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  • How does your referral mechanism work? If I have a colleague or friend who is interested in teaching with GEC, how do I recommend him/her to you?"
    GEC Academy experienced rapid growth in the past few years. Faculty referral played a key role in our strong growth, and we thank all our professors for your great support. In the rest of 2021 and the upcoming 2022, we are keen to maintain and expand the effective connections with our faculties. We welcome our collaborating faculties to recommend your experienced colleagues, researchers, and education enthusiasts to participate in this great endeavor. The quickest way to refer a candidate will be going to your designated academic manager. Simply let her/him know that your friend might be potentially interested in cooperating with GEC as well. The academic manager will connect your friend with our Faculty Outreach Managers to proceed. Once the faculty outreach managers are connected with the newly-referred, they will walk the new faculty step by step along the process to establish a partnership--just like how you joined GEC at the beginning! In order to honor your time and effort spent on helping GEC expanding our faculty network, a referral honorarium will be provided as a token of our appreciation. Due to the dynamic nature of the market, as well as the fact that GEC considers our students' demands, we cannot guarantee the new faculty when his/her program will be launched during the first connection. However, we are always open to discussing more possibilities. It is noteworthy that we are flexible with the commitment that each faculty is able to deliver. Whether it is a Path Academic Online Research Seminar practice, a 1-on-1 individualized research mentorship, cooperation on Independent Project Qualification (IPQ), or other new initiatives, we are happy to offer as many options as possible to our new faculties.
  • How are the programs being marketed?
    When we receive the topic and time, our marketing department will start to advertise and they will focus on the highlights of the course that they thought would be attractive for the students. However, sometimes there will be some deviations between the marketing department and our faculties’ original intention, resulting in some students’ confusion about the course. Therefore, from next month, our academic managers will also participate in the work of product advertisement. We also hope that you can also provide your ideas on the course, such as the most attractive and important content of your course.
  • What’s the rescheduling policy at GEC for personal situations or emergencies, especially for programs during the summer vacation?
    We normally leave four months for enrollment so that we have plenty of time to recruit enough students to start the program. Although we fully understand that plans often change, it is difficult for us to make big adjustments given that students may also have other academic or extracurricular activities arranged when they don’t take courses at GEC during the summer vacation. Instead, we can make adjustments case by case, such as skipping a week in the middle of the program, asking the mentor to hold a mentor session on a given date, then delaying the lecture for a week, etc. We totally understand that emergencies happen and we want to support you in every way we can, so please feel free to contact your academic manager when you have such concern, and we are very happy to offer our help.
  • Where do GEC students come from and how does GEC select students?
    GEC has a nationwide recruitment network. We also collaborate with educational institutions that allow us to access many academically strong and passionate students. In the student recruitment stage, we organize various online and onsite events and marketing campaigns to promote our programs such as inviting students to trial classes/demo sessions. While GEC’s network enables us to encounter many excellent students, more importantly, we want to keep the opportunity open to those passionate about improving themselves. Some faculties might have concerns regarding the student’s academic competence in this way. In order to address this concern, GEC proactively collects the prerequisites from our faculty and uses that information to examine students. We might also give some quizzes to students (typically for those courses that have strict prerequisites) - normally 10 questions. The lead instructor could let us know the minimal score/percentage that the student needs to achieve before signing up. Interviewing students is the last step in ensuring it is an appropriate match and balanced expectations. However, we prefer not to have too strict prerequisites, as we hope that our faculty’s program could cater to a broader audience in order to ensure a successful commencement.
  • What’s motivating students to study at GEC, is it recommendation letters?"
    It’s undeniable that the possibility of receiving a recommendation letter from our professors attracts some students to participate in the program. However, a lot of students are indeed here for the project-based learning experience. In fact, for many students, the program is their very first project-based learning experience with a professor like you. In their schools, they might be going to lectures with 70 students, and many of them haven’t got the chance to work on their own projects, or write a properly developed academic paper. The knowledge and introduction to research skills offered in the program could be valuable to them and could be a good start for their future studies.
  • Who should I contact? (Find the right person to talk to)
    With the GEC team growing and expanding at a rather fast pace and with more new cooperation opportunities increasing over the past years, it may cause some of our teachers, especially new faculties, some confusion with respect to responsibilities of different teams within GEC, for example, who to talk to for certain matters. Click HERE to access to List of Staff
  • It’s the first time for me to teach a program at GEC. What is the students’ overall English level? If some students have difficulties with the language, what can the GEC team do to help?
    For students who haven’t taken English tests like TOEFL and IELTS, we gave English interviews to make sure their language abilities have reached the level to understand the classes in English. If you are concerned about the students’ English abilities, it will be helpful to share any slides you are using and the reading materials on our digital platform (Ed) early, so students could preview them before the classes. Our TAs are Chinese graduate students in the related field. If needed, they could send Chinese translations of some key terms in the textbox during class to help students understand quickly. Students can also schedule short meetings with the TAs outside of class to ask questions about the class materials.
  • It is a bit early to confirm a program 6 months ahead. What if I need to change my schedule after confirming the course? Would there be a problem?
    The main reason that we propose a new program as early as 6 months ahead is to leave sufficient time for promoting and recruiting. The usual recruiting time is around 3 months, and if we include time for preparation and promotion, 6 months are quite necessary. Regarding the possibility of changing the schedule, we totally understand that. The starting date has a bit of flexibility given a week or so. We will also contact you when the time approaches to see if the time is still ok with you. And of course, you could contact us whenever there are changes on your side.
  • I have noticed that my course is, to some extent, low enrolling. What’s the common cause here and what can I do to change that?
    Enrollment can be influenced by various factors. For example,, April and May are most likely not our peak seasons, given that during school semesters, schoolwork would take up most of students’ time. In addition, the popularity of different subjects change from time to time due to social factors. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, courses related to medicine and public health are becoming more popular than before. For low enrolling courses, we would suggest whether it is possible to integrate current events into your curriculum. We always welcome teachers to discuss about the potential changes we can make to help with recruiting more students. We are also delighted to arrange open classes, like demo courses, if needed, to help students have a better understanding of your course.
  • Why are instructors suggested diversifying their final project topics?
    After the 7-week online research seminar, many of our students are interested in continuing their study in improving research and writing skills, and enriching their research topics. Some may lack the ability to do research independently, others may lack the knowledge of academic writing and proper format. It is with such high demands from our students we provide an additional 5-week academic writing class, taught by professional Chinese academic researchers. The aims of the writing course are to: (1) train the students on their academic writing skills; (2) assist the students with their development of research topics; (3) help students understand the importance of academic integrity and proper format. ​ These are essential skills and knowledge that students need when studying in universities. The professional researchers will mentor the students to explore the topics they are interested in based on the core content of the 7-week research seminar. This is the main reason why we ask our professors to design more open-ended courses, so our students would have broader choices of topics to explore further. We hope our students can benefit and learn a lot from such a comprehensive and hybrid program design.
  • Why do we mix high school students with college students in some programs?
    This question is on the top of our list. We recognize the concern from our professors that college students might feel the class is too easy while high school students find it too difficult, and your syllabus might not fit such a range of students. However, all registered students are interested in the program in the first place. And all of them are fully informed of the course content and have read the syllabus before joining the class. They know what they are getting into. As you know your high school students in the US or UK, some students are really gifted or talented in certain subjects. They perform beyond what is required for their grade. This is also the case in China, we have a lot of gifted and hardworking students at an early age. They are capable of understanding higher-level courses. Plus, we do screen students when they apply to know if they are up to the task. Let us give you an example to help you understand the case for college students. Mike majors in psychology in his college, but he has a great passion for astrophysics. So he would like to take an introductory course with GEC academy. Although he is already a senior student, his knowledge of astrophysics might be comparable to that of a high school student. Since everyone reads the syllabus beforehand, students major in astrophysics might not consider taking an introductory course anyway, although we do not exclude those who want to refresh their memories or want to know the professor better. Of course, there is a pragmatic answer to this question. Simply recruiting one or two grades might be too limited, meaning we will not have enough students to launch a program. And we do not want to cancel the program, so we would mix students to ensure we have enough students. Despite what we just said, you might still be concerned that students would not be well prepared for the program, so we have some potential solutions. First, we understand that our professors have really tight schedules, and while the program is starting soon, we do not want you to revise the syllabus to suit all students. Rather, we would encourage you to provide more reading materials for our younger students to familiarize themselves in advance. Second, a clarification rather than a solution, the first class is a trial class. If the students find the program is really not suitable for them, they have a chance to transfer to other programs or quit. Students who choose to stay are the ones who are happy with the program.
  • I noticed that there are often times that students without any relevant background knowledge attend my program. I am curious why, and what should I do to help them catch up? What could GEC do to make sure that these students can catch up?
    1) Most of the content that students learn from schools is restricted to their majors, and it is rare for them to have the opportunity to learn things beyond their majors, especially from a professor like you. Your program can provide them with an opportunity to explore a new possibility. Students have access to your syllabus before they enroll in your program, so they should have a basic understanding of what your program will cover and if they can handle it. Sometimes students just like to challenge themselves. 2) If you are concerned with students who are not in the related field, we suggest you share any materials such as slides or readings on our learning management system (the Ed platform) before the program starts, so students could preview them and get prepared. You could also suggest some extra resources (e.g., YouTube, extra reading, GitHub, etc.) that students could learn by themselves after classes. Moreover, students might post the questions they have on the Ed platform. It would also be helpful if you could check the platform regularly and help them with their questions. 3) We have Chinese TAs who are in the relevant fields to help students. TAs will attend all classes to make sure that they are familiar with your course content. We organize Office Hours in which students can meet with them and ask them questions. In addition, we will collect weekly feedback from students, especially we will ask them if they can catch up and what help they need, and then we will make adjustments if needed.
  • Some students tend to be quiet during lectures. What are some good ways to encourage the students to participate in discussions?
    This is a quite common phenomenon among Chinese students. Many students do not want to be the first to answer and are afraid that they might give wrong answers, so they might look foolish. It is difficult to change this habit of answering questions in a few weeks, but we have some suggestions. 1) Maybe start with closed-ended questions first and then move to open-ended questions, to “warm up” the students. 2) Let students discuss in groups first and then ask them to answer. This way students will have certain results so they won’t have excuses not to answer.
  • We have some students who would ask a lot of questions at the end of each session. How could we improve on time management, so the course will not prolong so much?"
    GEC team also noticed this phenomenon. On the one hand, we are happy to see that students are very active and engaging, but on the other hand, we also understand that our professors have tight schedules and prolonged class time is not suitable. Thus, GEC team will guide students to post questions on ED after class. In this way, students can organize their thoughts better and ask more considered questions. Our professors can check these questions and answer them before the next lecture. Otherwise, GEC team is also happy to collect questions from students and send them to our professors via emails. Lastly, the class is our professors’. You can stop the Q&A session at any point you like.
  • I would like to provide some new ideas or new topics; what kind of new topics may be attractive?
    New topics and ideas are always welcome, and we thank our professors for such passion in providing new programs. Path academics have been running for a while, and we find that students love topics related to current news, cutting-edge technologies, recent findings. So if our professors want to develop new programs, including new aspects, social phenomena, breakthrough technologies would be really fantastic.
  • What do I need to do regarding this new “Teaching Fellow Session” quality checking policy?
    As you’ve already known, our research seminars include sessions from professors, mentors and TAs. Teaching Fellow (Mentor) session is an essential component to the program, and it is designed to offer students more support throughout the program. Teaching Fellows will provide supplementary contents to help our students deepen their understandings of the course. Thus, it is important that our instructors and mentors are on the same page, and are aware of each other’s objectives. We ask all our teaching fellows to complete their course plans before the start of each program, and share their plans with you. It would be great if you could review the plan from our mentors, and check if it is consistent with your teaching plan. This step of quality control would maximize the benefits to our students and encourage regular communications between our teaching fellows and instructors.
  • Why does GEC set teaching assistant(s) in addition to the Teaching Fellow?
    The role of a Teaching Assistant (TA) has two main functions. Firstly, TAs are part of the teaching team and are able to address basic questions from students. Professors and teaching fellows often have tight schedules and are unable to spend too much time on Q&A, so TAs are responsible for handling these inquiries. Only the more complex questions are directed to the professors and TFs. Secondly, TAs are also part of the administrative team, as course coordinators usually oversee multiple courses simultaneously and are unable to fully devote their attention to any one course. TAs assist with program operations, such as taking attendance and responses, filling out forms, recording meetings, and handling emergencies.
  • While it's not required for students to complete assignments in GEC programs, would it be appropriate to allocate 10% of the final grade to participation and 90% to the final project, even if the assignments are not graded?
    While assignments may not be mandatory for GEC programs, evaluating 90% of the final grade based solely on the final project might be too strict, as students' performance would depend entirely on that one assignment. It's important to value the learning process as well. To encourage students, we suggest breaking down the tasks into smaller assignments, quizzes, or reflection papers for the papers they read or find, and giving some weight to their overall scores. For example, we could allocate 20% of the grade to these smaller assignments to ensure students take them seriously and complete them on time. However, we value the opinions of our professors, and we would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.
  • Why are students taking the academic writing course?
    As we are preparing students for their future studies, we hope that not only do they have a solid understanding of the basic knowledge, but they also develop necessary academic skills. From our experience, lots of Chinese students find academic writing challenging, as it requires formal languages and follows certain structures. In addition, Chinese students do not get much training in academic writing at school, either. Therefore, we designed this academic writing course aiming to cultivate students' academic writing skills and better support them in their studies. We also think this element will make students' learning experience at GEC more valuable and complete.
  • How is GEC Academic Writing Course linked to Path Academic Online Programs?
    We start this academic writing course from the basics and then discuss different academic writing structures and techniques. Thus, it would be safe to say that in terms of the teaching content, there is no direct connection between the academic writing course and the course you are offering. However, as we see most students would like to further develop their final projects and try to finish an essay or a scientific manuscript, it would be ideal if they are given the chance to practice what they have learned from the academic writing course. This also explains why we suggested that the final projects consist of a presentation and a written report. We believe the written reports would act perfectly as a foundation for students' possible future work.

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