CUHK leverages Microsoft Azure Lab Service Virtual Machine to extend digital literacy training to 3,500 year-one students


The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has partnered with Microsoft Hong Kong to raise students’ exposure to cloud computing and enhance their digital capabilities through the Digital Literacy and Computational Thinking course. By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure Lab Services Cloud Virtual Machine (VM) solution, CUHK enables students to conduct on-demand exercises via high-performance applications on their personal devices, regardless of configuration, any time and anywhere. The course is expected to empower students with basic data literacy and IT processing skills, which are requisite workplace competencies in the 21st century. For the first year, 3,500 year-one students will be able to gain basic knowledge of coding and data processing in daily life. In the next five years, more than 16,000 people will benefit.

The programme was introduced as a core requirement in the 2022-23 academic year, and students across all faculties are required to pass the three-credit course to graduate. The course offers practical skills training in cloud computing and other key areas. It is designed to equip students from all fields of study with future-ready digital skills and inspire them with the potential of technology, especially cloud computing.

The adoption of Microsoft’s Azure Lab Services VM solution is an essential step in ‘CUHK 2025’, a five-year strategic plan to empower students to ”Meet Challenges of Tomorrow”. Digital Literacy and IT capabilities are core components of the initiative.

“Digital transformation will shape tomorrow’s society and fuel its economy,” said CUHK Provost Professor Alan Chan. “We made the Digital Literacy and Computational Thinking a core study component because we see it as essential to preparing our undergraduate students for the fast-changing workplace of the 21st century. By the end of the 2022/23 academic year, 3,500 year-one students will have completed the course. This is a major enhancement to our curriculum, and the first such compulsory course for university students in Hong Kong. With Azure providing a reliable foundation, students are learning real-world skills at their convenience that will help them succeed in the future.”

“Digital literacy is an essential skill, and upskilling young talent with digital skills is a longstanding commitment for us,” added Serena Cheung, Director of the Public Sector Group at Microsoft Hong Kong. “Over the years, we strive to support local educators to reinvent their teaching and learning models with our technologies and resources. Today, we are pleased to leverage Azure Lab Services to help CUHK accelerate setting up its Digital Literacy and Computational Thinking course, to nurture students’ innovative thinking and fundamental future-ready digital skills. It is an honour to be in a position to empower both educators and students to face the digital future with confidence. Looking ahead, we will continue to support the education sector and cultivate digital literacy development.”

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