altGuo Qingchun, Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Teaching Affairs Department, The Open University of China (OUC)
Overseas Based University: the Open University
Advisor: Ormond Simpson
Study Area: student support service



A Brief Report about My Visit to UK

1. The Aim

To make a comprehensive acquaintance with the management system of Open University and student support service through the training and research.

2. The Methodology

a. Attending lectures to acquaint myself with theories of management of Open University and student support service and the practices in the both areas of OU.
b. Reading concerned papers and collecting other relevant information.
c. Visiting the OU campus and some learning centres.
d. Talking and discussing to some managers,teachers and students.

3. The Expected Outcome

Write a research report. I will summarize what I have learnt and studied during the four-months and try to exactly understand and abstract the experiences and ideas about the system of Open University management and student support service of OU.

4. The Activities and the Results of My Visit

  • During the four months I studied at the Open University in the East of England , I visited, discussed and interviewed about 20 members of staff of OU, as well as participated in several video conferences. I attended various committee and team meetings of staff in the Region and have also assisted at the Degree Day ceremony in Ely. I observed tutorials for various OU courses and participated in various other student support activities such as course choice events.
  • I also visited other OU locations and held discussions with staff at the Open University headquarters at Walton Hall and the London Regional Centre of the Open University, and attended a summer school of OU located in the Sussex University. In addition, I took advantage of the Michael Young Campus in Cambridge and visited the National Extension College and the International Extension College where I attended seminars on distance learning.
  • I read a wide-ranging literature review of Open University materials including course and student support materials, as well as video and computer materials and conferences.
  • I wrote a series reports (more than 10 special topics) about the management and student support service system of the Open University. All of them had been published on the online journal OUC KEEWLY NEWS.
  • I translated several chapters of the book Supporting Students In Online, Open And Distance Learning written by Ormond Simpson,and three chapters of the translation had been published in china( Online journal: Distance Education Research),the book was translated by my colleagues of OUC and me and published in china on July,2006.
  • I had received some feedback about the reports and the translated papers from my home country, especially from colleagues working in the OUC. They told me that was very helpful to them. Some information and suggestions had been adopted by them. For example, in the first report, I provided some information about the Course Code authorized by OU. My colleagues told me they were inspired by it, and they had known clearly how to work out and run the Course Code in OUC.
  • In the end, I gave a seminar to the colleagues of OU in the East England regional centre, which was a study report on the topic of comparing the student support systems of OUC and OU.

In conclusion, I had a pleasant time at the OU of the East England regional centre; I got many new ideas and experiences from here. All of the colleagues here are very helpful, and they are very interested in what is happening in China and OUC. I believe we had benefited and will benefited more from each other.