March29, Times Higher Education – Nankai University THE China Universities Forum was held in Tianjin. Focusing on theeducation’s significance, goals and methods, Zhenyuan Zhai, Former President,China Association of Higher Education, NingZhang, Deputy Secretary-General, China Scholarship Council, Qinghua Zheng, Vice-president, Xi'anJiaotong University, and Genshu Lu,Director, West China Higher Education Evaluation Centre, Xi'an JiaotongUniversity discussed about “The significance of teaching excellence todifferent stakeholders”. The discussion was hosted by Hui Li, Director, AsianMarket and Partnership.
ZhenyuanZhai said, excellent teaching should promote the combination of life skills andcomprehensive development. Since the foundation of PRC, cultivating theprofessional talents has always been a mainstream of higher education. Thoughthe settings of the professions could satisfy the country’s needs and have itshistorical significance, the problems of narrowing division and gap betweennatural and social sciences were apparent. Thus education should turn fromcultivating the students’ life skills to comprehensive development. Excellentteaching should target at cultivating students’ all-round capability and combinegeneral education with professions. Therefore we should focus on reforming theteaching philosophy, teaching objectives, teaching content and teachingmethods, and construct a modern talent training system with Chinesecharacteristics and world-level quality.
Healso said, the higher education has already accepted the idea, but theimplementation is imbalanced. General education is more about the views ofnature, society, the world and the people themselves. It is not enough to guidefrom the perspective of the world. It is necessary to break the concept ofdiscipline and create an interdisciplinary system.
NingZhang introduced the overall situation of scientific research, study abroad,teaching and internationalization in universities. He said, since the Reformand Opening, China’s study-abroad projects mainly focus on the scientificresearch level and its gap with other countries. In recent years, China'sscientific research has developed greatly, and some laboratories have becomeworld-class. There are more and more international talents trained in China whohave international language skills, cross-cultural understanding, globalperspectives, understand international rules, and are able to participate ininternational cooperations and competitions. In terms of teaching quality, thenumber of returned overseas teachers has been increasing, a large number ofinternationally-used teaching materials have been used, and lectures of sharingthe teaching methodologies have also increased.
Inanalyzing the characteristics of Chinese students, Ning Zhang said that Chinesestudents in the foreigners’ eyes are smart, hardworking, easy to get along, andhave high graduation rates. However, there are also deficiencies that they willnot raise questions, discuss with others, and question others. It results fromthe shortcomings in our teachings. Therefore, it is necessary to conductteaching training from the teacher level.
QinghuaZheng shared the experience of Xi'an Jiaotong University using big dataartificial intelligence technology to create a new mode of classroom teaching.Classroom teaching is the key link to improve teaching quality. Four problemsexist in the management of classroom teaching quality, which are inaccuracy incollecting data, commenting, student’s mutual assistance and teacher’s guidanceand instruction. These are basic and general problems which are hard to besolved. Over the years, Xi'an Jiaotong University has been committed tobuilding new classrooms based on big data analysis. The school has developedthe data acquisition technology of “Internet of Things + Cloud Computing”, proposedthe evaluation method of intelligent teaching quality, and established aproblem-driven precision supervision mechanism, promoting the teachingmanagement, service, education, quality and efficiency.
Zhengsaid that now living in an era of big data, with the principle of assistance,they collect, analyze and evaluate the teaching and learning situation in theclass in order to promote the students’ as well as teachers’ respect to theclass and cultivate good teaching and learning habits.
GenshuLu analyzed the content, structure and comment of “excellent teaching” andproposed the rethinking of the concept. In 1930s, researchers have studied theconstituents of “excellent teaching”, but described little of its content.Since there is no well-accepted definition, its content needs to be define fromdifferent perspectives. It is a multidimensional and developing concept andhard to be accurately defined or measured. It is like two sides of a coin, bothstudents and teachers should be considered in the process of teaching andlearning.
Healso mentioned that today some universities explore the implementation ofcollegiate system, combining the first and the second classroom. As a platformto break the boundaries of students' subject professions, grades, etc., andbuild community activities, technological innovation, and Q&A exchanges, itmay be an effective way to explore general education.