First class of spring semester:Life is like a classroom


“This pneumonia makes us understand what human love and social responsibility are all about. I am sure you have already had a deeper understanding about the mission of today’s youth with your most recent experiences,” said Mei Bing, Chair of the University Council, in her speech at ECNU’s first class for the spring semester.

On monday morning, the university began the online education program for the spring semester. This first class —“Life is like a classroom” — consisted of four lectures given in succession by five of ECNU’s prestigious professors. This class centered around several important topics, including the sources, transmission and medical treatment of the COVID-19, students’ psychological protection and physical exercise during the epidemic, and the mission and social responsibility of the young generation.

The class, which attracted an audience of more than 520,000, was streamed online through various platforms and social media from all over the world.

Students take the online class.

The introductory speech was delivered by Mei. She focused on the values, ideals and goals that young students should pursue. “Many years later, we will certainly remember this long winter vacation in 2020,” she said to the students.

She also expressed thanks for the efforts and contributions that ECNUers had made in the fight against the COVID-19. “This is a special experience in your life”, said Mei, “I hope this experience will help you learn how to learn, think and innovate in times of crisis.”

Mei Bing, Chair of the University Council

Wang Linfa, a chair professor of ECNU and virologist, introduced about the COVID-19 outbreak and his work in response to the pneumonia. An academician of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and chief scientist of Singapore’s new infectious disease project, Wang posed a series of questions to the audience. “Is the novel coronavirus pneumonia like SARS? Where does it come from and how does it spread? What do we learn from the frequent emergence of zoonotic viruses?”

Wang has been involved in the study of all new major infectious diseases in the past 25 years, such as Hendra in 1994, SARS in 2003, and now the COVID-19. In his lecture, he pointed out that the intermediate host of the virus is changing and that, if mankind does not stop eating wild animals, the COVID-19 is by no means the last infectious disease we will face.

Prof. Qian Min and Prof. Du Bing from Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology and ECNU’s School of Life Sciences gave a lecture together on the scientific prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia. They introduced the history, typical symptoms, clinical treatment methods and spreading characteristics of the pneumonia and gave specific guidance for individual protection. They advised students to strictly abide by the requirements for epidemic prevention in order to curb the spread of the virus.

In the fight against the epidemic, physical and mental health is equally important. In his lecture, Prof. Xi Juzhe from the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science gave practical advice on important indicators of people’s mental health, such as improving psychological elasticity.

During the time of the epidemic, most people in China are advised to stay indoors. How to exercise and keep fit while staying at home have become important topics. Prof. Wang Xiaozan from the School of Sports and Health and the Ministry of Education’s Key Laboratory of Adolescent Health Assessment and Exercise Intervention held a lecture on how to properly do physical exercises at home. She advised students to take physical exercises, mainly aerobic exercises, two times a day, each time for at least 10 minutes. 

Prof. Wang Xiaozan gives a lecture.

Academician Qian Xuhong, President of ECNU, concluded the class with greetings to all ECNU students. “The epidemic has made you mature with blood, tears, parting and death. It also enables you to better understand your missions and the historical responsibilities on your shoulders now,” Qian told the students. “You are clearer than ever before on why you have to learn. Let’s wipe away our tears, learn from those who have behaved courageously in this special battle against the virus, and get well prepared for ourselves and for our nation in the future.”

Academician Qian Xuhong, President of ECNU

The first class met with warm responses from the students. “It impresses me that everyone of ECNU, from students to faculty and staff, is making their effort to safeguard our campus, and I am greatly inspired by that. Moreover, the class also makes me realize that as ECNUers, we should take this large-scale online teaching as an opportunity to practice a new form of teaching and explore ways to reform our educational system,” said Wang Xiaonan, a postgraduate student from the School of Foreign Languages.

The novel coronavirus pneumonia has delayed the opening of the university’s spring semester and most students have to stay indoors. The university began its online education program on March 9 for students to continue their learning. A total of4,978courses are offered in this semester, of which3,985will be taught online. More than2,500teachers, including nine foreign teachers, will offer online courses.

Authors: Jin Yu, Xu Xincheng

Copy editors: Joshua Mayfield, Philip Nash

Designer: Zeng Heng

Editor: Yu Wenxi


East China Normal University