Coronavirus Forces Universities Online

from Inside Higher Ed

After celebrating the Lunar New Year earlier this month, thousands of students at U.S. universities in China have resumed classes. But the campuses are eerily quiet, and classrooms remain empty. That’s because classes have moved online in the wake of the coronavirus.

The transition from face-to-face to fully online wasn’t one leaders at institutions such as Duke Kunshan University and New York University Shanghai had planned for. Preparing to teach a course online for the first time usually takes several months. Faculty at institutions in China have done it in less than three weeks — a remarkable feat.

“It’s been highly stressful, but at the same time, the clarity of the crisis has brought us together,” said Clay Shirky, vice provost for educational technologies at NYU in New York, who was part of the team that helped colleagues at NYU Shanghai launch their courses online.

Faced with the decision to either close the Shanghai campus and suspend teaching indefinitely or try and keep students on track, leaders at NYU chose the latter, said Shirky. “It took us a while to realize that we really needed to move the semester online,” he said. “Looking back, I wish we had made the call a little earlier.”

Hopeful that students would be able to return to campus after the holidays, NYU Shanghai planned to reopen on Feb. 3. When travel restrictions were introduced, the semester’s start date was pushed to Feb. 10. Then the Chinese Ministry of Education ordered universities across the nation not to reopen their doors, leaving faculty with a tight deadline to move classes online.

More here.

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2 Comments

  1. As a college student whos first year was completely online through zoom I can say it was something that I had to adjust to. My senior year of high was all asynchronous so I did not have any clue on how to use Zoom. Coming into my first year of college had its up and downs because I would often get distracted being in the comfort of my own home. Teachers as well had to get use to teaching off of zoom, assigning test and not being able to see certain students due to the fact that cameras will not be turned on. Stated in the article above, “Preparing to teach a course online for the first time usually takes several months.” The fact that students along with teachers basically had to learn how to use certain online software’s overnight goes to show how unexpected changes can stir up overnight. The good part about remote learning it that it helped the spread of the virus decrease and still allowed for school to be in session.

  2. Even though I was not in college when all the classes went online I remember how it affected me and what I had to do to adjust to this environment. I remember it all started with everyone going home for one day and I really did not think much of it, I was happy because I thought it was going to be a few day occurrences at the longest. At the time we did not have online classes to substitute for this. Then a few days turned into two weeks and two weeks turned into the rest of the school year. After the first two weeks, we all turned to zoom for classes. It was for sure an adjustment for me. In my opinion, it was so much harder to pay attention because there were a lot more distractions in my house. I had my sibling also in class, dogs to distract me, television, and my parents. While on the other hand, I did not have much to distract me at school. In addition, it was a lot more complicated to communicate with my teachers since I could not just walk up to them and ask them a question. For the first few months I feel that it made me very lazy and unproductive, but after a while and a little adjusting I feel a lot more comfortable in the whole online classes environment. That is how the start of online classes affected me mentally and physically.

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