UCEA Global Associates E-Newsletter -An Opening in the Great Wall of China? -(Volume 6, No. 1)

UCEA Global Associates E-Newsletter -An Opening in the Great Wall of China? -(Volume 6, No. 1)

UMassOnline, the University of Massachusetts’ distance education arm, is poised to become the first foreign institution to offer government approved online courses and degrees in China. According to the agreement reached with China Continuing Education Association and CERNET Education Corporation earlier this month, UMassOnline will offer 40 online courses, four certificate programs and one master’s degree program -- in instructional design -- within a year. UMass officials expect the new venture to eventually generate as much as $5 million a year.
 
Of course there are some hurdles to clear first. The program must be approved by China’s Ministry of Education which has tightened up, and slowed down, the approval process for foreign higher education courses and degrees in the past few years. Furthermore, online higher education has had some negative issues regarding quality and prestige in China in the past which has made Chinese officials skeptical about such programs.
 
According to David Gray, CEO of UMassOnline, the courses for Chinese students will be selected from his institution’s list of 1,500 courses and will have the exact same content.

Date: 04/18/08

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