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Curtin trade MOOC to link Australia and China

Media release

Students will get a five-week grounding in trade relations between Australia and China as part of Curtin University’s second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), due to begin 1 October.

The free online course will be available in both English and Chinese, with online video content and materials delivered each week to provide opportunities for discussion and activities.

Dr Michael Thorpe, Head of Economics at Curtin Business School, will also host live learning sessions.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education Professor Jill Downie said MOOCs were part of a university-wide strategy to transform the design and delivery of education at Curtin.

“Innovative thinking and the use of transformative technologies will enable students from around the world to access a quality learning experience through Curtin University in real-time, regardless of their location,” Professor Downie said.

“This new Australia China Trade (ACT) course follows on from the success of our first MOOC on astronomy, which ran for four weeks in July.

“China is Australia’s biggest trade partner and the MOOC will give participants an insight into developments in the two economies and an appreciation for opportunities to further strengthen the Australia-China relationship.

“The MOOC is part of Curtin’s Learning for Tomorrow strategy to evolve the student experience, align graduate outcomes with the changing expectations of employers and ensure Curtin remains highly competitive in a dynamic global market and an international leader in education and research.”

Dr Thorpe, who has been a regular visitor to China since the 1990s, said the course could open new economic opportunities in both Australia and China.

“The course is designed to enhance mutual understanding about the Australian and Chinese economies and how the existing commercial relationship is shaped by the political, social and economic changes occurring in the two countries,” Dr Thorpe said.

“It will raise awareness of opportunities for bilateral trade in goods and services and investment partnerships and provide insights into the range of issues to be considered when engaging with Australian or Chinese partners.

“At the end of the course, participants should be familiar with an array of resources that will assist individuals and firms to develop and build business relationships.”

Register for the ACT MOOC.

Notes to Editor:

Course outline:

Week 1 (1 – 6 October): Orientation Week. Understand the learning tools, set your goals, and join a live online introduction session 12:00 noon (GMT+8) on Friday 4 October.

Week 2: Australia and China: economic change and the evolving bilateral relationship. This week provides an awareness and understanding of recent historical developments relating to both the Australian and Chinese economies. Participants should recognise how current initiatives by authorities in China aiming to restructure the economy are expected to have dramatic implications for the bilateral relationship and for the wider global economy.

Week 3: Bilateral trade: importing and exporting. This topic will provide an overview of the nature and structure of the existing bilateral trade relationship (goods and services) and the institutional and policy framework in which it exists. Participants should identify areas where the two economies complement each other and issues facing businesses in developing trade opportunities. Resources available to assist firms will be identified.

Week 4: Bilateral investment flows. Participants will gain an appreciation of the investment linkages between China and Australia and the opportunities for broadening and deepening this relationship. The various problems and issues faced by individuals and businesses will be highlighted and explored.

Week 5 (28 October – 3 November): Learning from doing. In this week’s online session a number of Australian and Chinese companies, currently involved in bilateral trade related activities, will share their experiences. This will provide a useful context for further appreciation of the opportunities and challenges faced by new or existing entrants into this marketplace.

Associate Professor Michael Thorpe:

Dr Thorpe is an Associate Professor and Head of the Economics Department in the School of Economics and Finance, Curtin Business School. He is widely published for research in the areas of international trade, investment and finance, particularly in respect to the Arabian Gulf and East Asian regions.

Media contact

Simon White, Media Consultant, Curtin University
Tel: +61 8 9266 1931; Mobile: 0401 103 683; Email:
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