Guide for delivery of online education into China

An update for providers on issues relating to the delivery of online education into China.

This advice will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

TOEFL Language testing update

  • To meet the needs of students from Mainland China who are currently unable to take the TOEFL iBT® test due to testing suspensions there, ETS and the TOEFL® program are temporarily offering the TOEFL ITP® Plus for China solution.

Delivering online education into China - accessibility issues

  • Australian education providers wishing to deliver online education into China may wish to consider the following:
    • Pending a reliable internet connection, students in China should have ready access to education material delivered via foreign universities’ official websites (@edu.au). A number of institutions have reported that the @edu.au approach is working. oStudents may encounter accessibility issues when trying to access material on particular sites. For example, if education materials hosted on an education institution’s website require access to third party sites (sites not hosted by the education institution), particularly foreign news websites and/or other sites on sensitive topics.
    • Providers may find that students’ ability to access permitted online content is slower than in Australia, particularly when accessing multimedia or larger files. This is in part due to the increased packet loss and network latency internet users in China experience.
    • Speeds can be improved via different technologies including the hosting of content on a local internet server in China, cloud computing, and/or leveraging content via a Content Delivery Network (CDN) within mainland China or one that is geographically close to mainland China (eg in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR or the Republic of Korea).
    • Note that in order to have content hosted by a local internet server in mainland China or a China-based CDN, entities must apply for an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
  • The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) have compiled a list of online platform providers (PDF 622.1KB) that may be able to assist providers to deliver online education to students in China.
  • DESE and other agencies are regularly engaging with Chinese Government counterparts to discuss education issues, including support for and access to online education.

Problems or concerns with delivery of content

If providers are currently using platform/s to provide online education into China and are experiencing/have experienced issues, we would welcome information on the specific nature of those issues to inform our future advice.

The Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT)

The Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) is the peak member association supporting the use of information technology in higher education and research in Australasia and the region.

Members include universities in Australia and New Zealand along with those of Papua New Guinea and Fiji—plus key national research institutions in Australia.

CAUDIT’s purpose is to ‘Support each other in leading the application of digital capabilities to transform education and research.’ CAUDIT does this through providing a range of services to members including negotiating collective procurement agreements, targeted professional development for leaders and managers, benchmarking, surveying, coordinating cybersecurity services, and fostering collaboration through the sharing of thought leadership, experiences and good practice. Networking opportunities include two face-to-face meetings each year and a biennial conference for staff working in IT, library and teaching & learning.

Recognition of blended teaching/learning models by the Chinese Government

The CSCSE provided formal advice on 3 April 2020 on verifying Chinese student’s foreign degree qualifications where these are obtained partially online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CSCSE’s notice acknowledges and supports the flexible measures institutions have adopted, such as extending registration dates and offering online courses. Importantly, it also confirms that online courses taken due to the inability to attend campus will not influence the verification of foreign qualifications.

For more information, please visit the Austrade website.

Further information on regulatory environment for online education in China

Austrade commissioned two reports on China’s online education and edtech opportunities - the K12 sector (September 2017) and the Adult Learning sector (October 2018) - which providers might find useful references.

This information is available for download as a factsheet at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) website.

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