Reading Resources from Hong Kong

With our results recently in from our reading questionnaire at Sussex, we felt it would be interesting to see how the attitude to buying textbooks compared with students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where I’m currently studying this term as part of the Erasmus program. I spoke to a fellow geography student at CUHK to find out they went about accessing reading resources.

Prior to starting their course this geography student received a full list of the reading resources they would need throughout the year, interestingly enough, all of their resources are available online. This wasn’t particularly surprising to me as geography is so broad it tends not to stick to one textbook but will span chapters from a variety of authors and academics. Being as all of the resources are available online, this student did not have to purchase any books at all.


I felt it would be interesting to uncover how this student felt toward her learning resources; when I asked whether she preferred print or digital she replied digital.

Here were the reasons:

  1. “Digital is way more portable” on any device digital reading resources can be accessed with ease which saves the effort of having to go to the library to study (Our campus is Very Large). Also the majority of CUHK students go home for the weekend so carrying less is also beneficial.
  2. “You don’t have to worry about the book you need being unavailable.” We all know too well that when the book you need is unavailable its massive upside down smiley face to the heart, all productivity stops and ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’ that day. It can also can be worse as our library closes at 10pm so the students that are night owls can start being productive at any time during the day.

Since there weren’t any books that were required to be bought I asked: If your books were not available online would you buy them, find them in the library or not bother? And why?

“100% buy them; there are too many students here not to have your own copy” a lot of the exams here are based on what you can remember so having your own copy to them allows you to have unlimited access to them.

This attitude differed in comparison to some of the responses we found to receive from Sussex students. Where many of them were reluctant to purchase their books unless it was 100% essential, due to their pricing. (And probably because they know they can get on well without owning them) where as here in Asia the grading and assessment style differ from back home.

Looking at the students who like and or use digital resources, it can generally be seen that no matter where in the world or the reason for using them, students seem to like the same aspects of them. Ease of access, portability and free.

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