Ministry to launch new online platform for college courses

The Korean Education Ministry said Tuesday it would launch its first state-run platform for Korean massive open online courses, dubbed K-MOOC, by the second half of this year. It is proposed to develop 20 pilot lectures within this year and gradually increase the number to 500 by 2018, according to the plan unveiled in Tuesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting. The ministry will also use existing lectures provided by Korea Open Course Ware, an e-learning service that provides video lectures and reference materials for higher education that was launched in 2007. As of December, 9,628 classes are provided by 183 colleges and universities across the country.

The government will be in charge of creating the platform, but individual colleges will maintain the respective courses they provide. People who complete the courses can receive certification. A majority of Korea’s top-tier colleges have shown interest in the 2.2 billion won ($2 million) project, according to a ministry official. The government has yet to finalize a plan to actually grant degrees or college credits for K-MOOC lectures.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

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Korea’s e-learning market up 12.1 pct in 2012

South Korea’s market for online or electronic education systems dubbed “e-learning” rose sharply last year due to the rising demand for services on mobile devices, the government said Tuesday.    The combined sales of the country’s e-learning service operators came at 2.7 trillion won (US$2.48 billion) last year, compared to 2.45 trillion won tallied a year earlier, according to the data by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy.

Of South Koreans aged three and above, 53.3 percent used e-learning services in 2012, up 0.5 percentage point from 52.8 percent tallied the previous year, the data showed.  The ministry attributed the growth to the rising number of students with mobile devices, as 30.2 percent of South Koreans aged three and above experienced using e-learning services through portable equipments last year.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Mobile carriers eyeing non-core businesses

Though mobile carriers are seeing a rapid rise in long-term evolution (LTE) network subscribers, they are also anxious to earn revenues from what was hitherto considered out of their business areas.

SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have shown near same services in telecommunication business recently, all boasting a nationwide LTE network and all releasing voice over LTE (VoLTE, or making voice calls available on an LTE network).

Market saturation and the declining profits due to heavy investments on network building are now pushing companies to find a way to increase competitiveness by differentiating themselves from rivals, especially for the second half of this year.

SK Telecom, which announced 4 million LTE subscribers Sunday, wants its members to take a keen interest in its growing content.

For full article see Korea Times.

SK Telecom and HMH partnering agreement to jointly promote smart learning Business

SK Telecom announced today that it will partner with the largest U.S. education company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), which provides educational content to 120 countries across the world, to strengthen domestic smart learning business and kick off global smart learning business.

The two companies signed an agreement on May 31 at SK Telecom’s headquarters in Seoul with the attendance of Bae Joon-Dong, President of Network Operations Business of SK Telecom, and Timothy Cannon, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Alliances of HMH. In addition, Mark Tokola, Deputy Chief of Mission, the Embassy of the United States Seoul Korea, attended the signing ceremony to congratulate and recognize the significance of the alliance between the two leading companies in the education and telecommunications sectors in Korea and the United States.

Through the partnership, the two companies will converge their core capabilities in information communications technology (ICT) and educational content to (1) cooperate in the education content platform business, (2) jointly develop an education platform targeted at the global market, and (3) conduct a range of globally oriented smart education businesses in Korea and overseas markets. Through the alliance, HMH will develop and provide more than one thousand contents, including Destination and Leveled Reader, while SK Telecom will collaborate by developing viewers, apps, billing systems, certification systems, synchronization functions and other platform functions.

For full article see Korea IT Times.

LG Display mass production of e-paper displays could boost e-books

An LG Display official compares the new flexible plastic electronic paper display (right) with the existing glass electronic paper display in Seoul on Thursday. (LG Display)

 LG Display’s mass produced plastic e-paper could boost the global e-book market. On Thursday, LG Display said it began mass production of a plastic e-paper that is half the weight and one-third the thickness of existing glass-based displays.

This makes it possible for more portable e-books, as it can be bent up to 40 degrees. The displays also do not break easily, and can be safely dropped from 1.5 meters, according to LG Display officials. Maintaining a thickness of 0.7 millimeters and a weight of 14 grams, the company was the first in the world to commercially produce 6-inch plastic e-paper.

With plans to launch it in the European market by early next month, the plastic displays are energy-efficient and can withstand high temperatures.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Over half of Koreans use e-learning system

South Korea’s market for online or electronic-learning (e-learning) systems rose sharply last year with more than half of the population aged over three saying they have used such educational aids, the government said Tuesday.

Combined sales by the country’s service operators rose 9.2 percent from a year earlier to about 2.45 trillion won ($2.19 billion) in 2011, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The number of service providers also increased 6.9 percent on-year to 1,656 with the number of people hired by these companies rising 7.3 percent to 25,182.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Digital textbooks alter academic life

Heavy backpacks full of books strain students’ shoulders and symbolize their plight. But maybe not for much longer as digital textbooks become the norm.

Apple, the global leader in IT innovation, has jumped into the digital textbooks market, launching iBooks 2 in January. Unlike their simple predecessors, the new software supports diverse interaction with the users.

Not to be outdone, Samsung Electronics is as ever ready to duel with its Learning Hub, an educational content service through which around 6,000 exercises for all age groups will be provided. Users can download the service on their tablets.

“Digital textbooks mean more than converting textbooks into a digital format,” said Jung Kwang-hun, a researcher at the Korea Education and Research Information Service, in a report.

For full article see Korea Times.

Along with e-learning and cloud computing, comes the advancement of smart learning

Dr. Kwak Duk-hoon, CEO of EBS and Chairman of Smart Learning Forum

Smart learning has become even more widespread as the number of smart phone subscribers has reached 20 million in October, 2011. This increase gives us a glimpse into what the future holds for this amazing technology. In our aging society, life expectancy can reach as old as 100 years and the demand for education is changing constantly according to age. Education becomes digitalized as information and communication technology evolves requiring further enhancement of the education system based on the demands of consumers from children to adults who want to receive lifelong education.

The combination of education and cloud computing has created the wind of change to the education system. Today, we live in a world of digital information, which makes us enjoy smart education unhindered by spatial or time restrictions. Smart education or smart learning is construed as the new education system emerging from the development of information and technology. We have come to the age of smart Learning after e-Learning (electronic Learning), m-Learning (mobile Learning), and u-Learning (ubiquitous Learning) developed in the onset of the21st century.

Dr. Kwak Duk-hoon, CEO of Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) in Korea and Chairman of Korean Smart Learning Forum, is the pioneer of smart learning and lifelong education. He is the fearless leader who led EBS to become the world’s best education media group and helped the country to learn more about the significance and vision of smart learning.

For full article and interview see Korea IT Times.