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Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

Language enhancement

Enhancing Disciplinary Postgraduate Thesis Writing via a Data-Driven Learning Approach


The outcome of this project provides a systematic multidisciplinary thesis writing support resource for teachers and students in the Graduate School Introduction to Thesis Writing course (and other postgraduate writing courses) and faculty supervisors, comprising a database of high quality HKU research postgraduate theses recommended by all 10 faculties with tasks for individual learner development and language enhancement throughout their years of study at the university. It greatly enhances the learning opportunities for postgraduate students and the quality of their theses as well as the support teachers and supervisors provided in the thesis writing process of postgraduate research. It also broadens the curriculum of the thesis writing course to meet the increasing expectations and needs of postgraduate students for more diverse discipline-specific teaching/learning resources.

Principal Investigator

Dr. L.L.C. Wong, Centre for Applied English Studies, Faculty of Arts Contact

Project level

Programme-level project

Project Completion

December 2017


  1. A multidisciplinary online, fully-searchable corpus database of high quality HKU graduate theses recommended by supervisors from every faculty and most departments of HKU, available through HKU Moodle for use by postgraduate students and faculty supervisors as a reference resource to support thesis writing and publications in the disciplines throughout students’ full period of studies at the University.
  2. A comprehensive suite of corpus-based language learning activities that develops postgraduates’ language and communicative competence essential for successful thesis and research writing in their disciplines.
  3. A set of analytics of daily users to the corpus site, search frequency statistics, and search term statistics to understand student interactions in online learning for assessing resource utilization and effectiveness and informing ways to optimize learning.
  4. Integration of the corpus resource and the language activities into all thesis writing classes for Humanities and Sciences, covering 330-390 students per semester.
  5. A presentation entitled “Introducing disciplinary data-driven learning for postgraduate thesis writing” at the Faces of English International Conference “Teaching and Researching English for Academic and Specific Purposes” at HKU in June 2017.
  6. Another presentation given at the International Conference “Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Exchange in Academia” organized by the Research Center on Specialized Languages held at the University of Bergamo, Italy in June 2018.
  7. A paper outlining the key trends from the usage statistics of the corpus platform over its first live semester and another paper outlining the scope of the corpus language learning activities integrated into the thesis writing courses are in preparation. Both articles will be submitted to high-impact SSCI journals.

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