Professor Yu Xinjie teaches Principles of Electrical Circuits in a nondescript classroom at Tsinghua University, sometimes referred to as the MIT of China. This required course for electrical engineering freshmen looks completely ordinary until you see the large QR code projected on the white screen. To get the lecture slides, students scan the code with their phones to access Rain Classroom, a WeChat mini program created by MOOC-CN Education.

“I sent everyone pre-class reading,” says Professor Yu, addressing the auditorium-sized classroom. “Only 120 [of 150 ] students looked at it. So, there’s going to be a pop quiz. You have 2 minutes.”

Some students grumble but dutifully tap into the quiz when it appears on their phone. Afterward, the mini program shows that over 90% of the students had gotten the correct answer.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.