Fudan offers more choices to undergraduates
From this academic year, Fudan University in Shanghai is offering more choices for undergraduate students.
The Upgrade Plan 2020 for Undergraduate Education offers a fusion of courses.
For instance, the 2+X education system in the plan offers undergraduates an opportunity to widen their basic general knowledge in the first two years.
In the third year, students can have more options, or even change their major subjects according to their interest and ability.
The college aims to help undergraduate students, so they can take the more challenging honors courses, which feature cutting-edge research and need more effort.
Honors students who achieve high grades will be given certificates, scholarships and prizes.
According to the plan, by 2020, all schools at Fudan University are to offer honors programs, though it is on trial only in few schools at present.
“The plan offers more choices to students. We are changing from teaching-oriented to learning-oriented education,” says Jiao Yang, the Party chief of Fudan University.
Fudan University began working on education reform in 2015, but the plan was officially introduced in this academic year.
Speaking about the plan, Xu Ningsheng, the president of Fudan University, says: “Universities that offer excellent undergraduate courses will be regarded as top institutions.”
Liu Weitao, a professor from the School of Physics at the university who teaches the honors courses, says she is amazed by the undergraduates’ performance.
“I teach freshmen the basics of electromagnetism. But students in the honors class discuss quantum mechanics and even general relativity.
The plan offers more choices to students. We are changing from teaching-oriented to learning-oriented education.” Jiao Yang, Party chief of Fudan University
“Students (in the honors courses) learn not only for academic credits, but also out of interest. They regard the honors courses as a way to broaden their horizon. Some even think that the classes are not long enough,” she says.
Hu Qiong, a sophomore majoring in physics, says that she has developed research skills with the honors course.
For instance, for her report on energy transformation, she bought a drinking bird online, a perpetual motion device, and explored its velocity under different environmental conditions.
“That report received compliments from my lecturer, which made me feel proud. I expect to do further scientific research on the subject,” says Hu.
Hu hopes that lecturers raise more research-worthy questions in the class for discussion.
“Instead of reading existing literature on a problem which has already been solved, I am more than willing to deal with new issues that need independent thinking. It is really critical in science,” she adds.
However, Liu says that interactivity in class is not enough.
“Not all students like to express their opinion or ask questions, which means I need to try other teaching methods to motivate students to interact,” she says.