Experiential Learning Fund Staff-initiated Project 2021-22 (First Round)
|Project Title||Project Coordinator(s)|
|Cross-cultural well-being: Student experience through story, art, and film
Course code: N/A
Number of undergraduate students participating: 10
|Dr. Jack TSAO
Common Core Office
|Understanding the Complexity of Sustainability Issues in Inner Deep Bay
Course Code: CCST9035
Number of undergraduate students participating: 50
|Dr Jessica LEUNG & Ms Polly CHIK
Faculty of Education
|New Models in Village revitalization in Hong Kong
Course code: ARCH4715
Number of undergraduate students participating: 20
|Ms Vincci Mak
Faculty of Architecture
The project connects 10 HKU students with 10 students from the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia, a U21 partner, in a virtual collaborative exchange to identify and share practices of coping with stress and well-being within the campus environment and drawing from resources in the wider community. Through experiential learning activities including collaborative “yarning” methodology-led storytelling, conceptualising and creation of artefacts, and producing a short-film, students learn about self-identity and well-being, and the differences and convergences across two contrasting contexts, while deepening intercultural understanding, cross-disciplinary knowledge, and design-based learning.
Recently, HKSAR has established the Countryside Conservation Fund to promote sustainability at countryside. Though such fund does not cover education, education about countryside and the dilemma it faces could synergize the effort.
Fishponds in Inner Deep Bay are listed as a priority area and are facing the land use conflicts among development, fishing and conservation. Land use conflicts, like many other sustainability issues, are socially controversial scientific issues.
Socio-scientific issues (SSI) highlight the importance to incorporate multiple perspectives to make decisions and judgment with scientific ground and humanity values. Given the mainstream emphasis on either conservation or development at countryside, the voice of the minority groups, who are the stakeholders being influenced directly, has rarely been heard.
In order for students to have a better understanding of the conflicts, site-visits to the fishponds will be organized in a common core course (CCST9035 Making Sense of Science-related Social Issues). In addition to introducing the environment and ecology of the fishponds by the conservationist, we would like to bring the respectful Mr. LAI, who was the former president of New Territories Fisheries Association for decades, to share his experiences and perceptions. The field trip will be organized to invite conservationist and the local fisherman to share their experiences and knowledge in the hope of providing a platform for discourse on the complicated sustainability issues and to give the students a glimpse on the real-life complex sustainability issues. The fisherman could also spread his voice to the students.
The project will invite 50 out of 120 students to join the field trip on voluntary basis. A total of 2 identical field trips will be organized and the number of participants of each field trip is counted based on the capacity of the vehicle (28 seats) that can enter the fishponds. The assessment will be incorporated into the course work to produce visual media in a group (e.g. poster, video), with a common theme among the whole class. Participation to the field trip is voluntary and the students can choose this particular case as the topic for the visual media coursework.
ARCH4715 Special Topics in Sustainability is an upper level landscape course that explore various topics of sustainability. Every semester’s topic can be different, and previously it also involved topics that student got to travel to examine the issue(s) being studied.
Working with the Covid-19 pandemic situation that our Fall 2021 curriculum will primarily be taught based in Hong Kong without travel, it is hoped that this semester’s ARCH4715 Special Topics in Sustainability will anchor with a local sustainability topic that fosters students’ learning in the real landscape. Therefore, we plan to explore the topic of “New Models in Village revitalization in Hong Kong” in ARCH4715 in the coming Fall semester to get students to anchor their advanced study with the local village landscapes and to work with the real communities of villagers.
Village revitalization is one of the mechanisms to develop a sustainable countryside. It is an advanced topic studied at the upper level of the landscape undergraduate program, as it touches upon sustainable development, conservation, and community engagement. While the topic of village revitalization itself is well-researched, and as a mechanism widely implemented. In recent years, many village revitalization projects in Hong Kong are initiated and led by non-profit organizations (NPOs). While there are plenty of lessons learnt from the NPO-led model of village revitalization, there are also new trends and thinking developed in recent years that are worth exploring. For example, the idea of “commoning” emphasizes on collective stewardship of resources, bringing in new management mechanism and values to village revitalization. Also, there are case studies of government-led incentive-based programs that foster villagers’ interest to participate in rural heritage and ecological conservation, in turn revitalizing the village.
In Fall 2021’s ARCH4715 Special Topics in Sustainability, students will first be guided to examine various types of village revitalization schemes used in different rural development projects via desktop research. In the second phase of the course, students will engage in this GHLEC project to work with local villages to explore the feasibility of the various types of village revitalization schemes they studied in the beginning of the course. Students will have to understand the local contexts of these villages they work with, and to hear the villagers’ voices and find ways to incorporate their needs. These are the real-life situations and conditions that students will learn how to correlate to their classroom studies. At the end of the course, students are to come up with a set of guidelines and recommendations for these villages to consider or implement village revitalization. There will also be a student-led dissemination conference for students to share the findings to villagers and related government units, such as Countryside Conservation Office (CCO). These project-end deliverables aim to allow students to synthesize the classroom learning with the practical aspects of village revitalization.