NYU Shanghai Launches Full Scale Digital Teaching Initiative Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

On February 14, NYU Shanghai, a joint venture between New York University and East China Normal University, announced that they would resume their semester on February 17 via a full scale digital teaching initiative.

With the Pudong-based campus closed until at least the end of February to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, university officials have decided to deliver 293 courses slated for upcoming semester online, to ensure the students’ consistent academic progress.

Nearly 1,000 students around the world will be accessing their education digitally over this period, using a slew of online education and workflow tools including, NYU Classes, NYU Stream, NYU Zoom, and VoiceThread. The university is not new to the remote teaching model, and cites prior examples of successful remote education. However, the scale and speed of NYU Shanghai’s full scale transition to digital shows a certain agility.

NYU Classes is a platform that connects students and professors, allowing both the synchronous and asynchronous sharing of education materials. Meanwhile, NYU Zoom allows professors to host live classes and maintain an interactive relationship with students.

NYU Classes (Source: NYU Shanghai)

The university will leverage Google+ and Slack to allow professors to hold office hours. Tools such as NYU Stream and VoiceThread enable students to interact asynchronously, which Keith Ross, Dean of Engineering and Computer Science at NYU Shanghai, cites as vital to provide ultimate flexibility for students worldwide in varying time zones.

NYU Shanghai also released digital toolkits for both professors and students to try increase familiarity and optimize the available options. Clay Shirky, Vice Provost for Educational Technologies based in New York, led the initiative between IT staff in New York and Shanghai. Significant IT resources and traffic monitoring will be required for the successful implementation of NYU Shanghai’s online initiative.

Probably the most crucial tool used in NYU Shanghai’s initiative is Zoom. The video conferencing app founded by Shandong-born American Eric Yuan has gained significant market share in a space typically dominated by incumbents like Yuan’s former employer, Cisco. Zoom’s share price has benefitted significantly from the coronavirus outbreak’s mandated quarantine, rising from $76.30 on January 31 to $89.86 as of close on February 13.