Se-won Ahn of South Korea is one of many students around the world taking advantage of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Open Education Resources (OER). MOOCs and OERs allow students to take online classes and use resources created by reputable universities around the world for free.
Along with the Department of State: U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and American Spaces are helping students interested in these education resources by providing additional courses as well as critical support services.
“My journey with MOOC and OER started in university,” says Se-won. “When I entered university, one of my professors—Professor Hyungyul Kim—used OER in his class. I gradually realized how colossal the world of OER is.”
“According to the news, some students got a chance to enter MIT or Google through MOOC. However, when I tried to take a MOOC, I realized how hard it is to participate in the class. These classes needed strict self-discipline, more so than normal university classes. Furthermore, they did not offer services in languages other than English.”
Se-won enjoyed the new educational courses and resources she had discovered through her university in South Korea, but she experienced some difficulty, and needed help.
“[Then] in late 2012, I found a notice about a MOOC program by American Center Korea (ACK) at the U.S. Embassy. I thought if I studied with friends and got help from American Center staff, I would achieve more than I could alone. So I applied as soon as possible and thankfully I could take part in the program.”
“At first, I took two courses: ‘Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies’ and ‘Woman and the Civil Rights Movement’ from the University of Maryland, “explains Se-won. “I gained the confidence to take other courses in the vast MOOC world and more information about studying in the U.S. and other useful programs offered by American Center Korea.”
When Se-won signed up for MOOC classes the second year, she knew she had the knowledge and support to be successful in her courses.
“Based on the first experience, I could study more effectively by gathering a study group and asking for tutor help,” says Se-won. “In addition, my English abilities got better through listening to the lectures and sharing information and thoughts with American Center Korea (ACK) and worldwide friends who are taking the same course.”
Today, Se-won continues to participate in MOOCs from universities around the world and has big dreams to match her wealth of education.
“I’m studying history at Sook-myung Women’s University and anthropology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem—‘A Brief History of Humankind’ by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari,” says Se-won. “How can it be possible? Yes, through MOOC. I’m even planning to take a philosophy course at MIT—‘Introduction to Philosophy’ by Caspar Hare.”
Se-won has dreams of someday becoming a great historian. “Taking MOOC and utilizing OER is a good catalyst for my journey,” she said.