Voices from SIGS: Tsinghua starts spring semester online

In face of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Tsinghua University has quickly adopted a series of measures to prevent and control the epidemic, while allowing teaching and learning to continue.


On the morning of February 3, the first class of the spring semester at Tsinghua was held. Unlike past years, the class was broadcasted through various online platforms such as Rain Classroom and People’s Daily, with over fifty thousand teachers, students, staff and alumni joining via smartphones and laptops.


After hearing updates from Chairperson of the University Council Chen Xu and Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong on Tsinghua’s efforts against the epidemic and adjustments on the spring semester, students and faculty of Tsinghua SIGS were hopeful and encouraged. As President Qiu Yong said “Delaying a return to school doesn’t mean no classes – we can continue our education”, faculty will bring courses and meetings online, making use of the advancement in technology to continue university education and facilitate knowledge exchange with students.


Below are some thoughts from students and faculty of Tsinghua SIGS that we collected after the broadcast. Let us continue to stay united and vigilant during this critical period of time!

Professor Peter Lobie, Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute

The leaders of Tsinghua University have taken what was undoubtedly a difficult decision, but this decision will be critical to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus.  In the future, this decision will be applauded as balanced and wise.

Yuketang is a creative and practical method to continue university teaching during this period.


Assistant Professor Zhang Xuan, Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute:

More than 50,000 students and teachers attended the Rain Classroom as their first course of the 2020 Spring semester. The University took decisive actions to push back students’ return to school and to bring teaching and research work online. As teaching staff, we are relieved that the new Rain Classroom platform can support us in carrying out our educational duties, and are also pleased to see that technology and education are playing an important role in the event of combating the epidemic. From pathogen detection, drug development, data collection, to the development of online platforms and evaluation systems, all of the above have benefited from the advancement in science, technology and education.


Hu Xiaowan, Control Engineering major at SIGS

"Live in the moment, and you will find answers to challenges that you face now." 

Fighting the epidemic requires collective efforts from all of us. I know that the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Social Sciences, and those conducting research on precision medicine and artificial intelligence have contributed their efforts to this battle. The School has also established an online education system, using innovative methods to ensure teaching and learning to take place.  I believe that online tools such as Rain Classroom, WeChat and various apps can support our cloud learning at home. As Tsinghua students and youth in the society, we should take on the responsibility and mission of minimizing the impact of the event, and continue learning autonomously.

Photos from Tsinghua University News 

Edited by Karen Lee