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'Contactless education' spurs on online learning amid outbreak

'Contactless education' spurs on online learning amid outbreak

BEIJING, March 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by on China's efforts to maintain education while combatting COVID-19:

Due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), China postponed the start of the spring semester for all schools. As such, classes have continued across the country by going "contactless."

Schools are switching to online lessons as required by China's Ministry of Education. Some have selected online courses on e-learning platforms for their students to study by themselves, while others have asked teachers to livestream their lessons. For students in remote rural areas, the education authorities have provided learning resources on dedicated TV channels.

In this special semester, 95-year-old professor Zhang Li, the most senior teacher at Tsinghua University, offered his quantum mechanics course online; students and teachers are able to interact via Danmu – a popular online commenting system which allows viewers to post real-time comments directly on top of the video; and various school events such as exams, flag-raising ceremonies, and parent-teacher conferences are all being moved online.

Reports show that currently, schools in more than 30 provincial-level regions across China are having online classes in virtual classrooms on a mobile office platform.

Thanks to the development of the mobile internet, online education in China has made substantial progress over the past decade or more. Although the "experimental" online education adopted in response to the outbreak has encountered some challenges, it has provided a chance for related technologies and infrastructure to improve rapidly, spurring on the development of online education in the country.

Online education is an important way to share educational resources. Reports show that during the epidemic, online platforms have allowed some people in lower-tier cities to access high-quality educational resources for the first time. In fact, internet infrastructure, public services and technology in underdeveloped areas has been advancing in recent years, driven by national strategies. Many less-developed regions which face teacher shortages are exploring new ways to change the status quo through the "internet plus education" strategy. In China, a country with a vast area and large population, this kind of resource sharing plays an important role in narrowing the education gap and promoting education equity.

On top of this, as many universities and platforms open their teaching and academic resources to the public, people now have more channels and opportunities to acquire new knowledge, read good books and explore beyond the familiar.

Online education, which has been widely adopted due to the epidemic, may well bring some new changes to both Chinese education and society.

China Mosaic
'Contactless education' spurs on online learning amid outbreak


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