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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Largest open online course service in Asia launches trial run

The presidents from universities participating in Global Access Asia (GAA) attend a launch ceremony Monday at Dongseo University in Busan. [NEWSIS]
An online open course system was launched Monday, marking the first time such a large-scale online course service has been established among universities in Asia.

Currently, 59 universities across 17 countries in Asia, including Dongseo University (DSU) in Busan, are participating. 

Global Access Asia (GAA) kicked off its trial service following an opening ceremony Monday at Dongseo University (DSU) in Busan, with the goal of increasing international learning opportunities for students attending universities that take part in the Asian University Presidents Forum (AUPF). 

Presidents from 20 universities, including Japan’s Josai International University, China’s Shandong University and Universiti Malaysia Perlis, participated in the opening event. 

GAA is an online courseware platform, similar to the massive open online course service in the United States, commonly known as MOOC, which pursues unlimited participation and open access through the web. In many countries, universities and even governments have seen MOOC as a way to widely distribute each university’s course load. 

In GAA, each participating university offers courses online, which allow students at other school to take lectures for free and earn academic credit. 

The courses available include credit and noncredit courses. Courses for credit have 15-week curriculums, and students may earn two academic credits for each course completed. All lectures are conducted in English.

In the trial, 13 lectures from eight universities, including “Understanding North Korean Culture,” provided by DSU, and “Fundamentals of Digital Communications” from Bangkok University, are available. 

Official service will begin in September, and the number of lectures will increase to 30 within the year. 

The new online course platform was initially proposed in 2013 at the AUPF, and the following year, the forum made the decision to create GAA. Four universities, including DSU, have been involved in developing the platform, and DSU takes responsibility for its management - the system’s servers are hosted by the university. 

“All lectures in GAA are based on each university’s tradition and geographical nature, or have something to do with a specialized field,” said DSU President Chang Je-kuk. “More efforts are required to distribute such high-quality content to the world.”

Lectures provided by GAA can be seen at www.gaa.link. 

BY SUNG SI-YOON, NAM YOON-SEO [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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