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e-Learning Initiatives in China

e-Learning Initiatives in China: Pedagogy, Policy and Culture

Edited by Helen Spencer-Oatey
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    e-Learning Initiatives in China
    Book Description:

    e-Learning Initiatives in China provides research and application insights into e-learning in China, in the light of two drives by the Chinese Ministry of Education: to implement curriculum reform and to promote quality and innovation in e-learning provision. Educationalists throughout the world have their eyes on China, both as a market to understand and to enter, and as a major source of international students. In addition, educationalists are increasingly aware of the need to incorporate digital technology into their course provision and delivery. This book provides valuable insights into both of these elements. It includes ‘state-of-the-art' reviews of e-learning in China, case study examples of e-learning design and development issues, and explores the collaboration challenges that British and Chinese teams experienced as they participated in a Sino-UK e-learning initiative, the eChina-UK Programme. The book is written in a clear and accessible style. Section 1, Background, introduces the book and provides an overview of e-learning in higher education in China. Section 2, Designing and Delivering Online Courses in China, starts with a critical review of online courseware designs that are currently widespread in China, and then presents a series of case study examples which deal with important design and delivery issues. Section 3, Managing the Interplay between Pedagogy and Technology, explores ways in which new learning technologies can be exploited for pedagogic purposes. Section 4, Managing Collaboration Processes, discusses the issues that the project teams needed to manage effectively as they collaborated both internationally and professionally. The final section, Section 5, Addressing Policy Issues, deals with key e-learning policy issues, both within China and internationally. The topic of e-learning, combined with the book's emphasis on the interrelationship of policy and practice, and its international teamwork perspective, will appeal to education specialists and e-learning experts not only in Asia but also in many Western countries.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-24-0
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Helen Spencer-Oatey
  7. Section 1: Background

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-10)
      Helen Spencer-Oatey

      These are the words of Zhou Ji, the current Chinese Minister of Education. They hint at the huge educational challenge that China is facing at present and suggest the significant role that e-learning can play in the (educational) development of the country.

      Let us consider the following statistics:

      318,783,000 people in different types of Chinese educational institutions at all levels in 2002 (Li 2004: 45)

      About 204 million children attending primary and secondary schools (Chen 2006)

      Over 20 million students enrolled in China’s colleges and universities in 2004 (Huang, Jiang and Zhang this volume)

      970,506 academic staff at China’s colleges...

    • 2 e-Learning in Higher Education in China: An Overview
      (pp. 11-32)
      Kang Feiyu and Song Gilsun

      In this chapter, we provide some background information on e-learning in China, focusing primarily on its historical development and current scope. We discuss the key factors that have shaped the present e-learning systems, and we consider how the recent massive growth in numbers of Internet and online users in China has resulted in different types of learning support and government guidance. Finally, we discuss the main problems in e-learning that have been encountered and that are now being addressed. It should be noted that the term ‘e-learning’ in China is very closely associated with the Chinese government’s concept of modern...

  8. Section 2: Designing and Delivering Online Courses in China

    • Editor’s Introduction to Section 2
      (pp. 34-36)

      This section focuses on issues associated with the design and delivery of online courses in China, and explores the following crucial questions:

      What types of online courseware design are currently widespread in China, and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses?

      How can online courseware be designed so that learner autonomy (which is so important for online study) is promoted?

      Studying online can be a lonely experience, so how can the courseware be designed in order to facilitate the building of communities of online learners?

      To what extent is it feasible for foreign languages to be taught wholly online, or...

    • 3 Learning by Multimedia and Multimodality: Some Critical Reflections on Web-Based Courseware Design in the Chinese Context
      (pp. 37-56)
      Gu Yueguo

      This chapter reports some critical reflections on Web-based courseware design in the last five years in China in general, and at the Beiwai Institute of Online Education in particular. For ease of reference, six types of design are identified:

      1. Printed-textbook-transfer Design: This refers to the Web-based publication of an existing printed textbook verbatim. The design, if any, will consist of changing the print pages to Web pages plus extra navigation buttons.

      2. Audio-supplement Design: This refers to the practice of adding audio clips to the printed-textbook-transfer design.

      3. Video-supplement Design: This refers to the practice of adding video clips...

    • 4 Designing an Innovative Online Course in Language Teaching Methodology for Middle School Teachers of English in China: Encouraging Learner and Teacher Autonomy
      (pp. 57-78)
      Ian McGrath, Barbara Sinclair and Chen Zehang

      Currently, some 470,000 teachers are involved in the teaching of English at junior middle school level (students aged 12–15) in China, many of whom possess only a two- or three-year diploma in teaching, rather than a specialist qualification (e.g. a first degree, BA) in English. The Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE) has recently stated that by 2010 all junior middle-school teachers should have at least a first degree.¹ However, until recently, the only option for those wishing to upgrade their qualifications to degree level has been to take correspondence courses, attend night schools or study at a Radio and...

    • 5 A Socio-Emotional Approach to Building Communities of Learners Online
      (pp. 79-94)
      Carol Hall, Eric Hall and Lindsay Cooper

      It has long been recognized that English language teaching in China is teacher-centred, textbook-based and examination-orientated, with an emphasis on the teaching of grammar and vocabulary at the expense of language skills and communicative competence. Recently however, two events in particular demonstrated the urgency with which the Chinese Ministry of Education (MoE) would need to introduce policies which would require teachers to shift the emphasis from the grammar-translation method to pedagogical approaches aimed to develop the communicative competencies of listening and speaking. These two events are the entry of China into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the announcement...

    • 6 CUTE: A Flexible Approach to the Integration of Online and Face-to-Face Support for Language Learning
      (pp. 95-108)
      Debra Marsh, Eric Brewster, Nicola Cavaleri and Anny King

      The CUTE (Chinese University Teacher Training in English) Project is one of the component projects of the eChina-UK Programme. In its initial phase, which is known as CUTE 1 and is reported here, the project involved staff at the University of Cambridge (UoC) and Tsinghua University working collaboratively to design, develop and deliver two integrated English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course modules that combine online learning support materials with face-to-face (F2F) interaction.

      The aim of the CUTE Project is to develop a course which will enable Chinese teachers to teach their specialist subjects in English and to participate effectively in...

    • 7 A Generic Framework for the Training of e-Learning Tutors
      (pp. 109-124)
      Gordon Joyes and Wang Tong

      This chapter presents a generic framework for the training of e-learning tutors. The need for such a framework emerged during the tertiary-level eELT Project of the eChina-UK Programme, in which the School of Education, University of Nottingham (UoN), UK, formed a collaborative partnership with Beiwai Online of Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Beijing, China. The eELT Project involved the development of exemplar online materials for a master’s degree programme in English Language Teaching (MA eELT) which would be delivered wholly online (for more details, see the Case Study section of the eChina-UK Programme website: This ambitious development, with...

  9. Section 3: Managing the Interplay between Pedagogy and Technology

    • Editor’s Introduction to Section 3
      (pp. 126-126)

      The previous section of the book focuses on pedagogic design issues for online courses. In this section, we turn to the interplay between pedagogy and technology, because the design and development of online courseware requires a team approach in which academics work closely with technical staff. In the eChina-UK Programme, all projects were convinced that pedagogy should lead the technology, rather than vice versa, but on a practical level, there were numerous issues that needed to be addressed.

      Zähner, in Chapter 8, discusses the factors that the eChina-UK CUTE Project team needed to consider when deciding what technical platform to...

    • 8 Translating Pedagogy into Technology: Techno-Pedagogic Aspects of a Sino-UK e-Learning Project
      (pp. 127-140)
      Christoph Zähner

      This chapter uses eChina-UK’s CUTE Project (see Marsh et al. this volume, pp. 95–107) as a case study to examine some technical and implementation aspects of a collaborative Sino-UK e-learning endeavour. It argues that, prior to considering any technological choices and implementation options, e-learning projects must establish a firm methodological basis and that the technical implementation must be able to support the chosen pedagogical approach. In the case of CUTE, a methodology was chosen that focuses on autonomous learning with appropriate learner support, community building, integrated scaffolding and an appropriate blend of face-to-face (F2F) with online elements. This chapter...

    • 9 Personalized Online Learning: Exploiting New Learning Technologies
      (pp. 141-154)
      Gordon Joyes

      Computer intelligence has been likened to that of a worm, in that computers are able to respond predictably to stimuli but in rather limited ways. Human intelligence, when it comes to exploiting new learning technologies, has been rather worm-like — responding to the technologies that exist rather than demanding more of them. Little is understood, in fact, about the affordances of different learning technologies (Conole and Dyke 2003), in part due to the failure to exploit their potential.

      The challenge is to reconceptualize the learner experience, as the context for learning moves from face-to-face (F2F) to online, and to explore the...

  10. Section 4: Managing Collaboration Processes

    • Editor’s Introduction to Section 4
      (pp. 156-158)

      An important aim of the eChina-UK Programme has been to strengthen collaboration between China and the UK. It was hoped that if British and Chinese partners worked together on a common task, there would be a number of positive outcomes for both countries, including the following:

      the emergence of innovative ideas about e-learning design, which could be tested through the delivery of pilot courses;

      a growth in mutual understanding of HE issues in each other’s contexts, including those pertaining to e-learning;

      the forging of collaborative partnerships which would extend beyond the life of the programme.

      However, effective collaboration does not...

    • 10 Managing Collaborative Processes in International Projects: Programme Management Perspectives
      (pp. 159-174)
      Helen Spencer-Oatey and Tang Min

      Extensive research evidence, especially from the field of international management (e.g. Maznevski 1994; Janssens and Brett 1997; DiStefano and Maznevski 2000; Maznevski and Chudoba 2000; de Dreu 2002; Polzer, Milton and Swann 2002; West 2002) has shown that any kind of diversity in work groups is a double-edged sword: it has the potential to improve creativity, innovation and performance, but if it is not managed effectively, it can have an extremely negative and disruptive effect. This chapter explores the challenges that the eChina-UK project members experienced during their collaborations and the ways in which they handled them. The members were...

    • 11 Developing a Collaborative Approach to e-Learning Design in an Intercultural (Sino-UK) Context
      (pp. 175-188)
      David McConnell, Sheena Banks and Vic Lally

      This chapter focuses on the processes of intercultural collaboration that occurred during a strand of the eChina-UK DEfT Project (Developing e-Learning for Teachers) (see Table 1.1 [p. 6] and Motteram et al. this volume, pp. 189–201). This part of the project involved staff from the University of Sheffield and Beijing Normal University (BNU) in jointly developing e-learning materials for a master’s level module in Educational Technology and e-Learning.¹ One of the goals of the eChina-UK Programme as a whole is to develop understandings in both countries of cultural change and exchange in e-learning pedagogy (see Spencer-Oatey this volume, pp....

    • 12 Collaborating across Boundaries: Managing the Complexities of e-Learning Courseware Production in a Joint International Project
      (pp. 189-202)
      Gary Motteram, Gillian Forrester, Sue Goldrick and Angela McLachlan

      The DEfT (Developing e-Learning for Teachers) Project was a two-year collaboration between the School of Networked Education (SNE) (now School of Continuing Education and Teacher Training — SCETT) at Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the Worldwide Universities Network (member universities involved were Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton). The Schools of Education at the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield² were responsible for creating the e-learning courseware with BNU. Bristol and Southampton Universities were responsible for conducting the initial needs analysis with BNU and the subsequent formal evaluation of the courseware produced. In response to the Chinese Ministry of Education’s (MoE) policies to...

  11. Section 5: Addressing Policy Issues

    • Editor’s Introduction to Section 5
      (pp. 204-204)

      This last section of the book turns to issues of policy. Policy forms the backdrop to all of the other issues explored in the book, and this section illustrates the close interplay between policy and practice.

      Chapter 13 focuses on intellectual property (IP). In any collaborative venture, the creation, management and use of intellectual property need to be agreed among the various members. However, this can be a challenging task, especially for e-learning teams who have little experience of handling IP issues. When the collaboration is a cross-national one, it is even more complex. In this chapter, Windrum reports the...

    • 13 Managing Intellectual Property Rights in Cross-National e-Learning Collaborations
      (pp. 205-220)
      Caroline Windrum

      Technology-enhanced learning — or e-learning — is considered to hold significant promise for educational transformation. Potential benefits are argued to include the provision of more stimulating educational environments for learners, combined with more efficient, effective and scalable models for conducting the ‘business’ of education. Educational designers are involved in the production of, or look for access to, what are considered good quality resources as part of the educational offering. This is particularly the case in networked education, where heavy demands are placed upon making available pedagogically rich resources.

      The growth of digital technologies has accelerated the ease, pace, scale and affordability by...

    • 14 The Informationization of Higher Education in China: Present Situation and Challenges
      (pp. 221-232)
      Huang Ronghuai, Jiang Xin and Zhang Haishen

      China has achieved significant advances in social and economic development in recent decades. In 2005, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached 18.23 trillion RMB,¹ and Premier Wen Jiabao pointed out in his 2006 Work Report that “China has entered an historic stage where we should rely more on technological advances and innovation to boost our social and economic development, and should place the acceleration of scientific and technological development in a more paramount strategic position.” Informationization is the term used in China to refer to this process of applying information technology widely throughout society. The aim is to enhance productivity...

    • 15 Complexity and Interconnection: Steering e-Learning Developments from Commodification towards ‘Co-modification’
      (pp. 233-248)
      Gráinne Conole and Martin Dyke

      Education has changed dramatically in the last thirty years as a result of a number of factors. This reflects a more general wider societal change and has been fuelled by national policy directives as well as technological changes. This chapter provides a critique of the context within which e-learning occurs and considers how this shapes and directs practice. The central argument of this chapter is that contextual factors have a significant impact on the directions of e-learning activities, and hence an understanding of these factors is important for both policy decisions and practice. The chapter highlights some of the key...

  12. Editor’s Afterword: Outstanding Issues
    (pp. 249-250)

    This book has mainly focused on the issues, insights and achievements of the initial eChina-UK projects that took place from 2003 to 2005. At the end of those projects, we were all deeply aware that the process of developing mutual understanding and of achieving innovative developments in e-learning was only just beginning. We felt that we had particularly more to learn in the following areas:

    in developing a deeper understanding of the pedagogic beliefs and perspectives that are held by the joint project members and that inform the design and delivery of our e-learning materials;

    in dealing with scalability issues...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 251-256)
  14. References
    (pp. 257-280)
  15. Index
    (pp. 281-290)