CCCH9051 China: Culture, State and Society
Digitizing Cultural Heritage in Greater China

This course is under the thematic cluster(s) of:

  • Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth (SCCE)
  • Creative Arts (CA)

[This is a certified Communication-intensive (Ci) Course which meets all of the requirements endorsed by HKU’s Senate, including i) the teaching and assessment of visual and digital communication ‘literacies’; and ii) at least 40% of the course grade assigned to communication-rich assessment tasks.]

Course Description

Every culture has its own irreplaceable heritage and Chinese culture has accumulated a rich heritage during its long history. Digital technologies now provide more effective and sustainable means to promote, conserve and preserve cultural heritage. This course aims to help students better recognize and appreciate the importance and values of cultural heritages in Hong Kong, China and around the world, and to open their eyes to how digital technologies can be used to conserve and preserve cultural heritage worldwide. Three digital preservation projects will serve as running examples throughout this course: one from Hong Kong (e.g., the Hong Kong Memory project), one from Mainland China (e.g., the e-Dunhuang online gallery), and one from Europe (e.g., the Europeana digital collections). Students will also gain a broad understanding on how sociocultural and economic development and heritage preservation impact us as global citizens in this information age. With easy-to-use online and offline tools, students will learn how to create digital artifacts for cultural heritages of their own choice, including virtual reality (VR) stories and a digital gallery. These products will be their unique contribution to preserving and promoting cultural heritage of the world!

[In Week 3 and Week 9, students are required to visit a site with cultural heritage of their interest and to capture VR-compatible spherical panoramas of the site as part of the virtual reality (VR) stories creation.]

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of cultural heritages, their values and significance in history and in today’s society.
  2. Explain the importance of preserving cultural heritage and strategies and methods applied worldwide.
  3. Apply digital technologies to promoting local and Chinese cultural heritage to a global audience.
  4. Apply principles and ethics of information to cultural heritage conservation and preservation.
  5. Design and create visual and digital products for organizing and accessing heritage information from a user-centered perspective.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Fieldwork / Visits 4
Reading / Self-study 35
Assessment: Video production 12
Assessment: In-class assignment 9
Assessment: Group project 35
Total: 130

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Continuous assessment and task focused activities 25
Virtual reality story 40
Group project 35

Required Reading

  • Alampay, C. (2015). High Tech Hope for Our Heritage. [TED Talk, Video File]. From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8O2wu7pn4Y [Week 3]
  • Bond, S., & Worthing, D. (2016). Managing built heritage: the role of cultural values and significance. John Wiley & Sons. [Week 1 – Chap. 3 “Heritage Values and Cultural Significance”]
  • Du Cros, H., & Yok-shiu, F. L. (Eds.). (2007). Cultural heritage management in China: preserving the cities of the Pearl River Delta. Routledge. [Week 2 – Introduction]
  • Gilliland, A. J. (2016). Setting the stage. In M. Baca (Ed.), Introduction to metadata (pp. 1-20). Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute. [Week 7]
  • Howard, J. B. (2017). Opening doors to interoperability and user engagement: IIIf At University College Dublin. Europeana Pro: Letters from the Editors. From https://pro.europeana.eu/page/issue-6-iiif#article-1 [Week 8]
  • Hu, X., Ho, E. M., & Qiao, C. (2017). Digitizing Dunhuang cultural heritage: a user evaluation of Mogao cave panorama digital library. Journal of Data and Information Science, 2(3), 49-67. From https://doi.org/10.1515/jdis-2017-0014 [Week 6]
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). Ethics and intangible cultural heritage. From https://ich.unesco.org/en/ethics-and-ich-00866 [Week 4]
  • Villa, R., Clough, P. D., Hall, M. M., & Rutter, S. A. (2013, August). Search or Browse? Casual Information Access to a Cultural Heritage Collection. EuroHCIR. [Week 8 – pp. 19-22 (can skip the statistical analysis)]
  • Yung, E. H., & Chan, E. H. (2011). Problem issues of public participation in built-heritage conservation: Two controversial cases in Hong Kong. Habitat International, 35(3), 457-466. [Week 2]
  • Zhou, M., Geng, G., & Wu, Z. (2012). Digital preservation technology for cultural heritage. Springer. [Week 3 – Introduction]

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr X. Hu
Faculty of Education (Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences)
Tel: 2219 4722
Email: xiaoxhu@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr X. Hu
Faculty of Education (Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences)
Tel: 2219 4722
Email: xiaoxhu@hku.hk