E-learning and distance education are gaining more and more in importance these days. Here you can read an interview with Jun, the founder of OOEN a large reference guide to online distance education.
Hello Jun, could you please tell us where you are from?
What is your profession?
I''d like to think that, first and foremost, I am a (computer) software
developer, although I have been spending a lot of time recently working
on the business side of the operation of OOEN.
What does your job entail?
Developing and maintaining the online education portal site, OOEN
including coding, online marketing, moderating forums and now and again
writing commentaries on news in online distance education.
When did you start using the internet?
I actually started using the internet in my first year in college, so that
would be 1995.
Where and how did you acquire the knowledge and skills to set up
and run your own website?
I worked for a software company in California and then for a software
company in New York. I acquired basic skills while working at these
companies; the second job was much more demanding, but also fulfilling.
Though I was in New York for only 2 years, I think I learned a lot. I didn''t actually work on web development that much, but I had enough knowledge and
experience to pick up the rest of the skills you need to set up and run my
Why did you choose online education as the basis of your project?
This is a rather long story, but I''ll try to make it short. Initially, I
started developing OOEN more like a groupware, a combination of
online education reference (online courses, online degree programs learning
management systems) and; I was asked to join an education project for which
I developed OOEN. The initial project is actually still up in the
air for a number of different reasons, but OOEN started taking off on
its own. As of right now, I am building my portal to become an independent
How would you define the term «online education» in one sentence?
It is simply how we''ll learn and teach in the coming years, and the term
will vanish more or less some time in the future.
Could you please list three major advantages of online education?
Cost effectiveness (in the sense that you don''t need to relocate or arrange your other schedule to study online.)
Do you think that it will be possible to obtain a university degree
entirely through the internet?
This is already possible. There are certain subjects that can''t be taught
online such as medicine (clinical skills), but that doesn''t mean it will
never be possible. It won''t be possible in the next 5 - 10 years, but it
might become possible in the next 15 - 20 years.
Which countries would you regard as the pioneers in the field of
online and distance education?
The number one country in this area is the US. Despite the fact they are
slow in adapting broadband for a couple of reasons, they embraced the
internet widely before any other country; they also started using PC''s
before any other country did. Because of their highly developed
infrastructure they were able to find a market for online education before
anyone else, and it really started taking off a couple of years ago.
Where do you see the role of ESL/EFIC in online education?
If you want to succeed in business or any other field, strong language
skills in English will be required in many cases. If you want to obtain a
certain degree of English proficiency you have to attend a college or a
university. However, now that online education is available you can
virtually study at an English speaking university without leaving your
native country. These new opportunities will increase the demand for
ESL/EFIC programs and services. In many cases students will know exactly why
they want to improve their English language skills: They want to enroll in a
US or UK university.
Of course, studying online in a second language is a great challenge to most
people, and it is probably more challenging than studying in the
conventional way. The ESL/EFIC market is closely connected to the growth in
the online education industry. I would even say that ESL/EFIC is an integral
part of e-learning.
Many thanks for answering our questions. We are sure a lot of people will benefit from OOEN
If you have any English grammar or vocabulary questions,
please post them on this English Grammar Forum.