Two articles about Chinese open courses published

February 8, 2012, [MD]

I released my MA thesis about Chinese Open Courses September 13, 2010, and more than a year later, two journal articles partly based on the thesis have also appeared, one in English and one in Chinese.

British Journal of Educational Technology

The English article appeared in British Journal of Educational Technology as "Online First" in November 2011. Judging by the backlog, it might not make it into the actual journal for another year, however since it's available online, I count it as "published".

This article was a very long time in the making, a process which began a year before my MA thesis was completed. It is based on a paper which Wang Long wrote for International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL). Wang Long works at the Chinese People's Public Security University, and I had seen his name on a number of articles about Chinese Top Level Courses, so when I was in Beijing, I contacted him. It was quite funny, as I was standing outside the ports of the university waiting for him. He called me on his cellphone asking me where I was, and I said "right here". It turns out that he didn't expect me to be a foreigner, and I didn't expect him to be dressed in a police uniform.

I was very impressed by Wang Long as a person with a real passion for OER, who has pursued his research for many years, often without funding or external support. He told me that IRRODL had told him his paper was very interesting, but the English was not good enough, and asked if I would be willing to work with him to improve it.

It turned out that it wasn't only the English which needed editing, the article itself was written in a way that would have been very foreign to non-Chinese readers. Thus began a two-year process of collaborating on improving the article. The article flew between Toronto and Beijing, with long emails about changes and discussions of sources. We decided to target the British Journal of Educational Technology (which even has a corresponding editor in China), and submitted the first draft in December 2010.

We got positive feedback, but lot's of comments, and spent about three months addressing these. At that point, my MA thesis had already been published, and I was able to incorporate interview data and references from that as well. The second draft was submitted, more comments, and finally the third draft was fully accepted. Official version, PDF.

Open Education Research Journal (Chinese)

After having my thesis translated into Chinese (PDF), I also wanted to turn it into a journal article in a Chinese journal. Again I worked with Wang Long, who too a first stab of shortening the thesis to a journal article. We collaborated closely on highlighting the aspects I thought would be the most interesting for a Chinese audience, and making it into a coherent whole (something that would have been almost impossible for me without his help).

We finally had the article accepted by 开放教育研究杂志 (Open Education Research Journal), hosted at Shanghai TV University, which has published a long series of articles about China Top Level Courses and foreign OER projects. The article came out in January, and is currently available online. Official version, PDF.

I am still planning one more journal publication from the thesis (which I should have gotten out a long time ago), but I am quite happy with these two publications, and especially happy for the great collaboration with Wang Long. I think this way of helping each other getting published in "each others" languages is a great model that could be useful to others as well.


Stian Håklev February 8, 2012 Toronto, Canada
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