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MOOCWatch 21: China vs the World

It seems that MOOCs are as big in China as they are in the rest of the world combined. And Class Central just turned eight!

MOOCWatch 21 Illustration

With one of our newest recruits being based in China, we are now able to share an insider’s perspective on the development of MOOCs in one of the world’s most influential nations.

And it seems that MOOCs are as big in China as they are in the rest of the world combined. According to China’s Ministry of Education, there are around 270 million MOOC learners in China (this number is hard to verify…) and about 20 MOOC providers offering 15,000 courses.

Rui, Class Central’s data analyst, recently compiled a list of Chinese-language MOOC providers. She also explained how each year, China’s Ministry of Education reviews and recognizes the country’s best MOOCs.

In other big provider news: edX has a new co-CEO, Udacity continues to tweak their pricing, FutureLearn crosses 10 million learners, and Coursera courses now start every day.

Since we’re approaching the end of 2019, we have started working on our end-of-year analysis. You can read the 2018 edition here. Keep an eye out for this year’s series on MOOCReport.

Also, Class Central just turned eight! Read about what we’ve been up to in 2019, which included refreshing the site’s design, expanding our team, and participating in a series of international conferences.

Top Stories

China’s Nationally-Recognized MOOCs via Class Central
China has over 12,500 MOOCs. The Chinese government has launched a program to recognize the best MOOCs the nation has to offer.

Massive List of Chinese Language MOOC Providers via Class Central
We explore China’s MOOC providers, from the large, general-purpose MOOC platforms to the smaller, more specialized ones.

Coursera Courses Start Every Day via Class Central
In an investigation by Class Central, we found that most Coursera courses show a start date that corresponds to the day you visit the course page.

Ed-Tech Agitprop
Read the written version of
Audrey Watters’ talk from OEB 2019 in Berlin via Hack Education. Agitprop = agitation + propaganda.

Co-CEOs for edX via Class Central
COO and President of edX Adam Medros has been promoted to co-CEO alongside founder Anant Agarwal.

Tweaks to Udacity Nanodegree pricing continues via Class Central
In the latest pricing tweak, Udacity students pay upfront for a limited time access, then switch to a subscription if needed.

University of Michigan (U-M) Now Has MOOCs on Three Major Platforms via Class Central
In 2012, U-M was a founding partner for Coursera. It joined edX in 2015 and is now also offering courses on FutureLearn.

Class Central Turns 8
Our website was launched 8 years ago. And 2019 has been quite hectic for Class Central. Read all about it in our new article describing, among others, how our platform, team, and course catalog have developed over the past year.

A Better Class Central via Class Central
Recently, we launched a new and improved version of Class Central which we have been working on for months.

Class Central design refresh
Class Central design refresh

10 million learners via Class Central
Six years after the first FutureLearn courses were launched, the British-based provider has reached ten million users.

200 universities just launched 620+ free online courses via Class Central
In the past six months, more than 620 new courses in a range of subjects have been added to Class Central’s catalog from 200 universities around the world.

Arizona State Moves On From Global Freshman Academy via Inside Higher Ed
The Global Freshman Academy from Arizona State University has been scaled back and largely replaced by the non-MOOC (neither open nor free) Earned Admission program. Theories about why conversions are low from MOOCs to actual college credit continue to be proposed.

Coursera News Roundup

New MOOC-based Degrees

Georgia Tech’s online enrollments reach an all-time high via Georgia Tech
More than 9,000 students are currently enrolled in Georgia Tech’s online master’s degree in computer science (OMSCS). In addition, the Institute’s other two online programs have attracted more than 3,300 students. Overall, Georgia Tech’s online degrees account for one third of the Institute’s 36,000 enrollments in Fall. With an OMSCS professor now at the helm of the Institute’s College of Computing, Georgia Tech’s online programs are expected to continue to grow.

2019 Nobel Prize in Economics via edX
MIT Professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, who created an edX MicroMasters program, and Harvard Professor Michael Kremer, were jointly awarded the prize for their research in development economics. Their work has “changed how governments and agencies around the world intervene to help people in poverty”.

Other Online Education

Africa-focused Andela cuts 400 staff as it confirms $50M in revenue via TechCrunch
Andela, which started out as an Edtech company is no-longer an EdTech company (unless it’s subsidized by the government) and just a consulting company. It released 400 of the junior engineers and plans to hire more than 700 more mid to senior level engineers.

Siraj Raval is cancelled? via Twitter and The Register
Popular AI/ML YouTuber, course maker, and ex-Udacity instructor Siraj Raval was recently caught plagiarizing an entire paper just weeks after the news came out that he had sold a shoddily made $199 10 week course to over 1000 people (although he promoted it as limited to only 500 people). In Class Central’s 2017 year in review for Udacity, we noticed that Siraj’s name was taken off Udacity’s Deep Learning Foundation Nanodegree, even though he was one of the original instructors. It turns out that multiple Udacity Directors had an intervention meeting with Siraj explaining to him how bad his habit of non-attribution was.

LinkedIn Skills Assessments via TechCrunch
The career-focused social platform LinkedIn recently announced Skills Assessments. Job search site Indeed also features skills tests. On the other side of the coin, freelancing website Upwork has recently abandoned its skill tests, saying clients prefer to use profile introductions, portfolios, and job feedback to choose freelancers.

Indian telecommunication company Airtel is offering a free Shaw Academy access with a mobile plan.

Udacity’s CEO talks about the future via EdSurge
Meanwhile, Udacity, which partnered with Georgia Tech to produce the OMSCS, has expressed interest in partnering with other universities as well, plus some other possible future actions.

Touching lives, changing careers via NPTEL
NPTEL surveyed alumni to discover their reasons for enrolling and found that taking NPTEL courses provides multiple advantages for anyone with a desire to learn.

Some sad news via LinkedIn
Prof Yoshimi Fukuhara, who was involved with OpenCourseWare and Japanese MOOC provider JMOOC, passed away in October after a long illness.

Not all MOOCS start off as MOOCs via Center of Academic Innovation U-M
Sometimes they don’t finish as MOOCs either. Here is the story of some University of Michigan offerings that have followed different paths to find the right audience.

The OpenLearning IPO on the Australian stock exchange closed early via itnews
More than AU$6.5 million was raised quickly, some from the Australian Catholic University, after the company was listed on November 14th. OL Group primarily operates in Australia and Malaysia, offering accredited and non-accredited online courses from a variety of institutions.

You can find more items at Class Central’s MOOCReport, where we bring the news to you from a range of sources.


Future of Learning Conference at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM Bangalore), India January 3-4, 2020.

Read about a conference with a difference: IEEE Learning with MOOCs VI (23-25 October, 2019, Milwaukee): Meeting the People who Make the MOOCs. And see Class Central founder Dhawal’s interview with IBL News.

The next Learning with MOOCs will be hosted by Universidad Galileo in Guatemala at the end of September 2020.

The next Coursera Conference will be held in Chicago April 21-22, 2020. The deadline for proposals for poster and session presentations is December 6th.

The edX Global forum scheduled for November 2019 was canceled because of safety concerns due to local circumstances in Hong Kong, but the 2020 edition will be held at Columbia University in New York.

The next Open edX conference will be in Lisbon, Portugal on May 19-22. Registrations open in January.

MOOCWatch is a digest of information related to MOOCs meant for professors and administrators, or others who are involved in education and want to stay up-to-date in the MOOC space. In addition to broad coverage, MOOCWatch also contains unique data, such as course popularity rankings, sourced from Class Central. Tell your colleagues about MOOCWatch and subscribe here.

Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org
Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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