Peking University hosts video conference with Cairo University on online teaching

Peking : 11 teachers from the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University, the Faculty of Arts and the Confucius Institute at Cairo University participated in a video conference via ClassIn to exchange their experience in teaching online during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Having expressed his concern about the teachers and students at Cairo University, Professor Fu Zhiming, deputy dean of the School of Foreign Languages at Peking University, detailed the preparatory work done by the School of Foreign Languages in response to the pandemic, as well as the process of formulating their online teaching plans. He said the School of Foreign Languages has made substantial efforts to ensure the quality of online teaching, although teachers still face challenges in helping students develop basic language skills, giving assignments and feedback, and carrying out assessment.

Professor Lin Fengmin, dean of the Department of Arabic Language & Culture of the School of Foreign Languages, introduced the advantages and disadvantages of teaching Arabic online based on his own experience. Professor Liu said that although most students were generally satisfied with online courses, drawbacks like the fatigue resulted from sedentariness, the unstable network connection, and their increased workload cannot be overlooked.

Professor Rehab Mahmoud, head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and manager of the Confucius Institute at Cairo University, said that Cairo University has utilized a variety of online-teaching tools and taught with both live and recorded lectures. Given the limitations of the Internet connection and the large student size, students from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature joined recorded lectures on e-learning platform Schoology and participated in regular Q&A sessions through mobile messaging application WhatsApp. The major challenge faced by teachers is that students are less likely to raise questions online. As for the assessment, Rehab said the Ministry of Higher Education of Egypt had decided that this semester students at Egyptian universities would take final examinations online with either a “pass” or a “fail” as a result.

During the video conference, faculty members from both universities also talked about related topics such as the methods of carrying out online tests and tracking students’ independent learning conditions, the criteria for evaluating term papers, and the impact of COVID-19 on their daily lives.

Fu and Mahmoud said that both universities would continue to communicate and support mutually in the fields of education and research during the outbreak of COVID-19, and further consolidate their intercollegiate partnership.