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Posted : 2013-10-14 19:29
Updated : 2013-10-14 19:29

'Local universities should jump on online education bandwagon'

Kim Hyung-yul
By Choo Sung-ho

Each year, more and more Korean universities make entries into the world’s top 100 ranking chart, indicating that they offer better educational programs. But when it comes to free online education, Korean universities still lag behind their peers in advanced countries.

Many world leading universities offer free courses through online platforms, making it possible for non-students to access lectures and other educational contents. These massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a rapidly emerging trend in the field of higher education, creating ripple effects across the globe.

Kim Hyung-yul, 56, a professor at the department of history and culture of Sookmyung Women’s University, says that Korean universities should jump on the MOOCs bandwagon. Otherwise, they run the risk of being left behind in the global race of the online education market.

Kim, who teaches modern world history, says students in his classes are enrolled in MOOCs offered by Princeton University in the United States. During the three-hour class, he teaches only two hours and students spend the remaining time listening to history lectures offered by the U.S. university online.

“I encourage all my students to take top global universities’ courses for in-depth understanding of what I teach in class,” he said. “The important thing about MOOCs is that anyone with access to the Internet can get higher education at minimal costs, or no charge at all. MOOCs have fundamentally changed the way we approach higher education by granting access to anyone, regardless of time and place.”

Kim has been operating his own website, called the “Penguin Step Digital Humanities,” which compiles a variety of online contents from MOOCs offered by universities. He uses these online materials for his lectures.

He also launched another website called the “Penguin Step MOOCs Campus’’ in August, designed to provide MOOCs information to Korean students. Kim regularly posts useful information about MOOCs on his Facebook as well.

The professor says that his goal is to increase Korean people’s awareness of MOOCs and enable them to access world-class learning opportunities more easily.
“Not many people know about this innovated transition in higher education, I hope that I can make a difference for the sake of Korea’s higher education,” he added. 

Coursera and edX, the major MOOCs providers that carry classes from leading universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, as well as educational institutions in Asia, are attracting a great deal of attention. However, there has been no Korean university that has formed a partnership with the providers so far.

Kim stressed that local universities need to figure out how to survive in this online education battle, stressing that they need to enter into partnerships with major MOOCs providers and make MOOCs a part of their official curricular.



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