HERDSA (Hong Kong) Awards: Redesigning Student Learning Experience in Higher Education (RSLEIHE) 2023

  1. Background

Students as Partners (SaP), also known as Student-Staff Partnership, is drawing more attention across the globe. It emphasises the collaborative relationship between students and teachers for enhancing teaching and learning. Many research studies (Cook-Sather et al., 2014; Matthews, 2016; Mercer-Mapstone et al., 2017) reveal that an affirmative partnership with students prompts teachers to question the assumptions they made about the teaching and learning process, in a way that they do not often make explicit. Thus, the partnership has been recognised as a “transformational ethos and way of working within higher education” (Judd, et al, 2021, p. 73), resulting in educational quality enhancement (for example, positive impacts on student learning, faculty development, curriculum innovation, pedagogical conceptualisation, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, etc.).

To further promote this partnership in Hong Kong higher education, an award scheme, Redesigning Student Learning Experience in Higher Education (RSLEIHE), was initiated by the Hong Kong Branch of Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA HK Branch) in 2017. Since then, 36 student project teams (including 170 students and staff/faculty in local institutions) conducted evidence-based projects to inform us of their needs, ideas and views on optimal arrangements of university education processes. Over 370 colleagues and students from local and overseas universities participated in the RSLEIHE Symposia. Selected student project reports were documented in the RSLEIHE publications in 2017, 2019 and 2021.

In this Scheme, cash awards will be provided for open competition. The selected teams will be invited to share their experience and ideas in the Symposium on Redesigning Student Learning Experience in Higher Education in January 2024. Selected project reports will be included in the RSLEIHE publication 2023.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong Baptist University and The University of Hong Kong are co-organisers of the 4th RSLEIHE in 2023.


  1. Awards and certificates

    Two types of awards are opened for competition:

Type of Awards


Distinguished Awards

Winner 7,000
1st Runner-up 5,000
2nd Runner-up 3,000
People’s Choice Award


Distinguished Awards will be judged based on the quality of written report and team presentation in the RSLEIHE Symposium in January 2024. People’s Choice Award (HKD 1,000) will be awarded to the team based on the public vote result in the Symposium.

Participation Certificates will be awarded to the rest of the shortlisted teams to acknowledge the completion of their RSLEIHE projects.

Funding Source

The 4th RSLEIHE Project Scheme and the Symposium are funded by:

    • The University Grant Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region. Teaching Development and Language Enhancement Grant (2022 – 2025 Triennium) – “Co-Creating the Future of Education: A Student Partnership Project”


  1. Eligibility

    All full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students who are studying in local universities or tertiary institutions are invited to form teams to submit project proposals.


  1. Participation

Each team should include at least two students and maximum two academic or professional staff as adviser(s).


  1. Project aim & key words

    The RSLEIHE project aims to create and share local examples of student-centred, student-initiated, future orientated teaching and learning experiences which can engage and empower students and directly meet their future needs in a meaningful manner.

The following key words further illustrate the expectation of the projects:


Student engagement and self-directed learning
Creating learning environments to promote student engagement and self-directed learning
Future-orientated Future trends and meeting future needs
Providing the most relevant learning at the university to meet students’ needs in life and career

Innovative organisation of learning
Providing students with a highly stimulating learning experience that creates a positive impact


  1. Themes of projects

Main theme: Co-Creating the Future of Education

Students can propose any meaningful learning experiences which address the project aim (Section 5) and the main theme. These projects can be student exploration of innovative learning opportunities, mini-research study, or others.

To understand students’ views on current innovations in higher education, following sub-themes are encouraged in this round:

    • Pedagogical Change in the Post-Pandemic World
    • Alternative/Authentic Assessment
    • Holistic Competences/Graduate Attributes
    • Self-regulated Learning
    • Student Development Programmes
    • Other education innovations


  1. Duration of project

    The project should last for at least one semester. Each approved project should be completed by the end of November 2023.


  1. Timeline



2023 20 March – 30 April Call for Project Proposal


May Result Announcement and Project Team Confirmation


Early June Co-creation Training Programme
(by separate invitation only)


July – August Project Preparation


September – November Project Implementation


December Project Written Report Submission
2024 January The 4th RSLEIHE Symposium (team presentations)


February – March

Project report revision for publication
(by separate invitation only)


  1. Language

    The proposal, report and presentation must be presented in English.


  1. Proposal

    The project proposal should address following contents. It should be within 720 words in total (around 100-120 words for each section). The project proposal should be submitted through the online proposal submission form by Sunday, 30 April 2023.
    • Overview, purpose(s) and expected outcomes of the project
      What are you planning to do and for what purpose(s)? What are the expected outcomes?
    • Rationale
      Why is the project so important for student learning in higher education?
    • Implementation
      How would you carry out this project? What are the steps involved?
    • Evaluation
      How would you collect evidence to show the success and impact of your project?
    • Endeavours for success
      Will there be any problems that would inhibit the success of the project? How would you prevent these problems and solve them?
    • Expected roles and contribution of the student team members
      What are the expected roles of the student members in the project? What contribution are they expected to make to the project?


  1. Proposal selection criteria

    The submitted proposals will be reviewed by the Committee based on three related criteria:
    • Evidence of needs and benefits
    • Potential impact
    • Quality of design and feasibility


  1. Enquiry

For enquiries, please send an e-mail to herdsa.hk@gmail.com.


  1. Criteria of awards

    The awards will be presented based on the quality of an individual project in terms of its:
    • Achievement of the aim of the RSLEIHE project (please refer to Project aim & key words and Themes of projects)
    • Implementation of the project and the learning from the SaP or student-staff partnership process
    • Implications and recommendations for teaching & learning in higher education as indicated in the team written report (70%) and presentation (30%).


  1. Report & presentation

The team report (3 to 4 pages) should be submitted by December 2023. A report template will be provided at a later stage. Major contents of the report include:

    • Project Objectives
    • Project Methodology/Process
    • Project Evaluation, Results and Findings (should be evidence-based)
    • Project Impact (Learning and Reflection) *
    • Implications and Recommendations for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education *

*The last two parts should be presented in a detailed manner.

Based on the report, the team will make a 10-minute presentation followed by a 2-minute Q&A session in the RSLEIHE Symposium to be held in January 2024. All student team members are expected to take part in the presentation.


  1. Online Briefing session

To help candidates understand the details of the 4th RSLEIHE scheme, an online briefing session will be organised for students and advisers.

    • Date: Monday, 3 April 2023
    • Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
    • Registration:
      Please complete the online registration form. A Zoom meeting link will be sent to registered participants near the event date.


  1. Selected resources regarding Student as Partners or Student-Staff Partnership 

Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., and Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching: a guide for faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Flint, A. (2015) Preface: Students and staff as partners in innovation and change. Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 1(1).

Healey, M., Flint, A., & Harrington, K. (2014). Engagement through partnership: Students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher-education

Judd, M., Spinelli, F., Szucs, B., Crisp, N., Groening, J., Collis, C., Batorowicz, B., Willox, D., & Richards, A. (2021). Learning from the pandemic: The impacts of moving student-staff partnership online, Student Success, 12(3), 73-83.

Matthews, K. E. (2016). Students as partners as the future of student engagement. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 1(1) 1-5. Retrieved from https://journals.gre.ac.uk/index.php/raise

Mercer-Mapstone, Drovakova, S. L., Matthews, K. E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic Literature Review of Students as Partners in Higher Education. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(1), 1–23.

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