How I’m Studying Korean for FREE from Korea University (and You Can Too!)

**The following is a complete write-up of the information in the Slideshare above and includes some TIPS at the end.

Quick Registration Tip

One of my friends recommended trying in IE7 or lower and making sure that all of your popup blockers are disabled. It may be a typical Korean site, optimized for lower versions of IE, and the “RESEND CONFIRMATION EMAIL” link will be in a popup after you register.

“Quick Korean”

The program is called “Quick Korean” and is offered by the Cyber University of Korea. Actually, when we launched Key to Korean in 2012, this is exactly the kind of thing that I had in mind to put together.

Why is this Awesome?

  1. It’s a full range of Korean classes that take you from learning Hangul to acquiring TOPIK 3.5*
  2. It’s entirely online, accessible with any Internet-capable device, and available all over the world
  3. There is a rich collection of class contents and resources that target all Learning Styles and interests
  4. It’s completely FREE!~

All about the Program

The Cyber University of Korea (고려사이버대학교) belongs to the same Educational Foundation(고려중앙학원) as Korea University (고려대학교), one of the oldest and most prestigious private universities in Korea. Korea University was founded by the late Inchon Kim Seong Soo(김성수), and CUK was founded by Kim Seong Soo’s grandson, the late Hwajeong Kim Byung-Kwan(김병관), who was Honorary Chairman of the Dong-A Ilbo daily newspaper at the time he founded CUK. Because CUK shares the same roots as Korea University, CUK shares, too, in its educational spirit but brings that spirit on-line.

The Cyber University of Korea was the first accredited online university in Korea and remains a leader in online education (this becomes obvious when you take a look at their course materials).

“Quick Korean” (and the “e-Learning for Multicultural Families” course that preceded it) have also received backing from some major companies including:

  1. POSCO (2007)
  2. Goldman Sachs (2007)
  3. Google (2014)
  4. Naver (2014)
  5. The Dong-A Ilbo (of which CUK’s founder was Honorary Chairman at the time of CUK’s founding)
  6. Channel A (the Dong-A Ilbo’s TV channel)
  7. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (certifies the degrees for Korean language teaching)

History of “e-Learning for Multicultural Families”

With the founding of the university in 2001, online foreign language education also began. By 2007, the “e-Learning Campaign for Multicultural Families” was developed and received backing from both POSCO and Goldman Sachs. The program was specifically targeted to foreign brides in Korea and was initially thought to only be available in the provinces where POSCO operates (Jeollanam-do and Gyeonsangbuk-do) but was later rolled out to the entire country.

Language instruction included 7 levels, from beginner to advanced, and 7 languages including: Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, English, Mongolian, and Thai.

History of “Quick Korean”

In 2012, CUK began offering a Bachelor’s degree for Korean language teaching (2nd level) that is certified by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Following this, and a trip to Vietnam by the school’s President where he learned of the opening of a new Samsung factory with thousands of workers in need of “quick Korean” language education. It was at this point that the school began its push for a complete “Quick Korean” program.

The launch dates for the different levels of “Quick Korean” are as follows:

  1. December 4, 2013: Level 1 in Korean, English, Chinese (later Japanese, and from October 22, 2014 recording in SPANISH is also underway)
  2. January 20, 2014: Level 2 in Korean, English, Chinese
  3. April 28, 2014: Level 3 in Korean
  4. August 25, 2014: Level 4 in Korean

The 4 levels in the “Quick Korean” course that cover grammar points up to TOPIK Level 4 and vocabulary up to TOPIK Level 3.

Although the course is officially “complete” at this time, it remains in constant development. Supplementary class materials like PDFs, audio downloads, and workbooks available for purchase from major online retailers are still being developed, and new language support is continually being added. From October 22, 2014 (little over a month ago), the first Spanish instructional videos have begun being recorded.

Impressive Numbers

Since the start of the “e-Learning Campaign” in 2007, the Cyber University of Korea has pushed through some impressive numbers of students. Equally impressive is the team of professors and scholars who are currently involved in the development of “Quick Korean.”

  1. 110,693 people have gone through CUK’s online Korean education since 2007
  2. This includes people from 71 countries
  3. and 705 cities around the world
  4. Each week there are between 50-100 new site registrations

The team of scholars includes professors from:

  1. The Cyber University of Korea
  2. Yonsei University
  3. Sogang University
  4. KyungHee University
  5. The Korea Association for Foreign Language Education (KAFLE)
  6. The Korea Grammar Education Circle
  7. The Applied Linguistics Association of Korea (ALAK)

And they are led by Professor Kishim Nam who is the former Director of The National Institute of the Korean Language.

Social Media

In addition to the online class itself, “Quick Korean” also has dedicated social media channels you can follow including:

  1. A YouTube channel (support by Google – agreement signed May 8, 2014)
  2. A Naver TVcast channel (support by Naver – agreement signed May 9, 2014)
  3. A Youku (Chinese YouTube) channel
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter
  6. Google Plus

Breakdown of the Levels

Each of the lessons in “Quick Korean” follows a similar structure with 10 parts:

  1. An overview of the lesson objective
  2. A conversation
  3. New vocabulary
  4. The text
  5. A grammar lesson
  6. Speaking practice
  7. Listening practice
  8. Extra vocabulary
  9. A Culture section (teaching about various aspects of Korean culture)
  10. A lesson summary

For me, the Culture section is quite interesting as it reminds me of the 사회통합프로그램 (KIIP) that I participated in earlier this year. When Culture sections are included, it is apparent that programs like these want learners to achieve success not only in the language, but also in the finer aspects of integrating with the culture.

Levels are broken down like so:

  1. Level 1: 30 lessons (15 chapters in 2 parts) with 696 minutes of instruction (11.6 hours) in Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese
  2. Level 2: 30 lessons (15 chapters in 2 parts) with 773 minutes of instruction (12.9 hours) with Korean video and downloads in English as well (site in Chinese also)
  3. Level 3: 20 lessons with 585 minutes of instruction (9.75 hours) with Korean video
  4. Level 4: 13 lessons with 463 minutes of instruction (7.7 hours) with Korean video

All of this is current as of November 23, 2014. All told there are 93 lessons with 2,517 minutes of instruction (42 hours!).

  1. Level 1 seeks to teach learners the fundamentals of social interaction and daily activities
  2. Level 2 teaches expressing preferences, opinions, and location-based conversations
  3. Level 3 teaches topics of casual conversation such as work, family, and hobbies
  4. Level 4 teaches free and fluent speech and asserts that you’ll be able to give a public speech at the end of the course

The Process

Simply, the process to take this class is to:

  1. Go to the CUK “Quick Korean” website
  2. Register
  3. Login
  4. Watch the course videos one-by-one
  5. Take the online test
  6. Receive (and print if you wish) your certificate of completion

Tips for the Course

Can I skip right to the Level Tests?

Now, for anyone like me who has already passed TOPIK Level 2 and doesn’t need to run through the Level 1 course again, you CANNOT skip the videos and go straight to the test. You WILL have to click each video although you won’t have to watch them. So long as you click, it will be marked “Completed” and you can move on to the next one.

However, the Culture parts of each lesson are at least worth a watch. You may already be familiar with all of the culture introduced, but that section is short and it’s a good refresher.

The teacher speaks too slowly… I’m bored.

If you watch the videos in your native language (Level 1), you may find the instructor speaking slowly and clearly (and it may be boring). In order to deal with this problem and keep your focus and interest in the lesson, you have one of two choices:

  1. Watch the video entirely in KOREAN (it’s better for your practice anyway)
  2. Click the YouTube “Settings” gear wheel icon in the bottom-right of the player and INCREASE THE SPEED of the video to 1.5 or 2 times.

(The second tip is something I’ve learned to do when listening to audiobooks as well – it really helps keep me interested. You’ll notice that the speed of reading aloud or teaching is slightly slower than a typical natural conversation, so if you increase the speed of the instruction to a more conversational pace, you’ll be able to stay focused more easily.)

Getting a BA in Korean Language Teaching

Lastly, if you are interested in getting a Bachelor’s degree in Korean Language Teaching from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, you’ll need to apply to CUK as a regular student and enroll in their Korean Language Teaching program. Relevant links are below:

  1. Dept. of Korean Language (ENG)
  2. Dept. of Korean Language (KO) – more extensive and includes a video
  3. How to Apply (ENG)

Additional Resources

The following resources are freely available on the CUK’s website in the “Forums -> Notice & News” section, although they might not be easy to find without clicking every link. Therefore, I’ve included them here for your convenience:

  1. How to Use Quick Korean (PDF) – How to register for, login, take the class, and the tests
  2. Quick Korean Brochure (PDF) – Includes all the information in this post and PPT
  3. CUK – Quick Korean (PPT) – My PPT from above (you may need the Oswald font and the La Belle Aurore font for it to display properly)
  4. CUK – Quick Korean (PDF) – PDF of the same PPT, doesn’t require font installation

Arirang’s Special Report on “Quick Korean” from 2013:

Are you excited to learn Korean again?

So, 2015 is coming up! Whether or not you’ve been very consistent in 2014 with studying Korean, perhaps you’re more excited than ever to get back at it with this new FREE online course. I know I sure am. Let me know in the Comments if and when you plan to start learning with “Quick Korean.”