Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Schools team up to offer course materials online

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Sixteen universities yesterday launched the Taiwan Open Course Ware Consortium (TOCWC) project to share higher education resources with the public.

At a Taipei press conference, Pai Chi-kuang (白啟光), director-general of National Chiao Tung University’s (NCTU) Open Education Office, said the plan originated from a knowledge sharing program — Open Course Ware — proposed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1999. Similar projects have since been launched in Japan and Vietnam.

But TOCWC is not a branch of the MIT project, she said.

OPEN TO ALL

The concept of “open course ware” is to open to the public the resources of college courses that were once only available within a school. Users can download the resources for personal use and modify the content, Pai said.

The materials cannot be used for commercial purposes.

“Establishing the consortium will help demonstrate the quality of Taiwan’s higher education. Exchanges of knowledge will no longer be confined by space and time,” NCTU president Peter Wu (吳重雨) said.

Pai said her school offers more than 40 online courses in calculus, physics and chemistry, with outlines, handouts, assignments and exams for the courses all available online,

The online materials are “just like those you would get if you attended classes in person,” she said.

Pai said video clips were available for some of the courses.

The other 15 universities that have joined the association, she said, were expected to offer resources for a minimum of 10 courses over a two-year period starting next semester in their own competitive fields.

NO REGISTRATION

Pai said the new service did not require registration and as a general rule, no degrees or certifications will be awarded as the courses are purely meant for self-education.

However, NCTU will allow high school graduates to apply for advanced credit for their freshman year at the school if they can pass the September exam on a subject they have been studying with the online materials, Pai said.

She said the consortium had also agreed on terms of use for their online materials to be downloaded, revised and redistributed for non-commercial purposes. One stipulation is that authors must be cited in the materials.

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