February 29, 2020
e-learning surges in China following coronavirus outbreak
With crisis comes opportunity. The coronavirus epidemic has resulted in a recent surge in e-learning in China as millions of students are unable to attend classes in person. TAL Education, based in Beijing, recently partnered with 300 public schools to offer free classes to students affected by the quarantine measures.
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University located in Suzhou, used the crisis as an opportunity to test and expand its pre-existing plans to develop its blended learning strategy. Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of the university, commented that without the outbreak, it would have taken between one – two years to improve its infrastructure to meet the expected demand. However, faced with the reality of students being unable to attend university, it moved rapidly to offer online courses to over six thousand students.
You can read a letter published by Professor Youmin Xi in relation to the coronavirus crisis here: Letter to XJTLU Community
“We decided to conduct our education fully online until campus re-opens because of concern for the health of students and staff members…The outbreak of the coronavirus has quickened the pace of educational transformation in the University’s current 2.0 stage of online education exploration… If not for the coronavirus outbreak, we probably would have needed one or two years to complete a large-scale infrastructure and technological upgrade of this scale,” Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
The Chinese Government launched a country wide platform called the National Network Cloud Classroom. The environment was built to cater for 50 million students, and to accomplish this feat, the Ministry of Education developed an action group consisting of telecom providers and large tech corporations such as Baidu.
International schools in China have also launched or expanded their online learning environments. FlashAcademy, an EdTech company based in the UK, has helped schools such as Britannica International School, Shanghai setup or develop existing platforms within 24 hours. This platform was chosen as it is available in a wide variety of languages, including Chinese Mandarin and Korean.