The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

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To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

School’s out…

By: Charlie Lancaster - Posted on: July 9, 2013 | Current Affairs

An online movement sweeping the world has the power to change education as we know it

By Charlie Lancaster

About a year ago, a revolution that had been brewing in cyberspace for four years started to gain traction. Within a matter of months, hundreds of thousands of people were engaged in an upheaval that promises to radically alter one of the fundamental pillars of modern society: education.


Photo by Getty Images
Photo by Getty Images


Tipped as the most important innovation in education in the past 200 years, massive open online courses (Moocs) are shaking up the trillion-dollar learning industry and, for the founders of the movement, there is no end in sight.

“We are reinventing education for the 21st century,” said Clarissa Shen, vice president of Strategic Business and Marketing at Udacity, a free online university that is trailblazing free online higher education for the masses. “We believe that higher education is a basic human right and we seek to empower our students – wherever they are – to advance their education and careers.”

Udacity was born out of a Stanford University experiment that offered free online computer classes to the public. The response was staggering. By the time the first class started in 2011 about 160,000 people from more than 190 countries had signed up, roughly 800 times the amount of students who had enrolled for the course on campus.

The concept of free online education has since spread like wildfire, with equally mind-blowing results. While Udacity is developing its own courses, Moocs portal Coursera is partnering with universities and organisations to offer existing ones. Four months after Coursera launched in 2008, it had partnered with 33 universities and more than 1.8 million students had enrolled in pre-recorded courses delivered by some of the world’s best professors. The global uptake rate was faster than that of either Facebook or Instagram.

Universities such as Harvard and MIT have joined the online education movement through edX, which has partnered with at least 27 universities, six of which are Asian institutions. Meanwhile, in the UK, more than 20 of the country’s top universities offer FutureLearn, the first UK-led, multi-institutional platform for Moocs – education’s latest buzzword.

“Just as the internet disrupted journalism, music and shopping, it will disrupt higher education,” said Ray Schroeder, director of the Centre for Online Learning, Research and Service.

Harvard Business School professor and innovation guru Clayton Christensen predicts that this digital disruption to higher education will contribute to the bankruptcy of half of the universities in the US over the next 15 years. Only the ones who respond to and participate in this disruption will have a chance of survival.

“Moocs provide a rich opportunity at little or no cost to access some of the world’s best educators and education materials,” said Schroeder. “There will be a continuing need for brick and mortar campuses, but very few universities will last without viable online programmes. Only those who adapt will survive.”

These sweeping changes in global education will have far-reaching implications for regions such as Southeast Asia, where financial restraints limit access to education for many of the region’s 600 million people.

“In many countries in Southeast Asia, education is not available for all students, either due to financial constraints or insufficient numbers of seats at universities,” said Shai Reshef, founder and president of the University of the People, an online tuition-free university that charges $100 per end-of-course examination.

By and large, tuition costs worldwide are skyrocketing, and online learning institutions are hoping to become the missing link for thousands of struggling students. For aspiring undergraduates who cannot afford the $6,000-plus annual fees at universities such as the National University of Singapore, where tuition costs increase by 4% every year, the appeal of institutions such as the University of the People is obvious.

“The demand for higher education is so immense that I do not think online education will ever render brick and mortar institutions, which serve as valuable research institutions, obsolete,” said Reshef. “But because of the demand and rising costs of higher education, they can’t service all those in need. No government in the world will be able to afford, in the long run, to educate every single person in its country with an adequate brick and mortar university. Thus, some model of online education
is mandatory.”

While online education institutions must establish high standards for testing in order to ensure the credibility of online education, there will be no shortage of people looking to advance their skill sets. Unesco estimates that in just over ten years’ time, some 260 million people will seek higher education, a giant leap from 150 million this year. For the many countries in Southeast Asia that will struggle to meet this demand for university seats, Moocs and free online universities could prove a convenient solution.

Indeed, it is a cost competitive concept that the region is already flirting with. In April, Udacity recorded an unprecedented 30,000 site visits from Southeast Asian countries.

“The region is experiencing rapid growth in the number of households shifting from low income to middle income, creating rapid growth in the size of  the population with computers and internet access, as well as a fast-growing demand for education,” said Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist for industry analyst IHS Global Insight.

School's out...
Paper work: graduates from the Royal University of Phnom Penh
Photo by Peter Harris for SEA Globe

While Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have the highest internet penetration in the region, other countries are desperately playing catch up. Last year Cambodia recorded a 60% year-on-year rise in the number of internet users.

While internet penetration rates may be growing, much of Southeast Asia remains in the dark when it comes to online access. Despite the rapid increase in internet users in Cambodia in recent years, only 19% of the population has access to the web.

Filipina Joan Advincula –  one of at least 200 students from Southeast Asia that have enrolled at the University of the People – says the biggest challenge she faces while studying for her degree is “getting online”. She spends between four and six hours a day studying but must travel into town two or three times a week to rent a computer in order to download and upload her assignments.

In a region with varying degrees of computer literacy, electricity coverage, and internet penetration and speeds, does free online education – designed for the masses – risk becoming a tool for the region’s elite?

“Initially, yes,” said Shirley Williams, professor of learning technologies at the University of Reading,  who co-authored The Impact and Reach of Moocs: A Developing Countries’ Perspective. According to the paper, in Sri Lanka 63% of respondents who registered for an online programme came from a home with above average household incomes. The study also showed that respondents from the capital, Colombo, and its surrounding areas, were much more likely to own computers than their poorer rural counterparts.

“This could suggest that at the moment Moocs may bring benefit to a certain ‘privilege’ group,” Williams said.

Beyond having access to a computer and the internet, people must also be proficient in American English and have an understanding of Western culture, as most Moocs are US-centric.

“Some run synchronous events that all Mooc participants are invited to, appearing to forget that afternoon in the presenters’ time zone is the middle of the night for some participants,” said Tharindu Liyanagunawardena, post-doctoral research assistant at the University of Reading, who co-authored The Impact and Reach of Moocs with Williams.

Coursera has taken steps to localise resources and now offers courses in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese. It may take some time before courses are offered in non-global languages such as Khmer, which was only added to Google Translate in April.

The impetus may have to come from regional universities, says Schroeder.

“I think that we will see both the advent of Asian university Moocs and third parties that will provide translations, tutors and other support services to Moocs originating in the West,” said Schroeder.

Currently in its formative stages, the concept of free online education will evolve as it grows and improves its reach.

“Moocs are still a territory to be explored,” said Williams. “We have only scratched the surface.”









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