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RDFZ “MOOCs” project: Renowned teachers accessible for children in remote mountainous areas

Talking about the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China(abbreviated as RDFZ),many people tend to consider it a synonym for quality education. Lots of children in Beijing dream of being able to enter the prestigious school. For those teachers and students in other parts of China, it is comparable to “a pilgrimage” if they ever obtain an opportunity to study or take training programs here. What if the advisable experiences of RDFZ teachers are spread to other secondary school teachers across the country? How about bringing RDFZ classes to other students throughout the country via the web so that the students outside Beijing will be able to take standard RDFZ courses without physically coming here? With the promotion of “MOOCs” project, the dream of studying at RDFZ is no longer beyond reach.

The students from Helin No2.Middle School, located in the depths of Inner Mongolia Prairie, have a class with RDFZ students a thousand miles away.

In the same class despite far apart geographically

At the southern side of the east gate of RDFZ is situated an organ called “the Basic Educational Resources Construction and Sharing Alliance”, with Principal Liu Pengzhi as the Alliance president. Wang Jun, assistant to her, is responsible for the “MOOCs”, a new educational learning paradigm of public benefit.

“Muke”(Chinese: 慕课), the Chinese translation of “MOOCs”, is exotic. MOOCs are courses that are delivered online for free. With “MOOCs” featuring unlimited participation and open access via the web , students all over the world are able to listen to the same course taught by the same teacher without the necessity of physically sitting in a real classroom, thus transcending the limitations of time and space. With the advent of the Internet era, MOOCs have developed rapidly outside China. The autumn of 2011 saw the triggering of a storm on the part of the massive open online courses, which were acclaimed as “the greatest revolution ever since the invention of printing”. But in China, MOOCs are still in the primary stage, and RDFZ is a pioneer in this field. At the Beijing-based top school, they have improved and reformed MOOCs in line with the school’s actual conditions and established “Double-Teacher Teaching”, a creative mode of teaching.

In August 2013, the Basic Educational Resources Construction and Sharing Alliance, the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China and Youchange China Social Entrepreneur Foundation jointly initiated the project of “Double-Teacher Teaching” in an attempt to promote balanced education and bring the quality educational resources of RDFZ to schools in under-developed areas. Under the project, some quality courses of the school are webcast live to 10 pilot schools in Guangxi, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Beijing. In the primary stage with a relatively small scale, only a junior one class of RDFZ has been chosen as trial class with focus on mathematics teaching, which is simultaneously videotaped and accessible to the students of pilot schools outside Beijing. On the other hand, one or several classes of those pilot schools are selected to use the teaching videos provided by RDFZ in their math class with necessary guidance from their math teachers afterwards. In the meanwhile, all teaching resources covering RDFZ teachers’ lecture notes, problem sets and test questions are shared online for free downloading.