China in the World faculty win teaching innovation award | Duke Kunshan University

China in the World faculty win teaching innovation award

June 4, 2020


Zach Fredman co-teaches China in the World with (below, from left) Bryce Beemer, Kolleen Guy, Ben Van Overmeire, Qian Zhu and James Miller

China in the World, a common core course for first-year students at Duke Kunshan, has won an award for teaching innovation in the 2020 Apereo Teaching and Learning Awards (ATLAS) after the faculty successfully moved instruction online in response to Covid-19.

Duke Kunshan will receive the award at the international Open Apereo 2020 conference running June 15 to 19. The prize recognizes excellence and innovation in the use of technology to support student learning and engagement.

“We’re very glad that DKU faculty have been recognized globally for their innovative pedagogical practices and for the resilience they have shown in the face of this worldwide health crisis,” said Scott MacEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs.

China in the World teaches the modern history of China’s global influence through modules on science, trade and war. It also aims to improve students’ capacity for critical reasoning, historical analysis, speculative imagination and empathetic intelligence.

About 160 students take the course at any one time, with instruction provided by an interdisciplinary faculty team comprising Bryce Beemer, Zach Fredman, Kolleen Guy, James Miller, Ben Van Overmeire and Qian Zhu.

In response to the Covid-19 emergency, which began partway into the spring semester, Duke Kunshan launched a virtual campus within a matter of weeks, with teaching and learning in the graduate and undergraduate programs moving entirely online.

China in the World’s faculty team redesigned the course and used tools including Zoom, VoiceThread and Sakai to record lectures, livestream class discussions, and share learning materials to ensure as little disruption to students’ education as possible.

The ATLAS committee described Duke Kunshan’s submission, which the faculty team put together with the Center for Teaching and Learning, as “stunning.” It said the course was “attractive and well laid out,” and highlighted the “vigorous interaction with students.”

The awards are an Open Apereo Foundation initiative that aims to recognize and promote innovation and excellence in technology-supported teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement and learning.