Asia’s First MOOC Launched

Science, Technology and Society in China”, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched on the Coursera platform, has received overwhelming response from students. Some 17,000 students have registered for the three-week course, which began on 4 April. Billed as Asia’s first MOOC, the course was launched by Naubahar Sharif who teaches science, technology and innovation at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He drew on his lectures to develop the course.

Around 60% of the students are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other rich nations, with the rest from countries like Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, and middle-income countries in Asia.

Inviting Hong Kong University of Science and Technology or HKUST, onto the California-based for-profit MOOC platform was a deliberate strategy by Coursera to attract more Asian and particularly Chinese students – a massive market for MOOC providers.

HKUST developed and owns the MOOC and uploaded it onto the Coursera platform. For Sharif it meant producing almost 30 videos and other materials, restructuring and rewriting parts of his ordinary course and adapting it to the MOOC audience, which he describes as a “faceless large mass”.

HKUST will run another MOOC, on the “Science of Gastronomy” with particular reference to Chinese cooking. It is about to start on Coursera run by King Chow, a professor of life science and biomedical engineering, and Lam-lung Yeung, a chemistry lecturer. A Chinese history course is also scheduled.

While HKUST’s was the first MOOC by an Asian university, the Chinese University of Hong Kong has now joined the Coursera platform with a MOOC scheduled for September on the international role of China’s currency.

Adapted From: Asia’s first MOOC draws students from around world


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