In the past several months, we experienced a special learning style. Although we were prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic from gathering together like before to discuss with each other as we like, we can still meet online and explore the sea of knowledge. The sharing of knowledge, exchange of ideas and passing down of tradition were not interrupted in the Guanghua MBA program.

Online courses were uniquely interesting, “acclaimed and admired” by the students who at first harbored some doubt. Why such a change in students’ reaction? Let us take a look to find out.

01No teaching quality compromised online

Some teachers, including even experienced senior professors, were quite worried about teaching online.It was a new experience for most of them, and no wonder they were nervous. To ensure the teaching effect, all our teachers made meticulous preparations. They spent more time and efforts preparing than they normally did offline. They revised lecture notes and courseware and tested the teaching system over and over again, just to make sure everything would go smoothly.

Professor Xu Xinzhong was in Europe and a different time zone while giving the lecture. Though he said he was really “a little nervous” before the lecture, the effect turned out better than what he had expected. Relieved as professor Xu was, he still looked forward to meeting students face to face soon offline.

Such a success was the fruit of teachers’ overtime work and careful preparations. In face of this unseen challenge in their teaching career, our teachers doubled and even tripled the time and energy they would normally spend to make this online program a great success.

Professor Zhang Jianjun’s “Chinese Enterprises’ Leadership Art” has always been popular among students. Though professor Zhang prefers offline meetings, students still found his online instruction very rewarding, saying thateven “with eyes closed” they were charmed away by professor Zhang and his extremely helpful philosophy of management.

Another popular course “Traditional Chinese Ink Painting” allowed students to learn a new skill at home. The teacher commented on students’ paintings and students eagerly shared their painting techniques just as they did offline. Here, you could appreciate paintings of various styles like traditional Chinese style, abstract style, and “mad style”, etc. Even the teaching assistant marveled, “Everyone is so active and their paintings so good that it is too difficult to select which is the best.”

02Bringing students and teachers from all over the world together

The beauty of online teaching lies in its ability to break the restrictions of time and space, and inspire more expectations and possibilities. The online Guanghua MBA program brought together students all over China, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Xi’an and Chengdu, and even the world to study and discuss with each other at the same time, generating the wonderful feeling of time and space travel.

The course “Business Simulation and Reflections on Leadership” illustrated the difference among business mindsets across China, and gave students a try of remote collaborative working in the time of the pandemic, making it more relevant to the reality. At the “Negotiation” class, students role-played in negotiations with their Sichuan-accent English and Shaanxi-accent English, under the guidance of the lecturer who’s from Oxford University. As online teaching requires no commuting, we are able to invite more heavy-weight masters to teach lessons and share ideas with students on the cloud.

The active transmission of knowledge, exchange of thoughts and ideas by students and teachers from all over the world have lent extraordinary glamour to the seemingly ordinary online courses.

03More enthusiastic interaction online

The popularity of online courses was beyond expectation. Several elective courses were signed up by more than 150 students each. As the limit of time and space was lifted, students seemed to have more time and a bigger appetite for study. For many courses like “Economic History from a Global Perspective” and “Capital Asset Pricing and Equity Evaluation”, classroom discussion and questions from students are essential. Before class, the teachers were concerned about online interaction effect; but to their great relief, the discussion was “virtually unstoppable”; the students would either signal to speak via the microphone or just post their questions and thoughts in the chat box.

Every question raised by the teacher online was followed by a full screen of responses. The back-and-forth interaction that kept propping up on the screen captured flashes of thoughts and genius. Students learned independently and interacted effectively, reaping bounty harvest.

04 Exploring new models and inspiring new thinking

Just as the mobile Internet has spawned many great enterprises, the online courses have inspired students to look beyond the textbooks. After class, students would spend their leisure time analyzing opportunities in the blue sea of online and cloud-based business, upgrading and reshaping their understanding about work and business thinking, and exploring broader business prospects.

For Guanghua School of Management, the online program is more than a novel experience of teaching, but also a revolution in thinking and mindset. The online teaching experience induced by the pandemic will certainly inspire us to reflect on and reform business education, and deliver greater success in the future.

A “Love Poem” for the Online Guanghua MBA Program

Thanks to teachers’ overtime work and careful preparations,

Online courses were offered for us to meet on the cloud.

Blackboard-writings, like paintings, contained boundless contents;

Teachers spoke as quickly as wind, intoxicating us in the sea of knowledge.

Negotiations went on like battles, competing for eloquence with verbal swords.

We also warmly welcomed distinguished guests to bring us fresh viewpoints.

Business simulations of myriad forms presented a kaleidoscope of situations.

We combatted difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in our unique way.

-The Online Guanghua MBA Program witnessed the passion for learning and teaching on PKU campus-

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