The following article is a guest post from our friends at the Guokr MOOC Academy. By translating online courses and offering them on their platform, they make free education more available to a Chinese audience.
Guokr MOOC Academy was launched in July 2013. Within half a year, we had more than 200,000 registered users in our community, covering about 50% of all Chinese MOOC users. We provide 4 principal services to our Chinese MOOC learners: share course reviews and notes, discuss and obtain the latest information about MOOCs from all over the world. Guokr MOOC Academy also has translation groups (more than 50 courses have been or are being translated) and many active study groups. In short, we wish to remove obstacles that stand in the way of online learning for Chinese-speaking students, and facilitate better study processes.
Online Learning and Learners in China
The number of Chinese MOOC users began to skyrocket since the latter half of 2013, because the first two MOOCs taught in Chinese were released by National Taiwan University on Aug 31, 2013. After that, more Chinese courses and MOOC platforms were established by universities and organizations from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Guokr MOOC Academy surveyed more than 6,000 Chinese MOOC users. According to the report, half of Chinese MOOC users have full-time jobs, the other half are students. About 85% are undergraduate students or already have some college degrees. Compared to other worldwide research, we found "FREE" is not the most important reason for Chinese to learn MOOC. Instead, they look forward to gaining knowledge, making friends and improving foreign language skills.
We also organized a MOOC user conference last November, inviting hundreds of MOOC users and the most popular lecturers. Many users came from far away to have close communications with lecturers – even asking for their autographs! For the first time, the lecturers said that they "felt they are like rockstars". Alongside continuing our services and mission, we are currently cooperating with Vanke, the largest real estate company in China, in order to organize study groups in their residential communities.
The Future of MOOCs
As for Chinese MOOC users, there are some obstacles hindering their learning, such as language barriers and internet limitations (namely due to the Internet Censorship – Chinese users have problems visiting Youtube, for example). MOOCs are still not "Massive" in China. Among many possible reasons, a vital explanation could be that certificates are not accepted by universities or employers. But the demand for MOOCs is clear and Guokr MOOC Academy is trying to further promote MOOCs in China.
Thanks for all your great work promoting open access to education, Guokr MOOC Academy! We hope iversity can join forces with you and we work together to bring more MOOCs to Chinese learners!