Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Dr. Thomas Li Siu Pan, Associate Professor, Macao Polytechnic University, Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Macao, also known as Macau, is an autonomous region on the south coast of China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. A Portuguese territory until 1999, it reflects a mix of cultural influences. Its giant casinos and malls on the Cotai Strip, which joins the islands of Taipa and Coloane, have earned it the nickname, "Las Vegas of Asia." One of its more striking landmarks is the tall Macau Tower, with sweeping city views.
Macao Polytechnic University is a public, multidisciplinary university formerly known as the University of East Asia Polytechnic Institute, which became Macao Polytechnic Institute in 1991 and was renamed as Macao Polytechnic University in 2022. It has 15 faculties and research institutes, among them the Faculty of Business, which offers a bachelor’s degree in ecommerce as well as an MBA program in gaming management, reflecting Macao’s prowess in casinos.
The ecommerce program is designed to prepare students for careers in digital commerce business that combine Business and IT skillsets. The four-year course covers systems analysis and design, database management, business ethics, website design and construction, analytics, e-business applications development, as well as accounting, business, finance, and foreign languages.
Dr. Thomas Li Siu Pan is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business. He gained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Hong Kong in 1995 and his PhD from the same university in 2000.
He began using the Oracle Academy Cloud Program as part of his classes in 2022.
Oracle Academy: Why did you decide to use Oracle Cloud in your teaching?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: Before using Oracle Cloud, I was hosting virtual machines on an old HP server, but that solution had many limitations and had to be phased out. Therefore, I had no choice but to switch to another platform. A colleague in the Information Technology Department recommended the Oracle Academy Cloud Program. It turned out that Macao Polytechnic was an Oracle Academy member. The computing center helped me create an account and from there I could create cloud accounts for the students.
Oracle Academy: Did you get some training?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: Yes indeed. One of the great things about Oracle Academy is the abundance of resources for educators as well as students. I was not that up to speed with Oracle Cloud so I took a number of courses within the Oracle Academy Member Hub, namely: Oracle Academy Cloud Program Resources, Oracle Cloud Curriculum Overview, Getting Started with Oracle Academy Cloud Program and Oracle Data Analytics Cloud.
Oracle Academy: And how did you apply what you learned to your classes?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: I adopted the Oracle Academy Cloud Program with US$300 of free credits for one year and applied them to three courses: Web Applications Development, E-commerce Website Construction and Management, and Selected Topics in E-commerce. These classes cover the software engineering frameworks that enable long-term development in enterprise applications, and a comprehensive examination of state-of-the-art trends in ecommerce.
Each student had their own Oracle Cloud account and US$300 free credits too. Since there are many always-free resources on the Oracle Cloud platform, we could already do a lot of things without spending any of the credits. I spent some credits on trying the Oracle Analytics service and acquiring some extra resources over my free quotas.
Oracle Academy: Can you walk us through the elements of Oracle Cloud that you deployed?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: Certainly. In the Web Applications Development course, I set up a testing server on Oracle Cloud to teach Year 2 students how to develop web applications using client and server-side web programming with a database connection.
With their cloud accounts, students of Website Construction and Management learn how to set up and manage their own web servers. This means creating virtual machine instances, installing all necessary applications, and applying e-certs—effectively the electronic signature for their web servers to manage the firewall rules.
Finally, students in my Selected Topics in E-commerce course further learn how to develop webhook services on their Oracle Cloud VMs to connect databases on the servers to Google Dialogflow for creating advanced chatbot applications.
Oracle Academy: That sounds very hands-on. Do they do anything else with the Oracle Academy Cloud Program?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: I’m fairly new to the use of Oracle Cloud but I am reviewing where to go over the next year or two. Right now, besides using Oracle Cloud services in the courses mentioned before, students are free to use the Oracle Cloud platform in other situations according to their needs. For example, they may practice using the Oracle Autonomous Database and Data Warehouse for their database management and data analytics courses.
Oracle Academy: Do you steer them to Oracle professional certification?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: I certainly do. All my students are encouraged to take the examination for the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) certification as a boost to their resumés and their careers. Already the E-Commerce program equips them with the professional qualifications required to be a ‘Certified E-Commerce Consultant’ upon successful graduation; Oracle OCI certification will just make them more employable.
Oracle Academy: Does Macao Polytechnic promote other Oracle skills?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: Yes. In other faculties and in other parts of ecommerce there’s an emphasis on enterprise resource management (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), and customer relationship management (CRM) systems that are fundamental to ecommerce. Oracle E-Business Suite is held up as an example of how these applications link to the infrastructure of running an online business.
Oracle Academy: Lastly, as a new Oracle Academy member, what are your thoughts on the resources?
Thomas Li Siu Pan: Buying online is something we are so used to. But there’s complex technology behind it. We teach students how it all works, the nuts and bolts. Oracle Cloud is fabulous in giving students the chance to play with the nuts and bolts behind the website that drives so much commerce, the technology that makes the business work.
Oracle Academy Cloud Program gives them hands-on experience with professional tools commonly used in the industry. In summary, I highly appreciate the resources provided by Oracle Academy.
We get instructor training, a well-structured Oracle Academy Cloud Program and a whole range of learning resources such as Oracle Academy Education Bytes and Oracle Academy Workshops in a Box, not to mention the ever present assistance of the Oracle Academy representative for Macao.
My experience with Oracle Academy is young, I am still exploring—with enjoyment.
Oracle Academy: And what are your interests outside of the university?
I like traveling. Before the pandemic, I used to go on two trips per year to different places over the world. However, the lockdown of the country borders and the cancellation of flights had put a pause on my adventures. Now, the country borders have been reopened, and the flights are coming back. I hope I can resume my traveling habit soon.
Thank you, Dr. Thomas Li Siu Pan, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.