Su Dekuang, a math professor at Zhejiang University, became an online celebrity in China recently after he started a calculus class online and attracted more than 13,000 participants. China Education Newspaper commented on Wednesday:
According to some reports, Su was already very popular among the students in Zhejiang University. When his calculus class opened for registrations, over 3,000 students lined up even though there were only 150 places. So we can see it is quite natural that the professor's online course would appeal to a lot of students.
However, the popularity of his online course reveals the difficulty university students have in taking the courses they are interested in. Such open online courses offer the opportunity for students to take a course they would otherwise not be able to take.
Online courses provide a new interactive way to teach more students. And, as a matter of fact, some teachers in universities have already joined the online teaching business. The university authorities can encourage teachers by rewarding them for giving extra classes. This in turn may result in better quality courses, pushing forward the colleges as the disseminators of knowledge.
Promoting and encouraging teachers to give classes online will improve the openness and inclusiveness of higher education.