The pandemic has pushed educators to reflect on the elements of an effective online teaching and learning environment, in particular, to make the learning process appealing and intriguing for students. Mark Shope, Assistant Professor at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU), has expanded the possibilities of online learning by optimizing the use of professional software and equipment. Not only has he overcome many of the challenges of online lectures, but he has utilized the unique features of online courses to enrich his classes.
This semester, Professor Shope organized two online courses: the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Rule of Law, and International Negotiations Simulation. As a part of the Association of East Asian Research Universities (AEARU) Global Learning Initiatives Program and the Asian Law Schools Association (ALSA) Global Classroom Project, the SDG course invites professors with respective expertise to lecture and lead discussions on the legal issues surrounding the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Negotiations course, which is held cooperatively with Indiana University (IU) Robert H. McKinney School of Law, provides students with the practical experience of business negotiation. During the simulations, each school sends out a team of students to represent a fictional corporation. The two groups engage in a series of negotiations, aiming to establish a joint company.
The SDG course consists of domestic students and overseas students. To further familiarize students with both local and international issues, classes begin with a "pre-game" guest from a local NGO sharing the work and mandates of the organization before transitioning to the invited lecturer. For example, the class on "SDG 13: Climate Action" started with a presentation from the Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC) before Professor Jiunn-rong Yeh, a climate law expert, addressed the issues of climate change from a more global perspective.
In the negotiation course, students from Taiwan and the US negotiate through online meeting software. The virtual sessions allow students to learn as a group despite the physical distance and time difference between them. Students receive preparation lectures on negotiation skills from their professors before getting together with the other school.
During the negotiation, students receive a separate list of goals that they should achieve using the techniques they have practiced during the preparation sessions. Through real-time interaction, both teams have the opportunity to test out what they have learned in the textbook, bridging the gap between theory and practice. The students participating in the course are students who have entered or will soon be entering the workplace, and this course provides them with the skills necessary to succeed at work.
To enhance students’ learning experience and explore the possibilities of online learning, Professor Shope hires course assistants to handle multiple cameras, microphones, and video conferencing platforms. With these technologies, students enjoy lecture experiences similar to professional seminars - scene transitions, camera overlays, and high voice and video quality. Behind these results is professional equipment, including three Sony cameras, a GoPro, a RØDECaster Pro, an ATEM Mini Pro, and professional software such as NDI and Ecamm Live. These arrangements and effects would normally require a professional team to achieve. However, through step-by-step exploration, experimentation, and optimization, the team has completed one lively lesson after another. With careful planning, the SDGs and the Negotiations course take full advantage of online education to overcome geographical distances and pandemic restrictions.
Professor Shope and his team are still refining the procedure and equipment needed to suit different settings. The team will also compile their experiences into a manual, which could help reduce the difficulties other teachers may encounter when utilizing new technology or software. They will continue working with the NYCU School of Law and its Center for Digital Governance and Legal Innovation to lay the foundation for more diverse online courses and border-crossing teaching models to come.
施明遠教授這學期開設「SDGs（聯合國永續發展目標）與法治」以及「國際模擬談判」兩門課程。在SDG課程中，施明遠教授與 AEARU（Association of East Asian Research Universities) 東亞研究型大學協會）以及ALSA（Asian Law Schools Association, 亞洲法學院協會）合作，邀請不同專業領域的教授來到課堂，為學生講授17項聯合國永續發展目標的內涵與各國政策實踐。而在國際模擬談判課程中，則是與美國印第安納大學法學院合作，讓兩校學生各自扮演商務談判中之一方，藉由實際演練讓學生熟悉談判技巧。
這些華麗成果的背後是許多專業設備，包含三台Sony 相機、GoPro、RØDE混音台與ATEM Mini Pro導播台；以及專業軟體如NDI及Ecamm Live 互相配合的成果。原先需要專業攝影與編導團隊才能達成的安排與效果，施明遠老師率領助理團隊，藉由一步步摸索、嘗試及最佳化，完成了一堂又一堂生動活潑的課程。藉由這樣的安排，這兩門課程一方面完整利用線上教學克服地理限制的優點，也藉由科技應用突破了線上課程節奏單調的限制。