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Digital learning holds the promise of improving the education

of children in remote and under-developed areas, yet these

children are often the least able to access the resources required.

Two BEng students, Sidhant Gupta and Tejasvi Mehra, who are

both computer science majors in their final year, have come up

with an innovative solution they call the Open Source Remote

Education Initiative (OSREI).

They tackled both the software and hardware issues by creating

a platform for uploading teaching videos and other content, and

delivering 15 tablets to remote villages in Vietnam, the Philippines

and India to serve a total of more than 1,000 students. The tablets

link to the platform, where the content has been developed

with input from local partner NGOs to ensure it is appropriate to

each region.

Sidhant, Tejasvi and their team also provided training in the

technology for teachers and students and produced videos for the

platform, with support from HKU’s Technology-Enriched Learning

Initiative (see page 14). They had funding support from the

Centre of Development and Resources for Students and donors.

“We strongly believe that digital literacy is an essential element

in accessing opportunity in the modern world. Coming from

India, we’ve seen first-hand the stark difference in educational

environments between urban areas and remote ones. We feel

technology holds the solution to this issue,” Sidhant said.

Legal Jargon Explained

Three law students have developed a browser plug-in, called

Decoding Law, that can cut through legal jargon and explain legal

terms in plainer language for the general public. The browser also

includes a chatbot where questions can be submitted about which

laws might apply to specific situations, such as playing mah-jong

in a public place.

Decoding Law was developed by third-year BBA(Law) and LLB

students Alison Li Pui-wun, Edelweiss Kwok Yuet-yi and Sally Yiu

Man-ki, in collaboration with two law students from the Chinese

University of Hong Kong and four Hong Kong-based IT experts.

“We understand how difficult it can be to understand legislation

and we hope our tool will be helpful especially to people who

are involved in court cases and cannot afford to hire lawyers,”

Ms Yiu said.

The non-profit browser won the public sector award of the first

Global Legal Hackathon competition in New York in April 2018,

beating out teams that mostly comprised legal and computer

professionals. The browser has not yet gone live but the team

is open to collaboration with existing legal tools, such as the

e-legislation initiative of Hong Kong’s Department of Justice.

Students contribute to the University’s knowledge exchange goals by engaging with the community

and launching their own enterprises to make a difference.

Students Get Innovative

Social Network for Creatives

A start-up that was among the first to be admitted to HKU’s

iDendron innovation hub and co-working space has evolved to the

point that it is preparing to expand to Taiwan.

Freehunter was set up by Harris Cheng, who graduated in

2017 with a BEcon&Fin, with colleague Jerome Tse as a kind of

LinkedIn / Facebook hybrid for people in the maker and creative

communities, such as dancers, artists and writers. It acts as a social

network where people can list their skills and services as well as

share more personal information pertinent to their fields.

Harris provided the inspiration for the start-up, having previously

tried his hand at freelance photography, videography, graphic

design and launching two start-ups for food and apparel.

Freehunter has signed up more than 1,000 freelancers and he

said the plan was to earn income from the data analytics of this

specialised group. A second round of recruitment will be held in

2019 that will include Taiwan.

“We were attracted to iDendron because we needed an

affordable place to work and there were also a lot of programmes

and connections to be made. But what we discovered is that it is

also a real community where people help each other out. There’s

a culture of giving and we’re all at a similar stage of life and one of

the best things has been making new friends,” he said.

Sidhant Gupta (left) and Tejasvi Mehra, creators of OSREI, which makes digital learning resources accessible to remote villages in

India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The HKU team behind the Decoding Law browser,

(left to right) Alison Li, Edelweiss Kwok and Sally Yiu.

Harris Cheng (left) and Jerome Tse, creators of Freehunter.

Bringing e-Learning to Remote Regions