In this 11th issue of CAL newsletter, we summarize some key achievements from Apps Lab members during the new academic year, Fall semester of 2015/16. On top of the current 1000+ members from the Apps Lab, we are excited to warmly welcome Dr. Michael Wong, our new Apps Lab faculty members on Fintech innovation. Michael has also chaired the 4th DBSxCAL talk on Fintech at the DBS Vault. For more information, you are encouraged to visit the caltalk.hk website.
For the coding initiative, we have just recently started the Hour of Code HK #hochk workshop at the Good Lab consecutively for 16 months, with the generous support from HK Science Park, CoCoon, Microsoft, Lenovo, Samsung, and all the supporting organizations. We offer regular free workshop in various locations in HK to promote coding literacy for people at all age. In 2015, we built up a strong alliance with Sino Group on the Go Code 2015 program for 300+ underprivileged students with the support from 100+ CAL members, and we hope to expand to accommodate more students in HK. In addition, a significant program called “Ambassadors School Program (ASP)” has been officially kickstarted by OGCIO, Cyberport, Microsoft and Lenovo, with 24 primary and secondary schools. We look forward to generating greater impact at CityU and in our society.
For the project development initiative, we have recruited Nelson and Rayne, who are CityU graduates, as the CAL instructors. They are currently responsible for the CAL programming trainees series that consists 40 students who are chosen from 150+ applicants. The model is that we provide the self-learning resources and support for these students and they will have constant weekly meeting for two months. We expect to see some high quality project outcomes from these trainees who have prior experience in programming. There is also another programming workshop for Apps Lab members who have no background in coding, called “LOOP”. It is important to build up a level structure that can provide support to students with various background.
Looking ahead, we will continue to encourage Apps Lab members to participate in the open competitions on local and global stages, and create new research opportunities for these CAL members who are self-motivated,proficient in coding and communication, and with strong commitment.
Dr. Ray Cheung
Director of CAL
CAL goes from the strength in providing teaching and learning, research and outreach opportunities to students and faculty in CityU, and Hongkongers more generally. One important way in which CAL is moving forward is with its relationship with the Laboratory for Public Management and Policy. The two labs, working together, are developing some innovative solutions for public policy. In short we are looking for ways in which app technology can be used to solve public policy challenges. One challenge public policy making in Hong Kong faces is to develop interfaces between citizens and public service organizations (government, NGOs, civil society etc.). Apps provide an efficient conduit for exchange of ideas between these stakeholders.
We are starting off small, but have grand ambitions. Our first project is about to launch. This is called the Smart Research Assistant (SRA). In the SRA is an app that will bring together researchers and subjects to develop more robust research evidence in the policy making process. A feature of the SRA will be to allow survey vignette experiments to be implemented that draw insights from behavioural economics and social psychology. Experimental research designs offer much better quality data than the traditional survey and polling approach so often seen in Hong Kong. As our projects develop we will build apps that utilize the GPS tracking features of smart phones to have timely exchange of information between service users and public service organizations and apps that can be used in the school environment to boost secondary students learning.
Prof. Richard Walker
Associate Director (Performance Innovation)