A vocation for teaching and excellence

28 Feb 2023

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Ms Bonnie Chiu, Associate Professor of Practice from the Department of Journalism, receives the 2022/23 General Education (GE) Teaching Award (Individual).


Some people have a flair for inspiring others to be their best selves. Call it a gift or grit, the recipient of the 2022/23 General Education (GE) Teaching Award (Individual), Ms Bonnie Chiu, Associate Professor of Practice from the Department of Journalism, has inspired and impressed many with her dedication to her work, from her days as a journalist to her current role as a HKBU scholar. Her tireless efforts to help students learn and develop the right life skills have been rightly recognised by her students, peers and the University through this year’s GE Teaching Award.

Since 2020, Ms Chiu has been teaching two General Education (Capstone) courses: “Doxing, Privacy and Current Issues” and “Sports and Disability in the Hong Kong Chinese Media”. Through their interactive course design, Ms Chiu has inspired students with new ways of thinking when addressing real world issues.  More importantly, she has empowered students to apply the skills they learned from the GE CAPSTONE in other areas of their work and life.

“We decided to offer a course about doxing and privacy as we noticed a worrying increase in the number of cases in the community. With this course, we hope to educate and protect our students about its risks. We’re also indirectly equipping them with legal knowledge about this topic and the law in general,” says Ms Chiu.

“At our end-of-course party, we invited several celebrities who were targets of an anti- doxing exercise for our students. With their consent, the celebrities were presented with elaborate findings by the students about their personal lives, from their license plate, home address, mobile numbers to private photos. We even made cupcakes with the celebrities’ photos on them, to remind everyone the importance of protecting the individual’s privacy. At the end, those celebrities were advised by students how to further protect their personal data.”

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Ms Chiu (left), GE colleagues and the celebrity guests at the anti-doxing end-of-course party.


Creating mutual benefit for all

As someone who likes sports such as basketball, jogging and the trampoline, and also a former sports journalist herself, Ms Chiu hopes to give exposure to and recognise the efforts of the physically disabled athletes.  With her second GE capstone course, Sports and Disability in the Hong Kong Chinese Media, Ms Chiu created a successful model of collaboration with a community partner. Partnering with the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKPC & SAPD), which recently split into two entities - the Hong Kong Paralympic Committee and the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD), it was an important exercise of inclusivity as well as raising awareness for this group of under-represented para-athletes.

Ms Chiu recalled how nervous she was in her first meeting with Mr Martin Lam, former General Secretary of the SAPD. She says: “I wanted to assure the HKPC & SAPD that creating mutual benefit and having the best interest in mind for the para-athletes will always come first. From the start, I was eager to highlight our common goal of enhancing community awareness of the paralympic sports and its athletes in Hong Kong.”

The course was unique in that it gave a high degree of autonomy to its community partner to suggest ideas, especially regarding the appropriateness of the course content and the presenters. Ms Chiu’s efforts paid off and on numerous occasions, the Association would cite this level of trust and respect as one of the main reasons why they collaborated with HKBU.

Staying interactive and innovative

Ms Chiu was highly commended by the Selection Panel for her approach and contributions to the development of Level 3 GE Capstone courses, the originality and uniqueness of the course design and her initiative to connect students with the community. The Panel also noted the interdisciplinary and activity-based approach of the courses, which gave students excellent exposure to the most current social happenings. This is key to helping them develop critical thinking skills and a sense of empathy as they embark on their respective journeys after leaving the University.

In this regard, the course had a lot to boast of, including a print-run of 500 copies of “Collection of Students’ Articles by HKBU Student: Hong Kong Athletes with Disabilities”, a booklet written and produced by the students with interviews of the para-athletes, which were distributed to the community. The publicity that ensued also took on a different but well-received approach by featuring the less well-known athletes over the household names.

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Interviews with the para-athletes were published in the “Collection of Students’ Articles by HKBU Student: Hong Kong Athletes with Disabilities.”


Celebrating inclusivity and finding joy in learning

The students’ enthusiasm in learning was reflected not only in the high attendance and enrolment rates but also the consistently positive quantitative and qualitative feedback Ms Chiu received from the students.

“Achieving a 4.73 rating for a GE course is hugely humbling. We have students from all kinds of disciplines with different expectations of what they want to learn. What is most gratifying is students graduated from the course with a completely different perspective on the para-athletes, after having met them in person and even engaged in boccia matches with them. Students thought they’d feel pity for these para-athletes but instead, they felt a strong sense of inclusivity, which is precisely our course objective and common goal working with the HKPC & SAPD.”

By honouring Ms Chiu with the GE Teaching Award (Individual), the Selection Panel is confident that Ms Chiu’s exemplary teaching and devotion to her students will continue to create tangible impact for General Education and the community. Ms Chiu is currently preparing to bring her GE students of the Sports and Disability capstone course to try wheelchair archery, because Hong Kong’s first permanent para-archery at the Victoria Recreation Club in Sai Kung has just opened recently.