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Though thousands of miles apart | SISU Foreign Experts in Virtual Classrooms

13 April 2020 | By SESTA | Copyedited by Li Lei

  • Jonathan Huw Lumb teaching online

  • Curtis Evans teaching online

  • Claudio Senni teaching online

  • Lee Yun Kyong teaching online

  • Kristopher Cussans teaching online


he last month has witnessed the accelerating spread of COVID-19 pandemic overseas. For safety reasons, the SISU foreign experts are advised to avoid long-distance travel and to take remote teaching as an alternative. Let us see how our foreign experts keep on teaching while tackling time difference and other difficulties!



Jonathan Huw Lumb (British)

Graduate Institute of Interpretation and Translation

To ensure interaction for his interpreting classes, Jonathan Huw Lumb, chose Zoom after comparing various video conferencing tools. Besides, he purchased HD webcam and a professional microphone for better video and audio qualities.

During the initial testing, Lumb discovered a problem: while he had no difficulty in playing the videos and hearing the students’ interpretation, he could not do the two things simultaneously. Therefore the students had to first watch the videos, and then send their recordings via WeChat for comments, which slowed down the course. Lumb and his colleagues soon came up with a solution: the adoption of a dual-platform system. By streaming the videos via another conferencing software and receiving the interpretation via Zoom, Lumb created a virtual interpreter booth.

Lumb stated that while the efficiency of interaction is somewhat lost, online teaching is still effective because it allows the students to continue their study during the outbreak. Lumb’s class is 150 minutes long for each session and requires intensive preparation. He found the effort worthwhile when seeing the attentive looks of his students on his screen.



Curtis EvansAmerican

School of English Studies

Curtis Evans, associate professor of the School of English Studies, gives three courses in the spring semester: Chinese-English Translation, Appreciation of American Movies, and Advanced Translation. He knew little about teaching through the internet until he experimented with several online platforms and, finally, chose to use different platforms for different purposes.

Evans would upload materials in advance, including syllabuses, reading materials, quizzes, and tree maps, on Blackboard. For larger files like movies, he shared them with his students through email, SISU Cloud storage, Baidu Netdisk, etc. Also, Evans used Tencent Classroom, an online education platform featured by real-time videos, to liven up his classroom with more interaction.

It is worth mentioning this course, which has been already popular among students for years, was co-taught by Evans and his Chinese colleague Xiao Weiqing, head of the Department of Translation of the School of English Studies. The two teachers did a number of dry runs before launching the course online to ensure that the students could receive the same high-quality teaching as the students before them.



Claudio Senni (Italian)

School of European and Latin American Studies

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Claudio Senni, associate professor of the School of European and Latin American Studies, had to stay in Italy, but he did not forget about his students in China.

Not particularly technically savvy, Senni learned to use Classin. Overcoming the time differences, he managed to not only fulfill his teaching duties according to the university schedule, but also meet his undergraduate supervisees on a weekly basis. Senni teaches Italian undergraduate and postgraduate courses and gives Latin lectures to the students of the Honor College this semester.



Lee Yun Kyong (South Korean)

School of Asian and African Studies

Last semester, Lee Yun Kyong opted for a leave due to health reasons. Since then, she has been looking forward to coming back to SISU. Therefore, while she was still receiving medical treatment, she had already started preparing her lessons. She also booked tickets to Shanghai. However, her plan was upset by the outbreak of COVID-19. Finally, she decided to stay in South Korea and teach courses online instead.

This semester, Lee is in charge of Korean conversation courses for freshmen and sophomores. Despite a lack of face-to-face communication with students, she is able to see the courses through, adopting various teaching methods to maximize interaction with her students.

According to Lee, online teaching requires more effort on the part of the teacher. She promised to do her best to make the online courses more attractive and effective.



Kristopher Cussans (British)

Training Center for Overseas Study

This semester is Kristopher Cussans’s first semester at SISU. To overcome the time difference between China and the UK, Kris has adjusted his own daily schedule to make sure he is energetic when meeting his Chinese students online. Besides, Cussans has recorded his online lectures so that his students can easily have access to them for review and revision. He commented that online teaching demands as much effort from both the teacher and the students, if not more, saying that they also need to adapt.



Currently, our overseas faculty members are teaching online in their own ways from 35 countries in the world. Their care for SISUers has gone beyond just how well the students are learning. They also feel a strong concerns for the students’ well-being. It is, after all, our shared hope that every one of us can emerge from the pandemic safe and sound, and that we could reunite soon on our beautiful campus.



This article is translated by Wang Zhenyi, Zhu Jiangfeng and Xu Mingchun, and proofread by Lu Yuyang and Wang Bo, members of the Translation Association of the School of English Studies (SESTA) at Shanghai International Studies University. For use of the content, please contact:



Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading