Going Virtual: Lessons from Universities of the Asia Pacific on Online Teaching and Learning

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The spread of the virus has forced universities to take quick action, moving classes to online platforms, providing virtual psychological and career counseling services, and cultivating research collaborations where the partners never meet. Our panel of experts will discuss what this means for their own institutions and the sector, and contemplate the following questions:

  • What were the challenges in moving universities to online platforms? How did you address them?

  • Will distance learning become the new norm? Does this change university offerings for the long-term?

  • What do universities need to consider in the delivery of online learning? What measures must be in place for quality control?How does online education expand capacity of the university?

  • How do universities provide collaborative learning environments?

  • How do universities prepare for the next disruption to the classroom?

  • What are the lasting effects of this digital migration on higher education?


The views, information, or opinions expressed during webinars are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Association of Pacific Rim Universities (“APRU”) and its employees. APRU is not responsible for and does not verify for accuracy of any of the information contained in the series.


Provost, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Moderator of this session

Professor Alan Chan is currently the Provost and J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining CUHK, Professor Chan was Toh Puan Mahani Idris Daim Chair Professor of Humanities at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore. He joined NTU as Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and Professor of Philosophy in 2009. In January 2018, Professor Chan was appointed Vice President of NTU, responsible for alumni engagement, university advancement and international relations.

Professor Chan was born in Hong Kong and completed his secondary school education here. He then pursued his higher education in Canada. He received his BA from the University of Winnipeg, MA from the University of Manitoba, and PhD in religious studies from the University of Toronto. Professor Chan began his academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba. He then joined the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he held several leadership roles, including the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education). While at NUS, Professor Chan twice received the Teaching Excellence Award.

Professor Chan has held visiting professorships and fellowships in North America, Asia and Greater China, through which he has developed a broad understanding of higher education in a global context. Professor Chan’s relationship with CUHK began in 2005 when he was invited to visit the Research Institute for the Humanities for an academic term.

Professor Chan’s research focuses on Chinese philosophy and religion, and hermeneutics and critical theory. He is a member of various international boards, including the Social Science Research Council of Singapore, the Governing Council of International Confucian Association, China, and the editorial boards of the Journal of Daoist Studies and Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. He has published widely and recently developed an online course on “Explorations in Confucian Philosophy,” which has drawn over 10,000 learners on Coursera.

Mr. Wang Shuaiguo
President, XuetangX (in association with Tsinghua University)

Shuaiguo Wang is the chief operating officer at XuetangX, the first Mooc (massive open online course) platform in China founded by Tsinghua University in 2013. Prior to joining XuetangX, he was responsible for research in digital learning at Tsinghua. His Mooc has been awarded the National Mooc of China, with more than 70,000 enrolments. In 2015, he founded Rain Classroom, claimed to be the most active teaching tool for higher education in China, with more than 20 million users. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in computer science from Tsinghua University.

Professor Rosa Déves
Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Chile

Rosa Devés Alessandri is a Biochemist from the University of Chile and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario , Canada, with Postdoctoral studies in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Southern California , Los Angeles. Pro-rector of the Casa de Bello between 2010 and 2014 during the rector’s office of Víctor Pérez Vera, previously she served as Director of the Postgraduate and Postgraduate Department of the Vice-rectory of Academic Affairs of this same institution.

Since 1980 she is a professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile, where she teaches biophysics and conducts research in cell physiology. Academic and former Deputy Director of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICBM), since 2002 she has also participated in the management team of the “Inquiry Based Science Education (ECBI)” Program for Basic Education. Since 2003 he has been a Corresponding Member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences.

Professor Marco Molinaro
Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness, UC Davis

Marco Molinaro, Ph.D., is the Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness at UC Davis where he oversees the Center for Educational Effectiveness. Dr. Molinaro has over 20 years of educational experience creating and leading applications of technology for instruction, scientific visualization and simulation, curriculum development and evaluation, and science exhibits for students from elementary school through graduate school and for the general public.

Currently Molinaro is leading the work of the Center for Educational Effectiveness to improve undergraduate student success.  As part of the effort, the Center works with faculty and staff across the university to: 1) evolve the introductory undergraduate curriculum, 2) understand and measure change with new analytics tools and approaches that guide instructional improvement and, 3) develop actionable student success models. His projects have been funded though the NSF, NIH and various private foundations such as Gates, Intel and the Helmsley Trust.