Skip to main content

Service-Learning Pedagogy and Practice

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Service-Learning at PolyU

At The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we consider the civic development of our students as one of our core values. In order to achieve this, we have incorporated a number of initiatives on civic awareness, social responsibility, and community engagement into our courses. One of the core elements of this initiative is our institutional committment to service-learning.

The University’s pioneering service-learning programmes integrate academic study with community service, inspiring our students to apply professional knowledge and skills to give back to society. As of August 2018, over 16,000 students have spent more than 660,000 hours providing services for over 80,000 people within and outside of Hong Kong.

About This Course

This course aims to introduce you as teachers to the concept of service-learning, and to equip you with the pedagogical knowledge and skills required for planning and implementing a service-learning programme for your students. Through this introductory course, we aim to share with you our own experience, and the most recent academic research, methods, and best practices, in order to help you build your own service-learning programme.

In this course, we have incorporated up-to-date theory, multimedia, and peer-to-peer interaction to bring our own expertise together with the benefits of collaborative learning to create an engaging instructional environment. We have brought our own institutions' expertise in service-learning together with experienced teachers from around the world, and academic experts in the field to give you a range of perspectives and make the material as useful as possible.


There are no specific pre-requisites to take this course.

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Dr NGAI, Grace

Grace graduated from Brown University and Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Since starting her career at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, she has successfully pioneered a number of teaching initiatives, one of the most prominent being service-learning. She brings students on service projects in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Cambodia, and Rwanda.

Together with her team, she proposed one of the first service-learning subjects at PolyU, and she has been instrumental in the effort to support and promote PolyU’s service-learning initiative. She was the founding coordinator of the Sub-committee on Service-Learning Subjects, which oversees the approval and offering of all service-learning subjects, and the co-facilitator of the Community of Practice in Service-learning. Through numerous Teaching & Learning Development projects, they have initiated workshops, seminars, and research salons on topics in offering, assessing, and conducting scholarly work in service-learning.

From 6 subjects and 200 students in 2012, as of 2018, PolyU has over 60 regularly-offered subjects which cater to over 4,000 students every year. As a result of her work, her team was the recipient of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee Teaching Award in 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.


This course was developed as a multi-institutional project with funding from the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong and the participating universities titled: "Cross-institutional Capacity Building for Service-Learning in Hong Kong Higher Education Institutions".

The project was a collaboration between (in alphabetical order):

We would also like to thank the students, staff, and community partners who took part in the interviews and shared their experience and practical wisdom with us throughout the development of this course.