Project: Online Course Design

Co-leader of the Basic Academic English Online Course Design Team

Hanyang University Project: Design the Online Component of a Blended Core Course

(May 2014 to March 2015)

Project Demographics

  • Role: team co-leader
  • Number of team members: 2
  • Number of affected faculty members: 27
  • Number of affected Hanyang University (HYU) students: all
  • Other collaborators: the HYU administration team, E-learning Centre, and Jawoo Media


Basic Academic English (BAE) is a core course that all HYU students are required to take. For years, it had been taught face-to-face in classes that met two times per week, but the university decided to convert it into a blended (hybrid) course. In May 2014, our team’s proposal for designing the online portion was accepted and work began immediately. Using only Web 1.0 technology (as mandated by the E-learning Centre), the team produced 14 online “lessons” that provide a solid base for the in-class activities facilitated by other BAE instructors in the department.

Early in the project, I was concerned that the mandated one-teacher “video lecture” format would not provide interactivity at any level. However, our team was able to demonstrate the value of such interactivity and student engagement in a pilot lesson and ultimately persuade our Korean administrators and E-learning department to allow us to incorporate these affordances as much as possible in the final version of the online content. This resulted in upgrading the lesson format from having a solitary teacher deliver lectures to having two teachers deliver content and occasionally interact with each other, as explained in the video.

Outcomes and Reflections

The BAE Online Project was an excellent opportunity to gain some experience at collaborating with other professionals who did not have the same cultural and educational background as me.  As a result of these differences, we had very divergent perspectives on the learning process in general and e-learning specifically. Although the team’s attempted infusion of more interactivity and student engagement was severely (and ironically) limited by the E-learning Centre’s Web 1.0 approach, students frequently reported that, of all the online courses they had taken in this country, the BAE course was one of the most interesting. Because the objectivist lecture-based approach to teaching is deeply entrenched in this culture, I estimate that it will be at least another 20 years before e-learning in Korea can become truly interactive, social, and constructivist in practice. This, more than anything else, is the reason I decided to relocate and apply modern e-learning principles in a new context.

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