Tropics Meet the Arctic in UNESCO Online Learning Project

The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) has teamed up with the University of Lapland in Finland to develop digital pedagogy, through the UNITWIN/UNESCO Network.

Innovation in communications has rapidly changed global society in recent decades. We now live in a post-industrial information age, characterised by ubiquitous and globalised usage of digital technologies. As well as for global communication, these technologies can also be used for effective learning and teaching. “The speed of change means there’s a need to educate university students and the future workforce on global issues of media education, from intercultural and multilingual perspectives. Educators also need to acquire competence in digital pedagogy, as well as an understanding of the basic mechanisms of online learning and the ability to assess and support their development,” says Professor John Lee Chi Kin, Vice President (Academic) and Provost, who is also Project Investigator for EdUHK, and UNESCO Chair in Regional Education Development and Lifelong Learning.

To meet this need, EdUHK and the University of Lapland have initiated a project to develop online teaching, in the context of global media education. The partnership came about through UNITWIN/UNESCO, which promotes teacher education practices including long-distance education. The project’s aim is to develop a joint study course and online education teaching methods in the field. The project began in Autumn 2021, with academics working together to design course content and a pedagogical model. Students from the two universities have since joined in three online sessions on intercultural communication, basic concepts of artificial intelligence literacy, and media education practices in Finland. “In the planned course, students examine and discuss digital pedagogy, and topics such as the various forms of media – from television and newspapers to social media, what people do with it, the effects of the media on people's activities, and how media is used positively and negatively, all with different perspectives from around the globe,” says Dr Satu-Maarit Korte, principal investigator from the University of Lapland. Dr Korte recently visited the Tai Po campus to work on course design with EdUHK academics, including Dr Wang Lixun of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Language Studies. “Strengthening the digi-pedagogical competence of education students can strengthen their coping skills in future, enhance the spread of good practices and advance equality in education. While the University of Lapland is providing expertise and learning and teaching in global media studies, EdUHK is doing likewise in artificial intelligence literacy and intercultural communication in the digital age,” says Dr Wang.

Following the launch of the joint course, it will be offered online to Master’s and Doctoral students of both universities as an elective. EdUHK will also offer a non-credit bearing course on AI literacy, which will be open to bachelor’s and master’s-level students at the University of Lapland.