In April 2015, in light of the rapid development of MOOC platforms worldwide, China’s Education Ministry stressed the importance of developing MOOC platforms geared toward the nation’s needs. In the following years, around 20 MOOC platforms were built by institutions from mainland China and Taiwan.
These initiatives would eventually lead to the popularization of MOOCs in China. As previously reported by Class Central, 2017 saw the emergence of China’s nationally-recognized MOOCs, crystalizing some of the ideas floated ten years prior by government officials.
Nowadays, there are over 12,500 MOOCs in the Chinese language. My journey through Chinese MOOCs started with the completion of Financial Analysis and Decision Making on XuetangX, and it has continued ever since. Let’s explore the Chinese MOOC providers I discovered along the way.
In October 2013, Tsinghua University along with Chinese officials and partner institutions announced the launch of the XuetangX, China’s first MOOC platform.
The platform was originally built using Open edX, an open-source learning platform created by edX. In October 2019, Xuetang moved away from Open edX and redesigned their website to provide a more customized experience to its rapidly growing user base in China.
The new platform offers over 1,500 courses from both Chinese institutions (such as Peking University and Fudan University) and international institutions (such as MIT and Berkeley).
Chinese University MOOC, also often called iCourse, is another leading MOOC platform in China. Launched in May 2014, the platform is the fruit of a collaboration between the Chinese internet giant NetEase and the original iCourse learning platform. In March 2019, Chinese University MOOC was subsumed under Youdao, NetEase’s online learning arm.
The platform offers over 2,500 MOOCs developed by close to 350 universities, organizations, and companies, making it one of China’s largest MOOC provider in terms of number of courses. The platform also offers the largest number of nationally-recognized MOOCs.
Zhihui Shu, which translates to “wisdom tree”, was launched in December 2012. It has the particularity of allowing its university partners to share credit-bearing courses with one another, effectively facilitating academic credit mobility across China. The platform offers over professional 3,500 courses and most can be taken for free.
In April 2014, Shanghai Jiao Tong University launched CNMOOC, a MOOC platform promoting the integration of MOOCs within China’s on-campus higher education system. The platform offers over 1,500 courses created by over 100 institutions.
ErYa was launched in January 2015 by the Chaoxing Group, an edtech corporation based in Beijing. The MOOC platform offers over 500 courses in disciplines ranging from humanities to science.
Xue Yin Online, launched in November 2017, was developed by The Open University of China and Chaoxing Group. Its purpose is to serve as a “credit bank” for vocational skills, facilitating credit transfer and the recognition of prior learning across different universities. The platform offers close to 3,000 MOOCs and 280 credit-eligible courses.
University Open Online Courses (UOOC) MOOC platform was established by Shenzhen University in February 2016, subsuming the preexisting UOOC platform created in April 2014. It provides over 650 courses created by over 200 institutions in China.
Gaoxiaobang was established by a subsidiary of Huike Group, a company focused on the upskilling and reskilling of professionals in tech-related domains. The platform was launched in September 2015, and it currently offers close to 350 courses.
The Beijing MOOC Research Association was founded in 2016 by Renmin University of China together with several Beijing-based universities. It offers over 120 MOOCs created by 20 universities across 13 subjects.
The Zhejiang Institutions of Higher Learning Online Open Course Sharing Platform — or Zhejiang Provincial MOOC Platform for short — is backed by the Education Department of the province of Zhejiang, south of Shanghai. The platform offers over 2,600 courses created by close to 400 universities.
In December 2015, the Department of Education of Aihui District, situated in the north west of China, launched E-Huixue. Like Zhejiang’s Provincial MOOC Platform, the purpose of E-Huixue is to serve a regional repository for online courses. Close to 130 universities have contributed courses to the platform, which offers a total of over 770 MOOCs.
PMPHMOOC was established in 2015 by the medical publisher People’s Medical Publishing House in partnership with medical schools and academic institutions across China. It provides over 175 health-related MOOCs — for instance, in anatomy and biochemistry.
UMOOC is a Chinese MOOC platform for studying foreign languages. The platform was founded by Beijing Foreign Studies University in December 2017, and it is affiliated to the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, a publishing company dedicated to all facets of foreign language study in China. It offers over 270 courses covering 8 languages.
eWant was founded by National Chiao Tung University of Taiwan in October 2013. The platform offers close to 1,400 courses created by 90 universities.
ShareCourse was founded by Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University in September 2012. 90 institutions contributed over 700 courses to the platform. About 250 of those are free.
Openedu was developed in Taiwan and has been maintained by the Chinese Open Education Consortium since 2015. The platform is based on Open edX and offers over 450 courses in subjects including computer science, business management, and humanities and art.