China / Society

Popularity of MOOC platforms continues to grow

By Zhao Xinying ( Updated: 2015-04-28 20:47

The Ministry of Education is to guide construction and use of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) and strengthen their management, according to guidelines released on Tuesday.

Higher education institutes in China, especially those with strengths in specific majors and information technology, are encouraged to establish MOOCs that focus on liberal education, public courses and the core curricula of some majors, the ministry said.

The ministry will select from current MOOC platforms and encourage them to share data and teaching resources as a way of creating an online teaching and learning space."We also encourage these good platforms to cooperate with the Open University of China to provide high-quality courses for life-long learners," the ministry said.

MOOC, originating from the United States, has become popular around the world with 2012 being referred to as "the first year of the MOOC era".

It has gained popularity in China since 2013 and some universities, including Tsinghua University, Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have established their own MOOC platforms.

"MOOC has enlarged the time and space of teaching, fired learners' interest, helped more people benefit from high-quality educational resources and accelerated reform in many aspects of teaching.

"It also poses challenges to higher education of China," the ministry said, adding that the guidelines were to regulate the construction of courses and platforms suitable for China and strengthen the management of MOOC and guide a better use of it.

To do that, the ministry said an inspection system will be set up to supervise the teaching process and operation of the platforms, preventing harmful information being disseminated. The ministry will also evaluate courses based on contents, methods, effects and so on and identify some as high-quality ones.

"We plan to identify 1,000 high-quality online open courses by 2017 and more than 3,000 by 2020," the ministry said.

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