Over 1,000 Chinese college students have taken part in a public welfare project designed to offer free online tutoring, psychosocial support and other services for families affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.
A poster for the project (Photo/Hunan University)
More than 1,000 college student volunteers from over 260 Chinese colleges and universities, such as Tsinghua University and Peking University, have taken part in the public welfare project, named"Desk for Us", initially organized by only eight students.
The project aims to create a one-to-one online tutoring platform for primary and secondary school students in Hubei province, the former epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, focusing on the families most affected by the epidemic, and providing three hours of free one-to-one tutoring every week.
"The epidemic has left thousands of students trapped at home, and learning seems to have become a 'free' thing, but is this the kind of learning that they want?"said Liu Yihan, a junior at Hunan University in central China and project co-founder in charge of human resources management.
Liu added that through a survey targeting 65 parents of primary and secondary schools in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, they learned that there are various factors that impact the effectiveness of online course teaching."We set up this online desk to help children who are not used to online classes and who are not accompanied by their parents, so as to ease their academic stress."
During the preparation stage, Liu Yihan organized the screening of résumés and interviews in order to build a highly qualified"teacher"team as soon as possible. At the same time, he widely distributed the"enrolment information"so that students in most urgent need and most affected by the epidemic could be provided assistance.
Cao Zhuoran, a sophomore at Tsinghua University, is the head of the technology demand department of the public welfare project."As I work behind the scenes, I have no direct contact with volunteers and students, but the work that my team members and I do is still important. It is the hub that maintains the normal operations of the project. We have been working to optimize the team structure and improve the project process, so that every project participant can benefit from it as much as possible,"Cao said.
"For me, my little dream of being a hero has finally come true, as I can make my own contributions during this special period,"revealed Niu Shuyi, a senior majoring in mathematics at Hunan University. She is currently an online tutoring volunteer for the project.
The first student that Niu Shuyi offered tutoring services to was a girl in the first year of junior high school. At first, Niu Shuyi was worried that she might not be familiar enough with the knowledge points of junior high school, so she specially reviewed the lessons through online classes and carefully compiled her teaching notes.
During the process of online teaching, Niu would patiently asked the student if she understood the lesson."The little girl was very good and willing to communicate, and we finished the first class without any problem."
Niu Shuyi is about to meet her second student, an eleventh grader who requires tutoring in math. Niu is fully confident she can meet the challenge, and is ready to continue reviewing her academic knowledge and giving her academic assistance.
"This kind of one-to-one communication is very effective. The teacher is very approachable and can communicate from the child's point of view,"commented one of the parents, noting that college student volunteers can incentivize students and really bring progress in their studies during this special period.
Zeng Yujun contributed to this article
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