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The Hare & the Tortoise

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. The tortoise and the hare enigma in e-transformation in Japanese and Korean higher education British Journal of Educational Technology, Insung JUNG.

Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. The tortoise and the hare enigma in e-transformation in Japanese and Korean higher education. He now consults, researches and writes on open and distance learning and instructional technology around the globe. Kumiko Aoki is Associate Professor at the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan where she conducts research on internationalisation of higher education in Japan and the use of information and communication technologies in international education.

She was previously assistant professor in Communication at Boston University and assistant professor in Infor- mation Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States.

He was formerly dean of the Open Learning Faculty at Anadolu and in was a visiting professor at the National Institute of Multi- media Education in Japan where he researched global trends in e-transformation in universities. Email: clatchem iinet. Dr Insung Jung, email: isjung icu. Dr Kumiko Aoki, email: kaoki nime. Professor Ali Ekrem Ozkul, email: aeozkul anadolu. However, Japanese universities have not embraced e-learning as wholeheartedly as their Korean counterparts.

The paper concludes that this is due to governmental and institutional failure to develop a cogent vision and strategic plan for e-learning, to recognise the need for fundamental shifts in organisational cultures and structures and pedagogy and to provide training, funding, recognition and reward for such development.

The findings are seen to hold important lessons for other countries embarking on e-transformation. Both have inherited Confucianism, Buddhism and other cultural manifestations from China.

Both have become great industrial powers by adopting and adapting foreign ideas and inventions and by pushing the boundaries of technol- ogy. Both have highly developed digital infrastructures and have recently reformed their higher education systems and encouraged e-learning. However, Japanese universities have not embraced e-transformation as readily or comprehensively as their Korean counterparts.

The following paper describes, analyses and evaluates the differences in governmental and institutional policies, educational philosophies and sociocultural factors that have led to this situation. Its findings confirm that sustainable educational change requires a challenging of the status quo, vision, leadership, top-down support and bottom-up ownership, as argued by Fullan , an understanding of the politi- cal, structural and sociocultural dynamics Riley, and organisations, groups and individuals to be linked through an iterative flow of new ideas that feed into strategic planning, policy making and management procedures Laurillard, The Japanese and Korean university systems Japanese and Korean universities have made significant contributions to the socio- economic development of these two countries, and both countries have a high propor- tion of private institutions.

The Republic of Korea, with a population of Japan and Korea are experiencing serious population declines. Until recently, every year over 2 million school leavers entered Japanese universities.

Within a few years this will be down to 1. Competition is still fierce for entry into the high status Japanese universities such as the University of Tokyo, an institution that ranked an equal ninth in the Top World University Rankings QS Quacquarelli Symonds, But with the ever-decreasing pool of school leavers, most universities now have to compete for students; some have been forced to merge and some are closing Curtin, Japanese schools are highly regarded internationally, and like their Korean counter- parts, Japanese year olds rank highly in reading, science and problem solving PISA, a; PISA, b.

Arimoto claims that students have no incentive to study and teachers have no incentive to teach well. But again, the university sector as a whole is criticised for failing to meet the needs of the knowledge-intensive economy Cho, Unlike their Japanese counterparts, Korean undergraduates must study hard because employers demand high proficiency in English and computing. However, faculty lament deteriorating standards in the students and the ever-worsening staff— student ratios Jeon, and more and more students dissatisfied with the quality of Korean universities are opting for overseas study— in , a Japanese and Korean higher education have both recently been subject to major reforms.

In Japan, reform has been primarily concerned with administrative and struc- tural matters, whereas in Korea it has focused on research capabilities, lifelong learn- ing, digital infrastructure and e-learning.

In fact the changes were part of a drive to reorganise the ministries and reduce the number of government employees. MEXT also legislated for for- profit online universities, albeit on a limited basis. There has been no recognition that reforming universities involves reforming faculty.

The Korean reforms have been concerned with developing research capability, lifelong learning, digital infrastructure and e-learning. By , there had already been a Japanese and Korean open, distance and virtual universities Demand for distance education has always been high in Korea. Both countries have long-standing open universities and a number of universities that are dual mode.

In it went nationwide, using satellite digital broadcast and a network of study centres, and today it serves almost students. Until , MEXT legislated that students in these institutions must gain a minimum of 30 of the required credits through face-to-face or videoconferenced lectures. Under current regulations, these correspondence institutions may offer entire distance education courses without any face-to-face component.

Japanese universities do not attract many overseas students Intrasai, This fact, taken with their low international standing, the language difficulties and low level of e-learning activity, suggests they are unlikely to contribute significantly to globalised e-learning or international consortia. On the other hand, there are concerns over the prospect of prestigious overseas universities offering Japanese students opportunities for online undergraduate and postgraduate study Bush, b.

Today, its bachelor pro- grammes attract over students and thousands more enrol in its nondegree programmes. KNOU has always been a technology leader. It was the first Korean uni- versity to adopt videoconferencing, satellite TV, streaming video, a multimedia digital library and computerised administration Jung, a.

Its e-Learning Centre has developed over online courses, and all of its postgraduate programmes are entirely online. The ministry has also legislated for conventional universities to become dual mode and approved the establishment of private non-profit virtual uni- versities. Today, Korea has three cyber colleges and 14 virtual universities, two of which, Seoul Digital University and the Open Cyber University, are consortia established by conventional universities.

Misko, Choi, Hong and Lee and Leem and Lim observe that these virtual institutions have expanded access, improved educational standards and provided second-chance opportunities for adult learners, but they stress that there is still need to confirm their quality and cost-effectiveness.

These top rankings are largely a result of the strategic and operational planning of the two governments. Infrastructure, network environment, e-commerce and e-government targets were set, all classrooms were to be Internet- connected, education was to make greater use of e-learning and all citizens were to be enabled to access education regardless of geographical or personal circumstances.

However, the ITU observes that Japanese subscribers are far more likely than the rest of the world to access the Internet by mobile phone and the Japan Media Review suggests that this has inhibited PC use and that many Japanese have not yet embraced the Internet or media-based information-seeking habits. This aimed for world-class telecom services and optimal use of ICT.

The Ministry of Information and Communications MIC deregulated and upgraded the telecom and Internet market, built the National Informatisation Frame- work, wired up the whole country with optical fibre and provided Koreans with state- of-the-art technology Onishi, Other ministries collaborated with the MIC in developing ICT programmes and services, subsidising computers for low-income fami- lies, installing high-speed Internet in all classrooms and ensuring that all Koreans had cheap telephone and broadband network services and high-speed cable modems and DSL services.

As a consequence, Korea has seen exceptionally rapid growth in Internet access and usage. Bates and Panda stress that e-transformation requires visionary leader- ship, sound policy making, planning and operational management, and attention to resource provision, professional development, instructional design, student support and research and evaluation.

As will be shown, Korea has addressed these issues while Japan has failed to do so. In Korea, each ministry was committed to promoting e-learning Lee, This not only provided the technology and infrastructure for e-learning, but an online National Education Information System3, EDUNET,4 which provides multimedia material for teachers, pupils and parents, has 5.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy helped universities and companies support the devel- opment of e-learning industries, while the MIC supported e-learning development in schools and universities through its Informatisation Promotion Fund6. There are still problems of governance and accountability in Korean e-transformation. The National Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea NIA, finds that funding has not always been spent wisely, there have been role conflicts and overlapping invest- ments by ministries and some universities have been more interested in gaining addi- tional funding than generating quality programmes.

Some e-learning projects are being funded under the Gendai GP Good Practice programme launched in , but as Jameson observes, the last really major technology initiative funded by MEXT was the VSAT Space Collaboration System videoconferencing system linking universities administered by the National Institute of Multimedia Education—and that was back in Embarking on any change in Japan involves an enormous amount of talking, negotiation and paperwork—none of which necessarily results in action Jameson, Bachnik observes that if the government reforms were pictured as two hands, the right one would be avidly promoting ICT, while the left would be simultaneously blocking it.

In Korea, by contrast, the right hand provides carrots such as grants and performance-based rewards, while the left applies sticks such as withholding funding and giving demerit marks for not applying e-learning or for not using it well. However, there has been only partial support by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry METI for the industry-led e-Learning Consortium,7 which is concerned with e-learning for industry.

Schnack observes that corporate e-learning made a splashy entrance into the Japanese market in the late s amid claims of vast reductions in training costs and increased accessibility, but that the early excitement about the potential of e-learning has largely passed. For years it has gathered intelligence through international symposia, seminars, visiting professorships, over- seas visits and partnership with universities across the globe; but somehow there is a disconnection between the work of the NIME and the key decision makers in MEXT and the universities.

The kinds of research and knowledge transfer for implementation seen in Korea have not occurred, the rhetoric has not translated into action and the univer- sities have been left without direction, understanding or incentives. The president of NIME has recently expressed the view that it would be hard to transform NIME into an organisation for reforming Japanese higher education, building a national network and supporting university and college staff Oblinger, Institutional policies and support for e-learning There are also substantial differences in institutional policies and support for e-learning development in the two countries.

And most Korean faculty members are able to depend upon profes- sional development and instructional design support for e-learning9. Few Japanese academics can rely upon such services. The largest centres, greatest numbers of support personnel and best facilities were provided at the Univer- sity of Tokyo and the other former imperial universities. There was very little provision in the middle-ranked universities, and most institutions have no technical or instruc- tional design staff.

Few of the Japanese academics involved in e-learning research and development have obtained their doctoral degrees in Western countries. Most have majored in electronic engineering or computing, look upon technology as the main mover, are seduced by what Pacey , p. As a consequence, the pedagogical aspects of e-learning are either ignored or dealt with superficially. Internet use in the Japanese universities is largely confined to admin- istrative emails and bulletin boards, the internal distribution of printable material, library databases, marketing and posting syllabi on the Web Arimoto, ; Bachnik, ; Bush, a; Yoshida, There are also examples of interinstitutional collaboration.

Ozkul and Ozkul and Aoki conclude that in Japan, because e-learning has never been an integral part of national or institutional strategic planning, it has never received the necessary managerial, resource and tech- nical support. In Japanese universities, teaching performance and learning outcomes are rarely taken into account for the purpose of tenure or promotion, there is little research or profes- sional development to improve teaching and learning, and little provision is made to develop the skill sets needed for e-transformation.

Such funding as is provided for e-learning projects is usually once-off and only covers the initial technological costs and makes no allowance for the ongoing human and operational costs. Other factors that have been found to inhibit the adoption of e-learning are a shortage of usable materials Yoshida, , English being the de facto language of the Web Bush, b , and Japanese students being far less familiar with computers than their Western counterparts and therefore not having the same expectations of e-learning Jameson,

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