These are my notes from Cheng Jiangang’s presentation, “Study and practice on integrated digital learning environments” at the 21st Century Learning @ the West Lake Expo held Oct 31 – Nov 3, 2009 at Xi Hu, China, also known as West Lake. West Lake is in the center of Hangzhou, China, which is about an hour by bus southwest of Shanghai. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Dr. Jiangang is a professor at the Institute of Educational Technology, Tsinghua University in China

Great achievements in China’s higher education
– freshmen enrollment numbers increased more than 3x between 1998 and 2002
– freshmen enrollment reached 3.8 million in 2003

Big challenges with China’s education qality
– not enough funds for higher education
– low levels of infrastructure
– lower competence of active attitude of teaching body

In 2003 to increase higher educational quality, the MOEC initiated an improvement project

National top class course plan is one of the Quality Projects
– creating a website for the course is a first step / pre-requisite
– digital resources and instructional experiences can be shared more freely

We need to build multiple systems to:
– integrate high quality digital content into instruction
– utilize technology for admininstration function
– to help with evaluation and assessment

Examples of multiple systems needed:
– academic affairs management systems
– elearning portals
– online teaching and learning
– teaching resource management platforms
– more…

Need to build integrated systems, because isolated or independent systems lead to “isolated islands” of information
– isolated systems give instructions additional burdens with heavy workloads of repetitive resource building
– multiple access to application systems
– interoperability is very important

What do we do? We present a solution…
– an integrated digital learning environment
– to meet the multiple demands and tasks of instructional reform
– emphasis on teaching and learning
– integrating multiple application systems

Now showing a chart to show the IT framework of this system / flow chart
– referenced Sakai and Moodle
– many, many different functions integrated into this plan

General elearning platorm
– THEOL E-Learning Platform

We can support students with this elearning platform to make plans, interact as a group, and for instructors to share resources, assist and guide, and evaluate processes.

instructors can use this platform to readily create course websites, provide interactive learning opportunities, etc.

THIS IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION SO FAR: THEY ARE INTEGRATING MIT OPEN COURSEWARE CONTENT, APPARENTLY PRETTY HEAVILY, INTO MANY OF THEIR COURSES.

Our system (THEOL) has been used by more than 180 universities in China
– 1 million students and teachers visit the site every day
– 200,000 courses have been setup using it
– 18% of the websites of national top class courses (about 3100 courses) have been setup using this system

I ASKED A QUESTION ABOUT HOW MUCH OPEN COURSEWARE RESOURCES ARE BEING USED
– His answer: They have collected open courseware materials for approximately 3000 different courses
– these are aggregated for faculty to use so they don’t have to spend time searching the web and finding these resources.

Milton Chen’s question: How many programmers developed this platform, what was the cost, was it built on open platforms like Sakai and Moodle which you mentioned in the presentation, and what is the cost to other universities to use this?
– About 50 faculty and staff are in our institute, and worked for 11 years to develop this platform
– Other universities do NOT pay currently to use this system
– Moodle and Sakai are very good, but the challenge is how to continue to support users

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