Virtual Research Learning Center [ HOME ]

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. VRLC stands for Virtual Research Learning Centre. It is an initiative aiming to nuture junior UG students' research interest and curiorsity in Economics. A UGC Special Grant for Strategic Development of Virtual Teaching and Learning funded the project from 2021-2023. Dr. Ka-fu WONG was the principal investigator. Dr. Olivia LEUNG was the co-investigator.

  2. Student participants read newspaper articles written by HKU professors of Economics and reproduce these articles into short videos. By engaging in such activities, students learn the research skills and the logical reasoning behind the recommendation of our professors. The videos will be archived in a webpage, available for public viewing. If a participant can produce two quality videos, he/she may be offered a part-time research assistant position for two months.

  3. Yes, UGC funding expires on June 31, 2023. Nevertheless, HKU Business School has promised to fund such RA positions (10 hours per week for two months, or 5 hours per week for four months, at the university salary rate) to students who can successfully completed at least two quality videos. For what is worth, at the current rate, the total payment of each such RA contract will be around 6000 HKD. Students with such contract are required to produce additional videos and perform some miscellaneous duty assigned by the supervisor.

  4. Videos of good quality will be posted on our Center's webpage for public viewing. Yes, the general public can see it. Yes, it is also possible that some of your potential employers may watch your videos when you are applying for a job.  The videos can be a good demonstration of your English-speaking skills, your presentation skills, your basic research skills, etc.

  5. No, we do not set deadlines for participants. Students are free to plan their own project. Based on our experience, for most participants who will manage to complete their projects, they usually complete their first projects within 3 months. As students have acquired some skills in doing the first projects, the required time to complete the next projects will be substantially shorter.

  6. Step ONE: Choose an article to work on.
    At the moment, we restrict our attention to articles written by our teachers at HKU Business School.
    Step TWO: Submission of preliminary script for feedback
    Read the article several times. Try to understand the logic of the article and all concepts. Identify things we do not quite understand. If necessary, ask the author for a clarification. Then, include the original article and this additional discussions into a script (in word document or PPT slides). (If we do not understand, other readers may not understand.) Whenever possible, better to use some simple examples to illustrate any concepts.
    Step THREE: Presentation via a zoom meeting (on obtain some additional feedback)
    In the zoom meeting, we will let you talk about what you understand of the article and see whether you can help the general public (like me) to understand the article. We will pretend ourselves as general public (in fact, we are not much different from the general public) and tell you what we are confused about. Since we will be in a dialogue, you will have a chance to elaborate or clarify our confusion. If needed, later, you can do some follow-up research to add to your script.
    Usually after incorporating the comments and suggestions, we should be ready move on to write up the final script and produce a video.
    Step FOUR: Submission of completed project file (a zip file of Camtasia project + a list of further readings + a statement about learning from this project).

  7. We recomment a standardized set of packages for our easy communication.
    Sound recording (MP3): Audacity (an package avaialable for free)
    Screen recording (MP4): Camtasia or other screen recording packages.
    Editing (+ combining the sound an screen recording + adding subtitles + adding transition effects): Camtasia (available to HKU students for free).

  8. To produce a good video, we need to have a thorough understanding of the article. That will include double checking everything in the article, reproducing the charts and tables, and trying to understand the logical reasoning. While our video should follow the flow of the original article, we would like to add additional explanation to help general audience to better understand the article. One reason is that the language used in the article may be somewhat technical, and may not be completely clear to readers. A general rule is, if we feel confused about some concepts used in the article, we probably should add some elaboration about these concepts.

  9. There are some basic steps you can follow:

    1. Read through the article several times to get a basic understanding of the overall structure and the main discussion.
    2. Highlight main points in the article while you read. This highlighting step helps you divide the article into sections, beyond the natural sections of the original article. This additional sectioning will make it easier for you to structure your script and to prepare the PPT slides.
    3. Mark down difficult economic concepts or discussions that the general public may have difficulty understanding. Subsequently, you can expand on these concepts in your discussion/script, giving examples whenever appropriate to illustrate these concepts.
    4. Double-check sources used in the article and look for potential updates.
    5. Write down your questions and confusions and ask the author for clarification.
    6. Please also keep track of all the sources you used.

    After completing these steps, you should have gained a deeper understanding of the article.

    Now, it is a matter of incorporating all the additional information and explanations into the original article, and transforming everything into a video script.

    Some tips for script writing:
    • Make the script colloquial.
    • Change complex, long sentences into shorter sentences whenever possible.
    • Add a short summary at the end of each section.
    • Add transitions as you would in a speech, so the audience can easily follow the discussions.

    For more detailed illustrations, you can also refer to the recordings of student RAs’ sharing:

  10. We restrict our attention to newspaper articles published in Hong Kong Economic Journal (a local Chinese newspaper). Since 2018, professors/teachers of Economics have contributed to a column weekly. We can find the HKEJ newspapers from the website of HKU Business School. Note, while the articles are in Chinese, an English translation of the articles are available upon request. For more information on how to obtain the the English version, please write to Dr. Ka-fu WONG (

  11. First, you can find the HKEJ newspapers from the website of HKU Business School. You can determine whether you are interested in a specific article by browsing through the English titles of the articles. Then, if you want to, you can do a online translation (say, Google Translate) to get a feel whether this is an article you really want to work on. Sometimes, such free online translation is not reliable. So, we recommend to use the English version archived by the Faculty -- after you make up your mind. As this archive is not automatically made available to the public, if you are really interested in a specific article, you can write an email (steps and email template available upon request) to request an English translation of the articles. For more information on how to obtain the the English version, please write to Dr. Ka-fu WONG (

  12. Please contact Dr. Ka-fu WONG (

  13. Yes! VRLC is for HKU undergraduate students only.

  14. No, you do not need to be a student of HKU Business School to participate! All HKU students at their junior years are welcome. However, students do need to have some basic Economics training (at least introductory level) to perform and to benefit from the program.

  15. No! Students at their senior years can also join. However, naturally most students at their senior years are not interested because they often have other alternatives.

  16. Because HKU is an English speaking university.

  17. Because HKU is located in Hong Kong, part of China.

  18. Because the project leaders cannot understand these languages and thus would have no way to assess the quality and the impact of the videos.

  19. First, for assessment. If we allow multiple students to work on the same articles (though independently), it is not easy to assess their learning and contribution. Second, we would like to maximize output of video.

  20. Strictly speaking, students can work in teams. But, we will not evaluate your teamwork articles (videos) for the consideration of resarch assistant positions. Allowing teams makes our assessment and hence RA offer complicated. Also bear in mind that we would like to develop a round set of skills. Team work will often end up with some kind of division of labor and hence individual will end up knowing nothing about some set of skills.