The 2020 Global MOOC Conference was held on December 9-11 at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Held under the theme of “Learning Revolution & Higher Education Transformation”, the conference was the first of its kind since the creation of MOOCs (massive open online courses). The purpose of the conference was to find a consensus on MOOC development, promote good practices and share experience, and explore the role of technology in shaping the future of online education. Chinese Minister of Education Chen Baosheng delivered a keynote speech at the conference, sharing China’s practices, innovations and explorations in MOOC development and online education.
Chen stated that MOOCs were now a major enabler for reforms in higher education because they helped HEIs in China overcome the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and accumulate valuable experience for future use in building a high quality education system of lifelong learning. According to Chen, after eight years of efforts, China was now a world leader in terms of number of courses and users of MOOCs. It has put in place a unique model of MOOC development, with sound standards of course design and a cooperation mechanism that was open to all. China’s success can be attributed to its focus on quality and equality, student-centered and teacher-led practices, and principles of openness, sharing and win-win partnerships.
Chen said that the 2020 pandemic was one of the worst in human history. In response to the crisis, the Chinese government decided to move all classes online and launched an unprecedented experiment in online education for schools across the country. The results turned out to be positive and encouraging—the performance of online learning was virtually equal to that of traditional classroom learning. In the current post-pandemic situation, the education sector of China will leverage the strengths of MOOCs and online education to build a more flexible, easily accessible, rich-in-content system of lifelong learning where learning happens everywhere, anytime, for everyone.
He called on all nations to follow the principles of win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness and work together to invest more in the development and innovation of MOOCs and online education, promote the use and sharing of related resources, and facilitate personalized learning and lifelong learning.
The 2020 Global MOOC Conference founded a Global MOOC Alliance and released the Beijing Declaration of MOOC Development. The conference consisted of a main forum and four sub-forums, which were hosted online and offline simultaneously. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO, Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills of OECD, and Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University, gave high-level opening addresses. Over 200 participants from foreign embassies in China, international organizations, relevant Chinese state agencies, HEIs and online education platforms attended the conference.