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Tsinghua eyes global diversity with hybrid courses

By ZOU SHUO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-04 09:46
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Tsinghua University [Photo/Xinhua]

Tsinghua University recently launched a Global Hybrid Classroom project, offering online courses for its students and others overseas.

Tsinghua is hosting the courses, and several international universities are participating. Students from those universities can obtain credits, Tsinghua said.

The project aims to provide students with a more international, diverse and high-quality learning experience and help them have a hand in shaping the global perspective, said Chen Wenguang, a professor in Tsinghua's Department of Computer Science and Technology.

Seventeen of the classes are open to the founding members of the Global MOOC (massive open online courses) Alliance, which include St Petersburg State University in Russia, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy. A wide range of fields are covered including computer sciences, economics, humanities, architecture, civil and electronic engineering and languages, Tsinghua said.

Students from the Russian university joined the project soon after its launch last month.

In the future, Tsinghua students will also be able to join classes run by overseas universities including RWTH Aachen University in Germany, Rice University in the United States and Canada's University of Toronto.

"The possibilities of communicating with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds on campus are limited," said Yang Bin, vice-president and provost of Tsinghua.

"Through creative education technology and curriculum design, we can provide our students with a more imaginative space, lead them on a broader journey and help shape a resilient educational system that faces the globalization era and the future."

Shen Yuan, an associate professor at the university's Department of Electronic Engineering, said the Global Hybrid Classroom provides an opportunity for universities around the world to pool high-quality educational resources.

"It allows students from different regions and cultural backgrounds to exchange opinions and inspire each other in the same 'classroom', creating a more international and open education scenario," he said.

Fedor Ivachev, a Russian graduate student in Tsinghua's computer science and technology department, volunteered as a teaching assistant after learning about the project.

"As a Russian, I am happy to help my peers from St Petersburg State University," he said. "This is a good opportunity for them to understand Tsinghua and gain access to the courses here. I hope that the project can help stimulate more in-depth exchanges and cooperation between universities in China and Russia."

Liu Xiao, an associate professor at Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management, is running three online courses this semester.

The courses are an opportunity for foreign students to understand the development of the digital economy in China, Liu said.

They also allow for in-depth exchanges between Chinese and foreign students and further promote the importance of recognizing international differences, she said.

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