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April 9, 2014

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Home » Metro » Education

Online platform takes higher learning into the digital age

THE country’s first online credit-based platform for further and higher education courses was launched yesterday by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The website ( will enable students from 19 universities and colleges in the city — including East China Normal and Donghua universities — to study courses and earn credits online by watching videos, taking part in quizzes and joining discussions with classmates and teachers.

“The platform is unique because the participating universities and colleges will give credits to students who have followed and passed courses via the website,” said Huang Zhen, vice president of Shanghai Jiao Tong.

“This is a real milestone for our MOOC (massive, open, online course) platform, because without that level of cooperation we would be just another online resource,” he said.

“Now, students from the 19 institutions can even study for a second major via the site,” he said.

Several of the courses offered on the platform, which was developed in-house by Shanghai Jiao Tong, will be accompanied by English subtitles in a bid to attract foreign students, while others will be replicated from leading universities around the world, Huang said.

“The platform is designed to benefit all students, as China’s higher education resources are still regionally imbalanced,” he said.

The first batch of 10 courses will cover subjects such as art history, mathematics, traditional Chinese medicine and the application of Sun Tzu’s principles of war to corporate management.

They will be delivered by professors from some of the country’s highest seats of learning, including Peking University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Shanghai Jiao Tong, Huang said.

Originating in the United States, MOOCs are now recognized by academics around the world. In China, the new technology provides an opportunity for universities to reform their traditional teaching methods and encourage a much more interactive and participatory learning model, Huang said.

“Our aim is to enable everyone to go to the best university in China,” he said.

Shanghai Jiao Tong has even signed an agreement with the country’s top search engine Baidu to speed up the streaming of videos shown via the platform, Huang said.


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