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Experiential Learning Fund Staff-initiated Project 2019-20 (First Round)


Project Title Project Coordinator(s)
Critical Parallels
Course code: ARCH4071
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Ms. Claudia Andrea Pinochet
Faculty of Architecture
History and Culture in One Dish: Multidisciplinary Regional Studies of Northeast China
Course Code: SINO2010
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Dr. Loretta Kim
Faculty of Arts
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: BBED6792
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Ms. Jessie Chow
Faculty of Education
Developing the Competence in STEM Education: Focusing on the Feedback of Pupils
Course code: BBED6747
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Dr. Valerie Yip
Faculty of Education
An Experiential Approach to Learning and Teaching in a Regional Educational Institution: Being a Culturally Responsive Teacher
Course code: BBED6742
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Dr. Valerie Yip
Faculty of Education
Fostering 4Cs (Creativity, Complex Problem-Solving Skills, Communication and Collaboration skills) through Engaging STEM/STEAM-related EL Activities
Course code: TBA
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Ms. Promail Leung
Faculty of Education
Experiential Learning on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Course code: COM3414
Number of undergraduate students participating: 40
Dr. Kenneth Wong
Faculty of Engineering
A Collaborative Art cross Science Innovation Project Between India and HKU: Experiential Learning Project in India
Course code: TBA
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
Dr. Nicol Pan
Common Core Office

Experiential Learning Fund Student-initiated Project 2019-20 (First Round)


Project Title Project Coordinator(s)
Innovative Musical Learning Experience for Underprivileged & Special Needs Children
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Mr. Tanuj Agarwal
Facutly of Engineering
Renewable Energy Device Building and Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12
Ms. Wong Ka Yee
Faculty of Engineering
Project for NGOs in Myanmar
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
Ms. Chung Yi Han
Faculty of Law
Nepal Community Health Project 2019 {Project Namtar 4}
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15
Mr. Yik Siu Long Thomas
LKS Faculty of Medicine
HKU iGEM 2019
Number of undergraduate students participating: 18
Mr. LI Wing Ho
Faculty of Science
The Japanese Whaling Industry: an Ecological, Cultural, Legal and Political Debate
Number of undergraduate students participating: 17
Mr. Vu Ka Hei
Faculty of Science


Critical Parallels

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: ARCH4071
Ms. Claudia Andrea Pinochet, Faculty of Architecture
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

Fourth-year architecture students will travel to Scandinavia as part of an architectural design studio. This capstone experience will consist of a 20 day visit to Oslo and other parts of Scandinavia with HKU students and will be part of a collaboration with the Oslo School of Architecture (AHO) in NonNay. The collaborating group of HKU and AHO students will be examining similar subjects and exchanging research to develop individual design proposals. Students will be given access to AHO’s campus premises and participate in joint reviews and activities.

Building on the relationships fostered by the local faculty, we will visit several local practices and architectural projects in the region. They will also be able to meet several actors involved in the planning, execution and maintenance of existing building environment and infrastructure in the European context.

The trip will offer an intensive program allowing the group to visit, observe, measure and compare architecture, in a very different context, pushing students to take on the role of the investigator, reflecting and reporting their findings through synthetic exercises. Because the trip takes place within an existing course curriculum, it will be easy for the students to directly apply the acquired knowledge into the existing course goals.

During our visit to Oslo, students will also be able to participate in a 10-day workshop organized by the Oslo Architecture Treinnale (OAT) called The Academy, run in conjunction with AHO, Belgian firm Rotor and the local authorities. This workshop will be joined by students from eight other universities around the world, including Cambridge University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Architectural Association in London.



History and Culture in One Dish: Multidisciplinary Regional Studies of Northeast China

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: SINO2010
Dr. Loretta Kim, Faculty of Arts
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

Students will visit the field site, conduct interviews with voluntary interlocutors about how different forms of hotpot are associated with various ethnic groups, taste-test hotpot foods, and acquire images and other forms of evidence as produced through documentation with audio-visual devices or as found in repositories such as the county archives. After returning to Hong Kong, the participating students will compose oral histories and present these narratives with images and other relevant content to classmates at the end of the semester.

Community stakeholders will and learn more about their home region’s culture and history through the re-sharing of these findings by the students through digital transmission.



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 third 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. 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: BBED6792
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: Focusing on the Feedback of Pupils

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: BBED6747
Dr. Valerie Yip, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

This project is a continuation of a project funded by GHELC in the previous two years. It will continue to adopt a multiple-track approach (please refer to the course outline) to provide the flexibility for HKU undergraduates (UGs) 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 academic units and non-governmental and governmental stakeholders to support the ultimate beneficiaries – the school pupils.

This year the UGs will be guided to become reflective practitioners in education. The project participants will develop an instrument to collect the pupils’ feedback after the workshop implementation and revise the curriculum materials accordingly for future use.



An Experiential Approach to Learning and Teaching in a Regional Educational Institution: Being a Culturally Responsive Teacher

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: BBED6742
Dr. Valerie Yip, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

Past participants of the experiential learning course ”An Experiential Approach to Learning and Teaching in a Regional Educational Institution” (BBED6742) provided excellent feedback for over three years. In 2017-18, since the project emphasised on STEM education that is the latest development of science-related teaching, more non-education major undergraduates (UGs) were attracted to join the project. Moreover, these students expressed strong agreement in an end-of-course evaluation that this programme had enhanced their understanding of teaching in a diverse context and allowed them to put academic theories in action.

Built on the previous success, this project will aim to:

  • emphasise culturally responsive STEM education in the immersion period (innovation/interdisciplinary learning/internalization). HKU students will interact more frequently with the Thailand teachers and students about their views and practices in STEM education. This will not only facilitate STEM teaching to be more meaningfully connected to the out-of-school lives of Thailand students, but also promote intercultural exchanges of views and practices in STEM education between the stakeholders.
  • produce quality teaching (STEM) materials for the Thailand school to use (impact).
  • continue to invite BEd/BEng students to join this programme so that they can collaborate with BEdBSc students in teaching and learning (interdisciplinary learning).

With the support of HKU instructors and Sarasas teachers, the UGs will have intensive interaction with Thailand students before the two weeks of immersion, e.g. by administering the Sarasas students’ pre-visit questionnaire, discussing curriculum objectives and content through social media, etc. starting from Mar 2020. Right before the immersion, the participants will attend a few more sessions to understand the issues and trends in science (STEM) education with particular emphasis on culturally responsive teaching. During the immersion period, they will be supported by HKU instructors and Thailand mentors to develop curriculum materials, and organize science/cultural activities. This proposed study will enhance the HKU students better understand how to teach STEM based on the cultural background of students and teachers.



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

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: TBA
Ms. Promail Leung, Faculty of Education
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

This project is a continuation of a project funded by GHELF last year. With the incessant support of GHELF, a new credit-based course ”Fostering 4Cs (Creativity, Complex Problem-Solving Skills, Communication and Collaboration skills) through engaging STEM/STEAM-related EL Activities” will be opened. This course aims not only at developing HKU students’ interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and beliefs of learning and teaching of STEM/STEAM-related context (both in Hong Kong and USA). It also aims at enhancing their understanding and mastery of the 21st century (4C) skills, that is, Creativity, Complex problem solving, Communication and Collaboration 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; and (3) prepare them for the US World Finals competition in Iowa State University in 27-30 May 2020. Besides, HKU students will apply the 4Cs in setting up a booth creatively and collaboratively, to showcase the impacts of our unique culture through effective communications to the worldwide participants in the US. The Odyssey of the Mind program represents the discovery journey of the participants while using their 4Cs to solve the program’s challenging problems.

To sum, this project aims to:

  • broaden the HKU student engagement by inviting BABEd/BEdBSs/BEdBSc/BSc/BEng to join this course and the Odyssey of the Mind Program (regional and international) so that they can collaborate with BEdBSc students in teaching and learning (interdisciplinary learning/internationalization);
  • emphasise STEM/STEAM-related education and 4C skills in different regional contexts through the experiential learning project (interdisciplinary learning/internationalization);
  • develop quality activity-based STEM/STEAM-related 4C teaching materials for the local winning school pupils (innovation and impact);
  • curate a HK booth to share our unique culture to multi-cultural participants in US World Finals (innovation, internationalization 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 (HK and USA), they will be supported by HKU instructors, local and overseas mentors to develop curriculum materials and organize STEM/STEAM-related/cultural activities for secondary school pupils and curate a Hong Kong booth with unique culture. This proposed study will broaden the HKU student learning experience as discussed above.



Experiential Learning on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: COM3414
Dr. Kenneth Wong, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 40

This is a multidisciplinary experiential learning course designed for engineering students to learn about artificial intelligence (Al) and robotics. Students will learn Al and robot related technical disciplines (such as machine vision, embedded system design, mechanical control, inertial navigation, human-computer interaction, etc.) through designing and building intelligent robots according to the rules of the RoboMaster Robotics Competition. Different types of robots are required to cooperate with each other and work together to attack the base of the opponent and at the same time protect their own base. Students will form a team representing HKU to participate in the Competition and compete against other teams from all over the world.

On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Apply their engineering knowledge to design and build intelligent robots for specific purposes;
  2. Communicate with peers with regard to technical concepts verbally (via meetings and presentations), in writing (via reports) and in action (via demonstrations);
  3. Collaborate with peers from different disciplines/backgrounds and be a good team player;
  4. Overcome unforeseen problems, make informed decisions, and work under the constraints of limited time, human and financial resources.



A Collaborative Art cross Science Innovation Project Between India and HKU: Experiential Learning Project in India

Staff-initiated Project
Course Code: TBA
Dr. Nicol Pan, Common Core Office
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20

This project is based on a pilot student exchange program between the Indian and HKU students last year (2018). Previously, we had 10 HKU students and 10 Indian students visiting each other’s campuses and doing collaborative project together over 2 weeks respectively. We are hoping that with the funding available, we could scale up this meaningful exchange program and invite more students to join. Our target is to have a maximum of 20 HKU students joining. We will continue the project theme from last year on ‘Nature, Cultures & Cities’ of which students learned and did projects about both India and Hong Kong’s unique contexts. But this time we add the cross-disciplinary focus on ‘Art and Science’. Students from both sides will be asked to explore, investigate, reflect and make Art cross Science projects in the context of nature conservation, cultural diversity and their preservation, and the specific challenges young people face living in urban cities. Students will be divided into groups where they would pick one of the three themes to do a project together, and of which they would also need to include and apply both art and science knowledge and skills in their final ‘product’.

There are two phases in this project. Phase I: participants from HKU will visit India in Dec, 2019; Phase II: students from Dayalbagh Educational Institute (DEI) will visit Hong Kong in June, 2020. This project aims to bring mutual benefits to both Hong Kong and India students through real collaboration that would result in deeper and mutual understanding, equal participation/contribution, constructive intellectual dialogues and hands on experiences.

There are three teaching and learning outcomes for this project:

  1. Diversity of learning experience: In this project, participants will engage in a variety of activities which facilitate their critical thinking and multicultural mindset. Participants will visit the Golden Triangle: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, exploring a spectrum of socio-cultural settings. Participants will engage in a wide range of experiential learning, including farming, textile printing, yoga, visiting historical sites to appreciate period architecture and art, as well as interacting directly with local students and the community including artists, scientists and social innovators, etc.
  2. Cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange: Students from all majors are encouraged to join this project. It does not just provide a favourable opportunity for cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange, but also to exemplify how the interdisciplinary learning could actually be practiced.
  3. Design-based learning: The project takes on a design-based approach in searching for creative and innovative ideas and solutions to the 21st century challenges facing young people in India and HK. Participants in HKU have to interview and conduct need analysis when they visit India. They have to design the learning activities when the DEI students visit HK in 2020 summer. HKU students would have to work with their DEI peers to come up with meaningful yet fun programs that would maximize the outcome of the 2nd phase of this exchange.
  4. Building mutual understanding as the basis of genuine multiculturalism: based on the multicultural approach, we believe participants from both cultures can equally contribute and learn from each other. Students from both sides going to a foreign country will experience a ‘different culture’ in real context and a chance to practice what they learn in theory about diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism and all the nuanced issues. Hopefully, students from both sides will also appreciate that despite all their differences, they share so much in common in terms of facing what all young people face nowadays in study, finding a stable job, looking for their own voices and identities and solving these problems in an innovative yet practical way.



Innovative Musical Learning Experience for Underprivileged & Special Needs Children

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

In our project, we will integrate technology and music to provide an unforgettable experience to underprivileged students and students with special needs, in Bali. Music education has the ability to provide an all-round learning experience to students. It provides them with something they can cherish for life, a sense of togetherness and a way of harmonizing with others around them. It has the ability to instill various kinds of life skills in them, which cannot be learned through traditional classroom education. Involving students with special needs in traditional forms of music education is a challenge. We plan to work around this obstacle by integrating a technology named ”MakeyMakey” with various easily available items such as potatoes, flowers, and balloons. With the help of well-planned use of technology and our diligent planning, we aim to make every child, a part of the music playing process.

With the assistance recommendations of our partner organization, we will identify a batch of students who we will work with, introducing them to the technology inspired musical experience. We will also design the structure of our workshops and the syllabus we will implement in each class with their support. Since the organization has experience of working with these children, they will be able to provide great insights and polish our plan to perfection. Our team will leverage this valuable information and provide a highly stimulating workshop by utilizing technology. We will implement the use of MakeyMakey, a piece of equipment the students would not have worked with earlier and create an interactive process of learning, with the end result enabling the students to play advanced pieces of music.

MakeyMakey is a simple tool, and we will ensure that we part on our knowledge of its application and use cases to the teachers present at the organization. The software is all open source and thus, the engineers will be able to modify the programming such that it caters to any of the highly specific needs the children might have. This will empower them to continue teaching the children through more and more innovative methods, making the process of learning more engaging and efficient.

The two weeks’ worth of workshop will see the children trying their hand at playing basic musical instruments as well as certain electronic devices created with the help of MakeyMakey. We will make use of local instruments so that the students can relate to a greater extent and also instruments like the shuffles, melodica, drum, and the tambourine. These instruments provide a double benefit of being very easy to play and also place a minimal demand on the overall budget.

Lastly, to connect any loose ends and ensure a truly wholesome experience for the children, we will incorporate the use of tablets. There is a wide range of music-oriented and user-friendly applications available on both, the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. We will shortlist applications tailor-made for children with disabilities. Soft Mozart and Garage band are a couple of examples of such applications. The MakeyMakey device combined with the real-time responses and touch interface of the tablets will prove to be a unique experience, one that will instill enthusiasm in the children and motivate them to push outside their comfort zones. We estimate a projected student to instructor ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 at most.

We plan to form a team of people from various learning backgrounds. Apart from having people having extensive knowledge about music and various instruments, we also plan to recruit students from an engineering background so that they can take care of the technical nitty-gritty so that we can provide an overall smooth experience to the kids. We will keep our teaching practices flexible so that the feedback collected in each session helps us improve in the next one and provide a fruitful experience. Our sessions will include jamming sessions which will help children loosen themselves and immerse in the experience completely. Our aim is to provide them with something long-lasting rather than temporary. We plan to set up the music teaching environment in the school so that these lessons continue even after we leave. This includes setting up the musical instruments and the ”MakeyMakey” devices needed. We also plan to educate the teachers on simple music lessons which can be incorporated in the day-to-day activities. After the programme, we will stay in touch with them to get feedback and assist them whenever the need arises.



Renewable Energy Device Building and Education

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Wong Ka Yee, Faculty of Engineering
Number of undergraduate students participating: 12

As we observed that the worldwide energy consumption lifts fast and that the development of renewable energy in Southeast Asia is lacking behind despite the strong sun and wind they have, we decided to start the project to educate new generations in Bangkok and to equip HKU students with necessary sustainability knowledge which emphasize global cooperation.

We plan to organise a two-week renewable energy model & device building and education project at Kincaid International School in Bangkok approximately from late December to mid January.

Firstly, we (HKU students) would be cooperating with World Green Organisation, which is an environmental NGO having expert knowledge in energy education, to advise our teaching content and to plan our renewable city model’s layout. We would be discussing and modifying the plan together with their experts. Independently, we would also be building and testing the whole model and devices technically before starting the education in Bangkok.

In Bangkok, we would be teaching students in the school about environmental concepts and theories through interactive lectures and practical experience. We would be building a city model with green energy generators integrated (part 1) and necessary devices like mosquito lamps, LED lamps and cars powered by renewable sources (part 2) with them. Data from the generators would be collected and analysed for a published document.

Through the project, HKU students with various majors could discover more about the sustainable development in other countries and could learn how to tackle climate change together through worldwide cooperation with different professionals and experts.

After the project, Kincaid International School would start to demonstrate the city model and devices to other schools and parties. They would start similar projects to promote this concept to more people.



Project for NGOs in Myanmar

Student-initiated Project
Ms. Chung Yi Han, Faculty of Law
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10

The idea of this project originated from the HKU-Myanmar bond, as evidenced by our partnering organisations which are founded and operated by former HKU students and existing ones. This experiential learning experience aims at bridging HKU students to Myanmar students, who share different world views and ambitions. The one thing in common between us is that we are in need of more opportunities and support as we strive to become leaders of tomorrow.

Given the great development potential of Myanmar, we believe that this learning experience will lay a solid foundation for facilitating youth development and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Myanmar.

The organizations we intend to collaborate are as follows:

MYEO {Myanmar Youth Empowerment Organization) is established to provide youth in Myanmar with opportunities, from studying and internships abroad in ASEAN countries to entrepreneurship and professional skills. its initiatives include “Workplace Digital Skills”, which help bring digital remote workers out of Myanmar and promote employment of Myanmar youths in digital economy and international organizations. it has also launched ‘Edu Gurul — a virtual mentorship aiming at guiding through Myanmar youths the application of scholarships and overseas studying.

Soap Cycling is a N60 recycling soaps from hotels in Hong Kong to Southeast Asia with an aim to improve hygiene and living quality of children in remote and underprivileged areas in Asia. The Myanmar office of Soap Cycling has been set up recently and its Hong Kong operations are largely run by Mr. David Bishop and his HKU students.

We aim to:

  1. Deepen existing HKU—Myanmar ties and facilitate cultural exchange
  2. Build youth leadership tools, e.g. leadership training courses, utilizing virtual platforms for startups, templates for consulting etc.
  3. Explore more opportunities between the two communities in the long run, eg an online data base of opportunities available in Asia Pacific for Myanmar youths (including but not limited to internships, business case completions, service trips and meeting competition, pen pal project, Youth Conference organised by HKU a MYEO)
  4. Access to over 80,000 students in Myanmar
  5. Utilize resources of impact tab and Social Venture Management Courses managed by our mentor, Mr. David Bishop from Faculty of Business and Economics, to prepare HKU students with the above initiatives



Nepal Community Health Project 2019 {Project Namtar 4}

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Yik Siu Long Thomas, LKS Faculty of Medicine
Number of undergraduate students participating: 15

Medical Outreachers Hong Kong (MO) is a charitable organisation initiated by medical students from HKU and CUHK. MO aims to cultivate the passion of medical students in not only practicing medicine but also reaching out to care for others through various humanitarian actions. Through these services, we hope to create lasting improvements on the lives of those we have reached out to, and in the process, inspire medical students towards positive personal development.

The Nepal Community Health Project (Project Namtar) is one of MU’s long term projects. This is our fourth year visiting Nepal’s Makwanpur district.

We will be separating our project into two phases. The first phase will be implemented in Bharta (August), while the second phase will be implemented in Namtar and Kalikatar (December).

Bharta
As this is our first visit to Bharta, our main objective is to assess local health gaps. Participants will be conducting household visits and a health camp.

During household visits, we will conduct surveys to evaluate villagers“ knowledge, behavior and attitude towards different aspects of health. It enables us to identify local health gaps, ensuring that future endeavors are tailored to the community’s most updated need. Moreover, we will be correcting any health misconceptions revealed throughout the survey. We will distribute soap and toothpaste, which are scarce in supply, to further promote hygiene practices.

A health camp will also be held. During this health camp, we will invite Nepalese doctors from Kathmandu to conduct free medical consultations and checkups for villagers. Students from Hong Kong will be responsible for measuring BMI and blood pressure, while Nepalese doctors will conduct more holistic consultations and prescribe suitable medications. We aim to attract local villagers to the camp to promote their use of local health services.

Namtar & Kalikatar
Our main activities in Namtar and Kalikatar will be conducting household visits and health education quizzes to evaluate our interventions from previous visits.

Health education quizzes will be conducted by participants to assess the local primary and secondary school students’ knowledge on the following topics: WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene], household cleanliness, nutritional health, wound management, epidemiology, puberty, anti-drug, anti-alcohol, anti-smoking, and mental health.

Participants
The project enables medical students to apply what they have learnt in medical school, particularly basic clinical skills (measuring BMI and blood pressure) and attributes thev have learnt from other courses such as public health and medical humanities. During the trip, participants have to carry out health checks and also practice their communication skills with the service targets in school and household settings when conducting education and survey respectively. In a rural setting, doctors and medications might not be as effective as good hygiene and preventive measures. Therefore, the activities in this trip also lead the participants to reflect their role as future doctors, and the different determinants of health such as socioeconomic factors and basic infrastructure, which might not be deemed as equally important in a developed city like Hong Kong. This could facilitate in developing a global health perspective.



HKU iGEM 2019

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Li Wing Ho, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 18

The HKU iGEM 2019 project is a synthetic biology research project. The student team is already formed in the current stage. In this stage, we do not have a concrete topic to work on as it is only the planning stage. But we have narrowed down the possible tracks after several times of meeting, for instance, develop synthetic cell to chemo-attract pathogen or infected cell, using DNA nanotechnology to target cancer cells, and develop gene circuit for triggering an immune response to target cancer tumor.

After the project topic selection, we would then carry out researches and laboratory work to focus on engineering a new synthetic components that could be employed by cells, this will occupy the entire summer semester break this year.

Meanwhile, human practices is a key component in the development of an iGEM project where our team “go beyond the lab” and consider the many ways that our research can impact society. Understanding our project in a social or environmental context is crucial for building safe and sustainable projects that serve the public interest. We would work with students and advisors from the humanities and social sciences to explore topics concerning ethical, legal, social, economic, biosafety, or biosecurity issues related to their work. Also, we will be mentoring the high school team from S.K.H. Li Ping Secondary School, guiding them to carry out the project, and also collaborating the laboratory work with the equipment that our school has.

The iGEM 2019 is more than a competition. It is s program dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration. Members of the student team will have the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology by tackling everyday issue facing the world, we will work together to design, build, test, and measure a system of our own design using interchangeable biological parts and standard molecular biology techniques. Therefore, team spirits, research skills, and laboratory techniques could be strengthened.

Besides, for the Human Practice component, our team members would have the change to share the scientific knowledges to the general public in Hong Kong. Moreover, have chance to mentor a local high school team, transferring various techniques and inspire the younger generation of future scientists.



The Japanese Whaling Industry: an Ecological, Cultural, Legal and Political Debate

Student-initiated Project
Mr. Vu Ka Hei, Faculty of Science
Number of undergraduate students participating: 17

This project is a practical transdisciplinary project about whaling in Japan. Whaling is the hunting of whales for their products in wildlife trade and is a topic of intense debate. The killing of whales has immense ecological impacts affecting worldwide marine ecosystems and has far-fetching profound impacts on global warming. Thus, whaling is tightly regulated by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and governmental bodies worldwide. However, in December 2018, Japan announced its decision to quit the IWC and will continue commercial whaling in July 2019. The move was fuelled by cultural reasons, social protests and mainly political motivations. Our project will aim to investigate the issue in ecological/conservation, cultural/social, legal and political viewpoints and will raise awareness of whaling and its impacts on the general public in Japan.

The project is comprised of two components. The first component will require participants to produce a documentary film and popular scientific article (PSA) regarding the whaling issue. In order to achieve this, we will interview and/or collaborate with university scholars, researchers, governmental departments, NGOs, local businesses and the general public in Japan and other countries on their views on whaling. Furthermore, we will also reflect the views of different publications and academic articles regarding the issue. The documentary and PSA will then be subsequently circulated online on different social media platforms and websites. The second component will involve more practical experience including our collaboration with educational institutions (secondary and/or higher education) to hold a short workshop(s) to promote the conservation of whales and marine biodiversity through means of education. To wrap up, the participants of the project will attend a session of whale watching and visit aquariums in Japan to experience eco-tourism.

As this project is transdisciplinary in nature, participants will be given the chance to exchange intellectual perspectives from different fields of study and criticaily stimulate innovative skills used in tackling real-life conservation issues. Through means of film production, publicising on social media and academic exchange, participants will gain the experience required to solve issues in larger cultural, social and political confounding contexts where there is no single correct answer to the issue. By learning the views of different professionals from vastly different backgrounds (conservation biologists, environmental activists, governmental representatives, NGO founders, local businesses, lawyers and the general public), participants will then construct their own perspective on whaling and participate in producing a piece of work in a group effort to reflect upon the complex issue.