Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 6:Open Educational Resources (OER) and OpenCourseWare (OCW)

One of the articles that I have read this week was “Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources”. I found an interesting part in this report:

The article pointed out that there is a significant imbalance between the “provision of OER and its utilization”. It said that most of OER is composed of English and based on Western culture. Accordingly, developing countries have limitation of using OER as consumers of it. However, the article also noted that some developing countries are constructing an increasing number of projects to build OER based on their own languages and cultures.

After reading this part, I was suddenly curious that if there were some kinds of OER available to anyone who needs it in Korea. So, I searched for open educational resources in Korea and I found three official sites regarding OER.

The first one is known as Korea Open Courseware (KOCW): Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) is running the KOCW site. This site is offering a number of free educational resources from colleges and universities in Korea and even other countries. The second one is that SookMyung Women’s University has a web site called ‘Open Knowledge Share Dreams (SNOW)’:, which offering free lectures and free educational resources from universities in Korea and around the world. The last one is University of Ulsan: They are providing their own institution’s lectures for free via World Wide Web; it is about 5-6 courses in a semester.

I could see that Korea has realized the importance of OER and developing it. I was very excited about that. I hope more colleges and universities will participate in OER in the near future and give opportunities to students who cannot afford expensive higher education but want to benefit from it.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Week5: The Movement Toward Free and Open Source Software

I read the article ‘How Is Open Source Special?’ in this week. The article says that open source projects are decentralized and transparent. The author means by ‘transparent’ is that all of the information of the software is available to anyone who wants to know about it.

In addition, the author quotes a passage from Bill Joy, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, “no matter what your company is, most of the smart people in the world work somewhere else.” By mentioning this statement, the author is trying to say that open source is a way of employing those smart people. The author states that even though open source project takes a huge amount of time, and someone who works in the project is not getting paid, he/she will still participate in the project because the project helps him or her establish his or her reputations for better jobs.

I somewhat agree with the author’s point. However, I don’t believe that is the only reason for someone who works in open source projects. As the author mentioned, participating in the open source project will take a lot of time and efforts. I believe somebody who joins a project not only expect to be personally benefited from the project such as building reputations or getting a good job, but also purely appreciate his or her endeavor to make change for a software, create improvement, and distribute enhanced version to help others and make the world better. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 4:The Continued Expansion of Blended and Fully Online Learning

I would like to talk about pros and cons of online education.
First, there are several positives in online education: its collaborative learning processes, flexibility, expanded learning opportunities, convenience, and asynchronous/synchronous learning activities. More students can learn in online learning environment through collaborative interaction with the instructor and peers at their pace using discussion forums, emails, and whiteboards. Therefore, developing effective collaborative strategies is the key to successfully utilize online learning tools. The instructors should assist student to clearly communicate and interact with each other. Students construct knowledge by reflecting on their exiting knowledge and building new knowledge and perspectives through active interaction with their peers and the instructors in online learning environments.
Second, there are also negatives of online education. They are a sense of isolation, delay in feedback/responses from the instructors, communication problems with time zone differences or communicating via writing rather than face to face, and unclear communication between students and the instructor. In addition, a major problem with online learning is the lack of professional support for the instructors who teach online classes. Most of the instructors who are currently teaching online classes are not trained to teach online courses. The successes of many online programs and courses are impeded by instructors’ lack of knowledge of how to best employ online learning tools to facilitate students’ acquisition of as much knowledge as possible in effective and efficient ways. Training for the instructors could be either formal or informal. This training should be focused on professional development within the capacity of the instructors or support staffs, but varying based on learning context. Formal instruction includes courses, workshops, and other official development opportunities. Informal instruction is indicated by unplanned or undocumented professional development experiences, often structured through the mentorship of other faculty, or through generalized support provided by an entire department/university. Also, informal instruction can be carried out in an informal apprentice role, mirroring the strategies of current successful online instructors.