One of the massive online open courses (MOOCs) provider Coursera's founders, Daphne Koller, says she is hoping to work with more Chinese universities so that they could bring more courses online and help the platform reach more people.
In a recent written interview with Xinhua, Koller said that reaching the many people in China who don't speak English and who could benefit from free access to higher education is an important goal for Coursera. She was in Vancouver, a coastal city on the Pacific coast of Canada, recently to discuss about the impact of MOOCs on teaching and learning with teachers and students from the University of British Columbia.
Koller founded Coursera with her Stanford University colleague Andrew Ng in April 2012. The online platform now partners with 81 top universities and organizations in the world to offer free online courses to more than 3.7 million students.
According to Koller, Coursera's user base is comprised heavily of individuals aged between 18 and 40, whose motivations are rooted in learning for academic and career growth. "With over 30 percent of the Chinese population aligned to this age category, we see a high potential benefit to the Chinese students and professional audience by providing them access to content from our global network of institutions and universities," said Koller, who was named together with Ng among the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME earlier this year. "At the same time, we believe that our diverse global classroom discussions will benefit immensely from the new perspectives Chinese students will bring,"she said.
Coursera announced in February that 29 new universities were added as its partners, first providing courses in Chinese, Italian, and Spanish. Among them, the Chinese University of Hong Kong would offer five Chinese courses to students. "We are very interested in partnering with additional Chinese universities so that they can bring their courses online and reach more students. As Coursera continues to grow, we hope to work with more great universities, both in China and around the world,"said Koller.
With most courses offered in English, Koller said that to overcome language barriers for students from all over the world, Coursera has set up a Global Translation Partners Program, in partnership with a host of translation companies and a variety of organizations to provide more language choices such as Arabic, Portuguese and Russian. "We hope to partner with organizations based in China to create captions for our most popular courses in China, such as Introduction to Finance and Machine Learning,"she added.