Design Thinking, CU-FLASH and eLearning Research for the Faculty of Social Science
Principal Supervisors

Professor Xu Jiang
(Department of Geography and Resource Management)


1 year and 8 months

Approved Budget

HK $600,000

  • Abstract
  • Brief write-up
  • Video Report


This faculty-level proposal involves three projects with the goal of supporting the present and coming university-wide initiatives:

  • Design Thinking: To promote a better understanding of the university theme of “Innovation and Design” across the University, the Faculty will set up a seminar series and invite local/international experts/professionals in Design Thinking to share their knowledge and experience with our teachers, and deliver training workshops on designing curriculum in design thinking.

  • CU-FLASH: This project will involve two levels. At the faculty level, we propose funding for the development of the two required courses in CU-FLASH, the Faculty’s new minor programme. The launch of CU-FLASH in 2019-20 is the Faculty’s major initiative in supporting the University’s two major themes of “Innovation and Design” (I&D) and “Global Citizenship and Social Enterprisingness” (GC&SE). At the programme level, three programme proposals which align well with the initiatives of the University and the Faculty have been selected for developing the two university themes:
Programme Proposal 1:
Global Promotion Initiative for Understanding China Through Cultural Landscape
  • The aim is to re-construct the group project of GRMD1003/UGEAJ212 Understanding China through Cultural Landscape, a popular 3-unit course attracting some 100 students from diverse disciplines, to align with the themes of GC&SE and Internationalization at Home (IAH) by introducing a web-based global promotion initiative for Chinese cultural landscapes.
  • Each group, preferably with students from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, will be required to select a particular Chinese cultural landscape/theme for empirical research, to apply cultural geography theory in their research, and to publish their group projects and research findings in the open-access catalogue of the interactive course website.
  • Each group will also be asked to work out a plan to promote their project globally.
Programme Proposal 2:
Understanding and applying developmental psychology to meet societal challenges in the context of globalization: An international collaboration on teaching and learning
  • The aim is to introduce the theme of IAH and cultivate GC&SE in students by designing and experimenting 2 course assignments in
  • PSYC2540 Developmental Psychology (a core course offered annually for around 100 psychology major students):
    1. a cross-cultural comparative research project to be conducted by CUHK students in collaboration with their counterparts at DePaul University in USA who take a related course taught by the co-supervisor of this proposal (Professor Yau Li at DePaul) via the online platform “Zoom”.
    2. an action proposal to be developed by CUHK students in groups to design practical endeavors that address a societal issue to be informed by developmental psychology, followed by a poster exhibition to public audiences.
Programme Proposal 3:
Promoting Economics in person and online
  • Students in the Department will be asked to work on a group project that is related to current economic issues.
  • They need to design their own studies and be innovative on policy recommendations.
  • All students will write up their results in a webpage hosted in the Department’s web server. A public poster presentation exhibition will be held on campus to facilitate knowledge transfer. Each presentation will be video-taped (preferably in virtual-reality format) and hosted on the Department’s web server.
  • Local students will be encouraged to visit their Alma Mater while non-local students will be encouraged to visit international schools in Hong Kong to share their project findings.
  • eLearning: The Faculty plans to pursue further pedagogical research in eLearning, based on the experience of several courses under the Faculty that currently adopt eLearning elements. Using a variety of methods, such as student surveys, classroom observation and focus group discussions, this research will examine student satisfaction and effectiveness of eLearning activities within the Faculty. This will also enable us to identify the Faculty’s “shining points” and explore the possibility of consolidating eLearning as a holistic approach in pedagogical innovation. The results of this research can be shared across the University and will facilitate the University’s eLearning development strategy.

Brief write-up

Project objectives

This project involves the following sub-projects with an overall objective of supporting the university-wide themes of Innovation and Design, Global Citizenship and Social Enterprisingness, Internationalization at Home and eLearning:
  • Design Thinking (seminars for teachers)
  • CU-FLASH (a minor programme that aims to nurture students to apply design thinking skills to innovate for public goods) including 2 required courses and 3 initiatives in Geography & Resource Management (GRM), Psychology (PSY) and Economics (ECO) courses
  • eLearning (pedagogical research)

Activities, process and outcomes

On the teaching side, the design thinking seminars will provide a platform for teachers and Faculty members to receive training on design thinking curriculum. An eLearning pedagogical research has been conducted with a student survey, a student focus group and a teacher focus group. The research findings will help teachers to optimize their pedagogies and encourage the development of more eLearning materials.

On the learning side, students can learn more about design thinking, social innovation, group dynamics and innovation in the two required courses for the minor programme. The GRM initiative trained a team of students to develop a course website to publish students’ written pieces about China Cultural Landscape to engage international audience. The PSY initiative planned to arrange CUHK students to complete cross-cultural comparative research projects online with DePaul students, to write proposals addressing societal issues through a poster exhibition to public audiences and to participate in a survey on multiculturalism and global citizenship. The ECO initiative trained students to promote Economics through public poster presentations. Through these three initiatives, student’s social enterprisingness, multicultural personality and sense of global citizenship can be cultivated. Their English proficiency and presentation capabilities can also be enhanced.

Deliverables and evaluation

The whole project has a number of major deliverables as summarized below. Feedback from teachers, students and other stakeholders, attendance records, websites and video recordings will be collected for evaluation purpose.
  • Design Thinking seminars: Seminars will be delivered by Professor Hazel Markus from Stanford University in Aug/Sep 2019.
  • 2 required courses of the minor programme: The course outlines and PowerPoint slides are almost ready.
  • GRM initiative: The course website is almost ready for launch and a new pedagogical approach has been experimented.
  • PSY initiative: The actual teaching was unfortunately not conducted as scheduled. The survey on multiculturalism and global citizenship will finish around Jun 2019. A conference presentation and a journal publication will be delivered in 2020.
  • ECO initiative: Two Economics project exhibitions were held in 2018 and 2019. Two videos were published and one poster sharing was conducted through the Teaching & Learning Innovation Expo in Dec 2018.
  • eLearning: A full eLearning Pedagogical Research Report is under compilation.

Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices

The tools, good practices and findings from some of the sub-projects have been shared in some focus groups, CUHK Teaching & Learning Expo and some CUHK internal meetings. Once available, the other deliverables e.g. Design Thinking seminars, the two required courses of the minor programme, and the eLearning pedagogical research report can be open to teachers and students from other faculties.

Video Report

Please click the following link for viewing the report.