Consent form for participation in the 'Meaningful IO' City University of Hong Kong research study. This consent form also also serves as the Privacy Policy for using the Transcrobes live server.

Version 1.0.3, 12/05/2023

Meaningful IO: SLA Theory and Technology for Ideal L2 Self Realisation

You are invited to participate in a research study by PhD Candidate David Anton Melser (, supervised by Associate Professor Dr John Sie Yuen Lee (jsylee _at_, of the Department of Linguistics and Translation of the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Your participation in the study and associated use of the software and system resources means you consent to the processing of your data, as explained below in the section "Risks and Benefits". Due to the personalisation aspects of the software, it is not possible to participate or use the software without the system storing and processing your information. All identifiable data will be permanently deleted at the end of the research period (2025), though you can request complete and immediate deletion of all your data at any time at no cost.

Purpose of the Study

The study aims to make and test theories and technology to help language learners consume content in foreign languages. All the technologies developed during the research will be made available under open source licences so everyone can benefit.

The study is focused on native (or equivalent), literate speakers of English learning (simplified) Mandarin Chinese.

Description of the Study

The technologies will be deployed so that you can actually use them for real language learning over an extended period. Your activities using the service will be monitored closely and the system will adapt to your comprehension and learning needs in real time. You will regularly be asked to give feedback on the technologies and your language learning activities and habits to make sure the technologies are providing the best available experience and learning benefit. You will also take part in tests to measure how successful the system has been in helping you to learn the foreign language.

All participants must be at least 18 years of age to participate and there is no upper age limit.

Risks and Benefits

The system works by learning as much as possible about your knowledge of the foreign language you are learning. This means that the system will collect a lot of information about your activities when you use the system, such as the texts being submitted to the service, the words and grammatical patterns being read, looking up translations, grammatical explanations, etc. By collecting this information, the system will be able to make predictions on what the most important things to learn are (words, grammatical structures, etc.) for you individually and how to improve the service, among other things.

However, this also means that the system will collect a lot of information that could be used to predict what your interests and learning activities are. For example, if you use the service to help you read lots of articles about dogs, your profile will contain many references to certain vocabulary items, and simple analysis could be used to discover your interest in dogs.

In order to give the most natural experience as possible, many client applications work as plugins to existing applications, like web browser extensions. Because of this, the system and associated applications will never collect data without an explicit action (e.g., button click, etc.) from you initiating data collection and processing. Access to data that could be associated with you will also be restricted to the Principal and Student Researchers, and all appropriate security best practices will be implemented to ensure that no identifiable participant data are ever accessed by unauthorised parties.

The Principal and Student Researchers will only ever process your data for improving the service, or for anonymised reporting on the service and technologies for use in scholarly conferences or publications. Because it is important for other researchers to be able to check and repeat research results, some of the original data may be released to allow this. However, all data for such uses will be rigorous anonymised and the released data will never enable anyone to know any that you participated in the research, nor any of the details. Identifiable data will never be shared with anyone.

Your data will be collected, stored and processed on both University owned and controlled computing infrastructure and so-called "Public Cloud" infrastructure. Microsoft's Azure public cloud infrastructure will be used, and other providers' cloud infrastructure may be used to ensure system security and performance as needs dictate. All collection, storage and processing will always conform to current industry best practices.

Because all of the technologies developed during the research will be available under free/open source licences and participants will be able to request export of all of your data at any time, you (or anyone you choose) with sufficient technical skill will be able to recreate an equivalent service using your own provided computing resources at any time. However, neither the researchers nor the University will be liable for any costs incurred as a result of your use of the technology or data outside of the context of the research. This means that you have complete control over your data and are able to continue using an equivalent service if you are unhappy about your data being used in the research.

While every effort will be made to ensure the applications and service are available at all times and with limited interruptions, the researchers are unable to provide any guarantees whatsoever as to the availability of the service. Under no circumstances will the researchers or University be held liable for any costs or perceived damage incurred as a result of use the software or service, to the extent permitted by Hong Kong law.

Compensation/Costs for participation

You will be provided with access to a web-accessible service for the duration of the research. You will not be remunerated for participating in the research, nor will there be any charges for using the service or any associated applications. You will need to provide your own hardware (mobile phone, laptop, etc.) and support network costs for accessing the service, but the service and associated applications should run on most hardware that can be used to access the internet and the data requirements should be relatively modest.

You will be expected to participate in feedback sessions over the period of the research, consisting predominantly of questionnaires and more formal tests to understand how effective the system has been. Your feedback will directly be taken into account for prioritising new features and fixing any problems. You may also be invited to participate in in-person or video interviews. You may refuse to participate in feedback sessions without losing access to the service, though the system and researchers may continue to regularly request participation in such sessions until the end of the research.

Participation and Withdrawal

You may use the service as frequently or infrequently as you wish. You may withdraw from the study at any time. Withdrawal from the study can be partial, where your data are completely anonymised and kept for the research, or complete, where all data generated by you are completely removed from the system (within the limits established by Hong Kong law).

Access to the service is personal, and you may not share your access or credentials with anyone, including members of your direct family. You may only use the service for your own, personal language learning. You may not use the service to sell another service in any form. Failure to comply with these terms will result in immediate termination of access to the service.

There will be no cost for withdrawing from the study or having all data associated with you permanently deleted. Withdrawing from the study will result in termination of the service. A participant may be accepted back into the study after withdrawing at the sole discretion of the researchers.

The service may stop operating after the end of the official research period. You will be able to get a copy of all your data until the end of this period. All personally identifiable data the researchers have will be destroyed at the end of this period.

Questions and Concerns

The primary contact for day-to-day issues, including participation, withdrawal and all matters related to the functioning and development of the study and associated services should be the Student Researcher, Anton MELSER. The Student Researcher will escalate the issue to the Principal Researcher if he is unable to manage the issue. If, for any reason, it is considered inappropriate to contact the Student Researcher, the Principal Researcher, Dr John LEE, should be contacted directly.

Student Researcher: PhD Candidate David Anton Melser

Email (preferred contact method):

Office: NSB808, 28 Nam Shan Chuen Road, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China

Principal Researcher: Associate Professor John Sie Yun Lee

Email (preferred contact method): jsylee _at_

Office: AC1-B7622, 83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China

Phone: (852)3442 5597

Fax: (852)3442 0359