Open and Distance Education/Course Design/JMOOC and its course design
JMOOC (https://www.jmooc.jp/en/) stands for Japan Massive Open Online Education Promotion Council. JMOOC is a non-profit association aimed at promoting MOOC education in Japan and certifying online courses provided by MOOC providers in Japan such as gacco, Fisdom, OUJ MOOC, and OpenLearning. JMOOC was inaugurated in October 2013, and it has more than 120 school members and partnership members. As of September 2016, JMOOC provides 143 courses, and it has more than 250 registered learners and more than 600 thousand total course enrollments.
MEXT's Report about MOOC in Japan
Recently, the Japanese government has promoted the use of MOOC education in order to improve education for university students, education for adults, and lifetime education for everyone. The Japanese government actively supports the development of MOOC contents. In 2014 and 2015, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (MEXT) released reports about MOOC education in Japan. According to the reports, there are few universities offering online courses. As of March 2015, only 4 national universities and 15 private universities offer online courses. This would imply that JMOOC plays a significant role as a provider of learning opportunities for everyone. Also, according to the reports, more than half of the universities offering online courses use JMOOC as their platforms. This would also imply the importance pf JMOOC in Japan.
Course Design of JMOOC
There are several types of MOOC designs. For example, MOOC designs can be explained by the terms xMOOCs and cMOOCs (Bates, 2015).
JMOOC is xMOOC. The basic learning style at JMOOC is as follow; learners watch 5~10 lecture videos per week. Each video is about 10 minutes long and followed by quizzes to check the learners' understanding. In addition to watching the videos, learners are required to submit small assignments every week. After four weeks of study, learners submit their final assignments. Also, learners can post comments and questions on online discussion pages.
xMOOCs and cMOOCs xMOOCs is a term for courses developed by Coursera, Udacity, and edX. Since instructors/designers of a xMOOC course can be flexible in designing their courses, xMOOCs has considerable variation in the details. The common features of x MOOCs are as follows: specially designed platform software, video lectures, computer-marked assignments, supporting materials for learners, a shared comment/discussion space. cMOOCs is a term for online-based learning where learners actively participate with other learners. In cMOOCs, learning happens while learners connect and discuss with other participants over social media such as webcasts, participant blogs, tweets, and discussion forums. The common features of cMOOCs are as follows: no standard technology platform, learner's autonomy and active participation, social media and openness, and participant-driven content.
The following section examines the course design of JMOOC based on the five steps (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) of the Instructional Systems Desing model.
Analysis: JMOOC actively gathers learning active data and promote research for the advancement of online courses, establishment of learning support technology, and promotion of a continuous learning (JMOOC, n.d.). Findings from such data would help instructors/designers to analyze learners needs, learners' characteristics, etc. Design: Since JMOOC is xMOOCs, it seems that Instructors/designers can design a course by following the common features of xMOOCs. Development: Instructors/designers develop lecture videos as well as reading material, assignments, etc. Implementation: Instructors/designers implement their lecture videos and other instructional materials. Evaluation: Most of the courses offered at JMOOC give learners small assignments every week and final assignment at the end of the course. Instructors/designers would be able to evaluate their courses by checking the assignments submitted by learners. Also, most of the courses have a comment/discussion page where learners can post their ideas and questions. The comments posted there by learners would also help instructors/designers to evaluate their course and course design.
Limitations of the Course Design of JMOOC
JMOOC is a Japanese version of MOOC. JMOOC enabled Japanese people who do not use Ensligh to study online. At the same time, however, it is not useful for non-Japanese speakers to take JMOOC courses. Although learners can watch lecture videos with English subtitles, most of the information in JMOOC websites and lecture materials are written in Japanese. For example, even you access to the English version of the JMOOC website, some information is still in Japanese (see the screenshot below).
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JMOOC. (n.d.). About JMOOC. Retrieved Dec. 26, 2017, from JMOOC website: https://www.jmooc.jp/
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan [MEXT]. (2014). Research study report about the use of ICT in higher education. Retrieved from MEXT website: http://www.mext.go.jp/
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan [MEXT]. (2015). Research study report about education improvement utilizing MOOC. Retrieved from MEXT website: http://www.mext.go.jp/
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Watanabe, F., & Kogo, C. (2017). Effects of JMOOC course takers’ orientation toward e-learning and peer-assessment on their motivation for continuous learning and course evaluation. Journal of Japan Society for Educational Technology, 41(1), 41-51.
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Yamada, T., & Okabe, Y. (2015). The open university of Japan's MOOC platform: Features and outcomes. In K. C. Li & K. S. Yuen (Eds), Studies and practices for advancement in open and distance education. Hong Kong: Open University of Hong Kong Press.