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Service-Learning in Higher Education: Teacher Development Course

About the Course

This course is for teachers who are interested in developing and teaching Service-Learning (SL) courses at the higher education level. SL is a form of experiential learning that brings students into the community to do meaningful projects that both benefit the community and illustrate academic concepts and theories. SL has been shown to be a high-impact educational practice. It has been demonstrated to be effective at training students’ empathy and sense of social responsibility because students are immersed into the community and get first-hand experience of community and societal needs. Since students work on real projects that impact real people, SL has been shown to build up students’ problem solving skills, their teamwork and communication skills, their leadership and collaboration skills, and, in many cases, their professional ethics. SL has also been shown to be able to develop students’ cross-cultural sensitivity and global citizenship, because many projects bring students to work overseas. This course consists of seminars, discussions, and on-site experience in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The seminars will cover theories and practices in SL, effective SL design, and SL assessment. The on-site experience will bring you to observe students working on service projects in the community. You will have an opportunity to interact, and potentially interview our students, their teachers, and the service community. You will also visit NGOs, get hands-on practice in designing your own project, and have an opportunity to receive feedback on your project proposal. Cambodia hosted PolyU’s first overseas SL and leadership hubs. In 2019, 185 students will serve there on seven SL projects. This affords participants of our short course opportunities to observe projects of different natures and from different disciplines.

Service-Learning at PolyU

In 2012, PolyU made the decision to make service-learning a key institutional strategy of the University in order to provide a more all-rounded education for our students. The Office of Service-Learning (OSL) was established to support service-learning projects from across the different faculties at the University and has been instrumental in furthering the service-learning initiative.

About the Instructors

The course will be delivered by Drs Grace Ngai and Stephen Chan, the Associate Head and Head of the OSL, respectively. Drs Ngai and Chan were the recipients of the University Grants Committee Teaching Award in 2016. Dr Ngai and Dr Chan have demonstrated outstanding academic leadership in helping university management to conceptualise SL as an integral component of the PolyU undergraduate curriculum and to implement SL as an institutional teaching and learning strategy. They thus have transformed the learning experience of thousands of PolyU students and supported the development of many academic colleagues. Over the past six years, PolyU has gone from having six service-learning courses enrolling 200 students to almost 70 courses enrolling 4,000 students annually. They have increased the coverage of PolyU’s service projects from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Rwanda, and Vietnam; improving the lives of people in need and inspiring the students involved to become responsible professionals and global citizens. They have also pioneered innovative pedagogical practices such as multicultural student teams through partnerships with local NGOs, service-learning exchange and internship programmes, and an innovative ‘global SL classroom’ initiative that allows PolyU students and their overseas peers to attend the same lectures and develop project ideas via video conferencing, and then implement projects together in person at the service location.

Course Fee

The course fee is HK$ 9,000.00, covering airfares, ground transportation, accommodation, and meals in Cambodia. Participants are responsible for ensuring that their travel documents and visa are in order and undertaking any medical preparation and/or immunisations recommended by their physician.


All academic and teaching staff from higher-education institutions are welcome.


Please complete the online application form before 12:00nn on 22 March 2019 (Friday).

Information Sessions

Two information sessions will be organised to provide further information about the course, and to answer any possible questions that you may have. Details of the sessions are as follows:
Session A:
Date: 8 March 2019 (Friday)
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Venue: TU432, PolyU
Session B:
Date: 18 March 2018 (Monday)
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Venue: TU432, PolyU
Please register HERE for the information session.


Ms. Wing Wong (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / phone: (+852) 3400-3517)

Key Dates

Information sessions 8 & 18 March 2019, 6:30-8:00pm
Application deadline 22 March 2019, 12:00nn
Admission results 29 March 2019
Briefing session 8 April 2019, 6:30-8:30pm
e-Learning and self-study May 2019
On-site experience in Cambodia 2-8 June 2019


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TU428, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,

Kowloon, Hong Kong


+ 852 2766 4376


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