PHBS Spring Semester Begins Online

Academic Endeavors Continue Despite Novel Coronavirus

SHENZHEN, China, March 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- After the prolonged Spring Festival holidays overshadowed by the novel coronavirus epidemic, the spring semester of Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS) began two weeks ago and the school also held its first online faculty meeting. To ensure the safety of all students and faculty, PHBS decided to offer online courses according to prepared curriculum plans and take a series of measures to mitigate possible side effects caused by the outbreak.

MA student Yuan Lisha takes notes during the online course
MA student Yuan Lisha takes notes during the online course

Online Classrooms 

Setting up their mobile phones or computers, PHBS students from all over the world were well prepared for their courses of the new semester. For the first module in this spring semester, PHBS plans to offer 50 master courses and one MBA course online, including game theory, financial economics, strategic management and among others.

Faculty members offer both live-streamed and pre-recorded lectures with presentation slides and other teaching materials. In addition, group discussions and online Q&A sessions will be held on a regular basis to facilitate student-teacher interactions and ensure the teaching quality, and all lectures are recorded and kept for students' future reference.

"The biggest problem is communication and interaction from students. Although it was not intended to be the case this time, the fact that online teaching can be delivered and received anywhere is a clear benefit, especially under current situation," remarked Professor Young Joon Park. In the face of some challenges like limited options for writing or drawing graphs, he offset the inconveniency by "making lecture slides more comprehensive than before."

"Faculty members should get well prepared in advance and take time to learn related softwares and tools. Pre-class online platform testing and students' cooperation are vital to the teaching quality. If group discussions are needed, it's better to let student join online groups before class starts," said Professor Zhu Hong.

Online courses offer students the opportunity to make good use of their time off campus while reducing their risk of exposing to the virus. MA student Yuan Lisha mentioned, "Although there are some limitations in group discussions, the remote teaching led to more student participation since some of them may be less shy typing online than speaking in the classroom."

"I feel so proud of our institution that in spite of such conditions, we are still able to communicate and learn together. The kind of support and communication happening is amazing," international student Kirti Krishna said, then adding, "Talking to professors by just a click of a button and having their lectures is the best we can get in this virus outbreak." He spoke highly of the available playback for online courses, and hoped that the situation could get better soon. "I am missing my Mirror Lake and PHBS so much!"

United to Fight the Virus 

Outside the online classrooms, the school leadership and staff are working around the clock to ensure the smooth daily operation and a virus-free campus amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Dean Hai Wen visited the student dormitory, and expressed the school's concern to 12 on-campus students (including five internationals) by providing them some food as well as fruits.

PHBS held its first online faculty meeting of this spring semester last week. Over 70 faculty members from 11 countries and regions accessed the meeting through their computers. PHBS Dean Hai Wen provided a detailed status report on PHBS, ranging from online teaching, student cultivation, dissertation supervision and academic research. He emphasized that faculty needed to tackle the challenges of online teaching and make sure lectures are well-received; advisors should provide guidance to students, care about their mental health, and keep good record of dissertation supervision on a regular basis.

As Peking University's medical teams are fighting against the novel coronavirus on the front line, PHBS is taking measures to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, and will notify when on-campus classes will resume in due course.

Professor Park draws binomial tree online
Professor Park draws binomial tree online

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Source: Peking University HSBC Business School