Top scholars share courses online

Updated: 2011-11-10 07:39

By Chen Jia (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China now has its version of Harvard open courses.

Twenty courses provided by 18 top Chinese universities went online on Wednesday, China's latest attempt to disseminate teaching resources within the nation and promote Chinese culture globally.

These courses feature 20 subjects or lectures given by speakers and professors from several universities, including Zhejiang University, Nankai University and Wuhan University. Most of the courses will focus on traditional Chinese culture, according to the Ministry of Education.

Top scholars share courses online

They are available through the websites of NetEase and China Network Television, as well as, for free.

The ministry called the introduction of open courses, enabling university students across the country to have access to lectures given by top scholars, a "breakthrough".

It promotes the idea of open education by using the Internet, the ministry said.

"These online courses are designed for university students, but they can also be shared by the public for free," said Liu Ju, vice-director of the department of higher education under the ministry.

The ministry said that up to 1,000 online open courses will be offered by the end of 2015, and 100 will be available by the end of the year.

Some of the courses will be translated into English and promoted across the rest of the world, according to NetEase Company, a member of Open Courseware Consortium, an international body promoting open content among the world's universities.

The company has set up a translation team and "will kick off the translation work when we finish the negotiation on intellectual rights with universities", Zhu Xirui, a senior manger for NetEase Company, said on Wednesday in Beijing.

"We want to promote Chinese culture to overseas netizens through the program," he said.

Ding Xiuhong, another manager of NetEase Company, said they had invested more than 15 million yuan ($2.37 million) in the program.

"Although we haven't made a profit from the program, it will at least help increase our website's page views," Ding said.

Shang Junjie, dean of the educational technology department of the school of education under Peking University, said Chinese open courses, if properly translated, could compete with their foreign counterparts to attract viewers.

"I'd like to watch the Chinese elite classes, such as Chinese literature and poetry, as well as economy," said Jeremy Scaramuzzi, a teacher at Tsinghua International School.

He said he was also interested in Chinese classes on political science since that is the subject he majored in in the United States.

He is eager to find out how Chinese academics study different governments and relate it to his own American perspective.

Luo Wangshu contributed to this story.