It has been shown that in Shanghai, most online students are already highly educated. Recently, the Continuing-Education Student Profile was released at the Forum of Innovation in Education through Analytic Technology and Big Data. According to it, more than 53 percent of online students have received education at or above the undergraduate level.

The investigation was released by the Engineering Research Centre for Open and Distance Education at Shanghai Open University together with the Shanghai Library (Shanghai Institute of Scientific and Technical Information), the Xinhua News Agency China Economic-Information Service, the Shanghai Learning Network (, and others. The profile was based on over 12,000 online students in Shanghai and the current situation of continuing education there.

Aside from the high percentage of online students who have received higher education, the report shows that they fall mainly between the ages of 31-70, with an even distribution throughout this range, and over 59 percent currently employed.

The investigation also showed that nearly 60 percent of the online students investigated aim to learn about new fields, satisfy their individual interests, gain qualifications, and the like, and that their focus is on industry, the economy, and science and technology. About 50 percent of them are interested in computer science, languages, economics and finance, commerce and management, and examinations for professional-skills certificates. Humanities and practical skills have become the fields in which continuing education is growing fastest.

When it comes to how much time students spend studying online, more than two-thirds spend 1-3 hours and nearly one-third 3-5 hours each week, with most of them spending 5-20 minutes each time.

The sponsor of the forum said that this investigation allows targeting to be more accurate in terms of student support and teacher evaluation.

The investigation is part of a national project of building online-learner profiles for use in the training of online instructors and the promotion of continuing education throughout the country.

By Xinhua News Agency