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Course Ending of Global Classroom in Xidian University

Time:Jul 19, 2021  Views:

(Correspondents: Li Zhijun, Zhangweili) Through the leading of the Division of International Cooperation & Exchanges and the coordination of different departments in the University, Professor Gorke Yongling of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies of the College of Liberal Arts and Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Dr. Li Zhijun and Dr. Zhang Weili of the School of Economics & Management (SEM) of Xidian University (XDU) decided to connect the course ofSociology and Chinese Society Studies, a public elective course of humanistic quality in the University, with the other party’s course of Topics in Chinese: Mobility of People and Goods in Chinese Life after many times of discussions online to carry out the global classroom project. There are 16 class hours in XDU course, of which 8 class hours are offline classes and 8 class hours are synchronous classes jointly organized with the US. This is the first time that the University has cooperated with overseas universities in this way. The course ended in mid-June.

Through course study, students have learned the basic knowledge of sociology and have a certain degree of understanding and mastery of some basic concepts and methods of sociology in social sciences, have a deep understanding of major themes such as socialization, population and family, social inequality and social changes in Chinese society, have carried out related extended reading, and can systematically analyze some hot issues in society. Professor Gorke Yongling shared the electronic excerpts of textbooks used by American students with XDU students. The professor has rich experience in online classroom teaching, with interesting and flexible form,which motivates the students and makes the class very effective. There were many interactions in course design. Besides the strong interactivity in classroom teaching, the course tasks also emphasized interactivity, which was completed by Chinese and American students in teams: students were divided into five groups, each of which had its own WeChat group, and everyone can communicate daily or date to complete the course interview tasks. In the course, Prof. Gary Sigley from Australia, the author of American classroom textbooks, was invited to give a lecture on the specific theme “China’s Route Heritage - The Ancient Tea Horse Road of Southwest China”.


Curriculum activities

This China-US global classroom project helped both teachers and students to gain a lot. It opened up a new horizon for teachers and students of both sides, and also brings students different classroom experiences, so that XDU students can perceive the classroom experience of American college students, which is helpful for Chinese and American students to communicate and personally perceive different cultural backgrounds and various differences brought about by them.


Student homework display


After the completion of the course, we paid a return visit to some students, and the relevant suggestions given by the students are as follows:

Gao Yiran:

I think there can be more offline theory classes. I want to continue listening, but there are no offline classes.

Hao Minghao:

First of all, the most important point is that China-US exchanges require certain foreign language literacy, so we can increase publicity in the School of Foreign Languages. Some of my classmates have good foreign language proficiency and cultural foundation, and also have a history of traveling in Europe and America. They are also more interested in this course.

Second, the course content can be more diversified. I think the essence of Sino-US exchanges is culture. Students come from all over the world, even some of them are ethnic minorities. We can encourage everyone to share the hometown customs and eating habits with PPT.

Third, the two sides should talk on an equal footing. During the course, Chinese students should be encouraged to learn and read more about American history, culture and geography (which is used in our professional courses).

Fourth, teachers from both sides should communicate well and encourage students to talk boldly and actively.

Li Mingqian:

First of all, after this course, I have an opportunity to meet foreign students and feel foreign culture, and I can re-understand Chinese traditional cultural heritage such as the Ancient Tea Horse Road from different perspectives. What impressed me most was the "Beijing Qianmen manhole cover" mentioned in the course readings. As a local in Beijing, I have never paid attention to these details and only regarded it as a landmark building.This has greatly enriched my knowledge reserve and enhanced my cultural self-confidence – for China history about 5000 years, every detail is worthy of praise. Of course, the sociology class brought by Ms. Li Zhijun also benefited me a lot. Although I learned some research methods by reading Rural China by Mr. Fei Xiaotong (also known as Fei Hsiao Tung overseas) before, watching videos and participating in discussions in class helped me build a preliminary and complete sociological framework, which once again stimulated my interest in social research.

Secondly, I feel that the America I learned about through series of courses is different from the America I learned about in books and media works. When communicating with foreign students, I learned about their daily life, what they have learned, and learned the understanding and solution of a certain problem at home and abroad, thus improving my cross-cultural communicative competence.

As for the course suggestion, I think it may be that my English level is limited. It is hoped that subtitles can be added or reading materials in both Chinese and English can be provided when Chinese and foreign classes are held together, which is more convenient for students with poor English foundation to understand the course content.

Wang Xin:

Main gains are: In the process of communicating with American students, I learned some differences in culture, customs and thoughts between China and the United States. I have a certain understanding of the learning style and lifestyle of American students. This part may be helpful to students who want to study abroad.

Improvements to be made from personal view: The theme of communication is not strong. It would be a little blunt to specify only the number of communications and large assignments, but it might be better to refine the topic. I think everyone had a great desire to communicate at the beginning, but they didn't break through the barriers of communication (perhaps because they lacked experience in foreign communication), and gradually they were marginalized and lost interest in communication.

Zhang Shihao:

Gains: Be active in the course, we are all students, don't worry about who knows more than who; when working in groups, it is necessary to clarify the division of labor and the deadline of tasks; don't worry about your poor English and dare not speak it. If you say it, you will have succeeded.

Suggestion: I hope that similar courses can be put in the course selection system, so that the quality of students will be higher; assign students small tasks at each stage, so that the course will be more closely related to students.

Teachers from both sides had continuous communication before, during and after class, including teaching contents, teaching methods and problems existing in online classes. After the course, we also held a special feedback meeting to evaluate the effect of course. Teachers from both sides were generally satisfied with the course effect, and put forward some improvement methods. For example, because the project entered the educational administration system late, the course selection was affected. For another example, for American students, this course was a required course with 3 credits, which was more important than Chinese students. For XDU students, because the course was not a planned course, there were many conflicts between online and offline class time, and the attendance rate was low. Moreover, because of poor language foundation or cultural differences, students were not active enough in WeChat group or video communication. Teachers from both sides agreed that it is normal for such problems to occur in such an international class for the first time, and it will be greatly improved when the project is carried out for the second time next spring.

Prof. Gorke Yongling plans to take American students to study in China during the spring break in 2022, XDU will be an important stop for teachers and students from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Looking forward to the epidemic dissipating by then, we can shake hands and embrace each other in the ancient city of Xi’an besides meeting each other in the online class.