ASU Online Mandarin Program Produces 1st Graduates

August 16, 2022

4 masters offered to students in China thanks to the Cintana partnership

Arizona State University is offering four online master’s programs taught in Mandarin to students in China, and the initiative has just produced its first batch of graduates. Thirteen Sun Devils earned master’s degrees in applied leadership and management at a virtual ceremony in July.

More than a thousand students are enrolled in the four programs, called ASU ZaiXian, which launched in fall 2020 – the first full degree programs offered in a language other than English. Hundreds of people are expected to graduate from ASU ZaiXian this fall. “ZaiXian” means “online” in Mandarin Chinese.

The program is part of ASU’s partnership with Cintana Educationan initiative that leverages the quality of ASU’s academic programs for international students.

According to Xiaojing “Icy” Cao, program manager at EdPlus, the ASU unit that hosts ASU Online, ASU’s curriculum content has been professionally translated and then reviewed by Mandarin-speaking instructional designers and taught by Mandarin-speaking ASU faculty. Other support services, such as success coaches, are also offered in Mandarin.

“The goal of the program is to achieve the ASU charter goal that we are so proud of regarding inclusion and access on a global scale,” she said.

“We provide access for students in China by translating some of our online programs to remove the language barrier.”

Besides translation, the process of creating curriculum for students in China involved ensuring that the content was culturally relevant – as well as avoiding some issues.

“Google is not available in China,” Cao said.

“A lot of times we say, ‘Well, just use another browser.’ But once the students were asked to buy a package from the bookstore, but when they were about to pay, the little thing appeared where you have to click on the picture to prove you’re human. our students couldn’t use it because it’s owned by Google.

“We realized we had to be creative to find a way for our students.”

The bookstore was able to work directly with students to bypass the CAPTCHA image for students in China.

The MA in Applied Leadership and Management is offered by ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. The other three degrees offered in Mandarin are a Master of Science in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Education, and a Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Technology.

The 13 students who have just graduated were already working when they started the program. Their careers include consulting, finance, technology and small business ownership, Cao said.

“This program is very student-centered,” she said.

“We meet the students where they are, not only with the language but also with their background.”

Top image courtesy of iStock

Karen O. Fielding