PKU pioneers in online education
Peking University, Apr. 5, 2013: By initiating construction of “massive online open courses” (MOOC), PKU is leading the way in the new frontier of free online education. The market for MOOC, according to Xinhua, is set to explode in China.
On March 27, Dr. Andrew Ng, co-founder of MOOC platform Coursera, communicated with more than 40 teachers from PKU. This exchange was just a first step in the construction of PKU’s own, tailor-made MOOC.
“The biggest revolution of MOOC is the new opportunity for student-teacher as well as student-student interaction,” introduced Ng. In addition to ten-minute-long lecture videos, proven to be the most efficient way of teaching, the platform also allows for a diversity of exercises and homework, graded automatically or by other students.
The data collected from the platform is also revolutionary. Statistics gathered from the application can be used to make improvements to the MOOC program. Most importantly, this ease of data collection makes it easier for professors to deliver better lessons, focusing on those knowledge points with high error rates.
“Coursera wants to embody the Confucius value of making no social distinctions in teaching; providing education for all people without discrimination. Education for everyone is our goal,” explained Ng.
This goal is shared by PKU faculty. “I have a dream that people who would like to attend Peking University could have access to the PKU education,” said Zhou Qifeng, former president of PKU earlier this month. A group of young teachers and well-known professors alike expressed their enthusiasm to take part in PKU’s construction of MOOC.
MOOC, designed for large-scale interaction and open access at no cost, has become a rising power in the education landscape since 2012.
Coursera is one of the biggest providers of MOOC alongside other American operations like Udacity and edX. It has cooperative relationships with 33 universities and is currently seeking partner institutions in China.
Written by: Zhai Xiufeng
Edited by: Xu Xinyi, Alexandria Liu