Interview with XuetangX Team - Leading MOOC Platform in China

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offer quality content from the world's best universities, colleges and organizations. 

It will play an important role in higher education, especially bridging the gap between college and career. In countries like China and India where the learner base is humongous, MOOCs platform bring in a lot of benefits.

To discuss more on how MOOCs and higher education market in China is different in comparison to the rest of the world, we interviewed the XuetangX team. (Translated transcript below)

1.   What’s the best way to define XuetangX?

XuetangX is the world’s first Chinese MOOC platform founded by Tsinghua University; it also provides a platform for the research and application of China Ministry of Education Online Research Center. Our company was included in the China National Model Bases of Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation; we are also the online education platform for the International Engineering Education Center of UNESCO (ICEE).

Quality courses from top-notch college used to be confined to physical classrooms, however, XuetangX is making possible makes to break through the limitations of time and space, realizing the goal of learning by anyone in anywhere at any time. We are committed to the development of future-oriented education and will keep providing quality educational resources to serve the public and become the world's leading lifelong learning platform.

2.   What problems are you solving, for whom & how?

XuetangX promotes the educational resources global sharing and has provided more than 1,500 courses from Tsinghua University, Peking University, Stanford, MIT, Microsoft, Huawei and other outstanding universities and enterprises for over 12 million learners from 209 countries around the world. The total number of our courses enrollment has exceeded 27 million.

At the same that we design and introduce courses, we are also working on how to connect these courses with learners under the policy guidance of the Higher Education Department of the Education Ministry.

We launched two intelligent teaching platforms: “Rain Classroom” and “XuetangX Cloud” which connect the physical classroom with quality educational cloud resources, providing one-stop solutions for students and teachers from hundreds of Chinese universities improving the effectiveness of educational resource application.

In addition to single courses and smart teaching solutions, XuetangX is exploring a new model of online education development called “MOOC+“. In this model we offer to learners and colleges some innovative educational forms, such as micro-diploma and credit courses, blended curriculum and artificial intelligence technology applications.

3.   What is your vision going forward?

Our vision is based on the philosophy of "improving education quality and equality," our driving passion relies upon our mission: "innovate the education, changing the world", with the aim of becoming the world’s leading lifelong learning platform ".

4.   Who were your early adopters? How many users currently use XuetangX? How do you keep a check on user satisfaction in universities you work with?

College student’s and young professionals were our early adopters. At present, we have more than 12 million registered users from 209 countries and regions around the world;

We investigate their degree of satisfaction through a combination of online questionnaires and offline interviews.

5.   How did this start? Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you?

XuetangX was established on October 10, 2013, by Tsinghua University; our entire team members currently is close to 300 people, mainly divided into departments of technology, products, market, sales, etc.

In order to achieve a sustainable development and operation of high-quality educational resources, Beijing Muhua Information Technology, the company that runs XuetangX, adopted an innovative model called ”One Body Two Wings”. This model integrated the market into one academic platform.

6.   Where do you see XuetangX in 12 or 18 months from now?

In the next 12-18 months, XuetangX will continue to work on college credit courses helping more universities. Secondly, we will introduce and design more quality degree programs and blended learning. In addition, XuetangX will actively explore the research and development of new technologies such as AI robot teaching assistant, the integration of teaching and VR/ AR, etc.

7.   What is the biggest need/void in your firm?

To open-up, secure and expand online education market and help more universities to accept the concept and method of intelligent teaching. Cooperate with more domestic and foreign universities on degree programs; exploring the next generation of online education development model.

8. How different is higher education market in China in comparison to other developed or developing parts of the world?

China's higher education market is experiencing a period of speed development; the number of universities and students has increased rapidly. Chinese higher education market needs to shift its direction to an intensive development, improving the quality and the equality in education.

Online education is the product of deep integration of information technology and education. The Chinese government encourages colleges to construct and adopt online open courses, to share first-class teaching resources with other universities, and to promote the improvement of teaching content and methods.

9.   Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?

XuetangX is the third largest platform in the world and the largest platform in China. There are other MOOC companies in China, such as CNMOOC and CHINESE MOOCs.

XuetangX beside introducing high-quality educational resources domestically and internationally it is also using his smart learning platform Rain Classroom and XuetangX Cloud to provide colleges and universities in China, services like a SPOC platform, curriculum building credit courses, etc.

Colleges at all levels can also seamlessly match the domestic and international curriculum resources to SPOC and classrooms to improve the quality of teaching and build a new teaching ecology that connects on-campus and off-campus, online and offline, in and out of class.

10.     What advice do you have for universities in this digital age?

With current information challenges, colleges must open their doors to accelerate their transformation. The future universities must open themselves to the public, and the world.

Internationalization is the only sure way to for the construction of a university. Colleges should promote their process of internationalization, learn from each other, and cooperate with each other in different ways to adapt to the needs of society.

Digitalization is also important, besides improves the efficiency of teaching it also helps to reduce the knowledge gap between students and plays a huge role in their independent learning. In the digital age, universities should accelerate the transfer from a “teaching to a learning paradigm” and actively construct a talent training system based on the “student experience”.

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