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From classic classrooms to computers

By Zhang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-03 17:41

From classic classrooms to computers

Illustration provided to china daily

More Chinese universities are offering online courses and discovering the benefits and challenges they generate. Zhang Yue reports.

Related: The information age

The information era is creating a new age of education, as a growing number of university students take online classes. Yang Yuqi, a 29-year-old piano teacher from Yunnan province, hasn't set foot on a campus for two years, since she started learning online.

"My piano lessons were one of my family's biggest expenses when I started learning the instrument 15 years ago," she says.

"My mother and I took the train from (Yunnan's provincial capital) Kunming to Shanghai every other weekend so we could learn from the best teachers in some of the most prestigious music conservatories."

That was typical among piano majors then, Yang says.

She traveled to other big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, to attend master classes when she studied at Yunnan Normal University in 2004.

"I didn't want to miss any of these rare opportunities," she says.

Today, Yang watches videos of these master classes from home on She can also interact with her students and their parents through online platforms.

"The only thing about watching the videos online is that you can't ask the teachers questions right away," she says.

"This might be the only difference from studying in the classroom."

Many Chinese universities are rushing to build online learning platforms.

Central China Normal University in Hubei province's capital Wuhan has more than 20 accredited courses offered in virtual classrooms.

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