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Learning online guide

Viewed 4002 times 2013-1-6 18:16 |System category:News| online

There is more to attending an online class than simply connecting to the Internet and gazing at the monitor. You also need to know how and where to find the lectures, as well as which ones are suitable for your needs and interests. Our dummies’ guide will help you make full use of free online lectures.
Where can I find them?

Video sharing websites: Go to or, and you can watch the videos online. Be patient in your search. Easy key words are “公开课” plus the university name in Chinese. Clip quality is also variable.

P2P download: Peer to peer (P2P) download software, like BT or eMule, allows you to search directly for courses by title, subject or university name. You can also find the P2P download links on websites like or

iTunes: If you have access to Apple iTunes, the best place to get these courses is the iTunesU learning channel. But all materials are in English.

University websites:

These universities include Harvard, MIT, Yale and major UK universities. This is the most direct way but it requires proficient English skills.

What if my English is not good enough?

Fortunately, voluntary online translating groups have made giant strides in improving the standard of academic translation available to Chinese students. Chinese subtitles provided by YYets group, one of the first translation groups dedicated to open courses translation, are recognized as some of the best in the industry. You can also go to, to select the best subtitles, which are ranked according to users’ reviews.

Beginners can watch Yale’s philosophy department’s course, Death, by Shelly Kagan. Kagan speaks clearly and in simple language, and students will not be hampered by the lack of subtitles.

Are open courses copyrighted?

As open courses aim to share and impart knowledge, most universities give up their copyright benefits when they upload the videos to the Internet, so you do not need to worry about copyright infringement, unless you plan to make money out of sharing the materials.

Are there differences between the online courses and real class learning?

Lack of interaction: One of the disadvantages of open courses is that you cannot communicate with the professor.

Xiong Bingqi, an education professor at Shanghai Jiaotong University, suggests that learners wear earphones and imagine they are sitting in the classroom. Then, when a professor asks a question, the student can give his or her answer. You can also go to websites like to discuss the courses.

Incompleteness: Most series of courses are short and may not give you enough time to build a fully rounded understanding of your subject. For this, it’s a good idea to also get access to the teaching program, Powerpoint presentation and course books. By doing so, you can build a solid foundation.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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