March 13, 2020 | News & Updates

Live in France at a Beijing time, a day of Paul, the Dean of Wuhan

Live in France at a Beijing time, a day of Paul, the Dean of Wuhan

In the process of online teaching in KnowledgeLink, there is a special campus that is particularly concerned by everyone——St. Mary’s Wuhan Campus. One of the most gratifying things about the wuhan campus is that the online teaching has been running smoothly since the beginning of the semester, with students participating in classes 100% safely and healthily.

In order to understand the efforts of our teachers’ team for online teaching, we contacted Paul sagura, Dean of St. Mary’s Wuhan campus. He told us the experience of changing from a foreign teacher to an online anchors.

On February 10, the first day of the new semester in Wuhan campus, Paul was in France. At 7 o’clock in the morning, he saw the students of Wuhan campus through his computer screen. In the first history lesson, he spent almost half his time greeting the children one by one. He said:”For about a month, our beautiful city of Wuhan has been under the threat of a new disease. We never know when such a thing can occur and we cannot prevent it from happening, but what we can do is to give our best to do our job when it happens. Luckily our school is open to modern technologies and quickly, we put together the resources we had to design a modern platform of online classes to deliver a quality education that our students need. Our teachers, from home, have been working with students, from their home too, for about 10 days now and so far, we have assured the same quality of teaching as the one we delivered in class.”


Q:What does that look like to be an online teacher? 

Paul: It is different and a real challenge to take. I am used to interact with the students within my classroom environment and to stimulate their interest in a certain way. Most of my interaction way changes with the online classroom. Nevertheless, the technology has been quite helpful in facilitating the communication with the students and sharing documents with them in real time.

I am also glad to have students that are mature enough to understand the gravity of the situation and to consider themselves to be lucky to have access to online classes during this time. Therefore, I do not have any disorder in the online classes, students are doing their homework, and participating in class, whenever I have questions for them. I am proud that they are behaving seriously and giving their best to follow my online class.


Q: Do you like to teach online classes?

PaulThat is not what I prefer, but I know I can do it and I am glad that the option to do it exists in such circumstances. If we didn’t have the system of online classes in the current situation, our students would not be able to follow up their regular instruction. I will be glad to return to a regular classroom environment later, but for now, I am thankful that we can use online classes.


QWhat are the main issues you faced?

PaulLuckily and again, I am thankful to the students, I do not have any issues related to class discipline. Hopefully it will last!

Sometimes I have some technical issues with the IT platform, but usually they are minor issues and we have a great IT support team to help us deal with them.

My main problem is that I do not have my teaching material with me at home and that I have to spend much time preparing or preparing again my classes. However, what matters now is that everyone keeps healthy and get access to a good quality classes, and I am happy to prepare or prepare my classes again with that in mind.


QWhat are you most proud of?

PaulI am proud to see that in front of adversity; everyone has showed a positive response and that we have adapted well to a different and difficult environment. A working solution has been created, we all know it is temporary, and with that in mind, we keep working towards our goals: students are learning what they should, teachers are teaching what they should, and the administrators are coordinating well the resource allocation and communications with the various stakeholders.


Q How about your live now?

PaulI am not in China at the moment. I planned my winter holidays three months ago and left the city three days before the transportation ban. After I arrived at home, I followed up the situation on the news and suddenly realized what was happening. I stayed at home for two weeks to confirm that I was healthy and started to prepare for the online classes. I was glad to see the quick reaction of the Chinese government and in particular the building up of a new hospital structure within 10 days.

A typical day for me now starts at 5:30 am and then I teach from 7:00 am. I must take care of the time difference. When I am done teaching, I prepare my classes, correct the homework, have some meetings, and coordinate other actions in the afternoon. What takes me quite some time is preparing my class material from home.

I keep thinking about my colleagues who are in Wuhan at the moment and am glad to see all their effort and work to make our online classes possible. We are working together and are doing it very well.


In the end, about COVID-19, about online teaching, Paul said:“We do not know yet when the crisis will be over, but we know that our students will be prepared and ready to fulfill their academic dreams as soon as the crisis will be over. We are extremely thankful to the Chinese government for all the steps it has taken in fighting the crisis and have no doubt that our city and the courageous Chinese nation will ultimately prevail together in front of adversity.”