China's Tsinghua University opens online courses to students abroad
China's prestigious Tsinghua University has provided a select group of foreign universities with access to 17 educational courses using platforms for massive open online course (MOOC) technology.
Starting in the spring semester, the online courses are accessible to St. Petersburg University, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and the Polytechnic University of Milan, all of which are founding members of the Global MOOC Alliance, which was launched last year.
Students in these institutions abroad will be able to study alongside their China-based counterparts at Tsinghua, with classes available in a wide range of fields, including computer science, economics, humanities, architecture, civil engineering, electronic engineering and languages.
Meanwhile, Tsinghua students can access classes from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, Nanyang Technological University, Rice University in the United States, and the University of Toronto.
Yang Bin, vice-president of Tsinghua, said that, through the hybrid-classroom system, with creative educational technology and curriculum design, universities can promote international cooperation in innovative higher education.
Associate Professor Liu Xiao from Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management has made three MOOCs available, including "Behavioral Economics" and "Experimental Economics," which involve a lot of research content on China's digital economy.
"This is an opportunity for foreign students to observe China's development of the digital economy," Liu said, who expects in-depth exchanges between Chinese and foreign students in her class.
Fedor Ivachev, a Russian postgraduate student at Tsinghua's department of computer science and technology, volunteered as a teaching assistant in the school's MOOCs when he heard that the courses were being made available to his peers in St. Petersburg University.
"This is a good opportunity for them to understand Tsinghua and get access to the courses here. I hope that the project will help stimulate more in-depth exchanges and cooperation between universities," he added.
The Global MOOC Alliance was officially launched in December at the 2020 Global MOOC Conference, jointly hosted by Tsinghua University and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE).
According to Tsinghua University, "The alliance will serve as a leading platform to build a diverse community of universities and online education platforms from all over the world, facilitate international cooperation and exchanges in educational technologies and innovation to improve the quality of global MOOC and online education."
Among the aims of the alliance is to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
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