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  • [ March 16, 2020]

    A glimpse of the online classes in the COVID-19 period

  • Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, students are required not to come back to school, and many classes are taught using online facilities.

    Starting from February 17, with the help of facilities and instructions from the university, many College of Engineering teachers have been giving classes online via multiple e-platforms.

    1. Live Streaming

    Dr. Fanyang Mo, assistant professor in the Department of Energy and Resources Engineering, taught the course “Organic Chemistry” to undergraduate students via live streaming on the university course website.

    “I chose live stream teaching, because compared with pre-recorded lectures and MOOCs, this method makes students feel closer to the teacher, and it’s easier to have interactions and discussions,” said Mo.

    Days before the class, Mo bought facilities for online teaching, and learned how to use them. He also uploaded all learning materials in advance for students, and added more interactions during the classes to help make students more involved.

    “I feel the course is well organized. I learned a lot on this subject, and the teacher replies to my questions and puzzles quickly,” said student Wenxi Wang.

    Dr. Chao Zhou, associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, also chose live streaming to teach his course “Introduction to Aerospace”.

    “This course includes a lot of discussion, so I chose live stream teaching. I found that the most challenging thing of online teaching is to have everyone participating, so I encourage them to talk in turn in discussions,” said Zhou.

    1. Studio Lectures

    Dr. Shaoqiang Tang, professor in the Department of Mechanics and Engineering Science, teaches “Mathematical Analysis” in this semester. Because this course requires a lot of writing on the blackboard, he chose the method of “studio lectures”.

    Prof. Shaoqiang Tang lectures alone in the classroom

    In the class, Tang lectures alone in equipped classrooms through a smart classroom system in the Geology Building. No students are in the classroom, they watch on PKU’s live streamed platforms.

    There’s no interaction, but a playback is available for students who cannot attend classes on time or with unstable internet connection. In addition, teachers assign and mark homework for students and hold Q&A sessions.

    “It’s very good,” commented the students, “We feel like sitting in the classroom.”

    Dr. Yong Wang, a professor in the same department, also uses this method to teach, but in the first three lessons he had to use a video conferencing system temporarily, because he was in self-quarantine for two weeks after he returned from outside Beijing.

    He said that the method of studio lecture is more convenient for teachers to demonstrate the process of thinking, but it has a weakness-lacking communication with students. He encouraged the students to read more books and have more communication with teachers and peers.

    1. Video Conferencing

    Besides the two ways above, teachers also use other online education methods, such as video conferencing, WeChat groups and email communication.