Just over a year ago, Coursera teamed up with Guokr.com—China’s top community of online learners—to launch the MOOC Ambassador program. The program brings together some of China’s most committed learners, who work to spread knowledge about online learning through college campus events, meet-ups, online forums, and other channels.
Here are a few stories from our incredible ambassadors:
Sunny Fung, Fudan University
As a high school student, Sunny Fung spent more time reading about history and sociology than studying for China’s notoriously consuming college entrance exam, the gaokao. Despite his contrarian stance—and a low gaokao score—Sunny nabbed a slot in one of China’s top schools, Fudan University, which offered him special admission.
But even in college, Sunny found that his intellectual interests shifting outside the boundaries of his formal course of study. Hungry for more, Sunny scoured the web and found Coursera. Inspired by what he saw, Sunny founded Fudan University’s MOOC Association. At the start, the group hosted discussion groups and seminars with the instructors of Fudan’s first Coursera courses. But Sunny wanted to do more.
During Fudan’s winter vacation, Sunny and a handful of MOOC Association collaborators traveled to Hong Kong to staff a “MOOC information booth” at an open public market. As most of their fellow students unwinded from a busy semester, Sunny and his friends prepared MOOC information leaflets (of their own design) and handed them out on a Hong Kong university campus.
“Coursera provides a valuable tool for fighting against education inequality in China”, Sunny explained. “As Coursera has changed my life, I want to help others benefit too.”
Tianjin University of Science and Technology: We Choose MOOCs
Last fall, a small group of Coursera employees traveled to Shanghai to participate in a Guokr-hosted forum on online learning. Entering the forum venue well before the program’s start, the Coursera team was surprised to find the first rows of the auditorium already filled by a group of nearly identically-clad students. On each student’s t-shirt were the (English) words: “MOOCs is Most Of Us Only Choose.”
The students, we learned, had arrived early to the event after spending the previous twelve hours an overnight train from their home university in Tianjin—1000 miles to the north. Many of them had invested half a month’s spending money in attending the event.
Tianjin University of Science and Technology’s MOOC Association is passionate about online learning which includes more than 300 members, hosts over 20 study groups, and holds weekly meetings to discuss courses and share notes. The group has even attracted official university funding and support.
“Our goal is to help more people benefit from MOOCs,” the association’s founder told Coursera. “This isn’t easy at first, but when people get together to study, life gets more interesting.”
Want to get involved? Sign up to become a MOOC Ambassador below.