According to the “Ethnologue: Languages of the World” website, there are now 1.1 billion Chinese users in the world, roughly 1/7 of the world’s population, and more and more people are learning Chinese. “Chinese Fever” has been spreading like wild fire in the past decade, and in response, the Ministry of Education and National Taiwan University have created a new online course for learning Chinese: “Learning Chinese: Start from Scratch”. The course is being offered on Coursera, the largest MOOCs platform in the world (Website: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learn-chinese-mandarin), and it will be free for all learners. It can also be used by educators as a supplementary teaching resource.
The course is designed for beginner-level learners of Chinese and spans six weeks. Everyday scenarios and conversations, and videos, photos, animation, and comics are used throughout the course to enhance memorization and understanding.
1. Learners only hear Chinese: All the course videos are completely in Chinese. The videos present typical real-life scenarios and everyday conversations with a step-by-step approach, to help learners understand the contexts.
2. BOPPPS model: There is a 40-minute video and quiz each week, designed to help effective learning. The videos incorporate BOPPPS, a popular lesson planning framework.
3. Gamification: The course designers worked with PaGamO—a company that has won the Reimagine Education award—to incorporate game-related components into the course, to enhance learner motivation and enjoyment.
The course starts on Coursera on August 31 and it will then be repeated every six weeks. Learners can register on Coursera using their e-mail or Facebook account from August 20. Anyone is welcome to register at any time.
The Digital Learning Center of National Taiwan University will hold several workshops for educators on ways to use this online course. Please visit its website for more details. (https://www.dlc.ntu.edu.tw/)