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HKU and EdUHK launch a new learning initiative to connect future doctors and teachers

Earlier this month, the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) announced that it is leading an initiative called “connect*ed”, in partnership with the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK).

connect*ed is a novel cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional project that uses a social media platform for structured interactive learning to stimulate the development of professional attributes desired in Hong Kong’s future doctors and teachers.

It aims to connect students with education by creating dynamic virtual communities of learning among students when they are scattered around the world working on diverse projects, exploring new areas of study or immersing in unfamiliar cultures. 

HKU is the lead institution in this collaborative project funded by the 2016-20 Triennium UGC Funding Scheme for Teaching and Learning Related Proposals.

‟The connect*ed project is an innovative way to bring students together as a learning community in a way that will build knowledge, enhance communication and create a culture of professionalism.  This will be a powerful means to support and enhance medical students’ Enrichment Year experiences,” said Professor CS Lau, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) of the Medical Faculty at HKU.

Students from both universities will form connect*ed teams to learn from and about each other’s individual experience to develop a collective understanding about their own professional identity.  The interaction within some cross-disciplinary medicine-education teams will further enhance and expand the learning experience. 

Working in online teams together with a faculty mentor, students will share experiences, engage in discussion and provoke debates that stimulate them to connect with each other, with big ideas and with the key roles that future doctors and teachers have to embody – communicator, learner and scholar, ethical decision-maker, advocate, and global citizen.

According to the press release, over 200 students from the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU and EdUHK will participate in this initiative for the 2018-19 academic year.

‟This project leverages the potential of technology in a very smart way to attain educational goals.  It enables and encourages learning without the limitation of time, discipline, or geographical location, and promotes collaboration and mutual support among students from two institutions,” said Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice-President (Teaching & Learning) at HKU.

The majority of the inaugural cohort of students joining connect*ed are third year medical students from the six-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme at HKU.  

connect*ed will also provide critical and timely learning and psychological support to these students who will be embarking in the newly introduced Enrichment Year. This is a pioneering endeavour that broadens and deepens students’ total learning experience and whole-person development by allowing them to engage in an area of their own choosing whether it be research, service or humanitarian work or overseas exchange for a full academic year.

Fourth-year teaching students from EdUHK who are having overseas field experiences in school classrooms or academic exchange will engage in connect*ed, which will complement the existing capstone ePortfolio that all students must produce before graduating. 

‟We are pleased that our ePortfolio – an innovative approach to self-directed and co-constructed learning – can help enrich the learning experience of prospective doctors and teachers, who will become pillars of our society. This HKU-EdUHK project is the best manifestation of cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary collaboration for the benefit of student learning,” said Professor Christina Yu, Associate Vice President (Student Learning) at EdUHK.

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