Open Online Courses for High School Students to Engage in Self-Directed Learning, Drawing Over 10,000 Students

2021-12-03

The ewant open education platform (www.ewant.org), operated by the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, has opened a “Self-Directed Learning Zone for Senior High School Students,” offering 80 free online courses for vocational and senior high school students to engage in self-directed learning. The courses are expected to attract more than 15,000 students this semester. Additionally, the platform has recently launched the “Learning About National Palace Museum Artifacts” course series (offering courses exclusive to Taiwan). Registration for these courses opened in June.

“Self-directed learning” was a key area of learning addressed in the 2019–2020 syllabus and an ability that both teachers and parents wish to cultivate in students. The goal is for students to encourage self-learning to explore various fields, expand their horizons, and learn how to plan and achieve their goals. Nevertheless, when engaging in self-directed learning, many students encounter challenges such as not knowing “where to find resources” and “how to begin planning their goals.” Accordingly, ewant established the “Self-Directed Learning Zone for Senior High School Students,” carefully selecting 80 online courses from over 800 online courses (provided by various universities) available on the platform and offering them to senior and vocational high school students free of charge. The objective was to introduce universities’ diverse and rich learning resources to senior and vocational high school students.

Since the introduction of the “Self-Directed Learning Zone for Senior High School Students” in the 2019–2020 academic year, the number of students enrolled in these courses has continued to rise. From the second semester of the 2019–2020 academic year and the first semester of the 2020–2021 academic year, the number of enrolled students increased from 5,300 to 11,400. At the time of writing, 13,700 students have enrolled and it is expected to exceed 15,000 by the end of this semester. The course enrollees comprise students from 300 senior and vocational high schools across Taiwan.

The selected courses have been well received by the students. Most of them complimented on the fascinating and diverse nature of the university courses, which cover 18 domains including “robotic technology in daily life,” “contemporary applications of psychology,” and “technical basketball training.” The students mentioned the numerous advantages of studying courses online, such as the ability to study outside of school hours and during summer and winter vacations, access the course videos and materials repeatedly, and gain insight into university courses.

For the 2021–2022 academic year, ewant will continue to expand on the course content and offerings of the “Self-Directed Learning Zone for Senior High School Students.” This includes the “Learning About National Palace Museum Artifacts” course series, which was made possible through the school’s first collaboration with the National Palace Museum. The courses will enable students to access and learn about the history of artifacts through different channels. Registration for the course opens in June. After selecting their courses, students are able to flexibly arrange their learning schedules for the entire year.

To encourage students to share their online learning experiences and results at the end of their courses, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University hosted the 2021 ewant High Schooler Self-Directed Learning Results Competition. The competition was open to all enrolled senior and vocational high school students, who had the opportunity to showcase how they applied the knowledge and ideas they had learned from the course. This event assisted the students in presenting their remarkable self-directed learning results, participating in knowledge exchange, and allowing them to observe and learn from each other.

Link: https://enews.nycu.edu.tw/w/nycuenews003/focus_21051114485298103

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