The Open University of Japan's MOOC platform: Features and outcomes

Tsuneo Yamada and Yoichi Okabe
The Open University of Japan

Chiba, Japan

Masumi Hori and Seishi Ono
, Japan

In 2013, MOOCs (massive open online courses) developed into a social trend in Japan. Top-class Japanese universities started MOOCs by joining the international consortia Coursera and edX, and universities and corporations launched the Japan Massive Open Online Course (JMOOC, Consortium.

As a founding member, the Open University of Japan (OUJ) also opened two MOOCs in the first releases from JMOOC, one of which was Nihongo Starter (Japanese Primer), which was based on the Japan Foundation standards; and the other was Computer System: A primer which was remixed from an OUJ regular course. The OUJ-MOOC platform was powered by the CHiLO Book system, which was developed by a Japanese NPO, CCC-TIES. It was constructed by mash-up technologies of multimedia e-textbooks, LMS and SNSs; and it consisted of an iBook or e-pub packaging (e-books), Facebook (registration and learner community), YouTube (video delivery), Moodle (LMS) and Mozilla Open Badge (evaluation).

At the end of June 2014, Class 1 of the three classes in Nihongo Starter A1 ended; and Class 3 will finish in mid-September. The main issues of OUJ-MOOC were (1) the scale of the course and (2) the quality and quantity of the interactions at SNS. We were still running the pilot courses, with the number of those registered being around 850 (Nihongo Starter Class 1 and Class 2, as of June 2014). The number was similar to that of our regular courses at OUJ and far from other major MOOCs. The results showed the difficulties of launching non-Japanese language services in an original brand from Japan and disseminating them to the world. Observation of the posts on Facebook, both the interactions between mentors and learners and those among learners, were not sufficient.

One of the essential features of MOOCs is to collect and analyse big data and to utilize the results for customization and optimization. However, we have just begun research on learning metrics and analytics in participating in international standardization activities, such as IMS Global Caliper and Tin-Can API. In Japan, data-sharing and learning analytics are the most important areas on which we should collaborate and concentrate our resources. The legal solution on the use of private data is another issue and some social agreements on this are indispensable.