Editor's Note

As signalled in the previous editorial note, inspired is in a state of becoming, and its becoming is especially evident in this bumper issue as it features, for the first time, a full-fledged academic essay in a format that would be at home in any scholarly journal. The essay titled “A Contextualization-Generalization-Recontextualization Cycle in Open and Distance Education Theory Building and Application: A Cultural Perspective” is an important contribution by Prof Insung Jung. Although it was originally written in English, it had only ever been published in Chinese Mandarin (translated by Prof Junhong Xiao) in Distance Education in China, until now. We are grateful to Prof Jung who kindly consented to us publishing her essay here when we approached her, and to Prof Xiao for the permission to reproduce the article in the original language in which it was written. Highlighted as a special feature in this issue of inspired, Prof Jung’s essay is a timely reminder, especially to Asian stakeholders, that cultural difference matters in open, distance, and digital education (ODDE), and that it ought to be taken into account in a non-essentialist and non-tokenistic way, especially when ODDE theory is applied beyond its original (and predominantly-Western) context.

Even as inspired evolves to now feature formats ranging from the popular to the scholarly, it strives to be accessible to the informed reader, and will continue to publish articles that are reader-friendlier by virtue of being relatively lighter, shorter, shorn of dense in-text citations and references, but substantial, nonetheless. An example of this is Prof Xiao’s guest feature which, in this issue, takes a closer look at the “concrete, and contextual constraints” faced by open universities seeking to deliver the potential of digital technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), beyond idealistic “promisemaking”. Examples of lighter reads are also found in a meditation on interdisciplinarity in OUM’s recently-launched strategic research alliances by Prof Tajudin Md Ninggal and Dr Md Rosli Ismail, and in the “In Conversation” column featuring the omnipresent Dr Aras Bozkurt.

What unites the various features in this issue is encapsulated in the missive from the VC’s Office. Virtually nothing is a given in a changing, unpredictable world, argues Prof Izanee Awang, the President/Vice-Chancellor of OUM, and it is up to the university and the individuals that make up the institution to put in the hard work and dynamically work out contingent solutions to address the ever-evolving real-world problems. By doing so, the university literally comes to embody the answer to the question of where knowledge grows.

Dr David Lim, Editor