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Video: Subanchor: US open course popular in China

03-04-2011 20:35 BJT


YR: As that report shows, growing up in China is anything but child's play. Now, let's turn our focus to education. While's China's system differs significantly from the West, more and more we're seeing the two integrate together and learn from each other. My colleague Wang Mangmang joins us for more discussion. Good evening, Mangmang. More Chinese students are studying abroad than ever before, but what about those still in the country?  How are they exposed to another way of learning?    

MM:  Well, let me give you an example.  This video is one of the most popular open courses offered online. Yale Professor Shelly Kagan is discussing philosophical questions about death with his class. And here in China, thousands of people have become his fans. And more have made open courses part of their everyday life. The free online sharing program was initiated by MIT ten years ago. The aim is to give people all over the world the chance to take world-class courses any time, any place. The idea soon attracted many top US universities. These open courses range from social sciences to business management. They now enjoy million of clicks.  The fans are mostly students or white-collar workers wanting a western education.  Many have adjusted their daily schedule, giving up naps, for example, to watch these videos. And others download the courses to their cellphones and watch while commuting or whenever they have time.  

YR: Why do you think these courses are so popular among Chinese students?  Specifically, what does this trend say about China's current education system?

MM: Well, first of all, it's quality education from the world's top universities.  We all want to look to the best.  But a more likely reason is that it's different.  The delivery is different.  The professor asks many questions instead of giving out answers.  It's different from the traditional way of acquiring knowledge. The students think for themselves instead of memorizing facts.  And together they make a completely different experience.  One interesting observation is that the courses are actually given Chinese subtitles.  So even if you don't speak the language, you can still be enlightened by the content.  And so these "imported courses" are not only helpful for the learners, but also meaningful for Chinese teachers and educators.  They can see the gap between the two educational systems.  We cannot judge which is superior, but it's absolutely worth comparing.  And that's just what they did when the Tiger Mom's way of education set off a controversy.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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