Arranged marriage vs. One night stand – Chinese Khan Academy born!


Yesterday East China Normal University launched its MOOC platform (C20) for primary and high school students. A Chinese version of Khan Academy was born!

The baby was conceived in September 2013. It’s named C20. C stands for China, 20 means there are 20 primary school partners, 20 junior high school partners, 20 senior high school partners. (These schools are spread around China, not limited in East China Normal University’s home city – Shanghai). Parent of this baby is East China Normal University MOOC centre, which is composed of a MOOC research team and a MOOC partnership team.

I’m drawing some comparison between C20 and Khan Academy, a sibling eight year senior to C20.

(Arranged) marriage vs. One Night Stand – C20 is born out of a serious marriage among huge Chinese academic family. Its core members are all senior members (age 50+) of the university with significant titles. Khan Academy was born of one-night stand. Hedge funder Khan was initially just making videos to tutor his cousin and it grew much more serious than expected.

They both can afford to be kind-hearted kids – Both C20 and Khan Academy are free to use. C20,presumably, gets its funding from university/government. Khan gets its funding from users including Google and Bill Gates. (according to wiki)

Khan is nerdier – Khan has much more focus on STEM subjects, while C20 is a more balanced subject portfolio among STEM and non STEM content.

Of course C20 is much less developed but they probably will go different paths given they are different genetically – C20 is currently just a platform for teachers to share self-made video contents. There is no quiz, systematic curriculum, badge, high touch support such as coaching and mentoring. Khan, on the other hand, has developed so well and so fast. Of course, there is an age gap. Khan is 8 years old and C20 is zero. (8 years means so much in the world of internet). Having said that I am also very very aware of their genetic variances. C20 will be good at forming alliances and partnerships among Chinese schools. One day it might grow into a resource sharing platform among teachers to exchange modularised teaching content. For Khan Academy, after browsing its software engineer pool, I am pretty sure it’s fully equipped to get better and better in online, personalised STEM education for K-12 students.

I have also marked next year same time, for another assessment of these two brothers’ growth. healthy and grow a lot, C20 and Khan Academy.

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