중앙데일리

Kyung Hee’s online platform aims for diversity in thought

INTERVIEW

June 01,2015
Auh Yoon-il, Vice president of Kyung Hee Cyber University
Auh Yoon-il was only 4 years old when he first played the violin. He was 11 by the time he made it to Julliard, where he was taught by renowned violin instructor Dorothy DeLay, 16 when he played at Carnegie Hall in New York and 18 when he landed at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

The prodigious Korean-American was on a fast track to becoming a world-class violinist - until one day, he injured his shoulder.

At 22, Auh was suddenly retired with no friends and a shallow understanding of his cultural roots. He knew nothing about Korea, let alone its language.

What he had also not foreseen was that by 54, he would be the vice president of Kyung Hee Cyber University (KHCU) in Dongdaemun District, central Seoul.

Decades indulged in online education and informatics development has brought Auh, who also serves as the vice chair of the Special Committee of the Future of Korean Education under the Education Ministry, onto the forefront of something new.

After assuming the role of vice president in March, Auh is only a few months away from launching a pilot project of the Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0 in Gyeonggi as one of the province’s education initiatives for the 21st century. Hopefully by late December, he said, Gyeonggi residents will have access to massive open online courses, or MOOCs, through the beta version of the platform he and his team at KHCU developed.

The following are edited excerpts of an interview conducted with Auh last week:



Q. How is the Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0 different from other existing MOOC platforms?

A. The very use of online technology may be similar, but the key difference lies in the fact that our platform, unlike others, will strive to expand higher education in the developing world.

The popularity of MOOCs over the past three years has raised concerns about the homogenization, or what we call the McDonaldization, of higher education because they’re chiefly provided by the Western world. In those online courses, most videos, if not all, stream Westernized classroom lectures and use English in teaching.

The required reading materials are often derived from Western countries and written by scholars primarily trained and disciplined in the Western school of thought using the English language.

The issue here is that tens of thousands of students across the world are taking the same course, with the same content and problem solving method more likely from a similar view point, and taught by the same instructor. Such educational scenarios pose some serious concerns in a world where the importance of cultural diversity is continuously promoted and valued.

Current MOOCs may offer access to a world-class education from the West, but in many ways, the product has been prepackaged and standardized. Such tactics are risking the unforeseen decline of both the diversification of education and the advancement of globally engaged students.



How will Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0 fulfill its aim to reach out to the developing world?

Our key goal is to provide access to education that promotes communal learning experiences worldwide. Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0 isn’t simply about technology alone. It’s about a collaborative movement between technology and humans, where the latter is considered our essential initiative.

We assume that technology may be the solution to many educational challenges we face today, but rather, they require a fundamental extension of principles we believe about the education itself.

To provide education for all, two types of MOOC technologies were developed in our platform: hMOOC (human MOOC or hybrid MOOC) and ocMOOC (one culture MOOC). The term hMOOC refers to a mixture of the delivery of online content with human intervention at a local level.

I call it “glocalized” education. It means that the educational content shall be customized to meet the needs of each locality or culture in the way that it will be used. Through this method, learning would take place in a local context, and further become a communal process where instructional delivery does not fall short of being one-directional.

The other concept, ocMOOC, was brought up to tackle how other MOOC platforms like Coursera and Edx currently conduct research on how their users learn through their services.

Our way for that specific type of research is to study how people with the same cultural background, instead of the entire user pool, share and obtain new information. My team at KHCU plans to use this as a tool to study other cultures in the forthcoming years.



What are some subjects planned to be opened through your MOOC platform?

Kyung Hee University ... has recognized global citizenship education as one of its core educational virtues. And noting that KHCU is an online university of that school, we felt it is our social responsibility to develop an MOOC platform that could deliver such education.



Did your background in music help you design Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0?

Indirectly, yes, because I also composed music, and when you compose, you’re looking at more than 100 instruments simultaneously. You have to be able to think multi-dimensionally.

With Kyung Hee MOOC 2.0, I’m not focusing solely on technology or education. Rather, I have to see the large picture, so I think it’s quite similar with the broad perspective I had to adopt during my music career.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]




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