Online Creative Writing Workshop 1999-2001

This was part of a creative writing course developed as an elective for Higher Diploma students at City University of Hong Kong. To encourage the students to develop as writers, I set up an online peer review system (using the WebCT online learning platform.

The course involved lectures and tutorials held on campus, but most of the actual writing and feedback was done online. 

In the first year the online component was run, a total of 1,699 messages were posted by the 34 students taking the course during the 14-week semester.  On average, each student posted 42 messages and read 669 messages, with the most active student posting 186 messages and reading 1,275 messages. Commenting on the experience, one student wrote:

“I like the interactive approach of this workshop very much, it allows us to give comments and receive comments from our tutor and groupmates at virtually any time convenient to us! (Thanks to the modern technology!). . . . This workshop serves as a good opportunity for us to learn from criticism, which helps us to improve in rewriting better versions of our poems.”

There were a few problems—an increased workload for teachers and students and isolated instances of anti-social behavior. The benefits, however, far outweighed the drawbacks. These benefits included:

  • The students giving and receiving richer, more meaningful feedback,
  • Students being able to work on their own time,
  • Teachers being able to monitor and assess the quantity and quality of feedback being given.

The course was presented at a seminar (Web Teaching Experience Sharing: 3 March 2000) and conference (The 6th Web Generation Symposium: 9 June 2000). The paper presented at the Forum is posted here:

The course was a casualty of the college’s decision to offer two-year Associate Degree programmes instead of three-year High Diploma programmes (and the consequent cutting of electives).

Many of the students’ works were also posted on the Asian Voices site (a website I managed that featured poems and stories by young Asian writers). You can keep an eye out for the writers, Vivian Chiang, Laura Lam, Kama Tsoi, Kitty Chong, Jess Yim and Nora Chung, all of whom have several works published on the site. Other students whose works were posted include: Irene Yau, Lydia Lee, Clara Cheunk, Chor Yiu-ching, Kevin Ling, Lee Sze-nga, Flora Pang. Ivy Sun, Mak Ho-yin, Rachel Wong, Patsy Chung, Benny Lam, Theresa Chow and Parkin Woo.

Examples of Student Work

Here are some examples of student work produced in the workshop.They ranged from very basic forms such as diamond poems to more complex free verse poems, short stories and plays.

Diamond Poem

Happy Sweet
Dating Hugging Kissing
Church Wedding Divorce Dislike
Arguing Fighting Crying
Angry Sad

~~by Leung Man-yee

Sense Poem

When I think of wishes,
I see glittering meteors crossing the silent blue sky.
I think of wishes,
I hear the grand concerto performed by the ocean at dawn near the shore.
When I think of wishes,
I taste the most delicious cake in the world that someone dear baked specially for me.
When I think of wishes,
I smell the fragrant sakura when its petals fly past.
When I think of wishes,
I feel the gentle hands of my mother soothing me whenever I cried when I was a baby
~by Jess Yim Ka-mei



The falling leaves have
laid out a yellow blanket
The trees are undressed

~ by Ng Hiu-lui


Limerick for Sale

To write a good lim’rick’s a tale
Have rhythm and rhyme or you’ll fail
But only the fool
will follow the rule
Do you have a lim’rick for sale?

~ by Laura Lam

Rhymed Poem


In the darkness of a room,
a velvet covered box lies,
opened once but never again.
since hearing anguished cries.

In the darkness of the box.
a golden ring lies
wrapped in broken promises
since hearing anguished cries.

~ by Lydia Lee Ying-i

Free Verse


I heard the Lullaby from Susan,
Who has pretty feet with nacreous toes and soft soles
She steps on the water and the water lily opens
She smells wild gowan

She sings
‘Watch the day begin again’
whispering into the night: can I stay with you?
Her tears dropped and the ocean formed.’
She turned into graffiti
when her lover married a muscular man

Susan’s soul died when the lardy man slid into her body
She lives in a freak show
Where she takes poison to cure the wound
She still has pretty feet with painted rosy red toes and soft soles
She puts one foot on the bed and the moan starts
She is the thorn with a beautiful scar

~ by Kama Tsoi

Short Stories

Read Good Night, Good Morning: A short story by Laura Lam about a day in the life of an apartment building Night Watchman

Read Wonderland: A short story about parental love and childhood expectations by Jess Yim


Read The Phone: A One-Act Play by Irene Lau about people and how that communicate with one another.

~ by longzijun


Return to Education Projects

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