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Experiential Learning Fund Staff-initiated Project 2018-19


Project Title Project Coordinator(s)
Hands-On Heritage: Shared Conservation of an Historic Hakka Mansion
Course code: CONS2003, CONS2005, CONS3003, CONS4002
Number of undergraduate students participating: 73
Dr. Gesa Schwantes
Faculty of Architecture
Music and Culture: An Overseas Field Trip
Course code: MUSI2077
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Dr. Jose Vicente Neglia
Faculty of Arts
Academic Fieldtrip Cum Workshop on North Korean History, Culture and Society
Course code: KORE2028, CCGL9027
Number of undergraduate students participating: 60
Dr. Victor Teo
Faculty of Arts
Youth Mentoring
Course code: BBED6783
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Ms. Candace Mok
Faculty of Education
Developing resilient student teachers by nurturing resilience in vulnerable groups in Cambodia
Course code: BBED6790
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Ms. Jessie Chow
Faculty of Education
Sustainable Development in Tibet
Course code: TBC
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Ms. Jessie Chow
Faculty of Education
Developing the competence in STEM education
Course code: BBED6747
Number of undergraduate students participating: 30
Dr. Valerie Yip
Faculty of Education
Advancing Social Development Experiential Learning Preparation
Course code: SOWK3132
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Dr. Lori Noguchi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Human Landscape—E.CO Habitat
Course Code: ARCH7470
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Mr. Wallace Ping Hung Chang
Faculty of Architecture
Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong 2019
Course Code: ARCH4704
Number of undergraduate students participating: 24
Mr. Ashley Scott Kelly
Faculty of Architecture
Making Village Communal Space: Tree Plaza
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Professor Wang Weijen
Faculty of Architecture
Making Village Communal Space: Vegetable Garden
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Professor Wang Weijen
Faculty of Architecture
StorySpace.online: Creating a Digital Storytelling Workshop and Website to Enable Marginalized Communities to Share Their Stories
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Mr. Patrick Desloge
Faculty of Arts
International Capstone Experience (Dentistry)
Course Code: DENT6131
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Professor Gary S.P. Cheung
Faculty of Dentistry
Fostering 4Cs (Creativity, Complex Problem-Solving Skills, Communication and Collaboration skills) through engaging STEM/STEAM-related Experiential Learning Activities
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Ms. Promail K.Y. Leung
Faculty of Education
Duckietown Project: A Cross-disciplinary Project for Students to Collaboratively Explore and Experiment Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in a Playful Way on a Self-driving Robotics Platform
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Dr. Loretta Y.K. Choi
Faculty of Engineering
Disability Rights Clinic: Achieving the goals of the CRPD through shared learning experiences and knowledge exchange
Course Code: LLAW3246
Number of undergraduate students participating: 24
Ms. Lindsay Ernst
Faculty of Law
Tropical & Temperate Marine Ecology field course to Australia
Course Code: BIOL3305
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Dr. Bayden Russell
Faculty of Science
Capstone Experience in Nutritional and Environmental Education in Cambodia with UNlimited Institute 2019
Course Code: BIOL4962/BIOL4964/ENVS4966
Number of undergraduate students participating: 25
Dr. Jennifer M.F. Wan
Faculty of Science
Developing the research-oriented field study course in the Environmental Science Major
Course Code: ENVS3022
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Dr. Moriaki Yasuhara
Faculty of Science
Impact Assessment of Micro-finance project in India
Course Code: FOSS2019/CLIT3019
Number of undergraduate students participating: 5
Ms. Elsa Lam
Faculty of Social Sciences
Post-conflict/disaster Community Building in Nepal
Course Code: FOSS2019/CLIT3019
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8
Ms. Elsa Lam
Faculty of Social Sciences
Retracing the Indochina Wars and How It Changed Journalism
Course Code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Professor Keith Richburg
Faculty of Social Sciences
Tsitsikamma Intertidal Ecology Fieldtrip
Course Code BIOL3328
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Professor Gray Williams
Faculty of Science
Coupled Human-natural Systems: An Experiential Learning Field Work in USA, Malaysia and Hong Kong
Course Code: ENVS2018
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8
Dr. Vengatesen Thiyagarajan
Faculty of Science

Experiential Learning Fund Student-initiated Project 2018-19


Project Title Project Coordinator(s)
BrailleAssist
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8
Mr. Sidhant Gupta
Facutly of Engineering
Experiential STEM Education in Bangkok
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Mr. Gokce Ozer
Faculty of Engineering
2018-2019 YIng De Group Winter Service Trip
Number of undergraduate students participating: 21
Mr. Lau Chun Leung
Faculty of Social Sciences
Beyond Belief – Promoting Mental and Physical Development through Playing and Active Learning
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9
Ms. Wong Yue Hei
Facutly of Arts
Practical Consulting Exposure
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Ms. Tiffany Cheung
Facutly of Business and Economics
Migrant Health Initiative – Mobile Clinic 2019
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8
Ms. Trista Man Yan Li
Faculty of Education
DEI-HKU Winter Experience Program
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9
Mr. Hung Man Ho
Facutly of Engineering
SharkTracker
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Ms. Saumya Gupta
Facutly of Science
ClearBot
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Mr. Sidhant Gupta
Facutly of Engineering
Teaching Music to Children with Special Needs with the aid of Technology-Based Methods
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9
Mr. Madhav Gupta
Facutly of Engineering


Hands-On Heritage: Shared Conservation of an Historic Hakka Mansion

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: CONS2003, CONS2005, CONS3003, CONS4002
Dr. Gesa Schwantes, Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 73

For the proposed experiential learning project, students will visit the Pun Uk site multiple times to catalog architectural details, document building damage, and prepare wall mock-ups to evaluate different conservation treatments. Students will also extract samples from the site and analyze them in the Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACLab) in order to determine their compositions and prepare better matching construction materials.

The project will address three current issues in conservation:

  1. Conservation science is a relatively new field, and thus the project will educate the public, government and practicing conservation professionals about how scientific analyses of samples are incorporated into the conservation plan to have better compatibility between materials and an overall more successful repair.
  2. Architectural conservation professionals do not have experience using heritage construction materials. Thus, this project will provide students (the next generation of architectural conservators) with crucial ongoing field work where they participate in EVERY step of the conservation process, from initial site inspections to evaluate the extent of the damage to obtaining samples for lab analysis to suggesting recommendations for the conservation management plan.
  3. Conservation projects are limited by time and money, but with the effort of over 70 students, a more comprehensive restoration of the site is feasible. Student groups will have greater opportunities to perform in-depth research on specific areas of the mansion, and future groups of students can both monitor previous repairs and prepare new analyses, ALL while learning valuable skills for heritage work. The ACLab will generate detailed scientific data, and the conservation procedures will be based on sound scientific data with fewer unknowns, ultimately leading to a more informed, better conservation management plan (CMP).

The main target community, the residents of Yuen Long, will not only enjoy the restored Pun Uk mansion, but due to interaction with students and the conservation process, have a newfound appreciation of conservation efforts. Students will establish a friendly relationship with the Yuen Long community, trading knowledge of old methods of construction techniques along with more modern ideas. Local craftsmen will ”share” their knowledge and the fabrication of repair materials. This will lead to more public support for architectural heritage projects. Industry and government officials associated with conservation will also be introduced to the latest architectural heritage conservation techniques based on international ”best practices” and cutting-edge research, ultimately leading to improved historic building repairs in Hong Kong. China Point has already offered to be on-site with students to help advise them as they explore the site. The company will mentor students and provide critiques of their written reports, which is invaluable career preparation for students.

The wealth of information generated by student research and work at the site is significant, but it is only impactful if it can be disseminated throughout the university community, industry partners, and with the general public. Several deliverables will facilitate this dissimilation including student posters and mock-up walls at the studio and at the site, videos of students performing work and explaining the details of the process available at the ACP website and student presentations given to an industry audience (members of industry are invited to the student presentations).



Music and Culture: An Overseas Field Trip

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: MUSI2077
Dr. Jose Vicente Neglia, Faculty of Arts
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

The proposed experiential learning project will revolve around a trip to Tokyo, Japan. Students will partake in three activities while in Japan:

  1. participate in a Noh workshop, organized by Prof. Richard Emmert at Musashino University and founder of TheatreNoh.org.
  2. conduct fieldwork on musical life in Tokyo, Japan (e.g. attending various events, concerts, etc.)
  3. partake in soundscape studies research of the Tokyo urban environment.

The goal of the project is to expose students to unique musical cultures in their original social contexts (i.e. to experience Japanese music in Japan), and to engage in ethnographic research. The students will be required to conduct fieldwork while in Japan, which will entail participant observation, various fieldwork exercises, and a collection of audio-visual recordings. The project will emphasize internationalization with the goal of forging links between musicians and academics in Japan, particularly through the TheatreNoh organization of Prof. Emmert.”



Academic Fieldtrip Cum Workshop on North Korean History, Culture and Society

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: KORE2028, CCGL9027
Dr. Victor Teo, Faculty of Arts
Number of undergraduate students participating: 60

This project will offer HKU Students an experiential learning opportunity by participating in a fieldtrip to North Korea and two academic workshops in collaboration with two North Korean Universities, and have in depth exchange and learning from North Korean counterparts. It would also enable students to travel first hand to North Korea’s Special Economic Zone and survey first hand the economic opportunities and challenges faced by the country. Through their interactions with the people and students there, it is hoped that the students would be able to reflect on their experience and learn about North Korean culture and society through the experiences gained.



Youth Mentoring

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: BBED6783
Ms. Candace Mok, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

“This elective course is designed to develop in UG Education Majors the knowledge, skills, beliefs and awareness needed to be an effective mentor and advocate of disadvantaged youth to address social and educational inequality. The course integrates regular university-based interactive seminars on mentoring skills with an experiential learning component in which each participant mentors a secondary learner, supporting and advocating for the learner academically and socially on a regular basis across two semesters.

Student-teachers will meet with the secondary learner-mentee (protégé) on a one-to-one, face-to-face basis for eight to ten meetings and also contact their mentee electronically (e.g. whatsapp) once a week to provide social and academic support. The mentor-protégé meetings will be primarily outside of school to broaden protégés’ experience and horizons. Two excursions in Hong Kong will be organised for all mentors and mentees to visit a part of Hong Kong unfamiliar but of interest to the mentees, or do an activity which is new/unfamiliar to mentees. The second excursion will be to HKU campus.

Mentees (protégés) from secondary schools will benefit socially and academically from having a personal mentor as they navigate the challenges of secondary education and adolescence. The school will benefit from having additional support for their students, many of whom live below HK’s poverty line. Student-teachers in the Faculty of Education enrolled on the course will develop mentoring skills and a deepened understanding of society which will contribute to their overall development as education professionals.”



Developing resilient student teachers by nurturing resilience in vulnerable groups in Cambodia

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: BBED6790
Ms. Jessie Chow, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

This is the second year of the programme and this programme sets out to build a long-term relationship between the Faculty of Education at HKU and a rural school in Cambodia which houses children impacted by trafficking and poverty. The focus will be on co-constructing a curriculum on developing resilience for the children there with the teachers and volunteers of the school by adopting a ‘train the trainers’ model of professional development. Through this sustained relationship we aim to attend to both the rural Cambodian and the HKU communities by developing global leaders with social awareness and empathy. Research demonstrates that teachers’ resilience enhances their job satisfaction and teaching effectiveness, and at the same time, allows teachers to nurture resilience in their own students to cope with the challenges of the 21st century. Since 2015, the Faculty of Education of HKU has endeavored to advance teacher education by designing dynamic experiential learning programmes both abroad and here in Hong Kong. The current program highlights one of the key approaches that contextualizes the knowledge of teachers’ resilience in working with a vulnerable target group and carefully incorporates Kolb’s (2015) reflective learning cycle into the program. Student teachers learn to integrate academic theories and actively experiment through continuous observation, trial-and-error and reflection. Students also receive structured input sessions and reflect through ongoing guided reflective exercises.



Sustainable Development in Tibet

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: TBC
Ms. Jessie Chow, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

Tibet has developed rocketing economic growth in the past two decades at the expenses of the ecosystem and environment. Set against this backdrop, this programme aims to bridge this gap by creating the platform for our student educators to learn about the socio-economic landscapes of Tibet and to analyze its challenges of turning around and sustaining its development. Our student educators will first learn about the theoretical understanding of sustainable development and its relationship to the socio-economic landscapes of Tibet. Then they will work in cross-disciplinary teams to put their knowledge into practice — putting forward their ideas of raising social awareness and calling for behavioral changes with the consideration of local culture and limitations in the format of “TED talk’ videos and workshops to school. Through the learning process of knowing about the culture, self and others, students will develop an increased intercultural sensitivity as local and global citizens.



Developing the competence in STEM education

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: BBED6747
Dr Valerie Yip, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 30

This project is a continuation of a project funded by GHELC last year. It will strengthen the part on student engagement so that HKU students will work more closely with the primary and secondary schools with the support from our community partners. A component in STEM education, Maker education, will be introduced. The project will adopt a multiple-track approach to provide the flexibility for students coming from different streams to decide which area(s) they would like to focus on, and hence reflect more critically on their roles in STEM education. They will work closely with teachers, academic unit and non-governmental and governmental stakeholders to support the ultimate beneficiaries – the school pupils. All HKU students will have the opportunities to learn from overseas STEM industries/STEM learning centres/institutions responsible for STEM education (e.g. schools and universities) to broaden their understanding about the issues related to STEM education.



Advancing Social Development Experiential Learning Preparation

Staff-initiated Project
Course code: SOWK3132
Dr. Lori Noguchi, Faculty of Social Sciences
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

This project aims to develop and implement an experimental learning project for the Advancing Social Development Course which is a core course in the Minor Social Development within the Department of Social Work and Social Administration. The Advancing Social Development course examines social policy, planning and practice as a force for progressive transformation and sustainable, equitable, gender-aware and socially-just development. Looking at both the Hong Kong and international context, it examines diverse areas of social development practice including planning and intervention, asset building, community action, employment and decent work, microfinance and microenterprise. The aim of the experiential learning component is to allow students to explore how select themes from the course are applied in an international context by working with youth engaged in social development in Cambodia or Thailand, and to gain insights from the collaboration that they will be able to apply to social engagement in Hong Kong.

Working with institutional collaborators with extensive ties to the nonprofit communities in Cambodia and Thailand, the preparatory stage of the project aims to identify a suitable partner organization or organizations in Thailand or Cambodia and to design a mode of collaboration for the partnership. The aim will be to find organizations engaged with university-aged youth in which themes relevant to the course are being demonstrated in action (such as community capacity building or participation, for example). As students will have also explored how organizations in Hong Kong address these themes, the experiential learning experience will enable them to compare how the themes are understood and applied in the different contexts and identify how different cultural, political and policy factors affect their application.

The experiential learning experience itself will be designed to fulfill the following objectives:

  1. to provide opportunity for students to understand the relationship between social development and poverty and inequality in different societies;
  2. to provide an opportunity to students to have in-depth exchange with youth of similar age who are addressing social issues in their own communities, so as to enable them to facilitate mutual
    learning;
  3. to deepen their understanding of the factors involved in social policy and development in diverse cultural contexts.

While the specifics of the learning experience will depend on the arrangements made in the preparatory phase, it is anticipated that the trip will include 3 days visiting a variety of organizations that give students insight into how these organizations address issues of poverty, inequality, and social development, followed by 7 days collaborating with the youth in the primary partner organization to design and/or implement their own projects.



Human Landscape—E.CO Habitat

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: ARCH7470
Mr. Wallace Ping Hung Chang , Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

Amidst the new dynamics in the changing context of Hong Kong, there are local issues relating to the advancement of global concerns. The possibilities and potentials of where, what and how people live and adapt to green habitats is critically significant to provide and design liveable settings and habitable spaces for the people here and now. With the global paradigm shift, the Green Way of living/learning is forming and shaping our cultural preferences—an engagement of the natural resources, an intervention of green living, a new perspective of green architecture, as well as an open system for sustainable environment. Thus, the concept of human landscape is to allow students to rethink and react to our way of life in the highly urbanized city of Hong Kong.

The focus of the course will be a tripartite model manifested as ‘theory-proposal-action’ guided by both practitioners and local community towards a revival of human landscape. It aims at providing students a learning platform between theory and action to appreciate and design green habitats for both human beings and urban wildlife through the following perspectives,

  1. Green Living Concepts and Architectural Expressions
  2. Living Ecology and Co-habitats
  3. Sustainable Systems and Green Communities



Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong 2019

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: ARCH4704
Mr. Ashley Scott Kelly, Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 24

“Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong” builds on six years of design-based experiential learning across mainland Southeast Asia by the Division of Landscape Architecture. For the second year, we continue our focus on the regional impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in northern Laos. Students will spend one term engaging issues of environmental conservation and development vis-a-vis landscape architecture to define problems and produce innovative planning proposals. During this process, students develop and deliver a 180-page research report to civil society and international NGOs, conduct fieldwork, individually design future scenarios through large-format maps, models and video, and have their work juried by a cross-disciplinary panel of experts. Students actively participate in the expansion of Landscape Architecture into regional development arenas, paralleled by high-impact work on sustainable development by their HKU teachers. Supported by a multidisciplinary team of landscape designers connected to policy experts and scientists through a network of domestic civil society groups, international NGOs, and bilateral agencies, this work offers an urgently needed model of design-research collaboration. It has been disseminated to governments in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the Asian Development Bank, construction firms, civil society and ageicles across Southeast Asia.



Making Village Communal Space: Tree Plaza

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Professor Wang Weijen, Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

20 students will collaborate on tree planting and public plaza making with local villagers from Tsoi Yuen village, Hong Kong. The project focuses specifically on using local and recycled materiais for the village’s communal space reconstruction, after its relocation in 2012 due to the high-speed railway construction. Previously, infrastructure and a series of 50 village houses and were planned, designed and built by Wang Weijen Architecture in collaboration with the village community. Through material research, field study and on-site construction, students will experience and explore the tools, techniques, and processes associated with communal space costruction in contemporary Hong Kong, and investigate sustainable construction techniques by using local and recycled materiais. Students will work together with villagers during the construction, and the construction process will be documented as a form of knowledge through photographic journal, videos, and booklet, and will be presented and shared in public exhibition, professional architectural journal and online platforms.



Making Village Communal Space: Vegetable Garden

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Professor Wang Weijen, Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

20 students will collaborate on tree planting and public plaza making with local villagers from Tsoi Yuen village, Hong Kong. The project focuses specifically on using local and recycled materiais for the village’s communal space reconstruction, after its relocation in 2012 due to the high-speed railway construction. Previously, infrastructure and a series of 50 village houses and were planned, designed and built by Wang Weijen Architecture in collaboration with the village community. Through material research, field study and on-site construction, students will experience and explore the tools, techniques, and processes associated with communal space costruction in contemporary Hong Kong, and investigate sustainable construction techniques by using local and recycled materiais. Students will work together with villagers during the construction, and the construction process will be documented as a form of knowledge through photographic journal, videos, and booklet, and will be presented and shared in public exhibition, professional architectural journal and online platforms.



StorySpace.online: Creating a Digital Storytelling Workshop and Website to Enable Marginalized Communities to Share Their Stories

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Mr. Patrick Desloge, Faculty of Arts
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

This project will train between 6 and 10 HKU students in delivering digital storytelling workshops before sending them to Myanmar to conduct intensive three-day workshops for local learners. These workshops will focus on the process of bringing out the learners’ voices through digital storytelling. The project will develop the HKU students’ spoken language as well as both visual and digital Iiteracies while also achieving significant social impact. The theme and product of these workshops will be ‘stories from my home’: culturally significant folktales or community events narrated by local learners and accompanied with photos and graphics. These digital stories will be shared on a website created for this purpose. In this initial instance, the workshop will be centrally facilitated by HKU teachers, with the bulk of discussion and production being led by the HKU students in smaller working groups of about 34. Upon return to HKU the participating students will generate teaching materials to enable other HKU students to replicate these workshops to help learners produce stories to share on the StorySpace.online website.



International Capstone Experience (Dentistry)

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: DENT6131
Professor Gary S.P. Cheung, Faculty of Dentistry
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

This course aims to develop our dental students as a global citizen and professional of the future. In particular, it allows students:

  1. To experience the provision of dental service in an outreach (rural and/or less privileged) environment;
  2. To improve communication skills, especially when meeting people of different social and cultural backgrounds;
  3. To plan and execute an oral health-related project and raise the awareness of the targeted population;
  4. And, for the overseas target population:

  5. To improve the oral health awareness of the target population in order to reduce their dependency on professional dental service in the long run; and
  6. To educate local oral health care-givers in maintaining a preventive strategy.



Fostering 4Cs (Creativity, Complex Problem-Solving Skills, Communication and Collaboration skills) through engaging STEM/STEAM-related Experiential Learning Activities

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Ms. Promail K.Y. Leung, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

This project “Fostering 4Cs (Creativity, Complex Problem-Solving Skills, Communication and Collaboration skills) through engaging STEM/STEAM-related EL Activities” aims not only at developing HKU students’ interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and beliefs of learning and teaching of STEM/STEAM-related context, it also aims at enhancing their understanding and mastery of the 21st century (4C) skills, in order to succeed in the information age.

HKU undergraduates (UGs) will be guided to: (1) develop innovative 4C teaching materials; (2) arrange workshops and trainings to share their STEM/STEAM related and 4Cs learning through various activities for the winning school teams in the Odyssey of the Mind program, Hong Kong regional tournament. The Odyssey of the Mind program represents the discovery journey of the participants while using their 4Cs to solve the program’s challenging problems.

In sum, this project aims to:

  • broaden the HKU student engagement by inviting STEM/STEAM-related disciplines to join this program so that they can collaborate with BEdBSc students in teaching and learning (interdisciplinary learning);
  • emphasise STEM/STEAM-related education and 4C skills in local regional contexts through the experiential learning project (interdisciplinary learning);
  • develop quality activity-based STEM/STEAM-related 4C teaching materials for local school pupils (innovation and impact);

The UGs will first attend a few sessions to understand issues and trends in STEM/STEAM-related education and theories of 4C skills. During the experiential learning project, they will be supported by HKU instructors and local mentors to develop curriculum materials and organize STEM/STEAM-related for secondary school students. This proposed project will broaden the HKU student learning experience as discussed above.



Duckietown Project: A Cross-disciplinary Project for Students to Collaboratively Explore and Experiment Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) in a Playful Way on a Self-driving Robotics Platform

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Dr. Loretta Y.K. Choi, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

Duckietown Project is an interdisciplinary robotics project that aims to democratise A.I. and robotics research. Through this project, students will gain tangible experience in a fun and playful way in prototyping self-driving robots and applying A.I. to the physical education platform developed by MIT for experiential learning.

A project highlight is the students’ participation in the A.I. Driving Olympics (AI-DO) international contests, with the live final events co-locate with NIPS and ICRA, the prestigious conferences in A.I. and robotics. Through the preparation of the competitions for over half a year, students will undergo intensive trainings, foster peer collaborations, solidify their knowledge and demonstrate a sustainable learning outcome. Students will compete in employing their A.I. models to perform autonomous real-life tasks (e.g. lane following, point-to-point navigation) on a physical platform. The trips to the live competitions of AI-DO allow students to meet peer contestants of common interest from other academic institutions (e.g. MIT, Tsinghua University, Georgia Tech), and at the same time to conduct intellectual and experience exchange on A.I. and robotics with students and researchers around the globe.

Our debut at AI-DO will also mark the launch of the HKU Duckietown Project team – our vision is to establish the team as an inclusive community for HKU students interested in self-driving cars to gain practical project experience, in the meantime to promote autonomy education and research. On a side note, students will experience first-hand the social and ethical issues that potentially arise from determining the algorithmic parameters for autonomous driving, which gives greater insights to students and researchers in developing social and legal related frameworks for autonomous vehicles.



Disability Rights Clinic: Achieving the goals of the CRPD through shared learning experiences and knowledge exchange

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: LLAW3246
Ms. Lindsay Ernst, Faculty of Law
Number of undergraduate students participating: 24

The Disability Rights Clinic will provide an opportunity for law students to gain knowledge and practical experience in the rapidly developing area of disability rights law. Students will experience the values and depth behind the phrase “Nothing about us without us” through collaborating with persons with disabilities to

  1. draft and implement community legal education curriculum,
  2. conduct field research and draft reports on innovative approaches for advancing disability rights in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, and
  3. contribute to a growing bilingual database (in English and Chinese) of legal research documenting disability rights initiatives, legislation, policies and case law.

In recent years, disability law has gained attention and prominence. There is a growing demand for lawyers with knowledge and experience in disability rights; lawyers who not only know the law but also understand the practice and values of key concepts within disability rights such as supported decision-making, individual autonomy and inclusion. At the same time, disabled advocates and disabled persons’ organizations have mobilized around the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. More disabled advocates have started to express their own rights and challenges, participate in public processes and carry out research to uncover inequalities and rights deprivation.

Through partnerships with innovative and progressive disability rights groups (both domestically and internationally), students will acquire substantive knowledge in international human rights law and disability rights law while actively applying the knowledge to practice through providing service to the community. The Disability Rights Clinic will challenge students to discover, analyze and advance disability rights through multiple experiential learning methods — community legal education, advocacy and media, research and fact-finding, and raising community awareness.



Tropical & Temperate Marine Ecology field course to Australia

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: BIOL3305
Dr. Bayden Russell, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

This course will use a field-based approach to provide students with an advanced understanding of marine and estuarine ecology in both tropical and temperate regions. Students will compare these ecosystems in Hong Kong and Australia, experiencing their similarities and differences. The course is experiential learning, using hands-on field sampling techniques to familarise the students with scientific techniques used in ecological sampling, environmental assessment and field ecology. It will also integrate cultural aspects of contemporary and Indigenous Australian culture and understanding of the environment which will be compared to the more developed environment of Hong Kong.



Capstone Experience in Nutritional and Environmental Education in Cambodia with UNlimited Institute 2019

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: BIOL4962/BIOL4964/ENVS4966
Dr. Jennifer M.F. Wan, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 25

In the Capstone project, students will be provided background information about Cambodian community and research know-how. The students, mainly from science-related disciplines, are obliged to prepare training tools for knowledge exchange with Cambodian university students, and project materials for field study in rural villages. Students are required to come up with remedial solutions for severe impacts of climate change and environmental pollutions. It is supported by our massive connections with tertiary education, government and third sector that can offer loads of support on equipping the students with necessary skills. The project aims to deliver knowledge regarding nutrition and environment in order to improve health and agricultural practice in Cambodia. It is important for improving Cambodian’s livelihood that is heavily dependent on agriculture and garmenting industries.



Developing the research-oriented field study course in the Environmental Science Major

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: ENVS3022
Dr. Moriaki Yasuhara, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

This field trip includes environmental-science-related activities in practice. The main component is the project “Kaichu Doro Leeway Construction and its Impact on Marine Ecosystem”. Kaichu Doro Leeway is a causeway, constructed in 1971, divides the southern part of Kin Bay tidal flat into two separate habitats. Seagrass beds are on the north side of the road, while rnud is evident on the south side. In this project the students will examine historical changes in the diversity and fauna! composition of different taxa (corals and microfossils) and environmental parameters by taking sediment cores from the both side of the leeway to assess the ecological/environmental impacts of the construction of Kaichu-Doro and more broadly degradation history of Okinawa’s subtropical marine ecosystem during the late Holocene.

Explain what kind of issues or need will be addressed and to what extent the target community stakeholders will be benefited. Describe how students will be guided and benefited from any community partnership, teachers and/or peers. Specify deliverables, evidence of impact and any other useful information.)

From this year, we aim more research-oriented field course to give students more hands-on experience of real academic research, rather than showcasing wider but shallower topics as we did before (as ex-ENVS4955 that is called as ENVS3022 from this academic year). We will obtain several sediment cores by SCUBA diving in the both sides of Kaichu Doro Leeway (this part will be done by experienced TA/PhD and postdoc divers), conduct extensive conservation paleoecological and historical ecology analyses (RPG/postdoc group leaders will guide undergrads), and eventually publish an academic paper on a peer-reviewed international journal based on this project. This experience will give students invaluable experience that will be an ideal entrance for more advanced project type study, like FYP.

The target community stakeholders will be various companies, NGOs, and government departments (eg, EPD, AFCD). They will benefit by employing our graduates who will be better educated and trained through this course. This project allows the students to practically learn marine ecosystem degradation through field biological survey/observation and paleontological analysis of sediment core samples. Better educated students/graduates regarding experiential learning and hands-on research experience will greatly contribute the Hong Kong Society continuously through their jobs and through their high environmental awareness. One peer-reviewed paper in an international journal will be pubiished from the project and press release for the paper will be done to attract media.

The students will be guided by HKU and Okinawan teachers and demonstrators carefully (including briefing in Hong Kong, and direct teaching and guidance in Okinawa).



Impact Assessment of Micro-finance project in India

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: FOSS2019/CLIT3019
Ms. Elsa Lam, Faculty of Social Sciences
Number of undergraduate students participating: 5

In this project, the Social Sciences students and comparative literature students will work together to examine the strengths and weaknesses of “access to credit” as a solution to the poverty issues in India. By collaborating with the local NGO and its funder, an international NGO, the students will conduct loan client case study, impact assessment and micro-finance overview in India. The successful delivery of the project relies on the collaborative competence of writing (strength of literature students) and social research (strength of social sciences students). The multi-media clips and case studies prepared by the students will document the best practices for the loan clients. The partnering local and international NGO will use the results to further improve the program on both operational and strategic levels.



Post-conflict/disaster Community Building in Nepal

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: FOSS2019/CLIT3019
Ms. Elsa Lam, Faculty of Social Sciences
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8

Students from Faculty of Social Sciences and Department of Comparative Literature will work together to conduct need analysis case report on two post-conflict community building issues in Nepal: migrant worker and post-earthquake disaster. The students will be guided by a social think tank focusing on changing socio-political dynamics of Nepalese society. Through the interaction with the students, the stories of the migrant workers and vulnerable families affected by the post-earthquake disaster will be heard. Also, most qualitative data will be used by the think tank for advocacy and community mobilization purposes.



Retracing the Indochina Wars and How It Changed Journalism

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: N/A
Professor Keith Richburg, Faculty of Social Sciences
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

After immersing themselves in some of the defining literature to emerge from the Indochina War, the students will travel from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, retracing the steps of foreign journalists whose reporting on the conflicts in Vietnam and Cambodia altered the course of the war and changed the nature of journalism today. Students will write reports on the events of the war, the reconciliation and post-war reconstruction and development 40 years later, under the direction of the instructor who is experienced reporting from both countries. They will meet modern-day journalists from the countries to understand how the legacy of the Indochina War still defines both countries today. The course instructor will work with local partners and act as a guide.

Through the process, students will learn about the roles foreign journalists played in reporting the truth during war and issues faced during hostile reporting, some of which still exist today in conflict reporting; students will also deepen their reporting, news-gathering and storytelling skills in a real-world setting.

This trip is interdisciplinary in nature, anchored in journalism but touching on recent history, literature and film. At the end of the trips, students will accumulate work samples for their portfolios that will enhance future employment prospects.



Tsitsikamma Intertidal Ecology Fieldtrip

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: BIOL3328
Professor Gray Williams, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

Students will join a week long fieldcamp where they will investigate the marine ecology of the South Africa coastline with students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ, a member of Universitas 21), North West University (South Africa) and the University of Arkansas (USA). The fieldtrips will involve working on exposed rocky shores in the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve as well as trips to visit estuaries and exposed sandy shore flats. During the trip the students will receive lectures from staff from the FOUR universities. Students will be divided into different (mixed university) groups. They will be required to undertake group project work and present their findings to the class during seminars and tutorials. Students will live in a camp site and will be responsible for cooking and general camp-upkeep duties in their groups.

This exchange has been ongoing for 10 years for postgraduate students and has for the last three years involved HKU undergraduates. As part of the exchange we host students from the University of Johannesburg (this year 10 students; one staff member) to join us on the Ecology & Evolution (BIOL 2309) residential fieldcourse in the New Territories and the UJ students gain credit for attending our course. This is, therefore, a true exchange between the two Universitas 21 members and their students.

Overview video: https://youtu.be/j6ObVt2yM80
Full documentary: https://youtu.be/Q4ATeIPkblg



Coupled Human-natural Systems: An Experiential Learning Field Work in USA, Malaysia and Hong Kong

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: ENVS2018
Dr. Vengatesen Thiyagarajan, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8

This program will explore the mechanisms by which coastal communities in the US and SE Asia are facing these expanding challenges, including their impacts on coastal ecosystems. Using a comparative approach, students will explore the diverse challenges facing coastal societies, and will gain an in-depth understanding of coupled human-natural systems on the coasts of New England (USA) and Southeast Asia (Hong Kong and Malaysia). A major emphasis of the program will be on solutions, and how by taking a global perspective we can accelerate methods for climate change adaptation that span traditional cultural barriers.



BrailleAssist

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Sidhant Gupta, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8

Our project “BrailleAssist” is a project where we intend to develop open source freely distributable braille keyboards and readers for the visually impaired.

Technology is empowerment in the modern age. A number of public and private services now require you to use a computer or mobile phone to register or use their facilities or access opportunities. Countries such as France and Finland consider access to the internet to now be a legal right. However, the visually impaired community has been most seriously affected by the recent growth of technology. Most of them rely on audio based screen readers to use computers and mobile phone and are thus seriously disadvantaged in terms of opportunities available to them since their digital literacy is hampered. The solution is to develop a Braille based keyboard and reader. Although they do exist, Braille based keyboards and Braille displays are very expensive (upwards of 2000 USD in fact) due to their reliance on old piezoelectric actuation technology for the braille display. Further, these devices largely exist only for desktop computers and not mobile devices. Due to this a large number of visually impaired people cannot access smartphone apps and other newer technology and are forced to use button based phones.

Thus, in order to further inclusivity in society, our project shall develop an ​open source​ mobile based braille keyboard and reader which can be attached to the back of a modern smartphone and used. The device will be the first of its kind and will be available open source for anyone to develop further/manufacture for free.

In order to develop this technology we will recruit a team of engineers and first go to Shenzhen in China to develop the braille based mobile devices at Seeed Studio – one of the largest hardware technology startups and makerspaces in the world. With the help of the vast resources at Seeed Studio the team from HKU will rapidly prototype a design for the braille device and ensure that it is functional and useful. All the developmental data will be released with an open source licence so that it can be publically used and developed further for free – benefiting the visually impaired community globally.

Finally, to effectively test our device, get good feedback and disseminate our information we will travel to Tokyo, Japan. Japan has over 1.6 million visually impaired individuals, most of whom are highly braille literate. Massive government and social support for the issue in Japan has led to numerous government initiatives which are looking for technology to help solve the problem. In Tokyo we will be working with the Tokyo Helen Keller Association and the Japan Braille Library (The Japan Braille Library is the nation’s largest library for people with visual impairments and print disabilities) to help test our device with braille literate blind individuals as well as distribute the devices and disseminate the technology.



Experiential STEM Education in Bangkok

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Gokce Ozer, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

We are organizing a 2 week trip to Bangkok in Thailand during the winter break (Dec-Jan 2018/2019). We will collaborate with Saint Joseph Convent School to provide the students with introductory insight into STEM education. We plan to achieve this objective by providing hands-on experience with electronics and software programming and building simple yet wonderful projects.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education adopts an integrative, cross-disciplinary approach for pupils to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle real-life problems. To achieve this goal, it is essential to develop HKU STEM-related major students to become proficient STEM educators. STEM is important because our world depends on it. The economy, our general well-being—it’s all backed by science, technology, engineering, and math. Thus, when we refer to STEM, it’s not just coding and lab coats. It’s the underpinning of manufacturing, food production, health care, and so much more that frankly, we might take for granted, but surely can’t live without.

The students will have the opportunity to benefit from a multi-track project in which they will be given a chance to choose which area(s) they would like to work on, thus reflecting more critically on their approach to their project. HKU students and the target students will be working closely to develop on their ideas and make them come true.
The students at HKU shall benefit through experiential and practical learning as well as international transdisciplinary project experience in Bangkok. They will also gain experience from learning about professional STEM education and the issues related to the area.



2018-2019 YIng De Group Winter Service Trip

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Lau Chun Leung, Faculty of Social Sciences
Number of undergraduate students participating: 21

Ying De Group is a registered charitable organization. Our group is proposing a project entitled ‘2018-2019 Ying De Winter Service Trip’ (2018-2019 年度英德小組冬季服務旅 程), which begins from July 2018 to January 2019. The 7-month project consists of an internal preparation trip, two pre-trip workshops for participants, an external service trip and a post-trip debriefing session.

For the internal preparation trip , the committee members are going to take a 5-day trip to Yingde City in late July. During the preparation trip, various activities and preparation work will be done, such as village and home visits. The external service trip, which will be held at the beginning of January, will provide participants with opportunities to experience rural village life and volunteer teaching, thus allowing them to interact with local villagers and students. Pre-trip workshops and post-trip debriefing sessions aim to help participants to prepare for the service trip and to consolidate their learning experiences during the service trip. After deducting the costs, all proceeds raised will be used to subsidize Yingde students who have financial difficulties in continuing their studies.



Beyond Belief – Promoting Mental and Physical Development through Playing and Active Learning

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Wong Yue Hei, Faculty of Arts
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9

Upon the success of our first project, we would love to build on our experiences and continue the work of love and hope in Cambodia with our passion in sharing positive values. In our second project, we are going to construct a playground at Samart School – Education for Cambodia Organization (E.C.O.) to promote mental and physical development through play and active learning. Samart School is an educational center which offers free education to students living in rural areas in Cambodia. It is located in the village of Spean Kaek, 17 kilometers east of Siem Reap City and few kilometers away from Bakong Temple, a popular destination for travelers visiting the Angkorian ruins of Northwest Cambodia. Please kindly visit their website below, if you would like to know more about them. http://eco-cambodia.wixsite.com/samart-school

We would also like to promote volunteerism within HKU undergraduates as well as in Cambodia community. For HKU students, the project could enhance their social responsibility by working for and together with locals (Claiborne et. al, 2018). With direct contact and communication with the locals, We hope this project could plant a seed in them and this project could be acted as a starting point, inspiring them to serve more to different communities. In fact, core members of Beyond Belief would be perfect illustrations of how this type of projects could promote volunteerism for participants. Most core members are fueled by their experiences in doing voluntary projects in Cambodia, what they have felt has encouraged them to work more for the community. Beyond Belief would like to continue this positive feedback, encouraging more people to involve themselves in voluntary work.

Not only within HKU students, we hope this positivity could also be spread in the Cambodia community. With our arrival, we hope the students could have more understanding on voluntary work and that the spirit of service could be implanted to Cambodian students. Our Cambodian helpers from last project continued to work with us in this project, and hopefully will continue to serve cambodian community in the coming days. Therefore, by continuing service in Cambodia, we hope to promote volunteerism to all people involving in this project.



Practical Consulting Exposure

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Tiffany Cheung, Faculty of Business and Economics
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

ECG is a non-profit student-led consul ng social enterprise founded at the University of Hong Kong. Our mission is to offer consul ng services to non-profit organiza ons, social enterprises and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which would otherwise be unable to afford professional consul ng services.

ECG harnesses the collec ve knowledge of students, scholars and industry professionals in order to deliver unique and innova ve solu ons to our clients. Our broad spectrum of members, primarily undergraduate students at HKU, allows for a fresh and unique perspec ve that would otherwise be impossible with a set of homogenous members. Short and simple, we believe that organiza onal diversity is synonymous with opera onal crea vity.

As part of the project we organise weekly training sessions for our consultants at HKU. We invite some of the leading minds from various industries, including consul ng, to share their wisdom & experience with our consultants. These along with mentors will help HKU students understand their client projects be er and hence allow them to apply their business skills to solve problems for their clients.

The goal of this project is to give HKU students global exposure in terms of business management and consul ng. We are typing up with Phandeeyar – the largest accelerator in Myanmar and Brinc – A massive global startup accelerator in China to find SME’s that require consul ng and help solve their problems. It’s an incredible learning experience for HKU students to be able to work with real companies who have real – an impac ul products and see how they can add value to their work.



Migrant Health Initiative – Mobile Clinic 2019

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Trista Man Yan Li, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 8

The mobile clinic project will be held in June, 2019 for a 2-week time, stationing in four migrant schools at rural area of Mae Sot, a city at Thai-Myanmar border. The programme targets at migrant students and their families from Myanmar, who currently reside in Mae Sot either in hope to earn a better living or to escape from political or ethnic conflicts in Burma. They have been having difficulty attaining healthcare services due to their identity, financial and social status; therefore delays in getting medical assistance are not uncommon. Their inadequate health knowledge also results in missing of the best timing for medical treatment.

We hope that by initiating this health project, with doctors and medical students visiting from Hong Kong, their barriers in accessing healthcare services can be partly overcome. But most importantly, as a health service offer could not alter the situation immediately, we aim to empower the migrants with basic health knowledge and skills by health education, to raise their awareness in hygiene, and induce a change of mindset in them – even in face of scarcity of resources, lots of things can be done to prevent or deal with illnesses, and migrants themselves play the most crucial role in managing their health instead of doctors.

We will also construct a health education scheme for the migrant schools, which HKU participants will deliver when they arrive at each school. Participants will also prepare additional material that can provide health education curriculum spanning the entire year, and hand over to the local teachers for them to deliver. The education material shall cater to the local needs as well as level of background knowledge.

Through the project, HKU students will be able to gain hands-on experience in health education and holding public seminar in a local community setting so as to promote health-related knowledge. We will invite representatives from Health in Action, who have ample experience in health education, to be our facilitators. They will give guidance and feedback to the participants in pre-trip training and simulation workshops.

Secondly, participants will be able to understand more about the tropical diseases and their manifestation. As these diseases, such as malaria, are not common in Hong Kong, health-related students have rare opportunity to observe and study such diseases. In the trip, they will have chances to study the diseases and learn from the medical staff in person.

Last but not least, the project is expected to give participants a global perspective in understanding social issues and sustainable development, especially on the topic of migrant issues. Debriefing will be conducted by project coordinators and local migrant teachers to lead the participants to reflect on their roles and responsibilities under the global issue of migrants and ethnicity conflicts. As the project connects HKU students with Myanmar students, teachers and other community members, intercultural communication is promoted. HKU students will also develop enthusiasm to share their experience with others and raise awareness of the general public concerning the migrant issue in Myanmar.



DEI-HKU Winter Experience Program

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Hung Man Ho, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9

For this project, students will be visiting the Dayalbagh Educational Institute in Agra, India. The Common Core supports fully the funding application of this student initiated project and will be happy to provide recommendation letter if needed.

This was originally a Winter exchange and experience program offered by the Horizon Office. India is a country where sustainable agricultural practices are pursued as a national mission due to the importance of agriculture in its economy and for providing food and jobs. And the city of Agra is ranked second in-terms of its ratio of population engaged in the agriculture industry to its total employment of the city (40%). The exchange program itself is unique because students from HKU will engage in actual farming activities and have hands-on experience in working with textile printing, weaving, and leather goods making during the visit. Students would learn from experts and practitioners of the latest sustainable farming practices and technologies. So we feel that we should do more than just experience the farming, textile and leather making and think of ways to extend, share and further develop from what we would learn from this exchange program. Some of the group members, therefore pointed out that we could create projects that echo the sustainable agricultural initiative put forth by the SAR government in 2014 to support sustainable agricultural practices in Hong Kong.

This project would act as a pilot program for the long term partnership between Dayalbagh Educational Institute (DEI) and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) on two key initiatives. One is the experimentation of developing an educational program for sustainable farming in HKU and the other is the renewal of traditional textile and leather making with up to date technologies. There is also the potential of technological innovation and transfer between HKU and DEI for advancing farming techniques and increasing productivity.

Following the trip, students would submit their findings regarding sustainable farming in India and share the information with their fellow HKU students through a series of disseminating activities, for example, talks, workshops, and implementation of new sustainable farming practices on the campus. The talks for example, will invite local sustainable farming practitioners to share their knowledge and insight in the development of sustainable agriculture in Hong Kong.
To implement sustainable farming educational workshops at the university, we would liaise with targeted stakeholders in HKU such as relevant offices, academics and HKU students. These include the HKU Sustainability Office, lecturer of Common Core courses such as CCGL9016 Feeding the World, CCGL9058 Villages and Global Future, and rooftop farming coordinators of residential halls (e.g. General Education Office, New Colleges Hall).

The international partnership is important because through the sharing of experiences from DEI, it would provide a more global perspective on sustainable development to the HKU students and make them aware of the connection of sustainable farming and the consequence of malpractices to environmental problems. In the long term, we would like to participate in the international Satoyama Initiative for world-wide sustainable practices, which the HKU Sustainability Lab has participated (https://satoyama-initiative.org/living-water-community-revitalization-an-agricultural-led-action-engagement-and-incubation-programme-at-lai-chi-wo-sustainable-lai-chi-wo-programme/).

The second initiative is that the project hopes to explore the opportunity of entrepreneur venture between DEI and HKU students with regard to DEI’s traditional textile and leather productions. With the aim of updating the traditional and indigenous craft with contemporary technology and ecommerce, it is hoped that students would be able to identify a niche market for selling and promoting the value of traditional and indigenous produce such as textile and leather to a global clientele. Students from the two institutions will work on developing smart clothing that is suitable for the contemporary life style of Hong Kong and beyond.



SharkTracker

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Saumya Gupta, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

The project involves building Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (BRUVS) to monitor shark movement and activity. BRUVS are camera systems that are lowered to the bottom of the ocean floor and placed in regions with maximum visibility. The cameras are controlled remotely, and baits are attached to attract prey. Recording cameras are used and reviewed later to identify and numerate populations of large predators (sharks, in this case) and observe behaviors. BRUVS are becoming more widely used due to their non-invasive nature and reliability. They can be used as long-term monitoring tools, as opposed to more traditional survey methods, and do not require animals to be captured and tested.

In this project, students will use their combined expertise to create BRUVS systems and with the help of Lamave Organisation, lower them into the water to observe the interactions between sharks and their marine environment.

To make the BRUVS, students will first go to Shenzhen and create prototypes at X.Factory, Shenzhen. Cameras will also be bought here and checked for validity and usage. The prototypes will be tested for remote control and waterproof use in Hong Kong.

At Lamave Organisation, the students will spend a week or so learning about the different survey methods and seeing the prototype used for actual research. In addition to exposure to marine environments, students will have the opportunity to interact with professors and project participants who have extensive knowledge about conservation methods. Students in marine biology or biodiversity conservation will be needed to identify shark species and guide the project according to the needs of the research, as BRUVS are not equipped to perform these activities. This will be an invaluable source of practical application knowledge for them. It will also give students the opportunity to collaborate with students from different faculties and see how different theories can be practically applied to situations.

These surveys are imperative for community knowledge and awareness about marine interactions. Scientists who are currently working on these projects will be able to educate students about the research methods and in turn, have additional manpower to conduct their research. Coastal communities will gain great benefits from such research due to knowledge about behavior. Fisheries can be educated about better fishing methods and conservation efforts through knowledge gained by surveys.

Thus, SharkTracker will have great benefits for students participating in the project, as well as the organisations (Lamave Organisation, X.Factory Shenzhen) associated with helping the project members. Eventually, the success of this project could have lasting impacts on the education and research in the marine biology and engineering fields.



ClearBot

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Sidhant Gupta, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

Our project “ClearBot” is a project where we intend to develop a water-cleaning bot for tackling the water pollution problem of Bali. In today’s world, the extended use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials continues to worsen and impact earth’s ecological systems which supports human existence. Indonesia follows the suit of other big countries facing the immense issue of water pollution, with Bali quoted to experience the water-plastic pollution ‘on a scale never seen before’ (source: ABC News). Our water-cleaning bot named “ClearBot” integrates simple ideas across different functional areas to produce a semi-autonomous robot which cleans water through discrete human control. Not only will our bot enhance the efficiency of water-cleaning services, the low prices of these bots (estimated to be around 16000 HKD) will compliment us with the scaling-up operations as well.
[https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/asia/bali-plastic-pollution-sea-diver-video-indonesia-problem-manta-rays -a8246241.html]

Our project idea is based on a robot which is fitted with motors and wings (for mobility), and a waste-collection bin system (for removing the plastic and other related waste from the water bodies). To successfully implement our project, we will work on the hardware and software aspects of our water bot in HKU itself to begin with.

Since our university has high quality rapid prototyping hardware tools (like 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, etc.) and the related professional softwares (like SolidWorks), it will be beneficial for us to finish a preliminary working prototype during our stay here in HKU, and work out all the minor technical bugs. Some of the initial prototype designs are shown below for reference, which will 3D printed out, assembled and tested on the approval of the project.

We will then rigorously test our devices in the polluted waters of Bali in collaboration with Green School. Green School is pretty well-associated with environmental movements, particularly with water-pollution initiatives in Indonesia, having hosted TED Talks and inviting the likes of Ban Ki-Moon, Jane Goodall, Gunter Pauli and Michael Franti. Based on our initial tests, we will make some tweaks in our bots to adapt to the waters of Bali in order to to successfully collect a major portion of waste in a sample of water. In order to make our project more inclusive, we will ask the students of Green School for ideas for further development of our bot, and how to make it more efficient and effective. Based on the inputs from the students, teachers and our own team, we will modify our bot accordingly (both the hardware and software aspect) to achieve our project objective. Finally, we will perform a test run in a larger sample of water to finalise our product.



Teaching Music to Children with Special Needs with the aid of Technology-Based Methods

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Madhav Gupta, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 9

The project will make the use of technology based methods to teach music to Students with Special Needs in Philippines. Music education has the potential to provide students with lifelong enjoyment, a sense of community, and a way of understanding themselves, others, and the world around them. Including students with disabilities into a traditional music education classroom may seem like a challenge, especially when the class is very performance oriented such as in a band, orchestra, or general music setting. We wish to bridge that gap by making use of ​assistive music technology such as software applications on tablets and computers, and easy to play percussive instruments. ​With the effective and well planned use of technology, a motivated
teacher can help any student at any functional level become a part of the music playing process.

The workshop would last for two weeks in Philippines. The reason why we chose Philippines is that because it has a very large number of organizations and schools for students with special needs​. We wish to collaborate with ​Mandaluyong City’s “Persons with Disabilities Affairs Division (PDAD)” and “Project T.E.A.C.H”, since they have prior experience in teaching music to disabled children. Moreover, their music teaching workshop was covered in an article by UNICEF as well:
https://www.unicef.org/philippines/reallives_21532.html#.XEGTRs8za8o
We should also contact SPU Manila as well since they have also implemented such workshops before and would be able to help us greatly. Depending on the extent of support we receive and the quality of target students provided, we should decide on whether to collaborate with SPU Manila or with PDAD/T.E.A.C.H.

Our partner organisation would help us identify the exact group of disabled students which would be most suitable for this project and most amenable to the musical experience. With their help, the curriculum of the workshop and the lesson plan for each session will also be drafted. Their inputs and guidance would be extremely useful since they have implemented such a project before. However, what our team would bring to the table is that we would be implementing the workshop with technology based methods which they haven’t attempted before, which would make the teaching process more interactive and the students will be able to play much more advanced pieces of music than they could on the real instrument. We also hope that the music teachers already present over there would learn how to use these softwares and applications in a short period of time, so that they can continue to use these methods in the future. Furthermore, since most of these softwares are open-source, as engineers we would be able to even modify these softwares to make them more tailor made to the target group of students we are working with. We would be able to give our insights as to which softwares/applications are more suitable for certain groups of disabled students.

During these two weeks, we would engage the participants in playing musical instruments both on electronic devices and easy to play instruments. We plan on using low budget instruments such as the shuffles, melodica, drum and the tambourine which are easy to play. The children can also learn on tablet devices using user-friendly and interactive applications that allow the user to play music on the iOS app store and the Google play store. These applications are tailor-made for children with disabilities and the responsive nature of the touch interface would instill enthusiasm in children to play music. Such applications can be installed on the laptop as well. An example of such softwares are Soft Mozart, which is an effective app used to teach children with special needs the keyboard(or melodica), and also Garage Band. More information on the software and hardware used can be found at:
https://www.musicedmagic.com/tales-from-the-podium/music-technology-for-special-needs-students.html

We plan on having a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio between the teachers and the students. Apart from our team consisting of people who know how to play an instrument, we also plan on recruiting psychology students to facilitate social interactions among the participants and handle behavioral issues. Feedback from the participants during the initial sessions will also dictate how the upcoming sessions would be planned out. Sessions would include music listening and sharing, improvisation using different music instruments and also jamming sessions in which multiple children will play together. We feel the jamming sessions would be an amazing experience, since multiple children would be collaborating and communicating with each other through music.

Since we are interested in something more long-lasting, we plan on setting up the music technology environment within the school, so that the music classes can be continued by teachers of the school even after we leave. Setting up of the music environment includes setting up of all the music instruments and devices needed for the children to play and instructing the teachers of the school on simple music lessons to include in the student’s curriculum. After the programme, we will be in regular touch with the school to get feedback from them and provide them assistance if need be. Details of our program will be outlined for implementation in other schools in Philippines, or elsewhere.