May 15, 2020 | News & Updates

Be a “network anchor” in KnowledgeLink

Be a “network anchor” in KnowledgeLink

2020 is surreal and unusual but very important for most of us. This is true for teachers, students and parents.

For the parents, they need to take care of the kids while working;

For students, taking online classes becomes a new normal;

As for teachers, they have no choice but become a “network anchor”.

In KnowledgeLink, more than 100 foreign teachers in countries around the world become network anchor for students in China. Now, most of the students have returned to school one after another from   their online education life taking another turn.


During this period, it is impossible for our foreign teachers to be physically together, but they’ve experienced cohesion more than ever. They discussed the skills of online teaching, planned online activities and overcame difficult situations during the quarantine in different countries. For KnowledgeLink, a multicultural family, it has also given a new definition to education at this special time.  No matter what the difficulties are ahead, students will always be the priority.


Adjust biological clock, Live a same time

For Paul Segura, the Dean of Wuhan campus, being live online at the same time does not necessarily mean that there is no time difference, but he had to change his biological clock of 6 hours in order to adapt the time zone of GMT+8. He is not the only example as all of our teachers in America have experienced the same which is quite a big challenge.



Difficult as it can be, educators worry more about having the same quality for both online and offline classes.



Paul said: “It is different and a real challenge to take. I am used to interacting with the students within my classroom environment and to stimulate their interest in a certain way. Most of my interaction methods changed within 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.

I 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 planned, and the administrators are coordinating well the resource allocation and communications with the various stakeholders.”


How was a virtual campus started?

Brett Hueffmeier,  Regional Dean of KnowledgeLink who oversees the St.Mary’s China Campus’s  as well as manages the foreign teachers in our eight campus locations. He does not directly teach online but, offers support and overall management for all the “network anchor” in this region.

“I think being successful online requires the same thing as being successful in the classroom—ingenuity, passion for teaching, discipline, and engagement.  Our educators are providing good instruction online as they were in our classrooms. They use new methods to gain feedback from students and they, perhaps, don’t engage the students as often in group or collaborative activities as they can onsite, but they are using very creative methods to keep them engaged.I have been exceptionally encouraged by the quality of the classes we are giving.”

Brett is very proud of the excellent performance of the “network anchor” during this time.



In addition to supporting the daily teaching, researching and problem-solving, Brett also leads a team to plan a series of cross-campus online student activities. For example, the “One Stop to the End” history quiz roulette hosted by John Eisenbarth in which many students from various campuses took part and gave positive feedback.

Just last week, students from Shanghai, Ningbo, Pinghu, Wuhan and other campuses also participated in an online United -Nations Talks activity. These activities added a touch of fun for student’s home study life and also helped to integrate the virtual campus of KnowledgeLink.

It is very exciting for students from different regions to take classes together and participate in activities to get to know each other and form a big community with diverse regional cultural backgrounds.



Brett humbly attributed the teaching results of this stage to the excellent teachers, he said, “Under the circumstances, it was hard to say for sure that we could adjust to this method of teaching so easily. We have done it seamlessly. This is because we hired quality educators from the outset who are always committed to providing to their students all they can.  In the online setting, that commitment doesn’t change. ”


American teachers travelled through four countries just to be in the same time zone as students

When we knew that one of our faculty John had been displaced from four countries since the end of January, we felt really sorry. From China to Thailand, to Cambodia and in Vietnam where he was forced to be in quarantine. At the time when he was about to go back to China, the policy that prohibits entry of foreigners was issued. He had no choice but to prolong his stay in Southeast Asia.

The life of “network anchor” for John is really difficult. The quarantine in Cambodia made the middle-aged man say “fear”. We all pray for him, hoping for him to return safely.

The reason for his travels between several southeast Asian countries is because of the visa issues, he cannot stay too long in one country. Of course, he had the choice of returning back to the States, but for John, it was more important to stay in the same time zone as his students.

To be frank, we all know that John misses the States a lot, especially after the outbreak in the United States. We can see he prays for his family in Wechat Moments. His mother had to sew masks by herself because of the shortage, and John himself couldn’t travel back to take care of his mother.

During this pandemic, we see many touching stories and a pure heart from teachers to education. This is also where the life lies of a team.

“I’m alone now so sometimes feel a bit lonely so I look forward to seeing the kids every morning.” John said.

When he faced difficulties, he still put his students FIST AS THEY ARE FIRST PRIORITY , he said, “There are always positives and negatives to every situation one is faced with.  From a teacher’s point of view, positives would be teaching in shorts and flip flops with an ocean view.  On the negative side there is a lot of extra preparation.  From the students’ point of view I would think the biggest challenge would be their loneliness and being away from their friends.  I tried to group them    in the chat rooms as much as possible so they can have some human interaction.”

Homesick, All for love

In the big family of KnowledgeLink, John is not the only person who is homesick, there are many foreign teachers from the United States are the same. They are worried about their country. When the epidemic outbroke in China, they stuck to their teaching posts as network anchor; when the coronavirus struck the United States, they were still there.

Not very long ago, the students created some paintings for them to encourage them to be brave and cheered them up. The scene was very touching.



Roberto Moreno, Dean of our Beijing  has spent most of his online streamer’s life in Southeast Asia. He enjoyed experiencing different lifestyles and cultures in different countries and never got tired of it. This is his first time feeling  homesick.

Fortunately, he has teaching work to do, learning how to become a good “network anchor” keeps him busy which alleviate his pain of worrying about his homeland. He also cherishes the opportunity of being a streamer and tired his best to provide an excellent online teaching for his students.

“The classes on our end have been going well. With minor adjustments and visuals, the students have been pretty engaged. I travel with my laptop and most of my files are backed up online. If I did a document, I will usually have it save online somewhere. I haven’t had any issue preparing for the classes online. I just have to make more ppts or visual graphics to keep the students engaged.”

He took each class seriously and also told his students the importance of online learning skills, he said, “Online education is a way to the future, online learning skill is also a must-have for the future.”

“The silkworm ceases not to spin her thread before she’s dead; unless burnt to ashes endless tears a candle will shed”” This Chinese verse used to describe the selfless sacrifice of teachers really fits in this situation. A friend in need is a friend indeed. During this difficult time, we saw the greatness of this profession, regardless of national boundaries.

We pay tribute and thanks to all of the KnowledgeLink members.