Duquesne University Instructional Technology Professor Selected as Fulbright Scholar for Research in South Korea
A Duquesne University instructional technology professor, selected as a Fulbright Scholar, will investigate ways of overcoming reluctance among Korea's Internet users to construct knowledge assets collectively.
Dr. Misook Heo, an associate professor in the School of Education, will conduct her research from June 1 to Aug. 31, at Pusan National University (PNU). Located in the busy port city of Busan, in the southeast portion of the Republic of Korea, PNU is one of Korea's pre-eminent institutions of higher learning.
Heo explained that in terms of using information technology, South Korea is very advanced, with about three quarters of Internet users there participating in online communities. Complementing that high level of digital fluency, the idea of contributing to collective intelligence is widely accepted.
Ironically, however, Koreans are cool to the idea of supplying information that others might edit. In other words, Heo observed, Koreans are ardent contributors but diffident co-creators.
"Obviously some cultural aspects can have an influence on the behavior of people who participate in collective intelligence," she said. "Koreans are really happy to provide entries to a stranger on the Internet; however, they are not at all interested in providing information that someone else can edit, like Wikipedia."
In her Fulbright research project, she plans to search for and test methods to encourage, nurture and reinforce the behaviors conducive to higher rates of collaborative online knowledge creation.
Coupled with her expertise in information technology for educational applications, Heo's former research projects have focused on designing interfaces to improve social awareness among online learners. Along with those technical interests, she also focuses on the emerging phenomenon of lifelong learning and ways to support it.
Every society now recognizes the value of lifetime and informal learning for happiness and progress, Heo pointed out, and that realization makes the discovery of new methods to support high rates of participation in collective intelligence and other online activities vitally important.
Fulbright scholarships are awarded by the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright Program, which was created by Congress to improve international cooperation and understanding. Fulbright awardees are an elite group of scholars who are selected by the presidentially appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.