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Chinese universities join MOOC market

UK-based social learning platform, FutureLearn, will partner with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University to create free online courses

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | June 18, 2014 | International

The agreements come as part of the China-UK Prime Ministerial summit attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and British Prime Minister David Cameron. At a signing ceremony held as part of the summit, official documents were signed by FutureLearn’s CEO, Simon Nelson, and Dr Jiang Zheng on behalf of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The partnerships with FutureLearn will provide both Chinese universities with a digital platform to reach thousands of learners globally through massive open online courses (MOOCs), and connect more Chinese students with a range of academic, general interest and career-enhancing courses from leading UK and international institutions. FutureLearn and its partners will also collaborate with the two universities on research to gain insights into new ways of delivering learning online.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University will join the growing number of higher and specialist education institutions offering MOOCs on futurelearn.com, together with cultural bodies like the British Council, British Library and British Museum.

Speaking of the new partnerships Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "I welcome the addition of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University to FutureLearn as a positive step towards strengthening the links between UK, Chinese and international higher education as a whole. Relationships such as these are a considerable asset to universities and students around the world and FutureLearn is a valuable conduit for making these connections."

Professor Zhen Huang, Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said: “Shanghai Jiao Tong University is greatly honoured to become a close partner of FutureLearn. MOOCs are bringing real innovation to the global education sector and Shanghai Jiao Tong University is working to combine them with its traditional teaching methods to create a mixed mode of online and offline teaching. The university is also engaging in a credit recognition initiative with a cluster of universities in the southwest of Shanghai, and is dedicated to constructing a double majors programme using MOOCs.” 

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