Report - Situation Analysis: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in China

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) first originated in the USA, but became popular internationally in recent years. These free, high quality online courses have made a breakthrough in China in 2013, when Cousera and edX, two major MOOC platforms partnered up with Chinese universities to offer their courses online. Local MOOC platforms, such as Coursera Zone, XuetangX, Kaikeba and, appeared within the same timeframe. While those are able to provide a service which on a technical, language and cultural level better suits Chinese needs, Coursera and edX have the advantage of offering courses from international top universities and therefore attracting the higher educated students. Although the opportunity MOOCs provide in terms of making education available to anyone and everywhere – increasing the influence and reputation of Chinese Universities abroad - concerns have been raised as well. These include the fear that lower-tier universities might be pushed out of business or that China’s ideology might be affected when foreign ideas are imported via MOOCs.

The spread of MOOCs in China is just in the beginning phase, but with awareness rapidly increasing, a raising number of students will make use of this new study format and more Chinese universities will join the movement. This creates new educational opportunities for universities. On one side, blended forms of learning, through incorporating MOOCs into traditional programs will emerge and on the other side, local and international cooperation opportunities are taken to a new level. Swiss universities can benefit from new forms of collaboration possibilities. Not only will it be easier to find adequate partner universities, but it will also open the possibility to exchange MOOC courses and offer joint MOOCs and programs.

This report will give you a comprehensive overview about the current development of MOOCs in China, the major platforms as well as its challenges and opportunities in the future. Read it via onilne PDF here (64 KB).