Online American courses becoming popular in China

January 15th, 2011 - 11:02 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 15 (IANS) Online courses from top US universities are becoming popular among young Chinese who cannot afford to go overseas to study but still want to learn.According to the China Daily, the students can now go online for free courses from top American varsities on the Chinese website 163.com.

The open courses range from social science to business management and most of the students are white-collar workers and college students.

“The online courses are excellent, professors are humorous, topics are interesting and the delivery is fun,” said office worker Guo Lei, who got in the habit of watching the online courses during her lunch hour.

She is among many fans in China now, some setting up “free course groups” on social networking sites to share resources and discuss specific courses every day.

The popularity of online learning also is leading to a boom for another industry, online script translation. A typical 45 to 70-minute course would take 70 hours of work, according to a group working together voluntarily to translate the lectures into Chinese subtitles.

The free online sharing programme was initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2001 with the aim of benefiting people all over the world with opportunities to take world-class courses anytime, anyplace.

The programme then attracted other top US universities including Yale, Harvard, and Duke, with a shared vision to popularise it within 10 years. Every lesson is programmed in live, with an estimated cost of $20,000 to $40,000. The costs are covered by private donations from the American public.

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