The launch ceremony for Tsinghua University’s international online learning platform, XuetangX, was held on April 20th.
Government and university officials in attendance included Wu Yan, Director of the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Department, Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University, and Wang Shuaiguo, President of XuetangX. Yuan Si, Vice Chairperson of University Council of Tsinghua University and Director of the Ministry of Education Research Center for Online Education hosted the ceremony.
In his remarks, Wu Yan noted that the current world epidemic prevention and control situation is still grim and that the scale and speed of the disruption in global education is unprecedented. Therefore, in order to overcome these difficult times faced by all countries in the world, China wholeheartedly supports the introduction of an international version of a Chinese higher education online teaching platform. By doing so, China can contribute to the fight against the epidemic in the sphere of higher education.
The official launch of the international version of XuetangX marks the first batch of international online platforms for colleges and universities from China. This first batch of international platforms must emphasize quality, openness, sharing, responsibility, and love. In addition, it must strive to become a truly international platform with both Chinese qualities and world-class standards by offering the best teachers and the best courses. During the outbreak, this platform is free for all college students and learners from all over the world. Wu said that, as a major global provider of higher education, Chinese universities have the ability and responsibility to provide the best online teaching experience, achievements, and resources to college students and global learners from all over the world, and to convey a love of education to the world through their international online education platform.
In his welcome address, Yang Bin reminded the audience that actively promoting online education is a key part of Tsinghua University ’s strategic plan. Since the school ’s online platform was launched in 2013, it has experienced the stages of start-up, growth, development, and optimization. It has also experienced severe tests during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to provide education and teaching while serving thousands of domestic colleges and universities, Tsinghua has actively gathered high-quality educational resources from the world's top universities and institutions to meet the urgent needs of overseas learners. At this time, in order to respond to the sudden COVID-19 pandemic, Tsinghua is undergoing a rapid system-wide transformation from a traditional teaching model to a university-wide online education model. This pandemic will definitely have a profound impact on global higher education. In response, the entire Tsinghua community will work together to overcome difficulties, continue to explore new teaching methods and models, promote the widespread and effective use of educational resources and draw up a new blueprint for the development of higher education and online education.
Wang Shuaiguo then introduced the development and status of the international version of XuetangX. Besides providing courses from many first-class international universities, the international version of XuetangX offers an English-language interface with other languages including Russian, Spanish, French and Japanese, to be added very soon.
XuetangX supports MOOC, live broadcasts, certifications, and online degree classes. In the future, it will focus on identifying courses from the top Chinese universities while continuously adding first-class courses from universities from the rest of the world. The international version of XuetangX will be seamlessly connected to the English version of Rain Classroom and international courses will be authorized for use by overseas Rain Classroom teachers and students. The first batch of 109 courses will soon be launched with more courses to follow.
During the ceremony, Wu Yan, Yang Bin, Yuan Si, and Wang Shuaiguo announced the official launch of the international version of XuetangX.
Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng, Director of the Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building in the Natural Sciences Sector at UNESCO, Yang Zongkai, Leader of the International Platform and Curriculum Construction Expert Advisory Group and President of Xidian University, representatives of international MOOC platforms such as ThaiMOOC, representatives of the University of California Berkeley, Saint Petersburg State University in Russia, the Open University of the United Kingdom, and other universities expressed their congratulations on the launch of the international version of XuetangX by video.
It was reported that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China's institutions of higher education have successfully created opportunities from this crisis through the implementation of large-scale online teaching. From the beginning of April, there were a total of 1,454 colleges and universities across China that transitioned to online teaching; more than 950,000 teachers offering 942,000 online courses; delivery of over 7.133 million individual classes; and 1.18 billion students participating in online courses. In the first quarter of this year, the number of online MOOC courses on China's online education platforms increased by 5,000 and the total number of MOOCs reached 23,000, while other online courses increased by 18,000. At the same time, a complete system of Chinese procedures and programs for online teaching was created, including ideas, concepts, content, methods, technologies, standards, evaluations, and paradigms. The scale, scope, and depth of online education in Chinese higher education are unprecedented, setting off a "learning revolution" and breaking important new ground in the field of higher education.