China / Society

Internet offers new way to teach and learn

By Zhao Xinying (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-27 07:29

Internet offers new way to teach and learn

Chen Ruoyi shares tips with netizens on how to dress fashionably online. [Photo/China Daily]

It never occurred to Chen Ruoyi that she would end up being a fashion icon on the internet.

But, through Microblog University-which offers a new way to participate in social learning in China-the 19-year-old freshman from Capital Normal University in Beijing has become an online influence on a lot of people.

In mid-April, Chen was invited to broadcast live on Microblog University, which is part of the Sina Weibo platform. She took the opportunity to share tips with women her age on how to dress fashionably. Among the tips she shared were the seven ways she knows to wear a simple white T-shirt.

At least 600 people watched the entire broadcast, which lasted 80 minutes. Her video subsequently received more than 120,000 "likes".

Many said they picked up great techniques by watching Chen's video.

The idea of starting Microblog University on Weibo and offering broadcast courses came from the social platform's efforts to enrich itself by offering a learning function during an era in which an increasing number of college students are passionate about interest-oriented learning, according to Kong Lingxu, a senior manager at Weibo.

"The internet and some online social platforms like Weibo become important tools for such learning," Kong said.

A survey conducted by Weibo showed that more than 50 percent of college students take acquiring a skill or nurturing a specialty very seriously and 35 percent of them said they were happy to learn the skills they wanted by themselves, with the help of the internet.

Chen said she not only enjoys broadcasting her fashion courses but also likes watching other lessons.

In the United States, many young people enjoy learning new skills by watching videos on platforms such as Twitter or YouTube, Kong said.

"We hope that Weibo, as an online social platform with 52 million college students as members, can also provide valuable learning content that serves the students' need to make full use of their fragmented time to learn, and allow more college students to exhibit their strengths and talent," he said.

The first season of broadcast courses on Microblog University started in mid-April and consisted of five subjects that are closely connected with campus life.

So far, the five broadcast video courses have been viewed more than 110,000 times and have received a total of 520,000 "likes".

Internet offers new way to teach and learn

Wei Jie, an undergraduate at Taiyuan Normal University, teaches internet users how to play erhu,a traditional stringed instrument, on Microblog University. [Photo/China Daily] 

Chen said she was grateful for the opportunity the broadcast gave her because, for the first time, she realized that having good dress sense could be seen as having a strength or talent.

Traditionally, when people mention a strength or talent, they usually refer to skills in something more difficult, complex or professional, such as a feat of strength or a talent in math, literature or music, she said.

"Thanks to the social media and platform, I now feel that having good fashion sense is also a blessing. I have something to teach and share with others, which made me very happy and proud," Chen said.

Kong said Microblog University will expand to cover more subjects and topics.

"We will also try to involve more people with different strengths and talents in this event-whether they are teachers or students-to teach people how to master skills," he said.

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