Global Concept, Local Practices: State of the Research on OCW in Chinese

January 25, 2009, [MD]

I am giving a few different presentations this year. The first one is at the OpenCourseWare Consortium/Connexions conference in Houston in the first week of February. The presentation is based on the preliminary research I am doing for my MA thesis, which will be on open educational resources in China. In China, there are roughly two categories of OERs - one is the Chinese translations of MIT and other foreign universities' OCW materials - mostly facilitated by CORE and OOPS. In addition, the Chinese Ministry of Education is funding a large-scale production of Chinese OER (many thousand courses produced and available already), called China Quality OCW (Chinese: 精品课程).

This is a huge project involving 650 different universities, and there has also been a lot written and researched around this - thousands of peer-reviewed papers. It's very difficult as an outsider to make any sense of this research quickly, so I am getting research help from a Chinese professor in distance education. The presentation will include an introduction to the Chinese OER project (which most people in North America are not very familiar with), and a demonstration of some of the resources, as well as a presentation of some of the research on OER going on in China. Here's the abstract that was accepted for a 45 minute session:

Global Concept, Local Practices: State of the Research on OCW in Chinese

Since the MIT OCW program was started in 2002, the OCW movement and idea have spread to many different countries and linguistic contexts. Wonderful innovation, production and research is happening in different countries, and often published in different languages. For the OCW and OER movements to progress, it is imperative that we be able to learn from each other, and bridge these linguistic barriers.

China has been one of the most aggressive adopters of the OCW idea. Not only is China Open Resources for Education (CORE) coordinating efforts to translate MIT OCW into Chinese, but the Chinese Ministry of Education has since 2003 been operating a national OCW program called China Quality OpenCourseWare (精品课程). Chinese universities submit proposals, and can receive between \$7,300 and \$14,600 per course that is made freely available online. By 2007, there were already over 1,100 courses available online, many of these with extensive resources, and video recordings.

In addition to this large-scale production OCW, the Chinese scholarly community has also been prolific in researching and publishing about the program. The China Academic Journals database, which provides the full text of over 7,000 Chinese scholarly articles, lists 2,137 articles with the term 精品课程 (China Quality OCW), of which 421 were published in 2008. In numbers, this is roughly equivalent to all the scholarly publication that mention OCW in English and other Latin languages in total - however, the story becomes even more impressive when initial sampling shows that most of the Chinese articles listed mention OCW in their title, and have OCW as their main topic, whereas many of the English language publications are writing about broader issues, and only refer to OCW in passing.

I am currently conducting a research project on this wealth of literature. Initially I will try to provide a broad grouping of the Chinese articles on OCW, provide statistics on number of articles in each group (for example: articles that describe the process of producing individual OCW courses, articles that present surveys on student usage, etc), and in what kind of journals these articles appear. My ultimate objective is not only to gain a good understanding of the state of research around the Chinese Quality OCW program, but also identify specific journal articles that provide theoretical models, methodological approaches or accounts of experiences that are very relevant and useful to the North-American research on OER and OCW.

In my presentation, I will give a brief overview of the history and current state of China Quality OpenCourseWare, how it is funded, produced, and used, and also how it interacts with the Chinese translations of for example MIT OCW. I will give an overview over the "state of research", both in terms of poignant research questions, methodologies and also relevant findings, from the Chinese context. I will also argue for a more integrated research roadmap for OCWs in North America, that actively engages with researchers and the literature from around the world.

Very ambitious, and my research is still in its early stages, but I think it will still be interesting, and invite people at the conference to attend.I might try to record it as well.


Stian Håklev January 25, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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