Webinar of “Online Learning during and after COVID-19: The Catalyst of Education Transformation” has been Successfully Held

On the evening of June 3, 2020, the Southern University of Science and Technology Center for Higher Education Research(CHER)and  International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHEI) co-sponsored and organized the launching of “Guidance for Online Education During COVID-19 Pandemic" and held the webinar of “Online Learning during and after COVID-19: The Catalyst of Education Transformation” after the launching. This webinar is co-organized by the UNESCO Institute of Information Technology Education (IITE) and the UNESCO International Rural Education and Training Center (INRULED) and supported by the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO (Chinese NatCom for UNESCO). 


Around 60 leading scholars, experts, front-line education practitioners and educational  administers from all over the world gathered and witnessed the launching of a set of five “Guidance for Online Education During COVID-19 Pandemic" (hereinafter referred to as " GUIDANCE") in both Chinese and English language. In this webinar, experts from all over the world talked about the achievements made, as well as their challenges, experiences and reflections regarding online teaching during COVID-19 and shared their views and discussed how these would reshape education. This webinar took more than 3 hours and was live broadcast through the Bilibili account of SUSTech and the number of online viewers reached up to 3,000 people at its peak.



In the launching of the " GUIDANCEs" part of this webinar, Professor Jianhua  Zhao from the Higher Education Research Center of SUSTech first introduced the five GUIDANCEs for Online Education During COVID-19 Pandemic and the contents and characteristics of each GUIDANCE, which aims to provide targeted readers guidance and support to promote quality online education.

In the remark speech of the " GUIDANCE" part, Professor Chunmiao Zheng, a member of the President's Office of SUSTech and Minister of SUSTech Global introduced the large amount of support work that SUSTech has done in combating COVID. This includes developed epidemic prevention supplies, used a big data epidemic prevention prediction system, and analyzed the molecular structure characteristics of viruses using advanced measurement methods. To achieve “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning”, SUSTech has opened 578 online courses since February, including 497 undergraduate courses, 884 classes, reaching 27533 students who selected the courses. Teachers use online teaching and chat tools to answer questions in real-time, and set up an online teaching consultation working group to collect students' opinions on online teaching promptly and get timely feedback for coordinating and solving temporary problems and strive to ensure the quality of teaching. SUSTech has become one of the earliest universities to offer online courses in China.

Director Tao Zhan spoke on behalf of IITE and Director Ronghuai Huang spoke on behalf of INRULED. They believed that online learning is a unique solution to the problem of “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning”. The " GUIDANCEs" provides specific operation guidelines for different stakeholders in education, which is very beneficial for implementing online teaching during COVID-19 and equally helpful teaching when the schools reopen.

Ms. Jia Nan, Director of the Education Division of the National Commission for UNESCO of China, which supported the compilation of the GUIDANCEs, said that high-quality online education is particularly important in the current severe epidemic situation. The Southern University of Science and Technology and three UNESCO institutions have jointly organized and compiled the GUIDANCEs to provide specific instructional guidelines for “Disrupted Classes, Undisrupted Learning”, which has important practical significance.

During the online webinar part, 14 experts, scholars, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from more than a dozen countries and regions, including China, the United States, Arabia, Spain, Italy, Singapore, Romania, Australia, Russia, Chinese Special Administrative Region Hong Kong, shared the experiences, effectiveness, reflections, and lesson learned regarding online education during the epidemic situation.

Professor Mohamed Jemni from the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization ALECSO shared Arab online education experience during the outbreak. Prof. Daniel Burgos from Spain believed that informal learning and open resources need to be integrated during the epidemic to effectively solve online education problems. Prof. Gabriela Grosseck from Romania pointed out that the outbreak of the global epidemic has changed global education, and people began to quickly accept this new teaching model, thereby promoting educational transformation. Professor Chee-Kit Looi from Nanyang Technological University shared thoughts of the challenges and opportunities that online education and AI brought for modern education. He believes that the outbreak of the COVID-19 has accelerated the transformation of traditional education, and universities, industries and enterprises need to be more closely linked. Professor Carol Chan from the University of Hong Kong and Professor Jun Li from Canada reflected respectively from the learning science perspective and "Chinese experience" on online education during the epidemic. Professor Xiaodi Huang from Australia shared his experience on "How to Effectively Attract Students in a Network Environment". He believes that the most effective way is to transform scattered information into relevant knowledge through processing to achieve more active online learning to attract students to participate. Professor Khalid Berrada from Morocco shared how to carry out distance education at Cadi Ayyad University and the three steps to determine and implement online teaching. Mr. Lintuo Wu from Huawei introduced Huawei’s effort, including Huawei ICT Academy to cultivate ICT Talent, and Learn On Program during Pandemic to support teacher training. Mr. Bei Li from Alibaba introduced Alibaba's efforts in combating the COVID-19, especially the Ding Talk platform provided online teaching support to 130 million students and 6 million teachers in 140,000 schools across the country.


It is reported that the editors of this set of GUIDANCEs come from the universities and institutes: Southern University of Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, South China Normal University, Foshan University , South China University of Technology, The Chinese Journal of ICT in Education and Guangdong Education Technology Center, etc. A full set of GUIDANCEs include: Guidance for Students; Guidance for Teachers; Guidance for Principals and Educational Administrators; Guidance for Parents and Communities and Guidance for using Technologies and Platforms. The Chinese and English versions were released in this webinar, and a French version will be published in the future.


The publication of the GUIDANCEs and the webinar, while supporting online teaching in the post-epidemic era, also demonstrated the impact and opportunities of online education on traditional education from different perspectives. Multiple stakeholders in the education system not only need to think about how to better improve the quality of online education, but also need to get prepared to the pressures and challenges brought about by online education to education transformation.


We hope this set of GUIDANCEs can provide targeted multiple users involved in online education the support and guidance in the post-epidemic era. We more deeply pray for the passing of the epidemic as soon as possible. The schools reopen, and our students and educators continue learning in a healthy and comfortable environment.


《GUIDANCEs for Online Education During COVID-19 Pandemic》(Chi & Eng versions could be downloaded from the following websites.