Members of VTC Group
MIT summer workshop at IVE
Aug 2012

Workshops are not always only concerned with serious and boring topics; they can be very interesting and give participants fond memories. In this summer, nine students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ran a series of workshops for IVE students from various disciplines as part of MIT’s China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI). The workshops covered more than just sharing of technical knowledge; this was also an excellent opportunity for exchanging cultural experiences.

Learning out of textbooks

For the Engineering Discipline, the workshop was run by three MIT students at Tsing Yi Campus. William M. MOREJON, Student Instructor, said, “Although we were an engineering group, the workshop was not just on science and technology. We covered different subject areas, such as business and product design, which allowed students to think laterally using a different perspective. The cultural sharing was definitely a key subject too.” Rex LAM, Student Instructor, pointed out, “We tried to have as many activities and games as possible for teaching instead of traditional lectures. Trade market was a popular subject in the business class; the students learnt how to think from different point of views during negotiations.” Furthermore, Sandra CHEN, Student Instructor, added, “We also let them discuss in small groups in the product design class so that they could open up and be more responsive to our questions. They realised brainstorming and group interaction were important steps in product design.”

Tai-cheong SZE, one of the IVE students who participated in this workshop commented, “The class was quite quiet at the beginning. But soon we were motivated by the instructors’ innovative teaching techniques of how to think creatively. Sometimes we were reluctant to respond to questions as we were not sure of the right answer. The MIT student instructors, however, encouraged us not to be afraid of making mistakes and taught us how to learn from them so we could improve ourselves bit by bit.” Man-pong HUNG, another participant, added, “We also enjoyed the trade market exercises. As engineering students we usually focus on technical knowledge and yet from the workshop we learnt that presentation and marketing skills are equally important in a real business environment.” The MIT student instructors also agreed that their students were fast learners plus having a creative mind and a thirst for knowledge.

Culture adventure

Apart from the intellectually stimulating lessons, cultural exchange was certainly another highlight of the workshop. Kit-ho SO, IVE student, explained, “The MIT student instructors shared with us a lot about American culture, such as food, music, movies, sports, slang terms and what the American dream was. We in turn also shared Chinese culture with them—this way we get to know each other better. We also tried out each other’s typical activities, such as singing karaoke and playing baseball together.” CHEN said further “I believe our relationship was far beyond students and teachers at the end of the workshop; they told us what they would do after graduation of IVE and their future plans. I was happy to witness all these changes as we were much closer than the first day we met.”

After the lessons many of the students continued to hang out with their MIT peers. MOREJON said, “It is my first time to Hong Kong and I’m deeply impressed by the people here, especially the IVE students. We really enjoyed hanging around together. Two weeks passed like a flash, we have already exchange contacts and hope to keep connection with each other.” IVE students concluded, “All in all, we were happy to have taken part in such a unique experience. We appreciated everything the MIT student instructors taught us and their encouragement to believe in ourselves!”

Exchange Activities
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Engineering Discipline