Heinlein said that the unexpectedly low Chinese turnout may have had to do with some access and language issues. The non-profit has already attempted to course-correct this with smaller partnerships with two Chinese universities, which did yield 10,000 extra Chinese students using edX.org.
The new partnership will result in even larger gains, Heinlein said, though the Chinese platform will be independent from edX.
“Because they are hosting their own platform in China, there will be less access issues,” he said. “People will have more streamlined capabilities to use the courses. It will absolutely improve access nationally and globally.”
Coursera’s partnership with NetEase will keep the for-profit MOOC company more directly in the loop, creating a web portal called Coursera Zone, which will include Chinese-language synopses, testimonials, and discussion forums.
NetEase will also locally host selected Coursera course videos, improving their video quality in China.
The platform is partnering with Peking University and National Taiwan University to expand Coursera’s original Chinese-language options, and working with a social networking website called Guokor to translate existing courses into Chinese.
“Ensuring the accessibility of quality educational content, regardless of a person’s location or native language, is at the core of our mission,” said Coursera’s co-founder and co-CEO Andrew Ng.
EdX’s partnership with Tshinghua University and the Chinese Ministry of Education will form a consortium of at least eight Chinese universities creating and offering online courses through edX’s open source platform.