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


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UPDATE: Please access my MA thesis about this topic at It is much more up-to-date than this presentation.

This is a presentation I gave at the OpenCourseWare Consortium conference at Rice University in February 2009.

I am sorry, during the first period this slidecast was up, the synchronization wasn't working. I got help from slideshare, and we fixed it. Note that the synch is not perfect, some of the slides show for so short time that the synch tool cannot deal with it, so there's a bit of delay. It catches up on the longer portions though, no biggie.

The audio to this presentation is available at

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.

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

    1. OCWC Regional Meeting, Rice University, February 6, 2009 Global Concept, Local Practices: State of the Research on OpenCourseWare in Chinese Stian Håklev, University of Toronto Creative Commons BY 3.0 Monday, February 9, 2009
    2. Outline MIT OCW in China China Quality OpenCourseWare The Research Monday, February 9, 2009
    3. Acknowledgment Wang Wenjun ( ) Educational researcher at Northwest Normal University Monday, February 9, 2009
    4. Chinese context Massification of higher education (number of students in higher education from 850,000 in 1978 to 13 million in 2002) Increased diversification of higher education Good internet infrastructure Strong position of Chinese language Strong background in distance education Monday, February 9, 2009
    5. Bringing the idea to China MIT and IETF organized OCW conference with Jiaotong University in Beijing. As a result, 12 universities wrote the government to petition for a program of OpenCourseWare in China. As a result: CORE and CQOCW Monday, February 9, 2009
    6. MIT OCW into Chinese China Open Resources for Education (CORE) translating MIT materials to Chinese. 245 courses by the end of 2007. (OOPS also does this in Taiwan) Monday, February 9, 2009
    7. CORE main Monday, February 9, 2009
    8. Ex of Chin OCW Monday, February 9, 2009
    9. Motivation Internationalization Modernization Increase quality of teaching Borrow foreign teaching theories, methods and content Foreign classes have more progressive teaching, more stimulating, research based, questioning - we want to adopt that Increase collaboration between our institutions and foreign institutions Monday, February 9, 2009
    10. Issues and questions Hundreds of MIT courses used in Chinese universities? Examples? What material is used, how is it used, why is it used, what are the outcomes? More than 150 comparative book-length studies published comparing MIT curriculum with Chinese curriculum. Availability? Findings? “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.” Monday, February 9, 2009
    11. Chinese Quality OpenCourseWare ( ) Centrally funded and promoted by Chinese Ministry of Education Three levels - national, provincial/ city, university First round from 2003-2007, second round just started More than thousand national level courses, as many as 10,000 courses in total. A large amount of research published. Monday, February 9, 2009
    12. MOE JPKC Monday, February 9, 2009
    13. Quality Project ( ) CQOCW is a key part of the Quality Project, but it’s not the only part: The program targets 1000 universities with 10 million FT students, and will cost approximately USD $365 million. Targets: Help 3000 professors and administrators to develop peer training exchanges Select 1000 national-level teaching teams Give awards to 500 top national teachers Develop 500 experimental teaching centers 500 individual talent development and creativity areas 500 high quality bilingual classes Monday, February 9, 2009
    14. zhiliang gongcheng Monday, February 9, 2009
    15. Purpose of CQOCW Expanding access to higher education never mentioned in the literature. The purpose is to increase the quality of undergraduate courses, with new pedagogics, new technology and updated, cutting-edge content. Course teams - senior subject experts, junior faculty and web designers University-level awards for good courses Effects on local team trickle down effect on local university on peers Monday, February 9, 2009
    16. Lanzhou City University School gave certain amount of funding case study Clear philosophy: Construction of CQOCW will improve quality of Have already been evaluating best courses all courses internally since 2003. Developed system of Not just about putting old courses online, but indicators of course quality rethink content, teaching methodology, etc. Issue announcement, meeting of heads of Internal committee to evaluate courses, then departments invited 20 external experts - used online material, also sat in on classes Teaching committee to identify basic and advanced courses they could apply for In the end, 11 courses were selected for provincial CQOCW Brought teachers together with computer department ( , ) Monday, February 9, 2009
    17. meeting jpkc Monday, February 9, 2009
    18. Honor JPKC diploma Monday, February 9, 2009
    19. so what does that look like look like? So what does it Monday, February 9, 2009
    20. CORE JPKC Chinese Monday, February 9, 2009
    21. Jingpinke main Monday, February 9, 2009
    22. Jingpinke course Monday, February 9, 2009
    23. course 3 from p Monday, February 9, 2009
    24. course 1 p1 Monday, February 9, 2009
    25. course 1 p2 Monday, February 9, 2009
    26. course 1 p3 Monday, February 9, 2009
    27. course 1 p4 Monday, February 9, 2009
    28. course 1 p5 Monday, February 9, 2009
    29. course 4 intro Monday, February 9, 2009
    30. course 2 p2 Monday, February 9, 2009
    31. course 5 extensive Monday, February 9, 2009
    32. course 5 p2 Monday, February 9, 2009
    33. JPKC textbook Monday, February 9, 2009
    34. Monday, February 9, 2009
    35. course 5 discforum Monday, February 9, 2009
    36. course 5 discforum2 Monday, February 9, 2009
    37. CORE translating CQOCW to English Application form to translate JPKC to English You need to do it yourself or supervise someone who can. It is peer reviewed by a different institution. CORE subsidizes about $1,250 for the work.. Monday, February 9, 2009
    38. CORE english Monday, February 9, 2009
    39. CORE law Monday, February 9, 2009
    40. Research Monday, February 9, 2009
    41. Journals Large number of educational journals, especially within distance education and online learning - even one specialized on open education. Monday, February 9, 2009
    42. CAJ 1 Monday, February 9, 2009
    43. CAJ 2 Monday, February 9, 2009
    44. CAJ numbers big Monday, February 9, 2009
    45. Approaches Classification of different ways of collaborating with MIT. Comparison 14 CQOCWs and 22 MIT OCWs in biology. Results: more classroom activity in MIT. MIT materials tied better together. Analysis of all CQOCW courses as representatives of university courses in China to see how many embed practical components. Results: in 2007 new criteria around practical components were introduced, which increased practical components a lot Beijing City CQOCW evaluation with external evaluators, through questionnaires, site visits and case studies. Results: educators use it to prepare for class, students: 40% related to current studies, but also high school prepare for/choose university, and interest. Monday, February 9, 2009
    46. Evaluation of new courses A study of the evaluation criteria over the conditions for practical components five years. online education environment instructional design 5 primary and 15 secondary indicators. instructional approach Weighted, totalling 100 points: instructional practice instructional outcomes - evaluation by responsible person and main lecturer peers, by university supervisor, by students, the composition and quality of teaching evaluation of recorded materials team educational reform and educational research Added more focus on instructional design, the course content pedagogy, use of technology, impact and the organization and planning of the course sharing. and building local guidance teams content the practical components teaching material and other resources Monday, February 9, 2009
    47. student eval Monday, February 9, 2009
    48. jpkc meeting Monday, February 9, 2009
    49. Criticisms Name doesn’t reflect content Top professors won’t share content Courses chosen based on professors, not quality Too much spent on design - “going through the motions” Needs to be long-term and sustainable Monday, February 9, 2009
    50. Issues and questions No common technical platform Doesn’t use Creative Commons or other open license Not much known about reuse and adaptation Many servers unavailable (as many as half, according to one report) How is it used by students? What are the plans going forward? Does it really have an impact of teaching? On who? On the initial creator? On the creator’s campus? On peers? Monday, February 9, 2009
    51. Thank you Please contact me for information/questions. This is an ongoing project. Monday, February 9, 2009
    52. Image credits • Flickr: Brian Jeffery Beggerly (Great Wall), Arthur Tsao (picture; outline), MK Media Productions (Lord of the Rings Tower in Shanghai), shonk (Studying...), (Growing China), Andreanna (Question Mark- Day 35/365), aussiegal (Exclamation Mark), kevindooley (Reflections), alexandralee (back when i studied chinese), tomt6788 (Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper - TTdesign), woodleywonderworks (cosmic soap bubbles (God takes a bath)), Wonderlane (The Road to Perdition), jlcwalker (Binoculars - a working collection) and katinalynn (nuclear slide)! Monday, February 9, 2009