Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens MOOC [Register now for September 8 opening!]

We’ve been thinking about teaching across distances and disciplines for some time now and in these challenging times we are keen to offer you material and a little morale boost.

To accommodate your needs, and expand your menu of online teaching and learning options, we are offering Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens, the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Hong Kong cinema to be produced anywhere in the world, as a learner-paced course.  That means all six units open simultaneously on September 8, 2020.

Feel free to enjoy the entire course or pick and choose lessons to fit your own individual needs.

We have talked with teachers from across the globe who have utilized our MOOC in various ways. Some are selecting one MOOC Unit to reinforce particular pedagogical objectives, some are linking our exploration of Hong Kong Cinema to general studies, global studies, cultural history or other film and digital media courses. More frequently, we find that teachers invite us into their online classrooms as “virtual guest lecturers.” (You don’t even have to feed or entertain us when we visit!) Internationally-recognized film studies scholars Professor Gina Marchetti and Dr. Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park from the HKU Department of Comparative Literature and Dr. Stacilee Ford from the HKU Department of History, the American Studies Program, and the Gender Studies Program, have worked with the creative assistance of HKU TELI (Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative) to provide various ways to enrich your efforts, internationalize your curriculum, and add a little variety to your teaching plans.

With the self-paced version of Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens we invite you to join our discussion forums to share insights with learners with a range of experiences and interests. You and your students are welcome to offer your own perspectives on the films and issues we highlight. Join our learning community and find out what you have to learn and offer, regardless of how much or how little you know about Hong Kong and its cinematic scene.

You’ll find Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens, which is free of charge, via the EdX platform on the Internet. Be sure to click “audit” when prompted for no-strings-attached access to nearly all of our course materials.  Lively and student-centered, this MOOC is appropriate for secondary, tertiary, and lifelong learners from all corners of the globe, who have a good command of the English language. Teachers are especially welcome! As you adapt various modules and materials for your own classroom or e-learning needs, you’ll expand student perspectives while giving yourself a little breathing space to face whatever challenges arise.

What, specifically, awaits learners who are interested in Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens? We begin with a lively and historically-grounded exploration of globalization through the lens of Hong Kong cinema, featuring crisp analyses of the actors and filmmakers whose lives and films connect the local Hong Kong scene to global histories, events, and trends. Throughout the six-unit course, students encounter stars including Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Maggie Cheung as well as award-winning directors such as John Woo, Mabel Cheung, Andrew Lau, Alan Mak and Wong Kar-Wai.

Each unit showcases talents, themes, and local-global connections. The cinematic canvas ranges from martial arts and heroic bloodshed films to romantic comedies and migration melodramas. Covering a range of topics, genres, and films, the course features demonstrations of swordplay and action choreography. It also tutors students in the close analysis of film techniques, uncovers the reasons for the worldwide appeal of genres such as the kung fu film, and nurtures a comparative and critical understanding of issues of gender, race, and migration. Interviews with film professionals such as directors Mabel Cheung and Andrew Lau, producer John Sham, film festival director Roger Garcia, and other guests, offer candid insights about the industry.

Best of all, the forum discussion refreshes and personalizes the course for all who engage. Not only do class conversations remain open around the clock, current issues are considered in our round-up videos from earlier offerings of the MOOC. For instance, we are now featuring two recent and fascinating conversations with Dr. Ria Sinha on the depiction of COVID-19 in the media.

Because we take your feedback seriously, we are proud to remind you that our MOOC was recently named one of “the 10 smartest online courses you can sign up for” by Mental Floss. We keep in touch with how and what you are learning with us and we invite you to join our educational journey exploring Hong Kong cinema through this award-winning online course. We’ve been doing this for nearly a decade and we hope to continue doing it when we have the option of actually going back to school as well as going to school online.

For registration:


And for more information:


All enquiries should be directed to Mr. Louis Lu louisly.hku@gmail.com

For registration and more information: https://www.edx.org/course/hong-kong-cinema-through-a-global-lens-0

MOOC Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens Trailer: https://tl.hku.hk/2018/12/hong-kong-cinema-through-a-global-lens/


Chinese Cinema and Chinese Cinema Studies Under Global Vision
by Sina Education
13 Oct 2018

10 Sep 2018

Film Matters Magazine
Interview with Dr. Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong
By Catherine Colson
13 Aug 2018

HKU Bulletin
‘Take Two’ For Hong Kong Cinema Course
May 2018

Asia Global Online
Asia Global Institute
18 Jan 2018

The course won the Bronze Award in the 2017 MOOCr Awards in the category “Course Management and Promotion”.

Learning on Screen
British Universities Film & Video Council
17 Mar 2017
Hong Kong Cinema MOOC
By Gina Margetti, Stacilee Ford, Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park

RTHK Radio 3
24 Feb 2017
Agender Café, The 1-2-3 Show
By Karen Koh and Noreen Mir

HKU Teaching & Learning
12 Feb 2017
Bringing a Course into the Cinema
By HKU Teaching & Learning

SingTao Education
10 Feb 2017
Movie action in online course
By SingTao Education

10 Feb 2017
港片對世界電影影響 李小龍先帶動功夫熱
By TVBS News

Film Matters Magazine
10 Feb 2017
New HKU MOOC: Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens Premieres on 7 February 2017
By Film Matters Magazine

9 Feb 2017
港大免費網上課程 全球視野看港片影響力
By 翟啟豪

South China Morning Post
6 Feb 2017
University of Hong Kong launches MOOC to teach film buffs how Hong Kong cinema conquered the world
By Enid Tsui

The Standard
7 Feb 2017
Switch onto movie action with HKU online course
By Amy Nip

Barbara Oakley
20 Jan 2017
Important New MOOC on Hong Kong Cinema Jan 20, 2017
By Barbara Oakley

Faculty of Arts News Letter
Winter 2015
Hong Kong Film Course Taps a Global Audience
By Faculty of Arts News Letter


“The second week of the module on HONG KONG CINEMA THROUGH A GLOBAL LENS was a truly exceptional educational experience for me. Like many others of my generation in Film Studies, I also come with a high-brow educational background in Philosophy, literature and cultural history. My credentials in knowing and understanding popular culture are poor – but improving all the time. In the past, I received a major boost in this direction from the work of Savas Arslan on popular Turkish cinema. And now, through the competent and efficient bite-sized commentary on the global phenomenon of Bruce Lee, Aaron Magnan-Park has taken an equally important role in my further education.

So many aspects of this second week were important for me, but I would particularly underscore how pleased I was to see Aaron acknowledging that the very first statue of Bruce Lee has been erected in Mostar, on the territory of former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina). This prompted me to think of my friend Goran Topalovic who today runs the New York Asian Film Festival at Lincoln Center – but who started off as one of the boys fascinated with the martial art fare coming out of Hong Kong in his early days in Yugoslavia. Aaron, Goran, I think the two of you may have quite a bit to talk about. It would be part of the global conversation that I see Aaron is involved with at the moment, as the photo I found illustrates.”

Professor Dîna Iordanova
Department of Film Studies, University of St Andrews
26 Feb 2017

“This is my first ever MOOC session and I’m skeptical about online education. But the lecture and clips overcame my objections and I really enjoyed this session. Like the instructor I was also around in the UK at the time of the Kung Fu craze and remember those Golden Harvest, Shaw Bros releases as well as the first-ever King Hu film THE FATE OF LEE KHAN shown in the old Electric Cinema Club in Portobello Road, London. I learned much more about Bruce Lee and his influence from this session and I’m really looking forward to slotting time to watch the rest.”

Professor Tony Williams
Department of English, Southern Illinois University

18 Feb 2017

“The brilliant, prolific, and insightful Gina Marchetti has developed a MOOC about Hong Kong Cinema Through a Global Lens. The course is FREE, and you can engage other learners and discussants from around the globe to talk and debate all things cinematic and Hong Kong. NOT TO BE MISSED!”
Professor Patricia R. Zimmermann
Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College

10 Jan 2017