This article originally appeared on our sister website, Urban Family Shanghai.
As we reported Tuesday, schools in Shanghai will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Instead of opening at the end of February – as the Shanghai Education Commission previously announced – classes will now be taught online starting in March due to concerns over the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Primary and secondary school students in Shanghai will start attending online classes starting Monday, March 2, Shine reports. It is unclear what exact steps universities will take (more on that below).
So what will online teaching look like in Shanghai? We're here to break it down for you.
Online Classes for Primary and Secondary Schools
Lu Jing, the Director of the Shanghai Education Commission, said the decision to keep schools closed and hold classes online is a direct result of safety concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak. The commission also announced that they have put together a comprehensive online education plan for all primary and secondary schools.
"We have taken students' physical and mental health and different rules at different grades into consideration when drafting the plans," said Lu. "The length of each class and the total class time each day will vary among grades."
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According to Lu, 1,000 teachers have been tasked with creating the classes, most of which will be shown on TV via Shanghai TV stations or through IPTV service providers. The plan is to broadcast classes on 12 cable TV channels – one for each grade. The classes will repeat in case students miss the lesson.
There will be an option of downloading classes onto computers, tablets and phones, instead of watching them on TV. This is an option for students without access to cable TV. Students will also be given textbooks, which will be available in both digital and paperback forms soon.
Students are specifically instructed not to prove attendance by signing in online or send videos of their learning progress to teachers in order to help teachers manage their workload. However, students will still be able to contact their instructors through appropriate channels.
Classes for all primary school students will last for roughly 20 minutes (15 minutes less than normal). Students will be offered five or six classes a day in order to limit "screen time" to two hours a day. Breaks between classes will last roughly 20 minutes.
The online education plan also includes physical exercises as well as eye exercises.
The Shanghai Education Commission is still finalizing the plans and says it will issue a detailed guide for online classes in Shanghai by the end of this month.
While the commission's plan is unified, schools do have the option to teach their own online classes if they have the appropriate resources. So it's best to check with your child's school to see what their plan is.
"Online teaching cannot replace campus education," said Lu. "We are trying to provide relatively relaxing curricula for teachers to organize study for students and reduce the burden on families during the virus outbreak. Schools should assess the effect of online study after students return [to school] and organize makeup lessons if necessary."
Online Classes for Universities
Individual universities are being asked to create their own courses. The Ministry of Education will soon provide resources so universities can more effectively share courses with students online.
As an example of what university students can expect, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is providing over 2,000 online courses – some live, some prerecorded – to its undergraduate and graduate students.
The commission has yet to announce a date for Shanghai schools to reopen and allow students to attend class in person.
For regular updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, click here.
[Cover image via Pixabay]
This article was originally published by our sister magazine Urban Family Shanghai. For more articles like this, visit the Urban Family website, or follow the Urban Family WeChat account (ID: urbanfamilyshanghai).