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Coursera Opens First Asian MOOC


Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have largely been an American innovation thus far. Europe has one or two small programs, but in Asia there are none at all—until now, that is.

University World News reports that the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is now offering a class through Coursera, making it the first Asian school to offer its own MOOC coursework. “Society, Technology and Culture in China” is taught in English, and the majority of its 17,000 students are located in the West. Two more Asian universities are planning to follow HKUST’s lead, and Coursera is looking to develop a Chinese-language platform linked to universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong as part of what appears to be a serious push to gain a foothold in the growing Chinese market.

For years, American schools have been very successful at attracting the brightest students from countries like China and India: nearly 200,000 Chinese students and 100,000 Indian students studied at American universities during the past school year alone. MOOCs and other online platforms offer American colleges a good way to extend their reach into populous foreign countries at minimal expense. The question now is whether universities in these countries will respond by creating greater numbers of MOOC platforms of their own.

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