The English-language Course "Strength of Materials" was Highly Appreciated by Teachers of Higher Educational Institutions in Northeast China

The English-language course "Strength of Materials" was highly appreciated by teachers of higher educational institutions in Northeast China

The author of the course is the head of the Department of Engineering and Computer Graphics, Candidate of Technical Sciences Alexandra Perelygina. The method of collaborative synchronous teaching was carried out together with the director of the educational and research department of mechanics at SYUCT, associate professor Yong Su. This method received high marks as a pedagogical innovation that has "a great importance for improving the quality of teaching in Sino-foreign cooperative education".

“During the pandemic, Chinese students of the cooperative educational project were taught in a remote format for three years with the help of the INRTU e-learning system. Of course, this greatly complicated the educational process and brought some difficulties to students' learning. Another problem of studying in English-language programs at universities in China is that it is difficult for students to acquire information in a foreign language," says Alexandra Perelygina.

That is why the method of collaborative synchronous teaching was developed. It is supposed that the educational process is conducted by two teachers at the same time. This requires close cooperation between teachers from both China and Russia. With over 600 emails between Alexandra Perelygina and Yong Su during the three years of the pandemic, both teachers had extensive communications on teaching content, plans, task allocation, teaching paper writing, teaching project application, participation in teaching competitions, and other aspects. 

The joint support of Chinese and Russian teachers for student learning is directly reflected in two aspects.

Joint synchronized classroom between Chinese and Russian teachers. The Russian teacher develops the study course that includes presentations and practice-oriented tasks. The most successful students add basic terms in Chinese to the presentations to simplify the understanding and assimilation of the material (PPT) for other students. When the Russian teacher Alexandra Perelygina is teaching, the Chinese teacher Yong Su uses WeChat software to synchronously provide written Chinese explanations of the key and difficult points of the course, as well as English vocabulary. The Chinese teacher Yong Su also coordinates the work of students during online classes.

Joint guidance from Chinese and Russian teachers on multivariate homework assignments. In order to test the assimilation of the learned information, based on the assignments of "Strength of Materials" in Russia, the Russian teacher set up multivariate homework assignments and detailed grading criteria, and both teachers jointly guide the students in their assignments. Thereinto, the Chinese teacher organizes teamwork of students when completing homework assignments, and uses the "flipped classroom" model to further familiarize students with knowledge points related to homework. 

According to Alexandra Perelygina, the developed methodology allows avoiding typical difficulties that arise when studying disciplines in a foreign language and secures good student performance results. 

Associate Professor Yong Su confirmed that after the introduction of this model, students became more enthusiastic about the educational process. Multivariable assignments and their high complexity motivated students to self-study. Over the past three years, student performance has improved significantly. In 2021 the excellent rate of multivariate assignments was 63%, and in 2023 it increased to 83%.

At SYUCT, the course "Strength of Materials" is vital for bachelors studying in the major "Energy and Power Engineering". This course is one of the 15 bachelor's degree courses under this program, which means that if the average score of these courses does not exceed 70 points, students will not be able to obtain a bachelor's degree. The duration of the course is 64 hours; the high complexity is determined by 4 credit units. Besides, the course "Strength of Materials" is compulsory for students planning to enter postgraduate studies in SYUCT.

Based on the results of the implementation of this educational method, three articles were published in the scientific journal "Higher Education in Chemical Engineering", which were highly commended by the reviewers. One of them noted: "This model solves the general problem of poor communication between Sino-foreign joint learning and teaching, which other colleagues should learn from."

In 2021, the model "A Study on the Collaborative Teaching Model of Chinese and Russian Teachers Based on ‘Strength of Materials’ was approved as a project of the 13th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Science in Education in Liaoning Province. And in 2022, the project won the third prize in the Liaoning Province Higher Education Teacher Teaching Innovation Competition.

Photo provided by Alexandra Perelygina