According to a 2016 MOOC industry white paper released by the Research Centre for Online Education, Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE), the scale of Chinese MOOC users has started to show rapid growth since core MOOC platforms came into use in 2014.
It is expected that registered users will surpass 10 million in 2016. 70% of the users consider course resources to be the most important factors in choosing an MOOC platform, and the most popular courses are related to vocational skills.
Focusing on the MOOC industry in general, the white paper points out that MOOCs have become popularised worldwide since 2012. Currently, twenty countries and regions have established MOOC platforms and the MOOC industry has been broken down into MOOCs for higher education, junior education, vocational education and MOOCs for interest development, etc.
The domestic MOOC industry is led by higher education institutes with platforms being established by internet companies and online educational enterprises and joined by international platforms, which shows strong momentum for further development. According to the white paper's analysis, the development status is attributed to a series of promotional policies successively issued by the MOE. In addition, higher education institutes also actively participate in MOOC course production. There are over thirty “985” and a number of “211” universities joining in the production of MOOC courses and the construction of MOOC platforms; they also actively provide quality educational resources to improve MOOC industry development.
However, the white paper also points out that 90% of domestic universities have not yet opened MOOC courses or built related platforms. Challenges faced by current MOOC platforms are also defined. For instance, the platforms only introduce quality course resources from universities, but have not developed a system to care about and build their own brand courses and quality faculties; and MOOCs are only a supplement to the offline education and can be repetitive to some extent. In addition, utilisation rates for MOOC resources are still not sufficient and the course completion rate needs to be enhanced.
The white paper claims that over 70% of users consider course resources and the appeal of the teachers when choosing an MOOC platform. In terms of the type of course, vocational courses are most popular among the users.
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