Following its recent announcement postponing the start of the spring semester in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Ministry of Education (MOE) has just issued instructions on the deployment of HEI online teaching to enable students to resume their studies remotely.
HEIs have been asked to take various measures, including:
1. Apply online learning and simulated experimental teaching resources to facilitate remote study. In response to the MOE’s call, by February 2 there are 22 online platforms in China providing 24,000 online HEI courses free of charge, covering 12 disciplines at undergraduate level and 18 disciplines at higher vocational education level.
2. Establish plans to put online courses in place. HEIs are allowed to modify spring and autumn semester schedules for this year as they deem appropriate for their circumstances, and should suspend all social activities and internships initially planned during the winter vacation.
3. Develop an evaluation plan to monitor the quality of online courses, classroom discipline and examination discipline.
Other related institutions have been requested to assist HEIs in their deployment of online teaching:
1. Lecturers of the “National Selected Online Open Courses” have been requested to set up model classes to help teachers improve their online teaching skills.
2. The Open Platform for the National Project of Virtual Simulation Experiment (www.ilab-x.com) will be open to the public, providing over 2,000 simulated experimental courses.
3. Private institutions have been encouraged to provide free online resources to HEIs and offer them tailor-made online learning solutions. Teachers have been encouraged to teach online by using various online resources including MOOC platforms.
4. Online education institutions are encouraged to provide technical assistance and resources to facilitate HEI online teaching.
5. The MOE plans to gather inputs from a group of experienced teachers from leading schools to produce a series of high-quality MOOCs and experimental courses. The MOOC Alliance Joint Committee has been asked to collaborate with HEIs to conduct co-teaching.
6. MOOC platforms have been flagged as a key channel to provide courses on topics like epidemiology, to disseminate knowledge among college students and the public on the control and prevention of infectious diseases.