Category: DKU

Chancellors’ Message to DKU Undergraduate Parents & Students

On February 27, Chancellor FENG Youmei and EVC Denis Simon sent an update to DKU undergraduate students and parents to address financial and logistical questions. Read the full message here.

Information For DKU Undergraduate Students

The following message was sent on February 11 to all DKU Undergraduate Students from Marcia France, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Noah Pickus, Dean of Undergraduate Curricular Affairs and Faculty Development

Dear Students:

We hope this email finds you and your family well.  We know that this has been a difficult and unsettling time for everyone, between concerns for the health and safety of our friends and families and disruption to our usual routines.  Like you, we are eager to get our courses going again.  Our intent is for most DKU session 3 courses to be completed online, and possibly for session 4 courses to be completed in that way as well if necessary.  We are monitoring the situation very closely.  The health and safety of every member of the DKU community is our first priority.   If we feel that we can safely return to in-person instruction on the DKU campus during session 4, we will do so.  In the meantime, we appreciate your support during this extraordinary – and temporary – situation.

Please know that we remain committed to providing the same DKU-quality education in this new format as we were delivering in Kunshan.  Every unique challenge provides a unique opportunity, and DKU’s online courses will offer their own benefits, including:

  • Flexibility: You’ll have the freedom to manage your own schedules and to work at the times and in the places that you prefer. You get to pause and rewind, to review your notes, or to conduct additional reading or research and then return to the lecture or discussion. Students often report finding it much easier to retain what they’ve studied in an online format.
  • Quality: Communicating your ideas clearly, responding to feedback, and managing projects in a virtual world are just the skills needed in the modern workplace. You and your professor will have the time to craft better arguments and to analyze the work of your peers. You’ll also get intensive feedback on your writing and dedicated attention from faculty who actively nurture relationships with you.
  • Community: Many students find it easier to concentrate and to participate in online class discussions. You’ll have more time to find your way into a conversation, to make your unique contribution, and to draw in your classmates. Team projects often function better online and online discussion forums can foster an especially strong sense of community.
  • Really Rooted Globalism: You’ll participate in a virtual global conversation with your faculty and peers while you are also embedded in very specific local contexts – a distinct way of experiencing being rooted and being global at the same time. This is a unique opportunity to test out one of DKU’s core principles – and to see what the world can learn from us.

We recognize that internet access may vary by location and some students may not be able to access each course fully.  We are committed to finding alternative solutions to help faculty and students who encounter IT difficulties.  Students who experience problems should contact the IT Help Desk at service-desk@dukekunshan.edu.cn.  All DKU students will be enrolled in a new Sakai site that will contain how-to guides for online learning tools, including using resources on Sakai and Zoom.

This link is to a memo that covers the following subjects:

  • Spring Schedule
  • General Guidance
  • Technology
  • Course Scheduling
  • Changes in Syllabi
  • Laboratory and Other Courses That Require Hands-On Work
  • Textbooks
  • Academic Integrity
  • ARC and WLS

We will be holding an online forum to answer student questions and address any concerns next week. Please look for announcements.

NOTE: an improved VPN system for China-based users is being implemented and you will receive updates shortly. Zoom Pro is also now available for all DKU faculty and students, which should allow for improved performance compared to what some of you might have experienced in the past. You will also be receiving further guidance on accessing Zoom and WebEx (as a back-up to Zoom).

Marcia France, Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Noah Pickus, Dean of Undergraduate Curricular Affairs and Faculty Development

Information for DKU MScGH Students

This information was emailed to all DKU MScGH students on February 2, 2020 from Lijing Yan, Director of Graduate Studies, MSc Global Health

As you know, the date to resume school has been postponed from Feb. 3rd tomorrow to Feb 17th and then to Feb 24th (as of now) with the possibility to change again in the future.

The nature of the virus and health risk makes it difficult for us to make a definitive plan but we are moving forward with a plan for your studies over the next few months.  In making this plan we had a number of objectives including maintaining the quality of your learning and education as best as possible, continuing to support a collaborative team environment, and allowing you to remain on a schedule to graduate or to begin your fieldwork in May 2020.

With that in mind, we spell out the plan below. Such a plan has received unanimous support from all DKU GH faculty members and approval from our DKU and Duke Graduate School leaders. We thank our Senior Program Coordinator Shuyu and all first-year students for submitting information regarding their location, willingness for remote learning, access to Sakai and their home environment for internet via Wechat already, which is helpful for us when making this plan.

Online learning with synchronous weekly live sessions for first-year students

  • With the week of Feb 3rd-7th as a pilot week and to formally begin from Feb 10thMonday, all DKU-based courses for first-year students will resume in the following format: faculty members will distribute course learning materials suitable for online learning via Sakai or other media for students to study on their own according to faculty-specified schedule.
  • Shuyu will work with all faculty and students to re-schedule a weekly live synchronous session for each course. The session will focus on essential and difficult learning points, Q&A, online interactions and discussions, and other issues. We recommend at least one weekly session per course at a fixed time, lasting 45-90 minutes long to be determined by each instructor.
  • Since our students are in three time zones, these sessions will most likely be in early morning or evening time for China/Indonesia/USA. We appreciate the cooperation from all instructors and students to remain flexible to these odd times for learning.
  • These sessions will rely on WebEx, Zoom, Skype, or Wechat in this order of preference. Duke/DKU IT is preparing guidelines and how-to files for faculty and students and we expect to receive them soon. However, please understand that IT support may be limited and different from usual times and we ask for your tolerance, patience and ingenuity when needed. We realize that a few students may have connection difficulties and we encourage instructors and the students with support from other students work out alternative ways of learning and participation.
  • In addition to online learning and synchronous sessions, faculty members will remain available for virtual office hours via email, wechat or other means jointly determined by faculty and students for each course.
  • We will keep this learning format until it is safe for all of us to return to DKU, to be formally notified by the Emergency Preparedness Task Force of DKU. We expect that we can finish this semester according to the original schedule or with a one-week delay at most.
  • While you can expect that the online delivery of courses will feel different than face to face delivery, one is not necessarily better than the other. We are fortunate to have faculty, staff, and your support that allows this as an option – the best we can have given the circumstances.

Fieldwork, thesis, and graduation, and moving forward

  • We encourage each student to work closely with their primary fieldwork (first-year students) or thesis (second-year students) supervisor to keep making progress in preparing for their fieldwork or theses.
  • We recommend weekly online individual video/voice/teleconferences starting from the week of Feb. 3rdfor as long as necessary.
  • It is likely that location, time, and format of defenses for second-year students may be affected. We have not reached a decision regarding these details yet and will discuss and share with you the decisions as soon as possible.
  • Graduation (commencement ceremony in May) for second-years and the semester at Duke in the Fall for first years remain unaffected unless it is necessary for us to make changes as the epidemic unfolds.
  • We will monitor the situation closely and keep in frequent communications with all of you for return to DKU campus for reconnection, engagement, and face-to-face learning.
  • This has been a shock to us all and requires a great deal of flexibility from faculty, staff, and all of you as we move forward. This email has covered a lot but there will be unanswered issues for sure. Please feel free to get in touch with me, Shuyu, your supervisor, or course instructor any time regarding your questions and concerns.

This outbreak has solemnly reminded all of us the threat of emerging new infectious diseases, the difficulties in preventing and controlling them, and the need for multidisciplinary and multi-faceted measures in overcoming them.  The silver lining in this event is that the importance of global health – something very familiar to all of us – has become more apparent to many more people. We hope that the outbreak will not only bring the unfortunate physical and mental sicknesses, deaths, and social and economic losses, but also learning and growth for a better and healthier world tomorrow.

Information for DKU Medical Physics Graduate Students

The following information was emailed to all DKU Medical Physics Graduate Students on February 1, 2020 from the Faculty and Staff of the Medical Physics Program

As you know, the DKU campus will be closed until further notice, because of the coronavirus. Please regularly check your DKU email for the latest and official news on developments.

To the year-1 students:

  • In the week of February 3, we will provide remote lectures in the course Radiation Protection (510K).
    • If there are technical difficulties, we will work with you to reschedule as needed or to provide recorded materials that can be viewed at your convenience.
    • Homework assignments and other learning materials will be provided in the courses Radiation Therapy Physics (520K) and Diagnostic Imaging (530K).
    • Your instructors will contact you via email to provide question and answer sessions, feedback on homework, and other interactions.
  • In the week of February 10, remote lectures will also begin in Radiation Therapy Physics (520K) and Diagnostic Imaging (530K).
  • The seminar series will resume February 11 if IT issues can be addressed and will otherwise resume February 18.

To the year-2 students:

  • Please continue to emphasize completion of your MS thesis projects. We will work with The Graduate School to address any special provisions that may be needed for your thesis defense.
  • For coursework, your instructors will be in contact by email to provide materials and schedules for Advanced Radiation Therapy Procedures (723K), Clinical Practicum (728K), and Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences(770K), and for the seminar series.

We will continue with remote teaching this semester for as long as the campus is closed.

  • Classes will be held during the week of March 9-13, which was originally scheduled as a Spring Break.
  • These class sessions will be utilized to make up for the classes missed during the week of February 3rd.
  • There may also be MS thesis defenses scheduled during this week.

The last day of classes will be April 23.

  • For year-1 students, reading days will be April 24-29, the Qualifying Exam will be Thursday, April 30, and course final exams will be May 3-5.
  • Year-2 students will follow the original DKU spring semester calendar, with reading days April 24-27 and course final exams April 28-30.

Please take good care of your health. Your health, education, and well-being are all very important to us. We look forward to working with you in the weeks ahead.

New Teaching Plan for the iMEP Program

The following information was emailed to DKU iMEP students on February 1, 2020 from Junjie Zhang, Director of the iMEP Program

New Teaching Plan for the iMEP Program, Spring 2020

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the DKU campus will not reopen until Feb 24th at the earliest per instructions from DKU.

As a consequence, the iMEP program will have to reschedule at least three weeks of classes. Since each iMEP course is different in nature, we plan to take a hybrid approach to teaching in the program.

We will use WebEx to create synchronous online courses. In cases with slow internet access, we will adopt the asynchronous approach by videotape or record the courses and distribute online. For the sessions that were originally designed to teach on site, we will use the spring break (from March 9th – 13th) and Fridays from February 24th onward to make up for these classes. In the worst-case scenario that the whole spring semester is canceled, all classes will be taught online.

The online teaching will start on Feb 3rd at the regularly meeting time unless being rescheduled by individual instructors. Accordingly, the instructors will revise the syllabi to reflect the new academic calendar, methods of teaching, and assessment and grading. The new syllabi will be provided by the individual instructors by Feb 10th, 2020.

Below is the plan for each course.

Master’s Project II (Coraline Goron) **

  • MP II will stick to the original schedule.
  • The introductory session on quantitative methods (Feb 6th) and qualitative methods (Feb 13th) will be videotaped; the readings will be distributed, and Q&A sessions will be organized.
  • The class of Feb 20th will, as originally planned, involve individual meetings with the MP II Instructors and small group works; these will take place online.
  • If DKU campus remains closed after Feb 24th, the following classes and group work sessions will be arranged via videotaping and online discussions.
  • The “shut-up-and-write” sessions will be coordinated remotely via WeChat for those students who want to attend until we have access to DKU again.
  • Students need to follow the initial assignment schedule, which has been slightly adjusted to reflect the cancelling of the spring break. Please note that students must schedule their first (online) meeting with their advisor and submit the report for this meeting by Feb 10th. It is recommended that, during this meeting, students work out a completion calendar with their advisors.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to expedite their master’s projects during the class moratorium.

Kick-start MP Class (Coraline Goron) *

  • The Kick-start MP sessions will be taught on the originally scheduled date.
  • The session scheduled on Feb 5th will be taught remotely.
  • The schedule for finding a topic and supervisor will remain unchanged.

Nature Resources Management – Field Trip (Binbin Li)

  • The field trip to Sichuan Province will take place in late spring.
  • If travel is still restricted by late April, we will consider taking a local field trip or other plans.
  • If the spring semester is completely canceled, the field trip will be scheduled to the summer.
  • The students may also request using an independent study report to substitute for the field trip, subject to the approval of the instructor.

Environmental Sciences (Binbin Li) *

  • The instructor will create a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online connected courses.
  • Every lecture will be videotaped.
  • Students are required to read materials and watch instruction videos.
  • Discussion sessions will be organized online using the Sakai forum.
  • Discussion leaders will prepare questions to lead the online discussion. Participation in the online discussion will be evaluated similar to classroom discussion.
  • Student presentations will be made up on Fridays if the campus reopens at all.
  • If the spring semester is completely canceled, all these sessions will be held online.

Environmental GIS (Binbin Li)

  • The instructor will create a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online connected courses.
  • Every lecture will be videotaped.
  • Students are required to read materials and watch instruction videos.
  • Students will finish the lab and assignment on their own.
  • Q&A will be organized online, and weekly lab and assignment will be submitted through Sakai.
  • For the lab sessions, a server of GIS with remote access will be provided.
  • The computer time will be assigned to students who cannot access GIS at home.
  • Some sessions will be made up in the spring break and Fridays if the campus reopens at all.
  • If the spring semester is completely canceled, all these sessions will be held online.

Environmental Policy Process (Kathinka Furst) *

Environmental Law, Governance, and Regulation (Kathinka Furst) **

  • The instructor will create a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online connected courses.
  • Some lectures will be videotaped.
  • Students are required to read materials and submit blogs on Sakai as originally scheduled and watch instruction videos.
  • Discussion session will be organized online using the Sakai forum following the instruction video.
  • Q&A and classroom discussion will be organized online.
  • The classroom simulation will be made up in the spring break and Fridays, pending the reopening date of the DKU campus.
  • If the spring semester is completely canceled, the simulation sessions will be held online.

Environmental Economics Policy Practicum (Patrick Ward) *

  • The instructor will create a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online connected courses.
  • Some lectures will be videotaped.
  • Students are required to read materials for each class session and watch instruction videos.
  • For client-based projects, students will be required to arrange conference calls with their clients on the same frequency with which in-person meetings had previously been decided.
  • For sessions in which students give presentations, synchronous remote sessions will be arranged.
  • Q&A and discussion sessions will be organized online.

Environmental Economics II (Patrick Ward)

  • The instructor will create a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online connected courses.
  • Every lecture will be videotaped.
  • Students are required to reach the required readings and submit PowerPoint slides (5) summarizing the reading(s) prior to each session.
  • Students are then required to watch the instruction videos.
  • For class sessions in which students give presentations, synchronous remote sessions will be arranged.
  • Q&A and discussion sessions will be organized online.

Planetary Health (John Ji)

  • This class will be changed into a flipped classroom format.
  • The instructor will send online videos and reading materials, as well as videotape some lectures.
  • Students are required to read materials and watch instruction videos.
  • Some items related to global health and epidemic controls in the syllabus will be moved up to more recent classes to be helpful to the students in understanding the current events.
  • Students will still have to do news presentations, for this, the instructor will ask students to record a video, and engage in discussions online.
  • For the in-class debate, students will be divided into two groups, and will be given more time to work together online and prepare rebuttals.
  • The case study writing will not be affected, as it is individual work.

Independent Study

  • Independent Study will stick to the original schedule.
  • The students should approach their advisors to schedule virtual meetings regularly.

The iMEP staff team will provide full technical support for the spring semester. For any question, please contact iMEP program director Junjie Zhang and admin assistant Guozhen Shen

* denotes required courses for the first-year students

** denotes required courses for the second-year students

Information for DKU ECE MEng Students

This information was emailed to all DKU ECE MEng students on February 1 from Xin Li, Director of the ECE MEng Program:

Starting from February 24, we will begin online instruction for all ECE courses:

  • ECE 650K: Systems Programming and Engineering
  • ECE 651K: Software Engineering
  • ECE 580K: Introduction to Machine Learning
  • ECE 586K: Vector Space Methods with Applications
  • ECE 590K: Software Reliability

In the next few days, Tiffany Zhang will send you the new class schedules, as well as the office hours, for each course. Since several instructors are now outside China and they cannot return China in the near future, the class schedules and office hours will be revised in order to accommodate the time difference.

We will provide the required technical support, including both hardware and software, to guarantee excellent learning experience for every student.

  • The IT department at DKU/Duke is now investigating different software options and will announce the recommended software for online instruction in a few days.
  • We will further make sure that each student will have a tablet with writable screen/pen so that you can closely interact with the instructors and the instructional specialist during online lectures and/or office hours.
  • You can also write your homework solutions on the tablet, and then upload your solutions (PDF) to Sakai.

With all available technology innovations, we expect that online instruction will offer highly enjoyable experience for each of you!

As the online classes will start on February 24, we will take the following plan to make up the missing lectures from February 3 to February 21 (except for ECE 590K):

  • Spring Recess on March 9-13 will be cancelled and online courses will be offered during this week.
  • Graduate Reading Days will be delayed. Online courses will be offered on April 27-30. Graduate Reading Days will be re-scheduled to May 1-4. Final exams (if applicable) will be scheduled on May 5.
  • Online courses will be further scheduled on a few weekends to make up other missing classes. The detailed schedules will be announced later.

As ECE 590K is a 7-week course co-listed with the undergraduate program, it will follow the revised schedule of Session 3 which will be announced by DKU soon.

While online instruction is quite different from in-person classroom education, it is the best option to move forward in the following months due to several reasons:

  • All of you can stay in a safe place to continue your classes, instead of travelling domestically or internationally with possible exposure to the coronavirus.
  • All of you have confirmed that you have access to high-speed internet.
  • Online instruction may offer a completely different set of learning experience that you would enjoy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me and/or Tiffany Zhang and we will get back to you asap. We are always here to help you!

Information for DKU MMS Students

The following information was sent by email on January 28, 2020 to all DKU MMS Students from Russ Morgan, Senior Associate Dean.

The nature of the virus and health risk makes it difficult for us to make a definitive plan but we are moving forward with a plan for your studies over the next two months.  In making that plan we had a number of objectives including maintaining the quality of your learning and education, continuing to support a collaborative team environment, allowing you to remain on a schedule to graduate in May 2020, and retaining the optionality to continue immersion in China at the Kunshan campus if the health risk permits.

The MMS:DKU schedule and the ability of Fuqua to readily provide online/synchronous courses provides us flexibility in scheduling for the next two months (until the end of March), even though DKU is scheduled to re-open on Feb 17.

With that in mind, we spell out that plan below.

Hybrid Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Connected Classes

  • The Market Research class, taught by Prof. Julie Edell, is scheduled for February 3 – February 15, 2020.  We plan to deliver that course to you through online sessions that will be at times, live sessions with your ability to participate and ask questions (synchronous), and at other times, recorded sessions (asynchronous).  Prof. Edell will also be available for live office hours to have zoom conversations with you as well.  As you are aware the time change between Durham, NC and Kunshan, China will mean anything live will need to be either early or late and we are working on a schedule.
  • Spreadsheet Modelling, taught by Prof. Patrick Noonan, is scheduled for February 18 – March 3, 2020.  We also plan to deliver the course through online sessions in a manner similar to the Market Research class.
  • Managerial Accounting, taught by Prof. Hao Xue, is scheduled March 7 – March 21, 2020. Again, we also plan to deliver the course through online sessions in a manner similar to the Market Research class.

Return to DKU Campus for Reconnection and Engagement

  • Our current expectation is that you could return to the Kunshan campus after spring break for the start of the Business Communication class on March 30, 2020 and remain there through the Financial Valuation class and graduation.   We will monitor the situation, and recognize we may have to deliver the Business Communications and Financial Valuation classes in an alternative format if the risk continues.

We feel this allows you to move forward with more concrete plans for the next two months without being beholden to a potentially moving date of when the restrictions related to the health risk will be lifted.  While we can’t control when the risk will abate we can take some measures that allow you to plan more deliberately.  Importantly, it also retains the options to allow your re-immersion at the Kunshan, China campus for the last 6 weeks of the program, which we hope will be possible.

Flexibility and Moving Forward

  • This has been a shock to us all and requires a great deal of flexibility from faculty, staff, and all of you as we move forward.  If any of you desire to take a Leave of Absence (LOA), we will support that with the option to return to the program in January 2021 in Kunshan.
  • While you can expect that the online delivery of courses will feel different than face to face delivery, one is not necessarily better than the other.  We have a great deal of experience with delivery of courses in a synchronous and asynchronous environment like we have outlined and are fortunate to have a staff and equipment that allows this as an option.  Our Weekend MBA students and our Global Executive MBA students have online delivery as a regular component of their classes and our Daytime MBAs, MMS, and MQM students have all experienced online classes as a substitute for face to face when faced with weather events that limited access to campus in Durham.

For the Chinese students, you may remain at home or where comfortable for the online classes.  Non-Chinese students may desire to return to their home country during this period and we support that.  I understand the non-Chinese students just received their passports and travel will be an option.

Implied next steps are to expect a syllabus from us for the Market Research class and expect that it will begin in an online format on Monday, February 3.  Outside of the travel restrictions and passport access, you are in control of where you participate in the classes over the next two months.  That includes being responsible for having internet access that hopefully can be in real time for the synchronous classes but at a minimum at regular intervals to interact with your team and review the class recordings.

We hope this provides some clarity around the program for the next two months.  Beyond that, we have some time to monitor and adjust but are hopeful you are back on campus at the end of March for your last two classes.

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