Douglas: Thinking about this particular course, one of our objectives, was to highlight to the world what HKU and Hong Kong are doing in the area of FinTech. What sorts of opportunities, what sorts of challenges do you see with this new FinTech era for Hong Kong’s future?

Regina: Hong Kong is one of the world’s top three international financial centres, innovating from our rule of law foundation, our convergence with international compliance systems, but basically our strengths are in banking, wealth management and stock markets. Because we are a mature market, we have been lagging behind in innovation. The HKMA set up a FinTech facilitation office two years ago, and they’ve been catching up. They introduced a faster payment system and have recently introduced Open API for banking… Catching up, we have to, otherwise we’ll be left behind.

Douglas: One last question from me, and that is, if we look at Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem, what are some of the things that you would like to see universities doing to further support Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem?

Regina: Support entrepreneurship. I think you should help create, foster, this climate, this ecology of entrepreneuring in technology.

Ricky: I completely agree with you about a entrepreneurship spirit. But to me, entrepreneurship is a mindset. It’s something that you have to instil into our younger people earlier in the education process. We should try to use these online courses as a vehicle to help them to build this kind of mindset, because taking an online course, like what you did, is already an entrepreneurial behaviour because you’re trying to find a resource, you’re trying to step outside of your comfort zone. Late at night you’re studying, you post something. It’s a very entrepreneurial … It’s not planned, it’s not structured.

Ricky: We will have a blockchain course to instil the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s pitched at introductory level. You’ll know enough to understand how blockchain actually works and what are the potential applications, and why they can be applied in those scenarios. Plus there will be a third course about ethics in applying FinTech or other technologies in your finance. These three courses come as a bundle, and if you complete all three of them, you will get a professional certificate.

Regina: I can’t wait to enrol in these courses myself. Because I believe in continuous learning, and it’s something well worth promoting in Hong Kong, if we really want to become a knowledge-based society.

Thank you Regina! Like you said, though we couldn’t build a campus in every city, we would certainly try our best to export our educational services through the online model to reach students locally, regionally and globally!

To learn more about the FinTech discussion at TELI-vision from our special guest Regina Ip with Professor Douglas Arner and Professor Ricky Kwok, please click the following links to view the videos.

Regina Ip – FinTech MOOC Online Learning Experience Sharing 1/3
Regina Ip – FinTech MOOC Online Learning Experience Sharing 2/3
Regina Ip – FinTech MOOC Online Learning Experience Sharing 3/3


Explore the “secrets” of dental materials and digital dentistry together in the Materials in Oral Health MOOC offered by the best dental school in the world.

Register now!

Click here if you cannot access Youtube.

We all need healthy teeth, don’t we? Have you ever wondered why titanium, ceramics and some synthetic polymeric materials are the “materials of choice” in oral health care? What are the “secrets” that make these materials so special for dental implants and other restorative procedures?


HKU Dentistry ranking No. 1 in the World has the vision to bring together the expertise and best practices in dental materials and biomaterials in the rerun of the MOOC Materials in Oral Health. The course is taught by a professional team of 30+ local, regional and international dentistry professionals and experts in dentistry and dental materials. What does this course cover? This 4-week Oral Biomaterials course unveils the exciting and unique properties and clinical implications of some state-of-the-art dental materials, including titanium, zirconia and modern synthetic polymer-based composites. We are also going to look at the crucial roles of CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing in dental application and digital orthodontics.


Oral biomaterials today is an exciting area encompassing contributions from professional dentistry to biology, chemistry, physics, material science, mathematics and engineering. Whether you are dental practitioners and dental technicians, non-dental practitioners, dental students, university students from various disciplines, or senior secondary school students – this course will open your eyes to the magic of dental materials science. If you are a prospective university student, this course can open up new and exciting opportunities possibly leading to new career paths.


Join us in the upcoming Materials in Oral Health MOOC on 21 December 2018 (HKT)!

Register now!

Follow our Facebook pages: HKU Online Learning and Dental Materials Science, Faculty of Dentistry, HKU!

Learners’ Stories

Who are the Teachers in the MOOC course?

Week 1
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Dental Materials: Metal
  • Ceramics – Introduction to Dental Materials: Ceramics, Zirconia and Alumina
  • Surface Treatment – An Introduction to Surface Treatment Methods; Surface Treatment Method: Acid Etching
Dr. Nikos Mattheos (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Introduction to Materials used in Implant Dentistry
  • Ceramics – Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs. Titanium
Prof. Niklaus Peter Lang (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – What does the Future Hold for Titanium and Its Alloys?
Dr. Justin Paul Curtin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Titanium and Its Application – Titanium and Its Applications in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Edmond Ho Nang Pow (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – Ceramic Materials Used in Restorative Dentistry, Introduction in Types and Indication
Prof. Timo Närhi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Ceramics – The Development and Advantages of Glass Ceramics
Dr. Hamdi Hosni Hamama (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Surface Treatment – Acid Etching: Bonding to Enamel and Dentine
Week 2
Prof. Damien Walmsley (The University of Birmingham, UK)

  • Modern Composites – Choice of Dental Fillings: Silver or Composites
Prof. Pekka Vallittu (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Modern Composites – An Overview of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in
    Dentistry; Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) : Chemistry, Properties, Fibre Types and Orientation; Applications of Fibre-Reinforced Composite (FRC) in Dentistry
Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – An Introduction to Dental Cements
Prof. Cynthia Kar Yung Yiu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Modern Cements – Introduction to Glass Ionomer Cements (GIC) and Resin-modified Glass Ionomer Cements (RMGIC)
Prof. Josette Camilleri (The University of Malta)

  • Modern Cements – Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Properties and Modifications; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Radiopacifier; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Modifications in Mixing Liquids and Additives; Tricalcium Silicate-based Endodontic Cements – Hydraulic Properties and Bioactivities
Dr. Manikandan Ekambaram (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Clinical Material of Choice – Classification and Composition of Resin Dental Adhesives; Resin Adhesion to Tooth Tissues; Indications of Resin Dental Adhesives
Week 3
Dr. James Kit Hon Tsoi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Digital Dentistry
Dr. Walter Yu Hang Lam (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – 3D Digital Stereophotogrammetry; Intraoral Scanner
  • Other Digital Techniques – Shade Matching
Prof. Michael Bornstein (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Introduction to Oral Radiology; The Basic Principles of Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Andy Wai Kan Yeung (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Digital Imaging – Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Dr. Henry Wai Kuen Luk (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – CAD/CAM Technology in Crown Fabrication – An Introduction
Dr. John Yung Chuan Wu (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Orthodontics – Diagnosis and Treatment Methods
Dr. Winnie Wing Shan Choi (The University of Hong Kong)

  • CAD/CAM and Digital Technology in Crown Fabrication, Digital Orthodontics and OMFS – Digital Dentistry in the Field of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dr. Dominic King Lun Ho (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – Digital Probing
Dr. Will Wei Qiao (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Other Digital Techniques – 3D Printing
Week 4
Dr. Tian Tian (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Adhesion in Restorative Dentistry
Dr. Xiaozhuang Jin (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – A Finite Element Study on Dental Bond Strength Tests
Dr. Prasanna Neelakantan (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Adhesion Test and Bond Strength – Impact of Root Canal Irrigants on Root Filling Materials
Prof. Will Palin (The University of Birmingham)

  • Spectroscopy – Introduction to Spectroscopy
Prof. Edwin Kukk (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – Surface Analysis: What is a Surface?; Methods to Study the Surfaces: ESCA; ESCA Study of Titanium
Dr. Sari Granroth (The University of Turku, Finland)

  • Spectroscopy – ESCA Study of Titanium

Sneak Previews
Have a taster of what will be taught in this course!
(Sneak preview playlist here.)

The Application of Silicon and Silicon Compounds in Dentistry – Prof. Jukka Pekka Matinlinna
– “Silicones find a wide range of biomedical applications…”

Dental Material Choice: Zirconia vs Titanium – Prof. Niklaus P. Lang
– “Shortcomings with titanium are mostly aesthetic in nature…”

What is Digital Dentistry? – Dr. James Tsoi
– “Digital dentistry is one of the emerging fields in dentistry…”

Materials used in Implants – Dr. Nikos Mattheos
– “Osseointegration is a remarkable story of scientific discovery…”

More sneak previews here.

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