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Si Wan Joy of Reading Project holds first online cross-class competition

2021-06-30

(Provided by the Department of Chinese Literature) National Sun Yat-sen University’s Department of Chinese Literature (DCL) continued the tradition of the Si Wan Joy of Reading Project, organizing an end-of-term cross-class exchange event as part of the course in Critical Thinking and Expression in Chinese. With a common theme, students from the various classes within the project displayed the results of their work this semester, discussing and learning from each other. In the past years, cross-class activities focused mostly on completing specific works, such as copywriting, microfilms, pamphlets, or newspapers; after a preliminary selection by each class, the best of these works would be voted on during the day of the event. Those that stood out displayed the spirit and creativity of a new generation.

This year’s cross-class activity, unlike past editions, utilized Quizizz software to have the students compete in an online quiz. The teachers of the project team first assigned six extra-curricular texts in line with the curriculum units for the students to read in advance. They were then asked to formulate questions based on those texts, which were later reviewed by the team of teaching assistants as well as the professors, with outstanding questions placed in a question bank.

After the last question was included in the bank, the students were still eager to come up with more questions, taking to the assignment with great enthusiasm. They said they were “looking forward to working on eye-opening questions”. Reviewing questions and trying them out has shown that being responsible for the questions made the students read more in depth, grasp more details, understand the meaning of the texts more clearly, design different analytical possibilities within the questions, and formulate more flexible questions to increase the challenge in answering them.

The Quizizz software allows more than 200 users to compete at the same time, which was appropriate for the needs of the year end event, letting each student compete for final victory. A total of 11 groups in the morning and afternoon competed, each with about 200 students. A student of the Department of Business Administration Chih-Liang Lin, who has been participating in the one-year project, said that the course in Critical Thinking and Expression in Chinese breaks with the teaching framework of the Chinese language class in middle schools and that this end-of-term competition brought various incentives: “We could connect with so many people during this challenge, which was truly impressive. I could also emphasize and develop my language abilities.”

Because of the epidemic, the students are now learning remotely and this was the biggest challenge in the organization of the event; the project team had even considered cancelling the cross-class event. The teachers and students had already done a lot of preparatory work for this activity, reading and formulating questions. They used the Webex software for remote learning as a means of addressing the long-distance challenge and to complete the tasks smoothly.

The principal investigator of the project, Assistant Professor Chih-Wei Chung of DCL hosted the activities in the afternoon. He said that this activity combined the possibilities of two applications: Webex and Quizizz, which allowed educators to conduct a simultaneous remote competition with “a close interaction between the teachers, students, and teaching assistants.” The game was a joint collaboration, allowing everyone to get involved and learn while having fun: the teachers formulated the rules of the game and the students submitted questions, later reviewed by teaching assistants.

Hosting such a large online conference with numerous participants was not an easy job. Professor Chung emphasized, “I want to extend my special thanks to the teaching assistants who did a great job managing the Quizizz platform, made everything go smoothly and let the students get immersed in the reading game.” Preparatory tasks for this activity took a long time, and fully relied on the cooperation of the team of teaching assistants-students of the higher years of DCL, who made this unprecedented online cross-class activity possible.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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