Making a difference to local communities

Mary Ho

Experiential learning at our University aims to create an exchange of culture, competency, and knowledge between students and local community for a mutually beneficial outcome. We believe that the outreach and collaboration with the community increase awareness and expand an engaged knowledge of the local territory. In this week’s E-newsletter, we share with you two local experiential learning activities that are taking place this semester.

Independent documentaries on local stories

Led by Dr. Esther Yau, Associate Professor of Department of Comparative Literature, students of the CLIT2097 Independent Documentaries: Theory and Practice will be making independent documentaries on local lives using still and moving images from selective communities. The experiential learning activity, as explained by Esther, is especially important for students to acquire visual literacy through practice, and to acquire the skills of using moving images to engage the community. The pro-active learning experience will strengthen the overall education experience in the formal curriculum.

Working with a renowned documentary film director, Ms. Tammy Cheung, students will be taught the practice of documentary with emphasis on developing an idea, selecting an approach, carrying out field research and participatory observations, and structuring drama with non-fiction materials. In the second-half of the semester, students will be working on their documentary projects in doing research (site visits, conversations, interviews, readings, etc.) and producing the short documentaries.

A public screening of the short documentaries will be held in early May, where local communities and partners will be invited.

Landscape Architecture students building a community farm @ Pokfulam Village

Senior students of the Landscape Architecture will be nurturing their practical knowledge and experience in developing a conceptual design idea into a built project. Working together with the Caritas Pokfulam Community Development Project, students of ARCH4710 Landscape Practicum will build a community farm in Pokfulam Village as part of Caritas and village residents’ effort to sustain a healthy village living community and to conserve the village’s cultural landscape and its associated living pattern.

Students have finished the documentation of the site conditions and met with the village residents to collect information about their expectation to the new community farm, as well as who and how they would use the farm so as to design the facility best for the users’ needs. With the site survey and the information collected from the village residents, students prepared sets of drawings illustrating the design, basic construction details and materials of the farm.

Students worked in groups and presented their design proposals of the community farm in class

Three sets of drawings were presented last week to the course teacher, Ms. Vincci Mak, Assistant Professor, and Teaching Assistant, Ms. Nina Wang, and classmates. The class voted for the ‘best’ design proposal to be further developed at the end of the class. Moreover, the class is encouraged to incorporate the ideas of other design proposals (such as the rainwater collection system) when they prepare the revised design to be presented to the village residents.

In the coming weeks, the students will be revising their design proposal with the incorporations of ideas from fieldtrips to other local community farms and case studies. The final design proposal will be presented to the village residents, together with the discussion of logistics of site-clearance, procurement of materials, construction operations and schedule, and other practical aspects of the project. The construction phase will take place during the Easter Holidays and the community farm will be opened to village residents by end of April.

News Update


Experiential Learning Fund 2014-2015 (First Round) – Call for Applications

The Experiential Learning Fund supports Faculties in introducing, expanding or enhancing experiential learning in their undergraduate curriculum. The deadline for the first round of application is May 16, 2014. This round of application is for experiential learning projects to take place in 2014-2015 academic year.

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GHELC Symposium 2014 – Experiential Learning @ HKU

To share the best practices of teaching and learning of experiential learning courses in HKU, our Centre is organizing a symposium on March 25, 2014 at The Graduate House, HKU. Community partners and faculty teachers are invited to discuss the insights of university-community engagement, and students will share their learning journeys in experiential learning courses.

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Past Events


Experiential Learning Student Workshop: Safety and Security for Experiential Learning Activities

Dr. Albert Ko, Centre Director & Head of CEDARS – Student Development, shared with students the basic safety and security preparation for students travelling or working in unfamiliar environment.

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