Before I moved back to Shanghai, there are a few concerns I had. One of them was access to external information (Facebook, BBC, NY Times, Youtube, Twitter). I was not able to imagine my work and life without these web tools so I found ways out.
Getting closer to the MOOC learners communities I came to really see the inconvenience (sometimes more as obstacles) Chinese learners are having
- Any lecturers posted on Youtube are blocked as Youtube is blocked
- Most video streaming is very slow (‘Download’ function is such a blessing in this case)
- Any community formed via Facebook platform automatically leaves out Chinese learners who do not even have Facebook accounts
- Any teaching content or assignment content with needs to access websites such as BBC, NY Times, Facebook is out of reach
- Any social marketing using Twitter, Facebook has little impact here since generally they are blocked
- Google is highly unstable such as toolkits such as Google Hangout, Google Doc, Google Calendar. (This makes my current virtual work with others quite a pain)
It is estimated that there are around 5,000 to 10,000 Chinese learners who are quite committed to MOOC learning. However having many online resources denied means we are half deaf/blind in the cyber learning space. What is more worrying is that over time, we half blind/deaf people are to led into such belief that the world we experience online represents the world out there. That is deeply unfair to both the half world we know and the other half world we don’t know. (While this might apply universally).