In the recent announcement “results of the first batch of selected national first-class undergraduate courses” from the Ministry of Education, the course “Geology and Engineering Geology” from the Department of Hydraulic Engineering of Tsinghua University was selected as the first batch of national first-class undergraduate courses.
The subject of Earth sciences has a long and glorious history at Tsinghua University. The Department of Geography was formally established in 1929. The first head of the department was Mr. Wenhao Weng (1889-1971), a famous geologist and one of the founders of modern Chinese geology. In 1933, the Department of Geography was renamed as the Department of Earth Sciences. Before it was transferred to Peking University in 1952, Tsinghua University’s Earth sciences ranked first in the China, trained more than 200 graduates in Earth sciences, geology, and meteorology. Many graduates became well-known scholars and professors in the field of Earth sciences. According to incomplete statistics, 41 of them were successively elected as academicians of the Division of Earth Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After the adjustment of the departments in 1952, only the Engineering Geology Teaching and Research Group and the Geology Teaching Laboratory of the Department of Earth Sciences were left at Tsinghua University. They are now under the Geotechnical Engineering Institute of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering.
Mr. Wenhao Weng as the Minister of Economy at the time (Chonqing, February of 1941)
Tsinghua University’s “Engineering Geology” course has been the only required course related to Earth sciences for hydraulic and civil engineering since its establishment in 1952. Presently, “Engineering Geology” is a platform course for civil engineering of Tsinghua University, and it is also one of the core foundational courses for civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, transportation, and other related majors. Prof. Wenjie Xu and Prof. Qingbo Wen are currently teaching this course.
In recent years, to implement Tsinghua University’s “trinity” education concept, the Department of Hydraulic Engineering has carried out a series of educational and teaching reform explorations in the course of “Engineering Geology,” launching MOOC in 2015 and beginning mixed classroom teaching in 2016. During the process of course development, the department has focused on connecting the innovation and application of new technologies into education. To make better use of the advantages of geological field practice in the teaching of geological courses and to overcome the current blindness and poor initiative of the students in the process of “running the route” and “point explanation” in the geological field practices, the department carried out many improvements. In 2016, a couple of comprehensive three-dimensional information platforms, “Earth Science Cloud” and “Earth Science Cloud Hall” WeChat official accounts that integrate “resource sharing, teaching practice, and popularization of Earth sciences and scientific research applications,” were built. In 2017, a water conservancy cloud computing platform was launched to innovatively achieve online learning and practical practices, exercising the teaching reform and exploring new engineering education.
While associating with the characteristics of the course, ideological political concepts were added, by integrating the value of “human-land coordination” into the course development, demonstrating the environmental protection concept of “green water and green mountains are golden and silver mountains,” and establishing students’ sense of value and sense of responsibility.
Through classroom teaching reform in recent years, the course has achieved both teaching the professional knowledge and realizing students’ “value shaping” and “ability training”. A series of innovative scientific research have arisen from the teaching reform. Students said they liked the course very much.
Achievements of “Geology and Engineering Geology” course in recent years