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ELITE O2O Innovative University:

A Transformation and Revolution in the Global Higher Education in Post COVID-19 Era

毅特 O2O创新大学: 后疫情时代全球高等教育的变革与革命

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the world economy, the global governance system, the international political landscape and the global higher education. However, from a historical, dialectical and systematic perspective, the interdependence of human survival still exists, the basic development elements of maintaining the global economy and the global higher education will not be swayed by the virus. When MOOC was launched in 2008, it was only twenty-five students attended the course on the campus of the University of Manitoba while 2300 from around the world participated online. Hardly anybody could predicate that around one billion students around the world have to study online courses in 2020 after 12 years of the birth of MOOC. With outbreak of COVID-19, technology enhanced learning and digitalization have been rapidly adopted globally by education institutions which play a key role for the continuity of the education and learning.  Not only so, there are more emerging online innovative universities have begun to penetrate into the global higher education systems and markets which challenge the traditional university model of 800 years old. No doubt, this unprecedented impact caused by the pandemic would ultimately lead to a great revolution in the global higher education. 


Research shows that there are failures of online universities created and invested by venture capitalists. A firm vision and the educational philosophy and ethos came along when university was born from the inception. A global vision of university has always been with entrepreneurial educationists and created by the education thinkers. The elements of globalization are much advanced in research and innovation in the global higher education, public and private sectors, however, it is less prominent in teaching and learning strategy of the universities. It is even becoming much less attended in online learning and delivery. A global vision is strategically situated in the global marketplace, which is able to attract various stakeholders, collaboration partners, academics, researchers and learners. The paradigm of West Meets East - the integration and development of West and East management theories, wisdom and philosophies has gained considerable traction, and for good reason because of the globalization, political and economic changes, and shifting of powers. The world has undergone significant transformations over the last 40 years, which has led people to rethink and reconsider how to secure a political, social, and economic environment for delivering sustainability. The integration, inclusiveness, collaboration and embracing innovation[1] have never been more relevant than in the post COVID-19 era. 


Tackling the Challenges

According to the recent OECD report, COVID-19 crisis has forced school closures in 188 countries, heavily disrupting the learning process of more than 1.7 billion children, youth, and their families. Digital revolution and online-learning solutions were implemented to ensure education continuity during this difficult time. Much of the current debate focuses on how much students have learnt during school closures and this potential learning loss may only be temporary, however, other important elements that happen during the school closures, such as the curbing of educational aspirations, the disengagement from the university system and absence from the familiar academic ambience on campus will have a long-term impact on students’ journey and learning outcomes. To address these important challenges and issues, the concept of ‘an ELITE[2] O2O innovative education platform’ are crafted by the authors, ought to be considered to play an important role in creating more affordable, accessible, and convenient higher education options for people in a much wider circle. 


The outbreak of Covid-19 and the challenges of globalization have dramatically impacted the global higher education, especially cross-border education. The mobility of students in the higher education between west and east in the major countries between China, UK and US almost stand still.  The mankind lays hope on vaccine, however, the world could not return back to it was. When the terminology MOOC was coined  to refer to a course developed by Stephen Downesand George Siemens [3] which was purely a concept.  Such an exploitation for interactions between a wide variety of participants made possible by online tools so as to provide a much richer learning environment. It started in 2008 with 25 students attending the course on the campus of the University of Manitoba while a further 2300 participated online course.  The New York Times declared 2012 as “The Year of the MOOC” after a number of high-profile professors from high-profile universities launched various platforms to offer free university level courses online.


The intention of Downes and Siemens’ exploitation of online course delivery was on the connectivity of knowledge. Christensen’s predication on the closure of more traditional university rests upon his theory of “disruptive innovation” and the financial consequences that the traditional universities will suffer. However, in fact knowledge can be classified as explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. While explicit knowledge could be easily transferred while tacit knowledge transfer has to be monitored during the transfer process. Successful explicit knowledge transferred can be achieved online while tacit knowledge has to be transferred through the face to face mode, which means that the nature of knowledge determines the mode of transfer and delivery can be online and offline.[4]


ELITE O2O Innovation University – Blended Education Flatform

Almost all the universities and colleges are currently delivering courses online based upon the MOOC experiences since the outbreak of Covid-19. In fact, there is similarities of online delivery around the globe as universities and colleges have been forced to do so. Our intention of establishment of ELITE O2O (online and offline) Innovative Education Platform is an exploration of an innovative education pedagogy of integrating the delivery of programmes, knowledge, contents and education ethos with a global vision embedded in the teaching and learning strategy built into the technological system of O2O innovation university. This technological innovation system demonstrates how various features and objectives of innovative and entrepreneurial university can be created, translated, articulated and achieved in a learning organization context. ELITE O2O initiative is a strategic instrument which reforms the traditional approach of class-room based teaching and learning. The distinctiveness of this system is to highlight that the teaching and learning mode is decided not only with the impact of the virus but also by the nature of knowledge. Explicit knowledge is delivered online while tacit knowledge is transferred through face-to-face. ELITE is an acronym of e-learning of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship within an O2O Innovation University™[5] in the global higher education.