Both India and China have a significant supply and demand challenge facing their respective higher educational systems. The number of university positions cannot keep up with the demand of a steadily growing population. Additionally, beyond a few elite universities, the vast majority of higher educational institutions are considerably lacking in resources and quality (British Council 2014; Lou et al. 2016).
Within these contexts, MOOCs are not seen as a disruptive force looking to replace the existing system, but rather as an internal response to the aforementioned challenges of quality and scale. In India, the Government is spearheading the SWAYAM platform, where smaller, resource-starved universities can offer up to 20% of total credit towards a degree via MOOCs. In China, a handful of independent MOOC platforms have been formed, delivering not just their own content, but also licensing and translating existing MOOCs from Western platforms like Coursera and edX into Chinese.
Still, some major questions remain to be answered. Does India’s experiment with providing formal credit for MOOCs actually improve the educational experience of learners at smaller institutions? Does the provision of Western MOOCs for China represent a form of neo-colonialism of higher education? What are the implications of governmental interest in MOOCs to those at the lowest rungs of society? This presentation will provide a look at the development of MOOCs in India and China, as well as what early research is beginning to reveal about the nuanced role MOOCs are playing in these contexts.
British Council, 2014. Understanding India : The future of higher education and opportunities for international cooperation.
Lou, J., Zheng, P. & Jiang, C., 2016. The Enlightenment of SPOC on Teaching Reform of Higher Education in China —— Based on the Perspective of Mastery Learning Theory. Science Journal of Education, 4(2), pp.95–100.
Veletsianos, G. & Shepherdson, P., 2016. A Systematic Analysis And Synthesis of the Empirical MOOC Literature Published in 2013-2015. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 17(2).