Tsinghua University convened a seminar on Friday to review its success in online teaching during the pandemic, share useful experience and explore new ways to further improve its online education system in the future.
The seminar, entitled “Higher Education in Cloud – Promise, Experience and Expectation”, held at the university’s main building, was attended by the University leaders Qiu Yong, Chen Xu, Jiang Shengyao, Wang Xiqin, Ji Junmin, Yang Bin, Li Yibing, You Zheng, Guo Yong, Zheng Li, Xiang Botao and Peng Gang. Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University, moderated the seminar, which was broadcast live on various social media platforms.
The seminar opened with a video that showcased the initiatives that were taken by the university for the successful launch and operation of its online education in the spring semester.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tsinghua decided to conduct its 2020 Spring Semester online. Tsinghua launched 3,923 courses online, starting classes via its own online teaching platform “Rain Classroom” from February. Moreover, the university recently held its first-ever online commencement ceremonies for the 2020 graduating class.
Chairperson of the University Council Chen Xu thanked all the faculty members and staff of Tsinghua for responding quickly to work online, seek training and technical support, and communicate with students to ensure the smooth and orderly operation of the online education as the university unveiled its plan of “postponing the start of the 2020 spring semester whilst starting classes as scheduled” five months ago.
“For the first time, all the Tsinghua members have completed the whole process of online education including giving classes, academic exchanges, defense and exams and cultivation of a learning atmosphere,” she said, adding that Tsinghua’s success in achieving a high-quality online education demonstrated the university’s responsibility, passion, innovation and synergy.
Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong thanked Tsinghua faculty, staff members and students for keeping a positive attitude and delivering a meaningful online teaching reform successfully through their preciseness, diligence, pragmatic attitudes and an innovative spirit.
"Today, I am confirmed that this brave exploration in online teaching in 2020 is a meaningful move in Tsinghua’s history,” he said.
He said that, in face of a critical challenge to humankind, Tsinghua, with its outstanding traditions and strong sense of mission, with the unity and enthusiasm of its faculty members and students, and with the innovative practice of technology, remained steadfast to its responsibility of imparting knowledge and educating people, and had realized its commitment to society.
He said Tsinghua’s Spring semester as an online semester was a great success, due to the top-level design of teaching plans and the system operation mechanism. “Technological innovation and intelligent teaching have interacted well with each other,” he added.
He noted that having successfully run this year’s Spring semester online, Tsinghua was confident and ready for the upcoming Fall semester.
At the seminar, Qiu announced that the university would host a Tsinghua Global Summer School from July 20th-28th online this year, with the theme “Toward a Post-Pandemic World.”
“Leveraging a variety of formats, including cloud discussions, cloud visits, and cloud observations and performances, we will utilize world-class teaching resources across the campus, invite renowned Chinese and international scholars for lectures, and offer courses ranging from economics, politics, society, education, climate change to leadership," he added.
The Global Summer School will recruit young learners from the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC), Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) and Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), offering them a platform to understand the opportunities and challenges in the post-COVID-19 world, and explore solutions for a sustainable future.
Shi Zhongying, Dean of the Institute of Education, gave a report about the achievements in online education research at the seminar.
Zhang Ying, Research Assistant Professor from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, shared her feedback on online education after the seminar by praising Tsinghua for the support it offered to other universities. “The support of Tsinghua provided to other universities is very impressive. The courses created by Tsinghua university were shared to help students enrolled in other universities and the online teaching experience was also shared,” she said.
Several heads and representatives from various departments of the university including Yu Xinjie, Head of the Online Teaching Experts Group , Zheng Xiaodi, representative of the Cloned-class teachers, Zhang Ran, from the School of Life Sciences, Yi Bo, from Tsinghua University Primary School, Yang Dongjiang, from the Academy of Arts and Design, and other teaching management staff made presentations at the seminar, and shared the behind-the-scenes stories of Tsinghua online teaching since the outbreak of the epidemic. They also discussed the whole system synchronization of interactive online teaching program release, online teaching course resource sharing, and the launch of online international summer programs, as well as the continuation of the combination of online and offline teaching methods in the future.
Writers: Sangeet Sangroula, Haroon Hayat
Editors: Guo Lili, John Olbrich