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Osaka University is now a member of edX, a giant step forward in offering educational content to students around the world!

2014-3-6(Thu)

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Osaka University has joined the rapidly growing consortium of top universities in the world, edX, a MOOC [massive open online course] platform. Originally founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in May 2012, edX currently has 32 member universities offering a stunning variety of high-level courses to students around the world. As an edX member, Osaka University will now be able to offer some of its outstanding educational content to a global audience!

Greeting from Osaka University President Toshio HIRANO

Our Participation in edX

It’s my pleasure to announce that Osaka University has signed an agreement with edX and will deliver education programs to the world via this massive open online course (MOOC) platform.
The world now faces global-scale crises and problems with multiple causes: world population explosion, food problems, crises in energy supply, environmental destruction, and infectious diseases.
Universities in the 21st century need to explore solutions for such problems through scholarship, by ascertaining the essence that lies beneath the surface. The maintenance and development of society and humans is built upon diversities in race, language, culture, and religion. However, in international society, these elements often cause friction. Such confrontation can be overcome through varieties of social exchange and the common language “scholarship.”
I believe that universities and the "World Tekijuku" that Osaka University advocates will produce harmonious diversity through scholarship.
International exchange via massive open online courses will be a first step toward realizing the idea of World Tekijuku.
As the President of Osaka University, I look forward to walking together with the peoples of the world on this road to our mutual future.

Toshio HIRANO

March 6, 2014

Reasons behind Osaka University's participation in edX

As a contribution to achieving harmonious diversity through scholarship in our globalized society, Osaka University wants to achieve the following objectives through delivering MOOCs (massive open online courses) to the world.
Osaka University will establish its brand which will lead it to obtaining outstanding international students through its excellent online courses.

  • Osaka University will appeal to the world by delivering high quality research and education incorporating research themes the university is good at and lead it to obtaining outstanding students by providing courses equivalent to a university liberal arts education.
  • Osaka University will deliver courses as a social contribution to the world as one of the leading universities in Japan.

Osaka University will make use of contents of MOOCs for the purpose of globalizing education at Osaka University, providing lessons in English and flip teaching, as well as improving classes for many students.  

By making use of the edX platform, Osaka University will prepare guidebooks for courses for students at Osaka University and deliver them as advanced courses in the liberal arts. In order to accelerate the globalization of its university education, Osaka University will make use of Japanese subtitled contents for OU students.

Preparing the system for making content and accumulating the know-how at university.
Osaka University will set up the teaching material preparation unit in the Teaching and Learning Support Center (TLSC) and support teaching staff in charge of preparing contents. At the same time, Osaka University will design courses in the self-motivated approach spreading in Europe and the U.S. in order to encouraging self-motivated learning at Osaka University.

Background

In 2002, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) began publishing teaching materials as Opencourseware (OCW).  In Japan, five universities (one of which was Osaka University) started publishing OCW in May 2005.  Such a trend is spreading in the world as Open Educational Resources (OER). Recently, not only publishing teaching materials, but also online lectures are provided free of charge and anybody can register and take the lessons. (Individuals can receive a certificate of completion if they wish.) Such a trend started mainly from universities in North America and the term Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) has become widely used in the world.
In Japan, since September 2013, The University of Tokyo has implemented demonstration experiments of MOOC by making use of a platform provided by Coursera and is scheduled to deliver on the edX platform from the autumn of 2014. Kyoto University plans to deliver on the edX platform from April 2014.

Objective of the agreement with edX

The world now faces global-scale crises and problems with multiple causes: world population explosion, food problems, crises in energy supply, environmental destruction, and infectious diseases.
Universities in the 21st century need to explore solutions for such problems through scholarship, by ascertaining the essence that lies beneath the surface. The maintenance and development of society and humans is built upon diversities in race, language, culture, and religion. However, in international society, these elements often cause friction. Such confrontation can be overcome through varieties of social exchange and the common language "scholarship." The "World Tekijuku" that Osaka University advocates will produce harmonious diversity through scholarship. International exchange via massive open online courses will be a first step toward realizing the idea of World Tekijuku.

In the light of these objectives, as an international strategy, Osaka University has decided to deliver MOOCs and signed an agreement with edX.

Participation in the non-profit organization edX has following advantages:

  1. The open software of edX platform, Open edX, is available so it can be used on campus.
  2. We can smoothly operate courses in cooperation with MIT in charge of delivering open courseware.
  3. EdX will provide us a variety of services for delivering online courses.

From these advantages, we concluded edX was a good platform and signed to build a cooperative relationship.

Future development

Osaka University will start with the following projects.

  • We will decide courses to deliver in the 2014-15 academic year by the end of March 2014. We are planning to deliver classes such as "Robot Research based on Cognitive Brain Research," "Advanced Immunology Research," "Peace Building and Human Security in Asia" and more.
  • Teaching staff and the Teaching and Learning Support Center (TLSC) will design courses and prepare specific teaching materials. Through these efforts, we will provide 4 courses by February 2015.
  • Osaka University will provide Teaching staff with Open edX and improve the system so that they will prepare and make use of the contents of lessons as well.

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