China tops the world in the number of massive open online courses (MOOC), according to statistics recently released by the country's Ministry of Education.
Ten MOOC platforms have been established by universities and organizations, offering more than 3,200 courses and benefiting 55 million learners from both colleges and society.
"The online courses are very practical for nine-to-fivers like me." said a citizen named Wan Xiaoyun from central China's city of Zhengzhou who has finished a 15-week course on ancient Chinese clothing offered by Shanghai University of Engineering Science.
In addition to general knowledge, online classes offered by universities and e-learning platforms are also emerging, such as K12 (kindergarten to grade 12) online education programs, and training courses for IELTS and TOFEL candidates.
The Internet has brought prominent changes to education, not only in terms of time and space, but also by creating links between education parts, such as teaching, learning, evaluation, and testing. With the assistance of the Internet, learning is no more just a process of presenting, receiving, and providing feedback, but a whole new experience of cognition.
"Online courses focus more on cognition and the design of learning activities, and in-depth exploitation of big data will lead to subversive changes in this area," said Yu Shengquan, a professor at Beijing Normal University.
Online education, which brings quality resources to remote and impoverished regions, is bringing more fairness to China's education system. By the end of the third quarter of 2017, 89.8% of China's elementary and middle schools were connected to the Internet, and 85.1% of them established multi-media classrooms.
"The Internet has built an information channel that improves education quality for impoverished regions, opening a window for the children in those places," noted Zhong Binglin, president of the Chinese Society of Education.
According to iResearch Consulting Group, China's online education market has reached 194.1 billion RMB (.4 billion), up 22.9% year on year. The market size will keep expanding in the next few years, the organization said.