Dongguk University (DU) started this service earlier than any other university, but it is not the frontier of the cyber classes. The Dongguk Post thoroughly scrutinized the present situation and problems concerning the Internet classes by comparing other schools' system and gathering Donggukians' public opinion.....................Ed.
The Ministry of Education announced that the of College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) of questions 2004 will be from EBS lectures on TV and the Internet. This is to reduce the expenditure on private education and to give a quality educational service to urban students not to mention residents.
Due to this policy, the flood of students at Kangnam CSAT Institutes began to ebb and, conversely, the Internet institute Mega Study's members reached one hundred thousand. And the On-line network has speedily connected nation-wide. Now it is possible to have the Internet lecture which can create an atmosphere of fair education to all students around the nation. Taking advantage of the Internet lectures, the University had started this program more than 5 years ago.
In 1998, the Ministry of Education authorized DU to be the mock-up Cyber University so DU firstly opened 3 On-line courses including Cyber Writing. Two years later, DU joined with Information and Communication Cyber University (ICCU), which is run by the Ministry of Information and Communication. That allowed Donggukians to have lectures from 30 other universities which were ICCU member universities.
“My DU Information and Communication Engineering major classes were basic and theoretical but ICCU opened lectures that are practical and up-to-date such as Photoshop. It is also attractive to take other university's lectures,” said Kong Je-hak, Senior in the Dept. of Information & Communication Engineering said.
The number of On-line lectures offered at DU have doubled in two years to 47 lectures. And the SA had put their efforts into improving the educational environment's infrastructure by building a studio to produce video lectures and extending the Internet server. The main point of this effort was to establish an individual Cyber University for only On-line students. So DU got authorization from the Ministry of Education in 2001, but due to the school's financial insolvency, the plan was dissipated. Since the plan was canceled, the number of Cyber University On-line lectures have decreased dramatically. And now, the alloted officers of cyber University is only two; so DU cannot produce most of its lectures at school but must do it at off-campus companies.
In order to investigate Donggukian's knowledge of cyber classes. The Dongguk Post polled 200 students and asked if they have attended cyber class. Of those polled 68% replied that neither they have attended the class nor have they any idea of its existent. We asked those 68% the following question.
Q Are you plaining to attend Cyber Class before graduation?
① Yes 42.74%
② No 25.81%
③ Don't Know 31.45%
According to the results, almost half of the students showed interest in the class and about one third of them were considering the class. This tells us that Donggukians are positive toward the On-line class.
Q What do you think are the merits of the class?
① No limitation of time and place 83.98%
② Convenience of reviewing the lesson 13.26%
④ Etc. 2.76%
Q What are the demerits of the class?
① Difficulties in communication 28.72%
② Unstable Internet server 17.95%
③ Lower lecture concentration 49.23%
④ Etc. 4.1%
The students answered that the biggest merit of On-line class was the flexibility of time and place, but they pointed out low concentration during the class. "I have attended cyber class before and I have experienced lowered class concentration. When I try to concentrate on class, the server is always unstable. And when the server is stable I get tempted to surf the Internet," complained a respondent of the poll.
“I think the professors of cyber class are irresponsible because most of the lectures are dull. Some of the lectures are only in text even though these needs to be video lectures with detailed instructions," he added. Students also laid a finger on the need for shortage of instruction class, not to mention the prompt feedback between teachers and students.
After evaluating DU's Cyber Classes by the SA's system and gathering Donggukian opinion, we concluded that DU has many defects in its On-line lectures. When we take a look at different universities' On-line learning services, we could see how far advanced their services are even though DU started the service ahead of them.
Kyung Hee Cyber University
Kyung Hee University is a good example of a university which strengthen its On-line Class. They established an individual digital university, Kyung Hee Cyber University (KHCU), which offers all lectures on the Internet; so they pick students separately for KHCU. After graduating from KHCU, the students can acquire a Bachelor's degree. Though they started in the program two years later than DU, they have specified the merits much faster.
The KHCU administration system consists of five organizations. The Dept. of E-learning Support, one of the institutes, plans and produces the contents of lectures.
If the Dept. of Information Support were only in the Seoul campus, local students would suffer inconveniences from low-speed connections and frequent service pauses. To solve these problems, the school included an IT center in Mokdong and joined with the ADSL to offer stable On-line learning. Lots of the KHCU students attend popular lectures, such as Oriental Medicine and Life, at the same time without any bottlenecks.
The KHCU and Kyung Hee University (KHU) students can exchange both On and Off-line lectures respectively to achieve credit. And about 700 KHU students are taking the KHCU's cyber lectures.
There are various On-line lectures including 15 majors of 7 departments; Dept. of Global Management, Dept. of NGO studies, Dept. of Hotel Management and so on. The KHCU also provides special activities like Overseas Visit Program during summer and winter vacations. Last year, a team of 25 students visited the Numaz Plant of Fujitsu Co. and Osaka University to study modern industries of Japan.
Regarding the poll, Donggukians pointed out studying On-line lowers concentration compared to Off-line classes. As a countermeasure, the KHCU set up a interception program which blocks the Internet messengers. “The program helps me not to chat through the messenger but to concentrate during the class. And to overcome the demerits of On-line learning, students held meetings to exchange information once or more a month," said one of the KHCU students.
Sejong University Cyber Graduate School
Sejong University Cyber Graduate School (SUCGS) opened in late 2002 and is another successful example. Although it has started four years latter then DU, they are already equipped for systemic educational circumstance. Their success can be explained by the following three factors.
Unlike DU, Sejong put all its their full effort in to improving the quality of On-line lectures by hiring 3 computer experts and 4 executive officers to produce the contents of the lectures. The experts have been using various methods to promote students concentration such as adding animation to lectures. SUCGS invest 20 to 30 million won per subject in order to provide content quality. Donggukians complained of DU's shortage of video lectures, but SUCGS have all lectures in Media Player. For the next semester, they are going to import celebrated scholars' lectures from a cyber university in the UK.
Sejong's second successful factor was giving students the optional On-and Off-line. Sejong Graduate School lectures. So the graduates can choose convenient classrooms. SUCGS also runs a Q & A bulletin board on their homepage and send e-mail of one's schedule individually to encourage feedback between students and professors. " Since I have a job, it's hard for me to keep track of my time schedule. But I have never missed it because of the e-mail notice of my individual schedule," said Hong Suk-hyun in the Dept. of Real-estate Management in SUCGS.
The one noticeable benefit of SUCGS is the financial productivity. They are making a profit because the professors of SUCGS are teaching at both the On-and Off-line school and it is unnecessary to pay the professors twice. And the contents of SUCGS is exported to Tiwan Cyber University, which is not just a financial benefit but also globalizes SUCGS.
Michigan State University
Although the U.S.A. has a disadvantageous position in constructing a rapid Internet network due to its far-flung territory, Michigan State University (MSU), a sister university of DU, has a well-organized cyber university.
MSU runs various on-line learning systems including 19 degree courses, 15 certificate programs and lifelong education. On-line lifelong education is for people who want to attend university educational programs without entrance formalities. They permit non-relatives of MSU to register On-line and even overseas students can attend Language courses.
Undergraduates and graduates of MSU can attend degree course or certification program which have identical status. They are also running a system for On-line students to find employment after finishing the courses.
Most of America's state universities run a cyber university. So the Post interviewed Dr. Kuen-Hee Ju-Pak (Dept. of Advertising) who teaches On-and Off-line lectures at California State University in Fullerton.
Q. Is it essential for faculties to teach On-line lecture in California State University?
California State University at Fullerton emphasizes innovation in learning technology in its missions and goals. Therefore, faculty efforts or contributions toward making On-line classes available is generally encouraged or even rewarded through a form of monetary grants or course releases. Such efforts are voluntary and are not required for tenure or promotion.
Q What kind of response does students show in America?
Our online courses are offered as a way to reach out to those students whose class seating time is very limited because of job employment and other reasons. So they seem very happy about their ability to take the
courses necessary to graduate, without being in the class physically at the designated time.
Q. If you could boast about your school's cyber class, what would it be?
One notable characteristic of our system here is some of the courses combine On-line course offering with one or more in-class meetings to ensure an appropriate level of student learning.
Q. What do you think about these on-line classes?
Flexibility, that is, one’s ability to take the course anywhere, at the convenience of their home or work, and any time is certainly one of the greatest benefits of On-line courses. This means that university-level learning may be available to more people than before, because the professionals who have limited time to take Off-line courses may pursue a baccalaureate or master’s degree by taking On-line courses. Others may not agree, but I personally think that there are some pedagogical merits with Online courses. Because students can access the course material as often and much as necessary to again a strong grasp of the material. Also, the quality and amount of student learning may increase dramatically, especially for lecture-intensive courses. That may not be the case for skills-oriented courses that require learning through hands-on experience.
DU didn't establish a cyber university because of financial insolvency and because but the SA thought it was unnecessary to invest on such an unclear future. When we compare other universities' On-line lectures, their various new programs are way ahead US. And DU doesn't have specific plans to establish such individual cyber university.
"Cyber classes are growing exponentially because they are an expansion of life-long education with no limit of time and place. With these benefits in mind, DU cyber classes have to emphasize life-long education rather than an individual cyber university, and this is our future plan of developing DU On-line lectures," said Prof. Kim Sung-hoon, the president of DU Cyber University.
Prof. Kim also suggested two ways to improve On-line lectures. The first method is to improve the quality of lectures and the other is to develope a globalization on-line educational program.
Focusing on improving lecture quality is very essential. It should force students to spend more time and effort than off-line lectures do, and furthermore, giving easy grades in cyber classes have to be ended. By having harmonious interaction between professors and students, cyber classes will naturally be enhanced and, moreover, it will advance our information-oriented society.
When DU secures quality On-line lectures, it will be possible to import both international and local lectures. In order to be competitive in the education market, qualitative On-line lectures are necessary. In line with this, DU have peculiar and comparative ways of educating. Of course DU will have long-range plan to these programs and we will make these in e-learning system step by step to globalize DU education.
On-line learning has so many merits, but students have to be pioneers in the classes not followers. If students don't focus in the lectures due to their laziness, it will be nothing but a waste of time and money. "Before and after attending cyber classes students should take three things in to consideration. First, check the suitability of one's computer before registering for a cyber class. And after registration pay careful attention to homepage bulletin board for the class noticesand to submit weekly reports on time," Prof. Kim. added
Alcohol has medical value, but its poison when we abuse it. Donggukians should attend cyber class not abuse it.
Yoon Ji-won, Son Jin-lee firstname.lastname@example.org
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