When the educational resources of a university are no longer confined to the campus and can be shared with other entities such as the high schools in the community, that benefits the regional high school students in reality and helps tighten the connection between the university and the society. On the 6th of October, the team of Higher Education Sprout Project from the National Chung Cheng University (CCU) signed the Letter of Intent (LOI) with two high schools, the Chiayi Girls’ Senior High School and Yung Ching Senior High School, to jointly promote two experience courses. In the course, students from the two high schools will be led by CCU teachers to explore the local culture and history of Chiayi City, and learn how to appreciate the historic buildings of Puzi City, based on the view point of geomancy of the Book of Changes. While exploring the urban and rural areas of Chiayi, the students are expected to uplift their self-direct ability highlighting the designated purposes in the Curriculum of the 108th academic year.
The two experience courses are one of the sub-projects under the CCU Higher Education Sprout Project aiming to enhance the publicity of higher education. It is the first attempt through the project for CCU to cooperate with the National Chia-Yi Girls\\\' Senior High School in Chiayi City and Yung Ching Senior High School in Chiayi County. The courses highlight the spirit of self-direct learning principle promoted in the Curriculum of high school education that will invigorate the free thinking and cultivate diversified development of high school students through the cooperation between the university and its nearby communities.
Wen-Kung Chang, the vice president of CCU, explained that the project is supervised by Professor Pao-Chai Chiang of CCU Taiwanese Literature and Creative Innovation Institute in collaboration with other eight teachers from the Department of Chinese Literature. Under the guidance of Professor Pao-Ta Yu of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, the team uses the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) method to create the online courses such as \\\"The Barbie Era of Grandma- the Historic Pop Culture in Taiwan\\\" and \\\"The Wisdom of the Book of Changes\\\". These two courses are offered to the two high school students as optional courses. The courses are also physically brought into the high school classrooms by lecturers, Hsiang-Jen Tsai and I-Ken Chen from CCU Department of Chinese Literature. When students have completed these two courses, a formal certificate issued by Taiwan Comprehensive University System (TCUS) will be awarded. The certificate can be used as academic portfolio for future university admission applications.
Chiayi City is an old city rich in history of humanities. As a result, the CCU team has customized the course \\\"The Barbie Era of Grandma- the Historic Pop Culture in Taiwan\\\" for the National Chia-Yi Girls\\\' Senior High School to get to know some of the local history. In the lectures, CCU teachers start with the revelation of the girlhood of these grandmothers in Taiwan, of their lives that began from the era of Japanese occupation. The lectures reveal what the dominant fashion might be at that time on clothing, movies, and disclose the earliest video footages recorded in Chiayi about dancing and of the bustling shopping streets. Meanwhile, the classroom lecturer leads the students to physically visit the time-honored brands in Chiayi City, encouraging students to think about the possibility of how these old brands can be recreated and glorified by the contemporary cultural and creative industry. For students who attend this course, they are required to complete some assignments, such as finding old photos of their grandparents then bringing them to class, to discuss with their classmates to distinguish the changes of the city in comparison between today and the past.
In Yung Ching Senior High School, the CCU team has offered a course titled \\\"The Wisdom of the Book of Changes\\\". In this course, Students learn about how the Han people brought the knowledge from the Book of Changes into Taiwan in the early days, and later made it a culture based on that locally after they migrated to Taiwan. Along with the introduction, Students also learn the knowledge about tortoise shell divination, geomancy, etc. Beside the teaching in the classroom, further, the CCU lecturer takes students to do some fieldwork practice, using the knowledge learnt from the Book of Changes to analyze the cultural code hidden in those century-old buildings scattered around Puzi City.
At the signing ceremony, Principal Zhi-Song Tsai of Chia-Yi Girls\\\' Senior High School pointed out that the cooperation between the three schools is, on one hand, a major breakthrough in secondary education; and on the other hand, a wall-breaking movement to the university. These innovative courses designed in this cooperation help students understand how those different groups of people of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds, after emigrated to Taiwan in different period of time, have integrated and turned into today’s multicultural society. The principal of Yung Ching Senior High School, Steven Su, who is a CCU alumnus, also stated in the ceremony that the two experience courses set aside the principle of seeking standard answers in traditional teaching, and merge the physical exploration activities into the university courses; the design of these two courses helps develop local higher education publicity and keeps educational resources in balance, providing local students a better and multifaceted learning environment.
Professor Jui-Lung Cheng, Dean of Student Affairs of CCU, explained that the higher education publicity emphasizes on building the link and cooperating with local community. Chiayi is a place where it has a rich connotation in history, geography and culture, which all should be re-examined and face-renewed. Professor Cheng also expected that the university bases on its research power should take root in lower educational domains, and share its research findings from university professionals with high school students. Professor Pao-Chai Chiang, the principal investigator of this project, further expressed that CCU has been actively working on to be an open university and showing its social concern towards local communities for 30 years. The two experience courses via the social connection, help deepen education in elementary and secondary educational sectors reaching out to the urban and rural areas. It is a rather meaningful movement.