altChen Ling, Associate Professor, The Open University of China (OUC)
Overseas Based University: the University of Nottingham
Advisor: Mrs. Anne O'Grady
Study Area: Life-long Learning and Distance Education

A Brief Report about My Academic Visit in UK

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Ely and The Sino-British Fellowship trust, your unselfish sponsorship let me have an opportunity to study at the School of Education, University of Nottingham from 21th, November 2006 to 3rd , April 2007. I also want to extend heartfelt thanks to Professor W.J Morgan (Director of UNESCO Centre for Comparative Education Research, School of Education) and my supervisor Mrs. Anne O' Grady, with your help and guidance, I can undertake my research smoothly and get some achievements.

1. The Study Aim and Plan

I am working as a teacher in the Department of Humanities and Law, the Open University of China. My subject is literature, the teaching method is distance education and my university belong to lifelong education system in China, so I hope to understand the situation and research in these aspects:

  • Understand the general situation about lifelong education in the UK, including:
    The lifelong education policy of UK government.
    The theory of lifelong education.
    The organisations of lifelong education.
  • Understand and learn advanced experience of distance education in the UK, especially Literature Course of Open University, which mainly involves the following aspects:
    The modes of teaching and management.
    The quality control method of learning and teaching.
    Learning support service.
  • Do some culture visiting, particularly some homes of famous historical English authors.

After discussion with the supervisor I decided the titles of my research articles:

  1. The Construction of Lifelong Education in the UK
  2. How to Control Learning and Teaching Quality of Literature Course in Distance Education

2.  The Research and Academic Activities (the detailed schedule and content are on the list)

  • Read some books and articles about lifelong education, adult education, vocational education.
  • Visited several websites, read the articles and materials of the websites.
  • Chose two courses:
    Research theory and method (9 weeks)

Recent British Fiction (10 weeks)

  • Listened to some reports and take part in some seminars
  • Meets the supervisor every two or three weeks, deliver a paper which finished one part of the article and received some guidance and correction from the tutor every time.
  • Visited some education organizations, asked and discussed some questions to teachers of the organizations.

3. Some Results

Based on the research and academic activities above, I have got some important results:

1) Finished the article The Construction of Lifelong Learning in the UK, the main content is:
"Lifelong learning" is very important part of education system in the UK. It is also one of the keys to prosperity for individuals, businesses and the nation, and can promotes a fair, active and cultured society.

  • The Lifelong learning theory and policy of UK government
    Lifelong learning means all post-16 learning: to support for lifelong learning complements policies to raise standards and achievements in school, to ensure that young people get the best start in adult life and to help unemployed people find work.
    Through the lifelong learning, the UK Government hope that the UK will become a learning society. Broad aims include: Creating a demand for learning; for vocational reasons but also for satisfying, stimulating or fun.
    Vocational Education is not only a very important part but also the central education thought of lifelong learning. With the new century comes new challenges and new demands, the UK needs a high quality vocational education and training system to create a highly skilled and socially inclusive workforce able to compete in the global knowledge economy.
  • The Organizations of lifelong learning
    The organizations of lifelong learning include a lot of parts, but main content can be divided into 3 parts:
  1. Website: The main task of website include: Provide learning advise; Provide learning information; Provide learning guidance.
  2. New kind of Universities: Open University, University for Industry
    The characters of Open University :
    The learner need not to go to university in regular time, they can learn in any times and any places; No entry requirements (except formal requirements). Distance learning and open learning are the main learning methods of the students in Open University; The Open University's style of teaching is called "supported open learning".
    The characters of University for Industry
    University for Industry create a new service to reach all learners and provide an infrastructure to support learners in where, when and how they want to learn. It include three parts: Learndirect courses; Learndirect business ; Learndirect advice
  3. Continuing Education of university
    Many universities in the UK have the school (or the center)of continuing education. It supply a lot of courses to adult students, Besides small part of the courses link the vocation, most of the courses is Humanities, such as literature, arts, music and history. This sort of courses give the students learning chance for their interesting and fun. For example: The Adult Education Centre, School of Education, University of Nottingham.
    After revising , this article will publish.

2) Finished preparing and collecting work of material which is about article
This article will compare with the learning and teaching method of two literature courses of China Open University and Open University, discuss the problem of learning and teaching quality control of literature. The article will finish after returning to China and publish .

3) Finished an essay of literature study, which is based on learning of course "Recent British Fiction". This learning chance is unexpected surprised to me, it let me not only understand recent English literature but also teaching method of literature. The essay named compare and contrast the passages of two novels and , analyse the boy's different manner and psychology to father and mother.
The passage of Black Swangreen displays the relationship of a boy with his father through an episode of the boy's life. In this episode, the boy's father has not appeared, his image and relationship between the father and the son are described through the boy's angle of view. The first paragraph is psychological description of the boy, shows up the boy's fear and submission to his father, displays the father's dignity to his son..
The second paragraph is described the things of the father's office, also through the boy's angle of view, it tell us that the father was an important figure from the boy's view. So the boy seems to have esteem for his father also.
The passage of Carry Me Down writes another boy's an episode of life. It describes the relationship between a son and his mother. The boy is eleven years old , just during the period in which a baby turns to a boy . He has a babyish love to his mother. The mother appeared in the passage, she seems very stern ,but it is not true. because the son don't fear her at all.
Comparing with two passages, there are some same and some different points in them(the detailed analyse is omitted due to space limit ). Generally father is stern and mother is kind, father and mother play different parts in the life of a boy. From this point, the stories of the passages are typical.
This article is going to develop and correct after returning to China and publish .

4) Visited some homes of famous English historical authors, such as Shakespeare, Byron, Wordswouth , Bronte Sisters, Hardy, T.H Lawrence. Visited some cities to understand the culture of the UK, such as London, York, Canterbuty, Cambridge, Edindurgh.

In conclusion, my study in the UK has been not only valuable but also enjoyable, the nice memory will stay with me forever.