Research on How to Use OUC Cloud Classroom to Assist Education Development in Tibet

Shaogang Zhang1, Shunping Wei1, Guoxi Zhou2, Lina Wang1
1The Open University of China, 75 Fuxing Road,
100039 Beijing, P.R.China
2Chamdo Education (Sports) Bureau in Tibet,
854000 Chamdo Tibet, P.R.China
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Abstract: In response to the educational needs inherent in promoting development in Tibet, this paper proposes a set of educational path milestones to assist development in Tibet, including such essential factors as the building of a blended teaching environment, organisation of teaching teams, development of learning contents and resources, and the collection of educational tools. With the completion of the primary path structure, teaching will be carried out in three stages: work mobilization, teacher training, and classroom teaching. The effectiveness of the path has been proven in practice, as will be explained. The cloud classroom system of the Open University of China (OUC) offers stable performance with smooth video communication; the teaching team is diversified in composition with a rational division of labor and close coordination; the learning contents are cutting-edge in subject selection, easily arousing the interest of teachers and students and encouraging participation in the training and giving easy access to the rich learning contents; the teaching tools are guaranteed to be in place.

Keywords: assistance to Tibet; education; teacher training; digital divide; cloud classroom

1 Introduction

It has been a significant strategic decision of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to promote educational development in Tibet for years. It is a major political measure designed to fundamentally solve the problem of development and stability in Tibet, and to build a united, affluent, culturally and ethnically advanced and harmonious socialist society in Tibet Autonomous Region. It is an effective way to transform population resources into labour resources in the shortest possible time and create a real productive force that can realize greater, faster, better, and more economical development of socio-economy in Tibet. Educational assistance to Tibet is a political task of far-reaching strategic significance and a specific job of practical significance. Mr. Zhou, one of the authors of this paper, has served in Chamdo Education (Sports) Bureau in Tibet Autonomous Region on a three-year assignment to assist Tibet.

“Educational Balance” means building a stable, coordinated, and orderly relation among the different parts and essential elements within the educational system so as to achieve a relative balance. The internal equilibrium refers to the balance of quality and effect, and velocity and scale, while the external equilibrium refers to the balance of structure and layout.[1]

Key factors influencing the balanced development of education are related to the unbalanced allocation of educational resources, including hardware and software resources, as well as teacher resources, which are both resource allocation issues at their core. Teachers are the major resource in which there is a lack of balanced allocation. For a long time, Tibet Autonomous Region has faced this difficulty. Improving resource allocation so as to achieve a more balanced teacher allocation condition and in order to remove this bottleneck restricting the balanced development of education in Tibet is a necessity.

With the support of modern information technology, great changes have taken place in the forms and application models of educational resources. It is the same with the position, role, and form of teachers. In a sense, “Internet + education” follows the model of the world wide web in optimizing and integrating educational resource allo-cation, in restructuring educational resource allocation, in changing traditional educa-tional forms, and in shaping a new type of educational development based on the Internet infrastructure and supported by modern and new technological tools.

To narrow the digital divide between China's Western and Eastern areas, to improve the digitization of border areas, especially that in the OUC Xinjang Branch and Xinjiang Corps Branch, and Tibet School, and to support the development of educational undertakings in Xinjiang and Tibet, the OUC initiated the construction of cloud classrooms at the beginning of 2013. The cloud classroom project embodies an important measure of the OUC in its exploration of “Internet + education”.

The focus of this research is to explore the digitization environment and its ability to support resource sharing and balanced educational development by relying on the OUC cloud classroom system. It aims to build new educational strategies in offering assistance to Tibet, to change the existing poor and weak educational foundation conditions, to promote the balanced development of education, and to improve overall education quality in Tibet.