The University of Massachusetts is poised to become the first foreign university to offer approved online courses and degrees in China after reaching a landmark agreement with education officials in Beijing, the Boston Globe reports. UMass officials announced that the system had reached an accord with China’s Continuing Education Association and CerEdu Corp. to offer distance classes and degree programs throughout China. Plans call for the university to offer 40 online courses, four certificate programs, and one master’s degree program within a year. The agreement marks a major opportunity for the university to expand its distance-learning program to the world’s most populous nation. University officials said the new program could eventually generate as much as $5 million a year. The plan must be approved by the authoritarian, one-party Chinese government’s Ministry of Education, which currently does not recognize credits from foreign universities. But both partners that signed the agreement are closely affiliated with the government, and UMass officials are confident of final approval by this fall…

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