Award-winning CityUHK educators spark student motivation with innovative teaching approaches

Poying Hung


Professor Leung (left) and Professor Lam (right)

Two scholars at City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) were awarded the Teaching Excellence Award (TEA) in 2023/24 for their shared commitment to inspiring a passion for learning through innovative teaching methods. Their efforts led to noticeable changes in student behaviour, motivating them to take action against climate change, as well as achieving outstanding success in external business competitions and securing entrepreneurial seed funds.

Professor Jason Lam Chun-ho, of the School of Energy and Environment, and Professor Alvin Leung Chun-man, Associate Head in the Department of Information Systems, won the TEA for 2023/24.

Igniting curiosity through technology and internet memes

Climate change brings about extreme weather and encompasses a range of interdisciplinary issues, spanning science, the environment and politics. Professor Lam implemented a student-centered interdisciplinary teaching strategy to deepen their understanding of this complex topic.

To facilitate this, he developed a series of innovative virtual reality (VR) experiences. By simply using a mobile phone and VR device, students can embark on captivating ‘digital field trips’ to various locations, immersing themselves in the devastating impacts of extreme weather worldwide and venturing into the depths of the ocean to witness coral bleaching.

He also employs youth-friendly teaching materials, such as internet memes, i.e. popular images and videos shared by the community. Drawing inspiration from these well-known memes, he creates visuals that illustrate the connection between climate change and sustainable development. These memes foster closer connections with students and inject an element of fun into the classroom.

“I hope that students can enjoy learning and become curious about the things around them. This learning motivation helps them delve into interdisciplinary knowledge, care about the surrounding environment, and constantly seek answers to solve the problem of climate change, thus achieving lifelong learning,” said Professor Lam.

Professor Lam is a big fan of different memes on social media platforms. He hopes these materials can be a starting point to deepen students’ comprehension of policy objectives, like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

What touches Professor Lam the most is that students have translated their learning outcomes into tangible action. They initiate recycling efforts and avoid unnecessary consumption, thereby minimising their carbon footprint.

Peer collaboration and shared achievements

Before the pandemic, Professor Leung had already been researching ways to enhance students’ focus during online learning. As compulsory classes in the College of Business are typically conducted in large groups, he contemplated how to address the learning progress of individuals. His aim was to encourage students to preview materials through online platforms, thus enabling in-depth discussions in class and facilitating the analysis of business data and the customisation of promotional strategies.

He established an online peer-assisted learning platform, encouraging students to share their learning outcomes through questioning and answering. Students can track their progress and rewards through the activity log on the platform, which can be converted into participation grades.

He believes that incorporating gamification elements into the online learning platform, such as awarding badges and accumulating points, can promote self-regulated learning. “By encouraging students from different years to help each other on the online platform, we can achieve mutual learning and narrow the learning gaps,” said Professor Leung.

Under his guidance over the years, students in the College of Business have excelled in numerous large-scale business case competitions and financial innovation application contests. He helped two teams under CityUHK’s HK Tech 300 secure a $100,000 seed fund.

Currently, Professor Leung is applying for a patent for “Blockchain-enabled peer-assisted learning: empowering collaborative knowledge exchange”. He has been developing new courses to address the evolving needs of society, exploring subjects such as blockchain, digital currencies, artificial intelligence, and the business applications of blockchain.

The TEA, introduced in 1993, honours outstanding teachers and promotes best teaching practices. Each awardee receives a cash prize of HK$15,000 for professional development, while a grant of HK$150,000 is given to each award recipient and winning team to undertake a teaching development project.


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