The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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New cluster courses

(approved in 2020-21)

 

Creativity and Innovation Cluster


CLA9025 Science and Creativity
The fact that “scientist” regularly fails to appear on lists of “creative careers” is consistent with the common misconception that creativity is a special ability limited to artists, musicians, and writers, and that science is simply a dull list of accumulated facts and figures. In reality, evidence suggests that everyone has the ability to be creative and that creative ability can be improved. Moreover, many of the major advances in science occurred as the result of creative scientists developing new and innovative ways to view the world and solve problems. This course will introduce students to creativity and innovation, and the role they have played in the development of the scientific understanding of the natural world and ultimately to the state of the world itself. This course will use the process of science to study creativity and innovation by exploring theories and research on non-human animal innovation and creativity, and comparing and contrasting it with theory and research on human creativity.


CLA9026 Nature Appreciation through Arts and Creative Media
The natural world is a constant source of inspiration. This course provides an opportunity for students of all backgrounds and skills to learn to appreciate nature through various forms of arts and creative media. Lectures will cover basic aspects of nature conservation, environmental literature, nature illustration, photography and documentaries, and natural history of Hong Kong. Guest lectures will be provided by local nature illustrators, writers, photographers, and documentary producers to ignite students’ interest on the subject matter. Lectures will be followed by hands-on workshops to allow students to practice and develop their creative abilities. By the end of the course, students will develop a greater appreciation for nature, be more knowledgeable about nature-related arts and creative media, and become creative and well-informed global citizens with an innovative mind.


CLA9027 Being Someone: Writing Identity in Contemporary Culture
What does it mean to become someone in a world as complex as the one we inhabit—a world defined by rapid globalization, by the legacies of colonialism, by unprecedented mass migrations? This course aims to answer such questions by exploring the creative responses to the experience of growing up and building an individual identity in contemporary fiction: focusing on books and films created between mid-1980s and the early years of our century, we follow young women and men exposed to colonial oppression, struggling with conflicting cultural demands, and seeking to navigate the complexities of immigrant experience. We will focus on such topics as the legacies of slavery in contemporary Caribbean narratives, coming of age in post-colonial Africa, and the immigrant experience in Europe and the US.


Management and Society Cluster


CLC9022 The Digital Economy and Social Media
The new information communication technologies (ICT) have transformed the economy in fundamental ways. The Internet and social media have enabled instantaneous interactions and transactions among people through online platforms. The course adopts an interdisciplinary perspective, introduces the economics of information, explores how ICT and social media have transformed the modern economy, its structure and players, and examines the formation of social networks and public opinions, which in turn inform consumer attitudes and decisions and allow firms to engage consumer in a multitude of ways. It also addresses relevant critical issues including information asymmetry, participation inequality, privacy, information disclosure and manipulation, and explores how players can work together to create value, ensure consumer welfare, and promote the healthy development of the Internet and e-commerce.

 

Values, Cultures and Societies Cluster


CLE9035 Information, Misinformation, and the Media
The rise of social media and the growing dominance of the internet have made becoming an informed member of society simultaneously easier and harder than ever before. On the one hand, we can now access, from within our homes, academic research, government statistics, NGO reports, and newspapers from around the world. The internet has also brought about a radical democratization in the ability to produce information: alternative media is now cheaper than ever to set up, and blogging and large social media websites allow ordinary citizens to broadcast their opinions to a global audience, leading to more diversity in public discourse than at any time in the past. These same features, however, have also made it harder to stay informed. Ordinary citizens cannot easily evaluate the credibility of academic research or the significance of government statistics on their own. The ability to search out news stories makes it easier to reconfirm our preexisting biases. Alternative media may not follow ordinary journalistic standards, and at the most extreme may simply manufacture propaganda. Social media has aided the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories and opened new platforms for violent extremists to recruit followers. The ease with which people can be publicly criticized may lead to more self-censorship.
This class will approach these issues from the perspective of social epistemology, which examines how evidence, knowledge, understanding and learning depend on aspects of social life, from individual testimony, to publicly recognized standards of expertise, to institutions and conventions that facilitate the spread of good information and check the spread of bad. We will look at how we are dependent on experts and the testimony of others for much of our knowledge, and how knowledge progresses through a collaborative project of sharing information, ideas and criticism. This allows each of us to know more and utilize more information than any one of us could collect and evaluate individually. At the same time, it makes us vulnerable to various forms of disinformation. This framework will be used to examine questions about our ethical obligations to critically assess sources, strategies for recognizing how our information may be inaccurate or biased, and questions about whether legal or institutional reform is needed to control the spread of fake news.


Full list of cluster courses