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NTU, USC and PKU Students to Take Classes Simultaneously Online This Spring

NTU, the University of Southern California and Peking University will offer a novel distance learning course using the recently created i-Podium system in the spring of 2011. In this era of ever-improving telecommunications technologies, the development of the Internet has connected people from all corners of the world, and allows us all to access information simultaneously. Though NTU and USC are separated by a distance of some 16,000 kilometers, this new course will make such distances a problem of the past.

Dean Lin-Shan Lee of the NTU College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Dean Yannis C. Yortsos of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering signed the NTU-USC i-Podium Memorandum of Understanding on October 26. The agreement calls for the joint establishment of a distance learning course that will permit students at NTU, USC and PKU to use the Internet to synchronically take part in classes and engage in the exchange and stimulation of ideas in real time.

The i-Podium system was designed at USC. Prof. Stephen Lu of the Viterbi School of Engineering, a designer of the system, says that elite universities find themselves in a new situation in the 21st century. He says that in the 20th century these universities were physical entities based on campuses that brought the world’s finest students to their classrooms to learn. The 21st century, maintains Lu, will be an era with a borderless learning environment in which students are not required to leave their countries in order to learn together with outstanding students from other regions. USC and PKU have already conducted initial testing of the i-Podium system.

The i-Podium course to be offered this spring will accept 20 students from each of the three universities. It is a three-credit course that will meet for 130 minutes each week for 23 weeks. Interested students should contact the Department of Electrical Engineering, Office of Academic Affairs’ Curriculum Division or the NTU Creativity and Entrepreneurship Program.

Chinese version