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Peking University embraces online learning amid the novel coronavirus outbreak

FEB . 07 2020
Peking University, Feb. 7, 2020: As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues, Peking University decided to suspend on-campus courses and required all students not to come back to school until further notice. The university is making all-out efforts to minimize the disruption to teaching and learning amid the epidemic by rolling out a series of measures.

Starting from February 17, classes will be taken online via multiple e-platforms, such as ClassIn, Canvas and PKU’s bespoke website (https://course.pku.edu.cn). Drawing upon these state-of-the-art technologies, teachers are able to lecture in a variety of ways:

(1). Live Streamed Lectures: Teachers will give lectures online according to the date and time in the class schedule, while students are expected to view simultaneously. A playback will be available for students who cannot attend classes on time or with unstable internet connection.

(2). Pre-recorded Lectures: Teachers will record videos in advance or create presentation slides with audio commentary. These materials will be uploaded on TEACHING AND LEARNING@PKU (https://course.pku.edu.cn). Online Q&A sessions will be held on a regular basis and students are required to follow instructions given by their teachers, e.g. submitting assignments on time. 

(3). MOOCs: Teachers will teach online using resources on multiple MOOCs platforms, and students are expected to learn and finish coursework as required by their teachers.

(4). Webinars: Learning materials will be uploaded in advance on TEACHING AND LEARNING@PKU (https://course.pku.edu.cn), along with detailed instructions. Students are supposed to finish coursework as required by their teachers.

(5). Studio Lectures: Teachers will give live streamed lectures in specialized classrooms through a smart classroom system in the Geology Building, while students are expected to watch on PKU’s live streamed platforms. Meanwhile, teachers will assign and mark homework for students and hold Q&A sessions.

Additionally, online education can be done through video conferencing, WeChat groups and email communication. Each school and department will hold a video conference soon to brief students about online teaching arrangements and other relevant issues.

The Center for Excellent Teaching and Learning will also run web-based training sessions between February 6 and 14 for teachers who wish to sharpen their skills of teaching online. Moreover, Peking University uploaded video footage of lectures given by renowned scholars and courses delivered by award-winning teachers on a featured website (http://resource.pku.edu.cn), in an attempt to provide more resources for remote learning and ensure the quality of homeschooling.  

Since the viral outbreak, the university has been maintaining regular contacts with students, providing necessary help to those who encounter difficulties in study and life and those with psychological problems. Although it is unclear when students are allowed to return to school, Peking University has urged relevant departments to get prepared for the arrival of students, emphasizing the need to strengthen logistics support, improve campus environment and optimize the plan for disease control and prevention. Moreover, Peking University takes seriously students who are about to graduate in 2020, asking their supervisors to provide better thesis supervision, pledging to seek more job vacancies for these soon-to-be graduates and offering them career coaching services. 

While PKU’s medical teams are combating the novel coronavirus on the front line, the leadership of Peking University is working around the clock to ensure the smooth operation of the university and a virus-free campus amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Following the official announcement of postponing the starting date of the spring semester, the university will notify when face-to-face classes will resume in due course.

Written by: Huang Weijian
Edited by: Zhang Jiang