Students gain from digital learning
Students take a computer course at No 3 Primary School in Kaiyang county, Guizhou. [Provided to China Daily]
Online education platform provides smart solution for more flexible study
China has launched a smart learning platform covering all stages of education from primary school to universities to offer free digital learning resources to students.
The Smart Education of China platform, (www.smartedu.cn), operated by the Ministry of Education, integrates platforms for primary and secondary school education, vocational education and higher education, and the platform for employment services for college graduates.
Xu Mei, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education, said the platform aims to promote education equality, bridge the digital divide and promote common prosperity with a wide range of education resources and courses. It is also an online classroom for students and teachers who cannot attend in-person courses due to the COVID-19 epidemic, she said.
Lyu Yugang, director of the ministry's Department of Basic Education, said the smart learning platform for primary and secondary school students includes 19,508 courses and 452 textbooks, covering all grades and all disciplines.
The platform also provides after-school activities, safety education, psychological education, family education and academic research for teachers, he said.
All online courses are recorded by senior teachers at well-known schools and have been polished and improved multiple times, Lyu said.
Schools in less developed regions have made good use of the platform, he said. Visits from students in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have reached more than 50 million since March 1, and those from Shaanxi and Gansu provinces exceeded 21 million, he added.
Chen Ziji, director of the ministry's Department of Vocational Education, said the courses for the vocational education platform are made in collaboration with vocational schools and leading enterprises.
All online courses feature exercises and quizzes, and the students' classroom participation and progress in finishing the exercises can be recorded and used by teachers to improve teaching, he said.
Wu Yan, director of the ministry's Department of Higher Education, said online higher education started in China in 2013 with the introduction of what is known as massive open online courses.
The country now has more than 52,500 such MOOCs and more than 370 million users, he said, adding that the number of MOOCs and online learners is growing rapidly in China.
In 2020, the country encouraged universities to hold courses online in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic and now all universities are capable of switching to online teaching whenever necessary, he said, adding that 84 percent of university teachers have adopted hybrid learning, up from only 35 percent before the COVID-19 epidemic.
The smart higher education learning platform selected 20,000 high-quality MOOCs in 92 majors, so that all people, students or otherwise, can have the opportunity to attend university online, Wu said.
The platform has almost 1,000 higher education courses in multiple languages for international learners, he added.
Qin Anli, a senior at Beijing Jiaotong University, said her school started online courses on Feb 28 because of the current epidemic situation in China and that the university has occasionally turned to online teaching since 2020 due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Both teachers and students are accustomed to online teaching and there are few technical glitches, she said.
"I am also a fan of the MOOC platform and have taken many courses recorded by famous professors from other universities," she said.
Some MOOC courses have helped her deepen her understanding of knowledge related to her majors, and others have just broadened her horizons, she added.