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By XIE CHUANJIAO in Qingdao, Shandong | China Daily

Students and scholars of ocean studies around the world, as well as the wider public who are interested in ocean-related studies, are now able to access top-level courses thanks to an online teaching program launched by the Academy of the Future Ocean at the Ocean University of China.

The Global Ocean Open Courses invite world-class experts in marine science and other related fields to lecture on the latest international scientific findings.

The academy started the program last July and plans to launch 10 more courses by 2025, with each comprised of four lectures given in English and available on a variety of academic livestreaming platforms to target a global audience.

Li Jianping, dean of the academy, said that the program is characterized by its global vision and international standards, and is the first open marine science course China has offered to the world.

“All the courses deal with the latest international frontiers in science and present the latest scientific achievements,” he said. “The program involves interdisciplinary studies and focuses on deep international cooperation, with each course featuring lectures by professors from our academy and abroad. Through joint research and teaching, we are trying out a new model of international collaboration.”

Previous foreign lecturers for the courses have come from the United States, Germany and Sweden. “The open courses are not a replacement for traditional teaching, but a complement,” Li said. “If we compare everyday classroom teaching to home cooking, then the Global Ocean Open Courses program is like a feast.”

The program is open to all, Li said. “In the past, open courses offered by Chinese universities were only for domestic attendees,” he said. “But Global Ocean Open Courses, which are available on multiple academic livestreaming platforms and are given in English, make it possible to share knowledge with people around the world.”

Xu Bochao, a professor at the Academy of the Future Ocean, gave a lecture on the use of Ra-226 — the most abundant radium isotope found in the ocean — as a tracer of thermohaline circulation.

Xu said that the course “has played a good role in the publicity, popularization and promotion of international frontier hot spots and has contributed to the latest progress in isotope oceanography research”. “I learned that audiences from assorted academic backgrounds were interested in the course, and I expect more interdisciplinary lectures to be given in the future,” he said.

Niu Zixuan, a student at the academy, said that the Global Ocean Open Courses program provides an opportunity to broaden the scope of scientific research in many fields and has greatly inspired him. So far, the open courses have had more than 100,000 views, attracting visitors from more than a dozen countries and regions around the world.

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