Response to Challenges of COVID-19 and Discussions on Futures of Education--The Webinar entitled “How to Assure Quality Higher education during University Closures”
On April 17, 2020, an international webinar entitled “Futures of Education: How to Assure Quality Higher education during University Closures” was held online during 17:00-19:00 (GMT+8). The webinar was organized by the Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU), UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED) and International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO ICHEI) , co-hosted by Centre for Research and Development in Learning at Nanyang Technological University (CRADLE, NTU), Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), International Association of Smart Learning Environments (IASLE), and supported by the global online learning community Edmodo, a subsidiary of NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited. Several experts, scholars and policy-makers from China, United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Russia and Japan were invited to share their experiences and discuss the topics on futures of education, higher education, smart education, etc., trying to seek prompt educationasl responses and develop innovative smart education.
On the webinar shared the Guidance on Flexible Learning during Campus Closures: Ensuring Course Quality of Higher Education in COVID-19 Outbreak. Dr. Ronghuai Huang, Dean of Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU) emphasized that Guidance is not merely for the response of universities closures in COVID-19 outbreak; more importantly, it aims to share practical experience and look to future education under the “Futures of Education” initiative. During school closures, this large-scale online learning practice in higher education has basically “maintained” the continuity of learning, and has also ensured the quality of courses via a variety of innovative methods. In the future, the ideas, measures and approaches in this practice will certainly give many implications to the "future" of global higher education. Finally, Prof. Huang highlighted that the discussion on the futures of education would never stop here, but would become a long-term issue in education. Educators should keep considering and searching the answer of the futures of education.
Currently, completed by the research project team led by Co-Deans Ronghuai Huang and Dejian Liu, the two guidance handbooks have been released on the official website of UNESCO IITE. That is, Handbook on Facilitating Flexible Learning During Educational Disruption: The Chinese Experience in Maintaining Undisrupted Learning in COVID-19 Outbreak, and Guidance on Active Learning at Home in Educational Disruption: Chinese experience on promoting student’s self-regulation skills during COVID-19 outbreak.