陽明交大電子報 2023-08期 FEATURE STORY
“The MOOCs program at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) is a success not only in Taiwan but also for the Chinese people that mark as a leader in the area of open courses,” said Wei-I Lee, Director of the Higher Educational Resources for Openness Center at NYCU.
NYCU is the first university in Taiwan to launch open courses. The university established the ewant Open Education Platform in 2013 as Taiwan’s first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform. The platform has offered over 8,000 courses until June 2023 while collaborating with over a hundred colleges, universities, and organizations with over 470,000 enrollments. It is currently the largest and most dominant MOOCs platform in Taiwan. The Open Education Platform ewant has collaborated with National Palace Museum for the course “A Visit to Treasures in National Palace Museum” and was awarded gold at the 2021 World Fest Houston International Film and Video Festival under the “Television/Web Production” category. Professor Barbara Oakley, the lecturer of the popular course “Learning How to Learn” on Coursera, the largest online learning platform worldwide, is invited by ewant to launch a Chinese version of the course – “Learning How to Learn: The Way of Learning”. They teamed up to further develop a high school version and another version for teacher education. It also collaborated with Professor J.M. Wen, former professor of the Chinese Language Center at Chiao Tung Campus, to record the course “Fall in Love With Mandarin”, which is available on FutureLearn, the largest online learning platform in the United Kingdom, and the learners have well received this.
＂The video content and topics are fascinating, practical, and well-organized for pre-elementary Chinese learners. I really enjoyed the course＂——Mine H
＂A clear-cut course to introduce you to practical Chinese. You’re even encouraged to record yourself on Vocaroo after a couple of lessons. However, I expected more dialogues and some more grammar explanations.＂——Pierre C
The feedback on these open courses from all over the world is attributed to NYCU’s vision to promote open courses as well as the efforts of the ewant platform. In 2002, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OCW (OpenCourseWare) website was launched, which started the global trend of distance learning that breaks through the limitations of time and space. NYCU is the first top-notch university in Taiwan to join this wave. The school started the OCW real-time course recording service in 2006 and established a university-level research unit, “Higher Educational Resources for Openness (HERO) Center,” in the same year. The center has set up its platform, ewant, and adopted the open-source Moodle system as the core of the platform to strengthen the teacher-student interactions in the courses. A symbiosis between the virtual and the physical is created by launching a hybrid course that can be conducted online and offline, building a space for peer-to-peer learning and exchanges.
According to Wei-I Lee, Director of the Higher Educational Resources for Openness Center at NYCU, there were four platforms of MOOCs, namely, ewant Open Education Platform (NYCU), ShareCourse Network (the former university-industry cooperation platform of National Tsing Hua University, which has been transformed into a commercial platform), OpenEdu Platform (Feng Chia University), and TaiwanLIFE Learning platform (cooperation between NYCU and National Open University). MOOCs courses are mainly provided by ewant that are taught in Mandarin for Chinese-speaking countries, aiming to popularize high-quality educational resources. Lee further mentioned that ewant receives support from the university and the Ministry of Education and collaborates with multiple universities in general education, talent cultivation, and the digital learning project for high school institutions.
ewant launched various courses, not only from the faculties of NYCU but also from lecturers of other universities and high schools in Taiwan, to create an excellent teaching team. For example, Professor Fei-Juan Chen of the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology started the course “Mandatory Credits for College Students: Emotional Education” with ewant. This course was later promoted to the largest credit-sharing platform in China, the “Wisdom Tree Online Education”, and received more than 30,000 enrollments for the first semester. Another example is Professor Sirirat Sae Lim from the Institute of Management of Technology at NYCU. Her course “Using Creative Problem Solving” has also been promoted to FutureLearn, Europe’s largest online learning platform. These cases enable students and teachers from NYCU to connect with the international community and interact with each other.
Aside from cooperation with different universities and countries, NYCU constantly promotes open education to local communities, which includes launching the “University/High-school Collaboration on Online-learning (UHCOOL)” with governments and semiconductor companies. This university-industry-academia cooperation provides online courses for high school students to learn about the current situation of the semiconductor industry at an early stage. On the other hand, it may also cultivate possible talents for the semiconductor industry to maintain Taiwan’s advantage in the field, with TSMC as Taiwan’s “magic mountain that protects the nation “. In the UHCOOL project, the first digital course is “Introduction to Semiconductor Principles and Manufacturing”, in which the industry provides professional consultation, information for course design and production, and sharing of practical experience in the industry. High school teachers participate in the course design, leading to an excellent teaching community. At the same time, ewant provides a dedicated online course area to share high-quality learning resources. In the future, the project also plans to launch introductory courses on Medical Science and Artificial Intelligence.
Lee mentioned that, in general, the MOOCs movement is thriving in Taiwan. He hopes that these outstanding course contents in Taiwan will be extended to the rest of the world through NYCU’s ewant platform, which has already launched more than 100 English courses, and recently even launched a series of Chinese language and culture courses on the FutureLearn platform. This platform also welcomes teachers and students from home and abroad to use them best. At the end of the interview, he also suggested that industries can make more use of MOOCs courses that do not require classrooms, transportation, hardware, and equipment. Such advantages of flexibility meet the needs of office workers to solve the industry’s problem of “what is taught in schools cannot be used in the industry immediately”. Lee said, “Even though the semiconductor companies all work in the same field, each company emphasizes different aspects, so it is difficult for university education as a form of basic education to meet the industry’s needs.” If more resources are invested in employee education and training, not only can the educational gap be eliminated and the ability of employees improved, but adjustments can also be made to meet the company’s needs to create a program that meets the company’s core values.
For more information, please see the Ewant website of NYCU: https://www.ewant.org/
陽明交大電子報 2023-08期 FEATURE STORY