OUHK Offers a New Batch of Online Free Courseware to Public

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Ten more new units have been added to the OUHK's suite of Free Courseware on the Web following its launch last year. In addition to a wide range of audio-visual and multimedia learning materials, a discussion forum has been set up in some of the new units, allowing users to share experiences and exchange ideas online with each other. Ten new units are scheduled to be uploaded each month.

Ten more new units of courseware have been added to the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK)'s suite of Free Courseware on the web.

The free courseware, now accumulating up to a total of 35 study units, has been well received since its launch for public access last summer. The University has decided to boost the effort by developing and uploading ten additional units of each month until reaching the final target of 150 next year.

Dr Yuen Kin-sun, Head of Educational Technology and Publishing, said the new units introduced cover subject areas such as arts and history, business and management, education, languages, information technology ands some general interests. Degree-level units provided in Chinese include "Rules and Forms of Classical Chinese Poems" which introduces the traditional Chinese literature, and "Argument" which is about logical thinking. Those who wish to understand the Hong Kong school system better can take "An Overview of the Hong Kong Primary School". People interested in business can choose "Developments in Management Thinking" and "Introduction to Derivative Tools for Investment". Other units available in English are "The Hong Kong Legal System", "English Language Skills -- Expressing Personal Feelings", "Applied Maths -- Defining Functions" and "Geology and Geomorphology of Hong Kong". "Lose weight and Keep fit" is a practical unit suitable for all.

In addition to a wide range of audio-visual and multimedia learning materials, a discussion forum has been set up in some of the new units, allowing users to share experiences and exchange ideas online with each other. Each subject is further augmented by interactive activities, quizzes, case studies and reference materials.

Dr Yuen said, "With the offering of the Free Courseware, the OUHK has opened wide the door of continuing education to all aspiring learners whatever their backgrounds. The well-structured learning materials and tools can help people who wish to receive higher education to get prepared and gain confidence in learning. Student leavers who are about to embark on tertiary study can familiarize themselves with relevant curricula and assess their own interest and capabilities through the online courses. University students can also make use of the courseware as a supplement to their current study programmes."

"We are hopeful that this free service will also benefit the disadvantaged groups in the community, like people with disabilities or those with low income," he added.

Dr Yuen pointed out that with e-learning becoming more popular worldwide, the experience of developing free courseware could help sharper colleagues' mastery of advanced technologies in distance teaching and learning.

Interested parties can browse the courseware at http://freecourseware.ouhk.edu.hk (Free courseware webpage). Those who would like to participate in the inter-activities can do so after a simple registration procedure. Each courseware unit takes 4 to 28 hours to finish but they do not lead to any credit nor award from the University.

The online Free Courseware has so far recorded about 90,000 hits by users from Hong Kong, mainland China, Australia, USA and Canada, Among the first 25 subjects, business and management units are the most popular.

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