Saint Petersburg State University is the cofounder and the Russian Federation’s first representative in the Global MOOC Alliance. The creation of the Alliance was first mentioned at the World online conference “Learning Revolution and Higher Education Conference” that was held in Beijing on 9 – 11th of December, 2020.
The Global MOOC Alliance – is the non-profit partnership of universities, online educational platforms,
and international public organizations. The initiative of the Alliance creation belongs to the UNESCO
Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and the Tsinghua University of China.
Participation of SPBU in the institution of the Global MOOC Alliance is a great honor for the University,
and it means the global recognition of the SPBU achievements in the development of online education.
Founders of the Global MOOC Alliance are: the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in
Education (UNESCO IITE), the Tsinghua University of China, three major online educational platforms — XuetangX, Thai MOOC and edX, and universities developing and exploiting massive open online courses.
XuetangX is the Chinese national online educational platform that is the biggest in the world, and where
more than 3100 online courses with more than 228 million listeners are placed. edX is one of the biggest
global online open-source platforms founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard
University in May 2012 Nowadays, it has more than 2800 online courses with an audience of 100 million listeners. Learning management systems, based on the open-source platform solution base Open edX, are very popular and are used to support the educational process. SPBU’s online educational platform open.sbpu.ru is also based on the Open edX technology base. Thai MOOC is the Thailand Cyber University (Thaicyberu, TCU) project that gathered more than 100 partners and presented 472 online courses.
Universities presented in the Global MOOC Alliance are the leaders in their regions. Thus, Cornell
University (USA), being a member of the Ivy League, is one of the most famous USA universities.
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) is in 11th place in the world and 3rd place in Asia in the
QS World University Rankings 2020 Polytechnic University of Milan (POLIMI) took 16th place among all technical universities in the world according to the Top Universities rating, made by the Times Higher Education. Now POLIMI is in 2nd place among European partner universities of the Coursera platform by the number of its online courses. University of Nairobi (Kenya) (in top-10 African universities) is the online education leader in the African region and the initiator of the African online platform creation.
University of Toronto (Canada) is the leader in higher education in Canada according to Times; online
course of the University “Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19, presented on
the biggest worldwide online platform Coursera, is one of the most popular online courses in Canada
(almost 140 000 people signed up for the course), and it’s another online course on Coursera
“Programming basics” is in top-100 courses of 2020 (more than 220 000 signed up for the course).
Nikolay Kropachev, the rector of Saint Petersburg State University, addressed participants of the first
Global MOOC Alliance online conference with a welcome speech. Among others, he described the SPBU experience in the online education development before the COVID-10 pandemic and after its beginning,
when SPBU could efficiently adapt to the new conditions and remain the teaching quality at the highest
level. Rector mentioned the main conclusions formulated in SPBU under the pandemic conditions.
“In the context of the pandemic, the educational process with the use of information and
communication technologies allows, on the one hand, to use the knowledge, experience, talent, and
creative potential of teachers, and, on the other hand, to implement achievements of the
informatization into the educational activity. The digital format doesn’t disclaim the quality of University education. Developed as a result of the pandemic situation in the world showed how much the academic community needs cooperation.” The academic community needs to develop national and
international cooperation, an insufficient level of which was highlighted by the pandemic. In matters of
online education, the consolidation of efforts is needed. That’s the reason why we decided to join the
Global MOOC Alliance, the organization that, without a doubt, will become a center of cooperation and
distribution of advanced teaching practices.”, – Nikolay Kropachev said.
All Global Alliance participants supported the adoption of the 2020 Beijing Declaration on MOOC
Development. Note that SPBU is rightfully considered as the leader in the online education sphere: SPBU is one of the founders of the Russian online platform “Open Education” and takes 1st place by the
number of courses posted there — 146 courses out of 663 Platform audience — 7 million people,
almost 2 million of them are SPBU online courses’ listeners.
Besides that, University today takes 1st place among all European universities and 3rd place in the world
(after Google Cloud (USA) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)) by the number of
online courses posted on the international educational platform Coursera. Two years ago, SPBU became
the first and still the only Russian university, whose online courses are posted on the Chinese largest
One of the purposes of the Global MOOC Alliance is to build a global community interested in the
exchange of educational resources of the highest quality. The Alliance will promote MOOCs and best
teaching practices in online education and develop international cooperation of leaders in the sphere of
innovative educational technologies. The Alliance’s work will focus on the realization of one key purpose
of the UN-defined global sustainable development — ensuring education’s equality and accessibility
and providing opportunities for continuing education.