Comparative research

The idea of using OCWs and TLCPs for comparative education has been explored by a number of authors and initiatives. Cheng, Huang, Li & Ceng (2008) used the TLCP courses as a proxy for all the university courses in China, and examined the prevalence of practical components of the curriculum (for example interviews, experiments, field studies, internships, etc.). [D2] There have also been several comparisons between TLCP and MIT OCW courses. Tan (2008) mainly focuses on the idea of worldwide dissemination, and believes that China should be more active in translating into English and disseminating the courses. He also believes that although the quantity of TLCPs is higher than that of MIT OCWs, MIT OCWs are of higher quality (without establishing any criteria for measuring this).

Li et al. (2007) conducted a more narrow study of 14 TLCP biology courses and 22 MIT OCW biology courses, and found that TLCP courses are largely based on unidirectional classroom instruction, whereas MIT courses emphasize student interaction. In fact, CORE reports that several hundred book-length reports have been prepared that compare the Chinese and the American curriculum in detail, based on the material in OCWs (Wang, 2008). As one group of researchers put it: “Before, we received foreign learning material, and we could only find out what they were teaching. Now, with OCW, we can also see how they are teaching, and get an understanding of the entire process of teaching, and this is very valuable to our educational research” (Zhu, Liu & Yuan, 2005).