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
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
KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER