The stars have finally aligned to enable SPICE to launch its first online course in China, Stanford e-China—an interactive, virtual class for Chinese high school students. Many factors now make this venture possible: access to China’s education system via partners on the ground in country; capable virtual technology; compelling student interest among Chinese high school students to study abroad at universities like Stanford; and the identification of a highly qualified instructor.
The inaugural Stanford e-China online course, Technologies Changing the World: Design Thinking into Action, will start in Winter 2020, open to enrollment of high school students throughout China. Students will explore cutting-edge technologies that are defining the future and providing exciting areas for academic study, professional opportunities, and entrepreneurial innovation. Focusing on the fields of green tech, finance tech, health tech, and artificial intelligence, students will engage in live discussion sessions (“virtual classes”) and real-time conversations with Stanford University scholars, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, as well as American high school students.
While collaborating with Study Abroad Director Emma Vanbergen and China Director of International Education Julia Gooding at BE Education, it became clear that Chinese students seek hands-on projects with real-world impact. As China leads the way in many technological fields from green tech to artificial intelligence, a key challenge in developing this online course has been finding a framework that encourages students to analyze challenges facing each of the technologies highlighted in the course and then brainstorm innovative solutions. To showcase the dynamic research and teachings at Stanford University, SPICE honed in on Design Thinking, a creative-thinking and problem-solving framework very active throughout campus and Silicon Valley.
As a final project, Stanford e-China students will delve into an area of personal interest in one of the technology fields, applying aspects of the Design Thinking framework, to develop a prototype pitch. The top three students from each course will be invited to Stanford University to present their pitches and sharpen Design Thinking skills with Stanford practitioners in person. Design Thinking is a very hands-on, interactive, team-based experience that is dependent on critical feedback from other people. Translating the Design Thinking concepts online, with students, scholars, and practitioners virtually scattered across the world presents an exciting opportunity to create curriculum that effectively introduces the skills and mindset.
SPICE is drawing on the expertise of Mariko Yoshihara Yang and Rie Kijima, co-founders of SKY Labo and long-time collaborators with SPICE and the Stanford Graduate School of Education. The technologies explored in this course—green tech, finance tech, health tech, and artificial intelligence—have timely, global impact. The contributors to the Stanford e-China’s development span the world as well—from Stanford to Britain, China, and other countries of Asia. The Stanford e-China course is informed by over 16 years of SPICE online course offerings for high school students in other countries in Asia as well as throughout the United States. Stanford University scholars will also play pivotal roles as lecturers and guest speakers on the course’s leading technological fields and related pressing issues.
SPICE Director Gary Mukai recently noted, “The roots of SPICE date back to the establishment of the Bay Area China Education Project (BAYCEP) at Stanford University in 1973. Since then, SPICE has produced curriculum materials on China and hosted teacher professional development seminars on China for teachers in the United States, and more recently has offered an online course on China for high school students in the United States—all with the goal of helping Americans better understand China. I am delighted that 46 years since the establishment of BAYCEP, Stanford e-China has become a reality and for the first time in its history, SPICE will be working formally with students in China. SPICE is grateful to be collaborating with BE Education in this initiative.”
The inaugural 10-week course will be offered in Winter 2020. Shorter 4- to 6-week courses will be offered in Summer 2020. Course details and application deadlines are available at http://stanfordechina.org. The online course is offered in English. Stanford e-China students should expect to allot 3–4 hours per week to complete the lectures, virtual classes, discussions, readings, and assignments. Although participation in virtual classes (held on Saturday mornings) is mandatory, students will be able to structure the other work around their individual schedules.
Carey Moncaster is developing the course as the Stanford e-China instructor. After graduation from U.C. Berkeley, Carey lived and worked in China throughout the 1990s as the country embarked on monumental economic changes. This experience was followed by graduate studies in East Asian Studies at Stanford University and her initial work with SPICE. She has launched educational programs for U.S. high school students throughout Asia, and most recently returns to SPICE from Seattle’s high-tech world of start-up ventures.
For more information, please contact Carey Moncaster, Stanford e-China instructor, at email@example.com.