A Chinese university professor has sparked a heated online debate after giving his students an unusual assignment that required them to add 1,667 friend on WeChat, China’s most popular social network, in order to get an A+.
The controversial assignment required students taking the Online and New Media course at the Henan University of Economics and Law to add at least 1,001 new friends on WeChat in order to earn a score of 60 out of 100.
The more friends they would add above that threshold would increase their score, with those getting at least 1,667 new friends guaranteeing themselves an A+.
Although some of the students – especially the most introverted ones – complained that the task was too difficult, faculty at the university defended their colleague, explaining that the assignment prepares the youths for real life.
“It’s a difficult assignment task. I only have about 100 friends on Wechat. Many of us feel frustrated and worried we can’t add so many friends,” one student told Pear Video.
Others complained that the professor didn’t offer any alternative assignments and that the score on this one constitutes 30% of their final grade in this course. To make matters worse, the assignment was given on March 10 and students have only two weeks to complete it.
“This assignment comes from a core module in the course. What we’re saying is that afterwards, when these students look for work, they will have the basic skills necessary for this type of social media operation,” a Henan University of Economics and Law professor said in defense of the assignment.
The disputed assignment was posted on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and quickly went viral sparking a heated online debate. Some people supported the professor, saying that the task was “reasonable”, while others claimed that it would have made sense only if this was a marketing course.
“I think this course is good and offers many challenges,” one person wrote on Weibo.
“If this is a marketing class, then it makes sense. But some people just don’t use their knowledge to observe people’s practices. This is very ignorant,” someone else commented.