College of Humanities and Social Sciences enlightens through online electives
Chris Edwards | 03/05/2020

Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) continues in its efforts to support the community in this challenging period. Many teams across SUSTech are working relentlessly to ensure academic and research progress while keeping everyone safe. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences are one such department that has their academic and research pursuits in the face of their insidious virus.

With the launch of their electives across all five of their constituent departments on a variety of online teaching platforms, the 2020 spring semester provides students with a plethora of cultural extensions for students to learn from a wide range of mentally illuminating courses.

Humanities Center: Chinese literature to enlighten and illuminate

The Humanities Center has developed a wide range of cross-cultural classes that touch on science fiction, movies, poetry, and literature. One course will look into the classic piece of Chinese literature, “A Dream of Red Mansions.” In contrast, other classes will provide insights into traditional Chinese culture, such as tea ceremonies and calligraphy.

Professor Li Lan is teaching a lesson on Poetic Rhythm and the Writing of Ancient Poems. He said, “Ancient poetry is a concentrated expression of the elegance of Chinese culture. It can help people appreciate and even create the ancient styles of Chinese poetry.”

The variety of online teaching methods seems to suit the students, and the Humanities Center faculty have quickly adapted to the new educational paradigm. The teachers have been inspired and found new teaching experiences as a result of the change, with dynamic student feedback encouraging a more student-centric teaching focus. The educators hold regular video conferences to report, summarize, and discuss the outcomes of previous weeks while preparing for the eventual return to the classroom.

Social Science Center: In-depth interpretation of Chinese and foreign society and history

The Social Science Center is also offering a diverse range of classes, covering topics such as consumer culture to innovative spaces. Students are given a deeper understanding of societies across the globe, history, and international relations through many deep dives into critical areas.

One class that has attracted significant attention is The Study of Chinese and Foreign Cultural Memory, which has examined the importance of a country’s culture in creating power structures, creating traditions, defining regional societies, informing individuals, and distinguishing relationships with foreigners. Similarly, Consumer Culture and Contemporary Society is a window into consumer culture and the broad societal and cultural meaning behind why people purchase things and how companies exploit the desire to purchase.

Assistant Professor Yuan Changgeng is teaching Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. He said that preparing for online classes are somewhat different for offline courses. He has to check his materials and make sure he is more engaging, as students have more opportunities to consider other forms of information. He believes that these are positive challenges, as he and his colleagues can take advantage of many additional flexibilities available to them by teaching online at this time.

Centre for Higher Education Research: A Global Perspective on Higher Education

The Center for Higher Education Research (CHER) has launched four elective courses for the spring semester. The four courses give students an international perspective on higher education and provide a cross-cultural point of view. The lectures are paired with discussion classes, projects, and presentations, with courses on Documentary Review and Content Analysis, Cross-cultural Communication, Introduction to Higher Education Development, and Ten ASEAN Countries in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Class of 2021 student Xu Dajun is taking two CHER electives. He said that they are very informative and that learning online remains highly interactive as if he was learning in a classroom. His fellow students were also heavily engaged with the content of the lectures, based on the discussions taking place in the chat rooms.

CHER Deputy Director Zhao Jianhua said that they had specifically trained their scholars on how to utilize various online training platforms. They also assisted in the creation of different course materials. He noted that students were taking advantage of the flexibility of the different learning methods, which has supported CHER’s broader goals.

Center for Language Education: Language and Exam Preparation

The Center for Language Education (CLE) has prepared over twenty foreign language courses at all levels for this semester, covering English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese. Other courses take a different approach to language, including the Science of Harry Potter and the Language of Interdisciplinary Problem Solving.

CLE is preparing students for standardized tests such as TOEFL and IELTS, as well as CET 4 and 6. These exams are needed for students to go abroad to continue their academic pursuits or to graduate, and as such, CLE is providing comprehensive assistance to SUSTech students.

Arts Center: Experience and understand artistic creativity

The Arts Center is playing a vital role in expanding the cultural enlightenment of science and engineering students by providing several elective courses in the arts. Music, theatre, fine arts, dance, new media, cultural heritage, modern and contemporary art are all the subjects of different classes. Students can experience an extraordinary artistic journey while also partaking in practical courses in singing, folk music, and micro-film.

Teaching online is a challenge for the Arts Center, but it has been taken to like a duck to water. Pre-class meetings ensure that the classes provide the best possible teaching outcomes while preparing for the return to the classrooms and studios.

2020, 03-05
By Chris Edwards

From the Series


Proofread ByXia Yingying

Photo ByCollege of Humanities and Social Sciences, Qiu Yan


Embarking on a new semester at SUSTech
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Scenes of SUSTech