As the global online education market is expected to grow in the next decade, massive open online courses are widely used around the world as a method of providing free, quality higher education. The most common MOOCs in the U.S. and Canada consist of video lectures with automated assessment systems.
Features of Coursera educational courses
Launched in 2006, Coursera pioneered massive open online courses and was the first MOOC to offer university-level courses. However, Coursera often faces low course completion rates, which, according to its own statistics, are usually more than 10%. In response, Coursera has recently added new features, such as peer evaluations and team projects, designed to increase the completion rate of individual courses. The Canadian gambling company has helped it reorganize and establish a young team. It has also stepped up marketing to attract more users outside the U.S., especially international students from China.
Coursera provides online courses from more than 140 partners and 33 universities, and as of 2015, it offers about 1,800 courses with more than 27 million enrollments. Although the majority of course attendees are from English-speaking countries, 15.4% are from China. This percentage is higher than in America (1.7%), India (0.8%) or Brazil (0.5%).
Based on its own statistics, Coursera reported that more than 60,000 students in Canada have gone through the MOOC course application process. The course completion rate is influenced by several factors, including course topic and ease of understanding. Coursera's MOOC courses are mostly related to science, business, technology and the arts. Some Canadian students find it difficult to understand these subjects, even if they are competently presented. They also need to adjust to a different style of teaching from that used in Canada, which emphasizes rote memorization and repetition.
Coursera for a wide range of users from China
Coursera has a large number of users from Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Renmin University. In addition to these leading institutions, Coursera attracts students from more than 160 universities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In China, Coursera faces strong competition from local MOOC platforms such as XuetangX and 51Talk, which offer narrowly targeted course content to meet the learning needs of Chinese students.
With the growing number of Canadian universities providing free online courses, local companies need to adjust their business model to compete with leading international MOOCs such as Coursera and edX. Instead of targeting southern students, local companies should focus on Canadian language learners, students pursuing higher education in Canada, and the entire college student market. For example, 51 Talk courses focus mainly on junior and senior high school students to prepare them for international exams such as Advanced Placement.
Currently, Canadian students prefer to take courses at local universities. However, the admission rate to some top universities is very low due to the limited number of places and stiff competition. These restrictions are likely to lead students to online education, especially if it (AP) exams in the United States.
Course completion rates can increase even more when MOOCs are combined with other resources. For example, course completion rates for MOOCs could be increased if students have access to offline tutoring services at the same time. This would be helpful for Canadian students who rely on social interaction and face-to-face communication to learn other languages.