Chinese translation of MA thesis on Top Level Courses available

June 1, 2011, [MD]

I am really happy to finally announce that the full Chinese translation of my MA thesis on Chinese Top Level Courses is available. The Chinese title is "中国国家精品课程项目:使用开放教育资源提升本科教学质量", and it can be downloaded in a number of formats: PDF DOC ODT RTF.

You can also find more information about the thesis, additional downloads etc, on my Chinese thesis page (if you link to my Chinese thesis, please link to this page, which aggregates all other links). I would very much appreciate it if you helped share this information with your Chinese colleagues, and others who might be interested.

My first experience of getting a thesis translated was my MA thesis about community libraries in Indonesia. I really wanted the people that had helped me so much, many of whom spoke little or no English, to be able to read my ideas (and I also believe the knowledge that your research participants will read your final product "keeps you honest"), and I found a translator willing to do it for a relatively low price. Unfortunately, she took very long, and the final quality was not good, so I spent a lot of time redoing the translation.

However, I am very happy about the reception the paper has gotten. It has been cited by several blog posts and one article, and I consistently get many more downloads of the Indonesian version, than the English one.

An important reason for me wanting to do the translation, apart from a sense of respect towards a country and an academic tradition that I am studying, is my own experience with foreign languages. I can speak Chinese quite fluently, and can happily discuss open education and P2PU for hours over beer and shaokao, however give me a 100 page academic report in Chinese, and what would in English be a quick evening of scanning through and highlighting interesting section turns into a week-long or month-long project. (In fact, that is one of the reasons I am only able to publish the Chinese translation of my thesis now - although my translator was very good, I still wanted to read through the whole thing carefully myself, which took forever).

It would surprise me if not many Chinese academics felt the same towards English, which might be why I received a lot of thank you notes from academics whom I shared my English thesis with, but not a single substantial comment on the contents (we will see if the Chinese version changes that at all).

It's a bit weird dipping back into my MA research, since I am now head-long into my PhD research, which although still about open resources and open learning, goes in a very different direction. However, I am still hoping to collaborate with some Chinese academics to get an article or two published in Chinese journals, and I still owe my supervisor an article for an English-language journal, so I am not quite finished with this project yet.

I want to thank Zhong Hongrui for the incredibly careful and thorough work he did with the translation. He has asked me to let you know that he is available for other projects, especially related to education.

Stian Håklev June 1, 2011 Toronto, Canada
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