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USTB Strengthens Academic Support to Help Students Study at Home


One weekend in March, SUN Shigeqi, a USTB computer science major who had enrolled in 2019, received a package at her home in Wuhan containing learning materials prepared by the Student Learning and Development Guidance Center of USTB (hereinafter referred to as “the Center”) and a computer that she had previously applied for. She then made an appointment for one-on-one online tutoring in higher mathematics with her friends and senior schoolmates, while preparing to work together with learning partners provided by the Center. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, USTB has worked to implement the guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Beijing Municipality in regards to adjusting the dates of the spring semester, beginning online lessons, and continuing to furnish academic guidance, so as to provide students with support for learning from home while following isolation procedures.


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Study materials, masks and other items sent to Hubei Province

 

Online learning sparks new ideas

In order to facilitate the switch from classroom to online learning, providing support for student’s mental states has been particularly important. The Center understands the importance of comprehensive education methods and published a series of 8 illustrated cartoons for countering the epidemic which have been viewed over 80,000 times, which highlighted the importance of patriotism, public health security, personal safety and youth responsibility, guiding students to establish a correct outlook on life. The Center’s official WeChat account has also been used to promote learning activities. Up to now, 179 articles and activities have been released with a total number of over 240,000 views. With the comprehensive development of online classroom teaching at USTB, the Center launched the “Online Learning Convention of USTB for All Students” and organized a number of activities to support students in developing good learning and rest habits during their home-based education. After online teaching officially commenced on February 24, the Center worked with students to help them cultivate a positive and civilized online learning atmosphere, quickly adapt to the new study at home situation and improve their overall learning experience. This work has been done in combination with group activities to enhance school-level education efforts.

 

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LIU Jiajin, a computer science major from Wuhan, receiving learning materials from USTB


Providing needed materials on-demand

Focusing on the special needs of students during the epidemic period, USTB analyzed the academic characteristics and requirements of each grade, while working to understand the challenges faced by students in Hubei province and other regions in order to coordinate efforts for providing learning materials and needed support. USTB has continued to offer ongoing services for the continued education of more than 400 undergraduates in Hubei province and providing one-on-one study partners for those students during their period of isolation. Knowing that it is difficult for students to go out to buy textbooks during this time, USTB immediately made note on the needs of its students and sent out more than 400 textbooks in over 100 different subjects. For students with academic difficulties, USTB conducted an online study and assessment, and held online meetings at the university- and school-level every week so as to discuss necessary measures. For junior students, USTB launched daily special learning activities. Teachers from the Center used video recordings and PPTs to assist students in problem solving, while allowing them to share ideas with each other. At present, the Center has had over 20,000 participants. ZHAO Chenlu, a 19-year-old student from Xianning studying in the School of Metallurgical and Ecological Engineering said that “taking part in such learning activities every day can help consolidate professional knowledge”. For the graduating students, USTB and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure organization jointly launched a series of online lectures on thesis writing. An expert team from China National Knowledge Infrastructure was invited to introduce the details of thesis writing from the aspects of choosing topics, writing, data retrieval and other aspects, so as to help students write their theses at home. For senior students who have plans for further education, USTB set up an online platform to help students in advanced studies from various aspects, such as information gathering and sharing, and working with other senior schoolmates.


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Student volunteers sort out books and materials in preparation to be sent out


In addition, in order to effectively meet the learning needs of students, USTB launched an effort to send out learning materials that students had left in their  dormitories for the Spring Festival. At present, 1,082 copies of various learning materials have been mailed to students across the country. DENG Zhanjiao, a 2017 undergraduate of the School of Automation and Electrical Engineering who was residing on USTB campus at the time, took the initiative to become a volunteer for the activity. “When the students went home for the Spring Festival, there was no outbreak, and many books and even computers were left here. It was very meaningful for USTB to organize such an effort, so I volunteered to participate and also had the opportunity to make contributions to help prevent the spread of the epidemic.”


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Packed material ready to be mailed out

 

Working together to overcome difficulties and challenges

USTB invited famous teachers in Beijing to provide lectures on learning methods for online courses and assist students in making the most of their lessons at home. Taking full advantage of it’s tutoring resources, the Center launched an online platform for one-on-one tutoring, allowing students to make an appointment through the center’s WeChat app. As a result students have expressed satisfaction with the Center’s support, and 372 individual appointments have been completed to this point. Other online activities have helped students to solve their learning problems at home on a per-need basis. The have been over 15,000 participants from 13 disciplines. Every day, at least one lecturer in each group is on duty to answer students’ questions. ZHAO Zixiao, a 2018 undergraduate at the School of Foreign Studies, said: “We can’t go back to school during the epidemic, so we have to attend online classes. Since the tutors and counselors carry out online class meetings for training and guidance, I feel as if I’m already back at school. When confronted with difficulties, we can ask for advice from teachers and senior schoolmates through the academic guidance center. Under such conditions, I would like to express my gratitude to the university and teachers who are there to help us. I know we will study hard and live up to their expectations.” USTB launched a three-level platform linking the university, schools and individual classes together in order to guide the Center’s work, while each school has relied on its own sub-center to assist students in their learning. The Center has worked tirelessly to assess the academic needs of students from all grades in order to direct academic counselors in guiding students to return to their studies and solve various problems related to learning at home. In addition, USTB has drawn on off-campus learning resources by setting up a learning platform on Bilibili, and cooperated with groups like Open Language, Wechat Reading and other platforms to provide more resources in order to meet students’ needs.


(Resource: Guangming Daily, Tian Yuan)


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