The courses, which cover a wide range of subjects, focus mainly on common curriculum for undergraduate education and higher vocational education, as well as basic professional courses. The launch of national massive open online courses (MOOC) has been hailed by experts as “an unprecedented move both inside China and abroad,” as China has now become the world’s largest MOOC provider.
“The first batch of national MOOC represents the highest level of China’s technology-infused education. We are planning to establish a set of MOOC development standards to make our voice heard in the MOOC industry and take the lead in global online education,” Wu Yan, head of the Department of Higher Education with the Ministry of Education, told People’s Daily.
Among the launched courses, 78 have attracted over 100,000 learners. “Advanced mathematics” launched by Tongji University, for instance, has attracted around 850,000 learners, while “Chinese for Beginners” created by Peking University has over 450,000 registered learners, according to People’s Daily.
Online education has witnessed a swift development in China, particularly since 2013, when MOOC entered the country in cooperation with universities and websites. The new teaching method has brought new hope for the country’s efforts to tackle educational inequality and unbalanced educational resources assignment.
According to figures by the ministry, domestic universities and higher educational institutions have set up more than 10 MOOC websites, covering over 3,200 courses. Some 55 million college students and other learners have viewed the courses. Another 3,000 national-level excellent online courses will be produced by 2020.