XuetangX, China’s first MOOC platform, launched back in October 2013 and was based on Open edX. Since then, the company has launched various products and services including an MBA program with The Open University UK and a SPOC platform for universities called Rain Classroom. These services combined have reached 30 million learners.
Recently, XuetangX announced a Series B funding round of over CN¥100M (USD$14M). In addition, they are dropping Open edX in favor of a MOOC-delivery platform built in-house.
In fact, MOOCs in China aren’t limited to XuetangX and are as big as they are in the rest of the world combined. I recently compiled a list of Chinese-language MOOC providers and also explained how each year, China’s Ministry of Education reviews and recognizes the country’s best MOOCs.
Series B Funding Round
In December 2019, XuetangX announced a Series B round of CN¥100M+ (approximately USD$14M). Their previous funding round, a Series A+, was more than four years ago.
The new funding round was led by Muhua Capital. Redpoint Ventures China and Gaorong Capital, two of XuetangX’s previous investors, also participated in the new funding round. Interestingly, the previous CEO of XuetangX, Li Chao, is also now a partner at Muhua Capital.
Muhua Capital also invested in Youdao, NetEase’s online learning arm, which subsumed Chinese University MOOC in March 2019. Chinese University MOOC, also often called iCourse, is another leading MOOC platform in China.
In total, XuetangX has raised around $47M since it was founded in 2013.
XuetangX’s New Look
Originally, XuetangX was built on Open edX — the open-source platform that powers edX. The X in XuetangX is based on edX’s naming conventions.
In a major change over the past few months, XuetangX has been testing a new platform no longer based on Open edX. It can be found at next.xuetangx.com. The new platform adds a progress bar and a score that reflects the student performance. It also adds a comment sidebar that pops out from the bottom right corner.
Another change is the removal of the self-paced mode in favor of sessions. Courses now start on a regular schedule, so learners in the same course can progress through the learning material during the same period. XuetangX hopes this will increase engagement and reduce dropouts.
Like other MOOC providers, XuetangX still provides free access to its courses. Paid upgrades give access to extras like online office hours, assignment reviews, and verified certificates.