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

The transition from planned not one, leading institutions such as Duke Kunshan University and New York University Shanghai face to face fully online. Preparing to teach an online course for the first time usually takes several months. Faculty at institutions in China have made in less than three weeks. - remarkable feat

"It was very stressful, but at the same time, the clarity of the crisis has united us," said Clay Shirky, vice-rector of educational technologies at NYU in New York, which was part of the team that helped colleagues at NYU Shanghai launch their online courses.

Before the decision either near the campus of Shanghai and suspend teaching indefinitely or try to keep students on track, leaders chose the second NYU, Shirky said. "It took us a while to realize that what I really needed to move the semester online," he said. "Looking back, I wish I had made the call a little earlier."

hope that students would be able to return to after school holidays, New York University Shanghai scheduled to reopen on February 3 when travel restrictions, start date of the semester were introduced it was pushed on February 10 then the Chinese Ministry of Education ordered universities around the country not to reopen its doors, leaving the authority with a deadline set to move online classes.

So far, things are going surprisingly well, said Jace Hargis, director of New York University Shanghai Center for Teaching and Learning. He has closely followed the progress since classes began on February 17, initial feedback has been good students, and faculty members say they feel increasingly confident in their ability to teach online, he said. The vast majority of teachers - 88 percent -. had no significant experience teaching online beforehand

"Before the first day, a lot of teachers said they felt a little anxious. They were not sure what the students think, "Hargis said. "They are now feeling much better."

Shanghai New York University faculty not only in China. Many traveled the world during the last holiday. Now flight restrictions in and out of China, mean that they can return home. Students, too, are scattered around the world.

Working in different time zones has been difficult, but not impossible, Hargis said. "Ten years ago, we would not have been able to do this - the technology was not there," he said. Broadband Internet and advances in videoconferencing technology made communication easier.

Through online seminars, online resources created especially queries one-on-one drop-in office hours online and many, many emails, an international team worked with NYU Shanghai ability to move almost 500 classes online.

"It was a lot of overtime for three weeks, but time well spent," said Zu Xiaojing, director of NYU Shanghai Library in an email. "We already had a collection of technology platforms and tools ed and proven teaching methods that had been working with the power to use. It was a question of the introduction of these tools and methods to more than one hundred teachers in a short period of time. "

The training sessions focused on teaching faculty to teach two video sharing platforms, zoom and VoiceThread, Hargis said. These tools allow faculty member teaching synchronously or asynchronously as they see fit. To break the workload, it was encouraged teachers to focus on the preparation of the first two weeks of the 14 weeks of the semester. Teachers and students have access to a chat service that operates for 16 hours a day if you have questions or need help.

For some instructors, courses moving online was a challenge. But so far, the effort distance learning is giving promising results early.

For example, Hargis said he worked closely with visiting assistant professor of mathematics Leonardo Rolla, which is currently based in Argentina. "We suggest a lot of things to try to create a culture of caring online class," Hargis said. Rolla created a video introductory students walking through the curriculum. Then he asked each student to make a video introducing themselves. For his first task, the students had to shoot themselves to explain how to solve such an exercise. Almost all created high quality videos, with an exchange of students actually prefer these activities to teaching face to face.

Scott Warnock, director of the writing program at the University at Drexel University, was asked to lead a workshop to help a small group of faculty members NYU Shanghai pedagogies specific host for teaching writing online. The teaching of writing online is not easy, but there are plenty of ways you can engage students using discussion boards, she said. Can evaluate the ability of the student to present an argument, for example, asking them to respond to provocative statements as "students should pay more for college." Warnock like to publish her remarks under a pseudonym as Dr. Logoetho. " it is the tongue in cheek and playful. it is one of the favorite exercises of my students, "he said.

at the University of Duke Kunshan, the faculty had a window similarly tight to put their courses line. classes started yesterday after preparation line just three weeks, said Scott MacEachern, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs of the university. "there were many discussions between DKU and Duke about whether we could really do this, and we decided, yes, we can. Duke has a lot of line capacity, and DKU is only 18 months old at this time. Our students and faculty are pioneers. wanted m aintaining the energy up. "

New York University and Duke are not the only universities in China to take classes online. universities across the country has embarked on similar efforts, many using free content providers new national courses massive open online. Coursera, MOOC provider based US has made its courses freely available to students at Duke Kunshan. Matthew Rascoff, associate vice chancellor for digital education and innovation at Duke, said the offer has proved very popular among students. Online learning at grade level has long been restricted in China due to concerns about regulation and quality, but the Ministry of Education rules have been relaxed to ensure that students "keep learning, even with classes suspended."

If China embrace temporary learning outcomes online long-term change remains to be seen. Rascoff is hopeful that Duke Kunshan, at the least, the experience will be beneficial. Experience in teaching online can make better instructors teachers in any environment, he said.

In addition to ensuring teachers and students are safe and healthy, Duke of Kunshan and Shanghai University of New York have made it easier for students to transfer to other campuses or postpone their classes. Both institutions have made funds available to students to ensure they have access to high-speed Internet and mobile workstations, tablets or smartphones.

At Fort Hays State, teachers have worked hard to ensure that the contents are taken online is accessible to all students, said Andrew Feldstein, assistant rector for teaching innovation and learning technologies at the university. Fort Hays offers several degree programs through Chinese institutions of two partners. "We make it a priority all mobile, which added to the challenge," he said.

It has been an extraordinary effort equipment to be ready for the start of the semester, Feldstein said.

"my first thought when I heard was closed areas this could be a real opportunity for us," Feldstein said. "We are often hampered by processes that do not even question anymore. This allowed us to look at everything in a new light."

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