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|XuetangX, the MOOC platform set up by Tsinghua University and the MoE Research Centre for Online Education in 2013, hosts some 400 courses.|
Published by the MoE’s Online Education Research Centre, the report charts an explosion of interest in massive open online courses since 2014. In the last year alone, the estimated number of registered MOOC users in China has come close to doubling, with the total standing at 5.75 million in 2015.
Higher education institutions have so far led the charge when it comes to developing MOOCs, working with internet companies and online education enterprises to develop platforms for delivery.
Preparation for China’s university entrance exam, the gaokao, is one of the most popular topics for Chinese MOOCs, along with higher education modules that slot into university courses and for-credit classes that new students can take before arriving on campus.
The white paper estimates that some 1,200 MOOCs have so far been developed by around 30 universities and an unspecified number of colleges, with a much greater focus on higher education rather than vocational courses.
But despite the boom in enrolments and courses, 90% of China’s colleges and universities have not yet begun to develop MOOC provision, according to the report.
The substantial resources needed to develop a high-quality MOOC and the subsequent building of brand awareness in order to attract users are barriers for most institutions to develop a course, the report notes.
An online survey of 761 learners who had taken a MOOC in the last year, included in the white paper, revealed that despite the bigger focus from universities to develop higher education courses, vocational training was actually more popular among respondents.
Around 61% said they were interested in this type of course, compared with 44% who were interested in degree or diploma level MOOCs.
This apparent gap between provision and demand creates opportunities not only for Chinese institutions but also their overseas counterparts.
“There may therefore be room to introduce quality content in the FE sector from overseas countries such as the UK,” commented Kevin Prest and Liu Xiaoxiao at the British Council China.
Source: The PIE News