The online learning In mainland China

Last week, I learned a fact from R685 that “Disasters, such as earthquake, eruption of the volcano, blizzard, sometimes are the reason for people to reevaluate the role of the online course” It is so ironic for some people to fully realize the importance of online course until they have no choice but take it, then after that, they became so addicted to that.

Then, it reminded me of the year 2003, when SARS spread so fast in the mainland China, everyone is so scared, shops closed, schools shut down, many students had to stay home, at that time, many schools has used some distance teaching methods such at satellite TV to teach students, some online training program became so popular at that time. However, there has not formed a systematic way at that time, but more and more people paying their attention on online learning.

Compared with the article that talks about the K-12 online learning, I just felt there has been some different aspect from China, First, I looked up some website and article, but never find some example that use the full online teaching method in middle school or high school, but they do have some blended course, but it is more like teacher using a computer to illustrate some complicated theories by the main computer, then walk through the classroom to see how students solve some similar problem. Second, the urgent need for online learning also exist in the rural area, however, without the equipment, it is impossible for the rural area to launch such online program, so now still a lot of voluntary teachers came to the small rural village, but there is still short of qualified teacher in such area.

The "so called" online course in China

And though the unforgettable “99 second” of description of many articles, I strongly feel that online course in USA weigh over the online course in China, for now, Chinese government didn’t recognize the online degree; sure, it has its own concern, without the appropriate legal and technological system, it may cause many problem, but it is possible that one day Chinese government will admit the online degree just like USA? I think that may happen, especially for some famous school, because now more and more Chinese people have the access to get the higher education, and there has been a lot of people re-enter the university to get their master or PHD degree, the problem is most of them has their family to raise, so they do have a great mount of need, also, more and more universities are now expand their campus in the suburb, so if the online course is opened, more money can be used in scientific research.

Well, that’s only my thoughts, now most of Chinese online course are produced by some training program, like the New Oriental School, they are focus on the short-time training, hopefully, in the future, some people can enjoy the convenience brought by the real online course provided by universities.

Relection on E-book

Baboom material

Searvhing in the Library

The E-book
Imaging three situations, first one is back to the ancient dynasty Han of China, the students in traditional college are reading bamboo material of the masterpiece of Confucius--- The Analects of Confucius( <Lun Yu>). Second one is in the late 1980s, searching the The Analects of Confucius in library, And the other student is in the modern society of 21st century, reading the e-book of The Analects of Confucius in his ipod, while listening his favorite music at the same time.

Walking through ancient China to modern society, we might feel so light by uploading all the weight of the reading material, from tons of bamboo with limited message to a few grams of LCD screen contains with trillion shortage of information, e-book make our life so convenient now. what’s more, it is easy for us to list other benefits of the e-book.
  • When it comes to the ecological aspect, e-books overweight the traditional book, for no trees are required to manufacture paper for the pages of e-books

  •   E-books are delivered almost instantaneously. You can purchase, download and start reading them within minutes, without leaving your chair. You don't have to go to a bookstore to buy them, neither wait for them for days, weeks and sometimes more to arrive in the mail.

  •  E-books take up less space. You practically don't need any space to store them. You don't need a library or a room for them. You can store hundreds and thousands of e-books in your computer and also we don’t need to worry about their weight.

  •  Also E-books can show links, for easy access to more information and related websites and e-book are more  searchable. You can easily search for any information in an e-book, instead of turning page after page.

  •  E-books can be contained with audio, video and animations, which can enhance the message that the author is trying to convey.

However, there do have some problems that stop e-book to be used for everybody. Like the immature for both software and hardware, and moreover, some people just resist to change their reading habit, they are more comfortable with the paper reading habit. Think all the greatest change in history, it may took people longer time to fully realize the benefit of the new technology.

And when e-books come to the field of academic study, more students may feel the problem that more or less they may get distract by the simple click to the Facebook, Youtube etc. What’s more just like Nicholas Carr, who raises concerns about the long-term implications in The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain, which was published in June. "The danger is you don't encourage people to think critically and, ultimately, you don't encourage them to think creatively."

So Just like the last course we discussed, nowadays they have the training course for college students which enhance them to better use of the i-pads, e-books included. However, we should also keep in mind, having the training might may provide them with some effective methods, but what counts last for effective learning is students own cognitive style, so it is very important for students to integrate those methods into their own learning style, in this way, we can reduce the phenomenon of "cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning".

Also there do have another concerns in China when students are reading the e-books, parents may worried about the myopic phenomenon, for the traditional reading material, they can protect children’s eyesight by changing the color of the paper, so if we can find some solution to eliminate this concerns, there maybe more people using the e-books than now.

At last I am very confident about the e-book's future, it might not eventually replace the traditional book, but I think more and more people will be fasinated about this vivid "book".


    Are we ready?

    From the morning when I open my eyes, it is become a habit that I turn my computer on, log on my MSN, Skype...and grab some bread with some hot chocolate milk in my mouth, click the news window to check the latest report about so-called "major event" but cannot get the main idea after half an hour, while still continue gossip with my friends on QQ, that can be a day for me.

    However, when I loaded with assignments from different professors, thing begin to change, I can finished browsing numerous websites very fast and quickly nailed down to the essential perspective then come up with some my own thoughts, even sometimes I post some ideas online which according to my friends is very useful to them, that also used to be a day for me.

    Then come with the concept "cognitive surplus" that Clay Shirky defined, it described a tremendous power which come from the spare time like the time people were couch potatoes, by using the trillion time people spend on tv into the internet field people can build a better and more cooperate world, because we can create more humane internet environment which will help us save time in the long future.

    But here comes the problem, just like the example I give at the beginning , Same person ends with different days, either to be squandering or effective, the huge difference lies in the vacant brain and critical thinking, Shirky's " cognitive surplus" is definitely a brilliant idea, it brought the "invisible time" of a human being's into our sight, however, the perspective of "cognitive surplus" was too idealistic, for each person cannot take all the time in a tensed state, such critical thinking is impossible to maintain in our whole spare time.

    Then it reminds me of the article of "Are they ready to work?” In that report, it reveal a problem that now for most of American high school or college school students, most of them are lack in the ability to think more critical, cause the dilemma that they are hard to find a decent job. Without the capability to think critically, we are just tend to spend the time on internet to do some meaningless work, let alone creating some original works.

    And having the ability to think critical does not equal to think critical all the time, for some people, getting the access to Internet means they have time to relax themselves, without the pressure, more often than not they like to indulge themselves to a illusionary world, and people are "Creature of habit" when they feel comfortable for the situation, they are likely to lose the ability to think critical.T herefore, the situation which Carr described happened, even though internet developed our certain skills, it killing the ablity for deep thinking, thus come along with cursory reading, distracted think and superficial learning. So even we can have tremendous spare time, people are not necessarily to take full use of that.