Aoki, K. (2009) The current status of the Open University of Japan Re.ViCa Newsletter, November
The Re.Vica newsletter contains an interesting update on the Open University of Japan, formerly known as the University of the Air (in English).
It can be seen that the OUJ is struggling to adapt to changes in technology, still being mainly focused on broadcasting, print and face-to-face teaching.
More fundamental is the lack of pedagogy in Japanese applications of technology (not just at the OUJ). As Latcham and Jung (2009, p. 67) note:
‘There is also a lack of multimedia designers in Japan and the emphasis has been very much on the hardware rather than the courseware. As one Japanese executive put it, it is as if he goes out to buy books but everybody wants to sell him bookshelves.’
As Aoki says in her Re.Vica report:
But, the real challenge for OUJ is how it manages its pedagogical transformation: OUJ still relies on the one-way transmission mode of instructional delivery in most parts, which may no longer be very effective in today’s digital age. Pedagogical transformation requires for there to be organisational transformation. How well OUJ can transform itself into a modern open university in the next few years may decide how well it can survive in the next few decades.’
Interestingly, this was exactly the same challenge faced by Universidade Aberta, the Open University of Portugal, which did re-train all its faculty in a new pedagogical method as it moved all its courses online. Perhaps someone from OUJ should make a trip to Lisbon.
Latchem, C. and Jung, I. (2010) Distance and blended learning in Asia New York/London: Routledge