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The gaps between China and America from the sight of UC Berkeley---Li Zheyuan

Author: Time:2020-08-03

Gaps in teaching methods:

When it refers to the gap in teaching methods, as the NO.4 university in the United States in 2020, the University of California, Berkeley also ranks among the top 20 universities in the world. Compared with our university in our motherland, there must be a gap. Because the author is a student majoring in chemistry in Lanzhou University, the teaching of chemistry is mainly compared. First of all, The author feels that there is a high requirement of mathematics and physics in the study of chemistry courses in UC Berkeley. In the four courses selected by the author, quantum mechanics and related physics knowledge are basically involved in the whole course of quantitative spectroscopy and surface chemistry. In the communication with the local Berkeley undergraduate students, the author also finds that they have learned about quantum mechanics, differential equations and other knowledge in sophomore year. These are the math specialties of our school, but at Berkeley they are compulsory for almost all chemistry students.

On the other hand, UC Berkeley's curriculum has a strong continuity and extensibility. Their curriculum is different from ours. Our university is similar to other universities in China. However, when students in Berkeley selects courses, each course has a corresponding serial number. Generally speaking, the higher the serial number is, the more difficult the course is. For instance, the courses for undergraduate students are begun with 1 while courses for graduate students are begun with 2. The corresponding pilot courses and subsequent courses are divided into ABC. For example, the author's course: Introduction of material chemistry requires inorganic chemistry as the lead course, and his follow-up course is advanced inorganic chemistry. By doing this hierarchically, we can avoid the situation of not understanding or lack of relevant knowledge. Moreover, the course selection in Berkeley is highly free. One course of Berkeley often includes different grades. From the first year to the doctoral students, they may choose one kinds of course and keep learning.

Finally, when it comes to professors' teaching methods, professors in UC Berkeley, at least in the courses I chose, are very reluctant to use PPT. They prefer to present their content directly on the blackboard rather than simply present them on slides.Of course, it also depends on what the professor teaches.At the beginning, The author also audit some courses such as advanced Organic Synthesis and organic chemistry and professors will use PPT to show the content. However, except for PPT, the professors were willing to use blackboard writing. Of course, it has something to do with the teaching atmosphere at Berkeley. First of all, the number of students is small. The largest course the author attends is only 36 students, and they are merged from two departments. For most of the other classes, there are only about 10 people.Of course, one course was conducted by a professor from Peking University, who preferred PPT. In this respect, we can also see the difference in teaching methods between Chinese and American professors. On the other hand, because there is a lot of content of mathematics in the course, in other words, there are a lot of formulas, and because professors in Berkeley like to derive them step by step, it's easier by using blackboard writing. Studying in the United States, of course, the professors are pleasant if the students want to ask questions. In the process of spectral study to quantify, in the formula derivation, each part the professor will ask if students have a problem, then students ask questions, so the speed will be somewhat slow, but also because of this, we can understand the hard math formulas. However, blackboard writing and PPT also have advantages and disadvantages.If you have PPT, you can review it again effectively and consolidate the knowledge you don't know. However, writing on the blackboard is often too late to record it and it will directly pass away, which requires high requirements for students. So it can only be said that each has its own merits.

Gaps in facilities:

In terms of teaching, the gap in facilities is not that big in UC Berkeley because it is a public school, and also has a long history, so the teaching facilities are same as the Chinese multimedia classroom. Also, in UC Berkeley whiteboard basic are disrepair, desktop computers are very old.

On the other hand, in terms of experimental facilities, the top experimental instruments in Berkeley are all on the mountain, namely Lawrence Laboratory, which is not open to the public, so the laboratories that the author can enter are also on the campus below the mountain, and these laboratories are relatively old. So the practical reference significance is not very big. The author takes the course of instrument analysis experiment, because the author wants to do further learning in instrument analysis so that the author wants to compare the main domestic and foreign instrument analysis of the difference, but in fact those types of instruments they use, which also exist in our school.So all in all, there's not that much of a difference between Berkeley and us in terms of facilities.

(Proofread by Shu Rongyu and Li Zeyang)

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