Sino-British Cooperation Project for Online Tutor Training Modules
This project, introduced from the Open University in the UK (OUUK), provides training for online tutors and related teaching administrators in the China radio and TV universities (CRTVUs) as well as in the conventional higher education institutions. The three modules involved in the project are: Learner Support, Tutoring Online and Course Design for Online Learning. All three are taught online.
The project had its first trial in 2008 with 30 registered participants.In 2009, the project enrolled 142 students altogether. In 2010, there were 5 newly added classes with more than 80 students registered. The OUUK provided two more kinds of video resources free of charge to the project, including Introduction to the OUUK, Speeches by Four Famous Professors from the OUUK and so on, enriching the training modules. From the official launch on September 14th 2009 to the end of December 2010, 269 people from 23 local radio and TV universities(RTVUs), 15 conventional higher education institutions and 6 enterprises have received training.
14 tutors have worked part-time for the project, including 7 teachers of the Open University of China(4 teachers and researchers with doctorates in the OUC), and 3 teachers from other universities (including Peking University and Beijing Normal University). In addition, the project has invited three experts in the OUC as advisors.
The training method of the modules improves the trainees' understanding of the development of online courses, providing useful experience for designing their own online courses, interacting with their students and managing students' online learning progress in the future.
Collaborative Research Programme of PLAR between the OUC and TRU
In March 2008, Canada’s Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and the China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU, now the OUC) signed an agreement on collaborative research of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). In the past three years, the two parties have made frequent contacts in order to build a solid basis for cooperation. In 2010 the training content and plan of PLAR were primarily determined, with the OUC-TRU Joint Research Centre to be established.
On November 15th 2010, the OUC and TRU signed the cooperation agreement and inaugurated the joint research centre. In 2010, the OUC, linking with Tianjin Radio and TV University, piloted the PLAR evaluation on the course Educational Technology in Baodi Branch School. The OUC will take further steps to study the extension of PLAR evaluation by drawing experience from the experimental unit. Moreover, the joint centre will apply the results of PLAR to research and training in other areas, including the online Chinese teaching system.
Originating in the 1980s, PLAR is a common assessment method used in adult higher education in many countries. In the US, Canada, France and Australia, PLAR has been widely applied in adult higher education and has been an effective incentive for employees to enter higher education. The purpose was to transfer the applicant's knowledge and skills, such as on-the-job training, into credits that can be accepted in higher education.
CIBT Education Group Project
On 16 October 2009, the OUC signed a cooperation framework agreement with the CIBT Education Group during the International Forum on Open and Distance Education in Beijing. It aims to utilize the educational resources and the strength of school management of both parties. By launching dozens of cooperative projects in many fields in China and Canada, the two sides will introduce new operational concepts and models, expand the teaching areas, improve teaching quality and promote each other's international influence in the global education market. The 12 sub-projects are: teaching Chinese as a second language, study tours for foreign students to China, building of standard open classrooms, English teachers training and certification in Canada, international hotel management, German motor vehicle electronic mechanics training and certificate conferring, IELTS training courses, business English courses, hotel English courses, and "diploma to master's degree" programmes. Of these, the building of the standard open classrooms and international hotel management programme are priorities.
On December 8th 2010, the OUC signed a cooperation agreement with the CIBT Education Group initiating the international hotel management programme. The project aims to produce outstanding graduates in the field of hotel management in an effort to develop the high-end domestic market with international curriculum resources and training methods. The cooperation on the international hotel management programme with the CRTVUs includes two systems of diploma/degree courses and certificate training. The first offers training courses by conferring a professional certificate/diploma from the America Hotel & Lodging Association Education Institute(AHLA-EI) and diploma or degree conferred by the cooperative institution. The certificate training programme falls into two categories in terms of employment orientation: domestic and international. Through systematic and professional training, the students learn about management and general operations in the hotel industry and equip themselves with the capacity to do internships and get employed in high-end hotels at home and abroad. The project would bring in the universally acknowledged international vocational education system to the CRTVUs and is conducive to conducting research on how to train internationalized professionals in the CRTVUs. After a period of consultation and market research, the project has been put into full implementation.
Exchange and Cooperation Projects between OUC and OUJ on Distance Education
On May 7th 2009, the OUC and the Open University of Japan (OUJ) signed an agreement on distance education. The agreement focuses on future cooperation between the CRTVUs and the OUJ in various aspects of distance education, including academic research, project development, personnel exchange, co-development and application of teaching resources, and exchange of educational information, teaching materials and research findings. After the signing of the contract, in September of 2009 and 2010, the OUC sent 9 representatives to attend the first and second OUJ, OUC and KNOU International Seminar on Distance Education hosted by Korea National Open University (KNOU) and the OUJ respectively, and exchanged ideas with experts on topics including construction of study centres for open universities, the application of new technology in teaching, the building of teachers' skills and ways to provide support and services in the process of teaching. According to the agreement, the third OUJ,OUC and KNOU International Seminar on Distance Education would be presided by the OUC in October 2011 in Beijing. In the future, both parties intend to focus on how to develop courses oriented to lifelong learning, how to carry out resource exchanges and comparative study on distance education between China and Japan, and other related collaborations to facilitate bilateral development.
Promotion of TCSL (teaching chinese as a foreign language)
In 1996, the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China decided to use SCOLA (Satellite Communication for Learning Association) for broadcasting Chinese language television teaching programmes in America. With rich experience and resources in distance education, CCRTVU（now the OUC）was honored to undertake this far-reaching project. Under the guidance of Hanban, the Center for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language of CCRTVU (now the OUC Chinese Language Center) produced satellite-aided overseas Chinese teaching programmes. The programmes include teaching about the Chinese language, Chinese culture, and news on China. Six hours of the programmes are broadcast each day and are repeated 4 times in 24 hours. In addition, the OUC Chinese Language Center also put emphasis on the research and development of multimedia Chinese teaching resources. The products developed by the Center are: China Panorama, Easy Chinese, Exploring Chinese Culture, Journey through China, Time to Talk Chinese Series and The Understanding Chinese at Work Series. In 2010, there were nearly 20 agreements reached, 5 contracts signed between the Chinese Language Center and other companies or organizations, and ongoing cooperative projects account to more than 20.
The Centre has launched the MyEChinese distance Chinese teaching system. It has been actively exploring new partners and cooperation methods. MyEChinese system combines online study, virtual interactive activities, offline study and mobile learning, comprising the three platforms Learn Chinese (http://s.myechinese.com), Teacher Training (http://t.myechinese.com/), and E-campus (http://i.myechinese.com).
For promoting and advertising the MyEChinese teaching system and other resources and products, the Center has participated in almost 10 international exhibitions and meetings, such as the 10th World Chinese Conference, the 29th Expolangues in Paris and the 5th Confucius Institute Conference. Along with it, the Center also publicises its work by submitting academic papers and holding demo classes and academic seminars.
Confucius Institute Online
The Confucius Institute at Michigan State University (CI-MSU) was established in East Lansing, Michigan in May 2006. Its headquarters in America is located in the College of Education, Michigan State University. Guided by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in China, this Confucius Institute was co-established by Michigan State University and the OUC. It is the world's first online Confucius Institute, and also the first to offer online Chinese courses targeted at high school students. The OUC has specially established the China R&D Center of CI-MSU, with work from the OUC Chinese Language Center (www.myechinese.org) and the Center for Modern Distance Educational Resources (www.mder.com.cn). The OUC Chinese Language Center is in charge of the routine work of CI-MSU in China.
As for teaching materials, the OUC has independently developed Chinese Your Way courses for high school students. It has also finished 25 resource packages included in the cultural courses Exploring Chinese Culture with video, PPT for classroom teaching and other tools. Apart from these, other assisting tools for searching phonetics and Chinese characters have also been developed.
The most important thing in the further development of CI-MSU is to lay a solid foundation, including building a high quality team and excellent web-based learning resources. The team has been expanded from 10 people to 29 and become more professional with Chinese teachers, technicians, media designers, personnel involved in software R&D and overseas market promotion. In terms of resources construction, the team has already accomplished 60 units of 360 hours online courses for adults, and assembled 108 courses on Chinese language, culture and communication skills through the methodology of "transplant, create and reform". The next step is to explore new business opportunities, and to promote and apply the existing online resources.
The Sino-British Fellowship Trust Project
The Sina-British Fellowship Trust Project is sponsored by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust (SBFT) and the China Scholarship Council (CSC). The project will see several teaching, managerial and research personnel chosen from the OUC or other local RTVUs every year to study and research in the OUUK, the University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester, the Institute of Education University of London and other universities in the UK for three to four months. Since its launch in 1999 till now, there have been 12 sessions and 59 visiting scholars sent. The selected ones are mainly from remote areas, minority ethnic groups and less developed regions in China, so as to cultivate distance educators with international vision and knowledge about the British distance and open education for the central and western parts of China. The project also helps to enhance the reform and innovation of the CRTVUs by drawing on advanced educational concepts and experiences from the UK. On return, every visiting scholar is expected to submit a report to the SBFT and the OUC. The OUC has compiled the reports made by the visiting scholars from first session to the 9th into two books named The Collected Work on Practice and Research into Sino-British Distance Education (І) and The Collected Work on Practice and Research into Sino-British Distance Education (ІІ).
AAOU Staff Exchange Fellowship Program
AAOU Staff Exchange Fellowship Program is an activity initiated by Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU). In the plan, some members of Asian open and distance education institutions would offer short-term (about 4 weeks) visiting fellowships to distance education professionals working in other Asian members to carry out research projects connected with the promotion and development of distance education. The aim is to increase academic exchanges between Asian open universities and promote intercollegiate cooperation on research. The project follows the principle of freewill, issuing the announcement for recruiting visiting scholars through AAOU secretariat. Based on different research subjects, scholars from different regions will be chosen to conduct joint researches. The CCRTVU (now the OUC) has participated in the project since 2007. Four OUC teachers have taken part in the project and done short-term research exchange activities in Korea National Open University, Indira Gandhi National Open University and Open University Malaysia. At the end of the session, the scholar should submit an academic report to the cooperative institution about the research achievement, and his or her experiences during the study.
English Teacher Training Project
According to the Memorandum of Education Exchange and Cooperation between China and Singapore in 1999, the China Scholarship Council, entrusted by the MoE of China, selects 35 English teachers from higher education institutions around the country (including five from Hainan province) to be trained at the National Institute of Education in Nanyang Technological University for ten months on English teaching pedagogy. After the training, five of them will be chosen to continue their study there for the master's degree in the next twelve months. Authorized by the China Scholarship Council, the OUC is responsible for selecting four to five candidates from the CRTVUs all over the country for the project. Since beginning participation in the project, the OUC has altogether recommended dozens of English teachers to the project and many of them have been selected. The project helps them in their career development and improves the building of the subject of English in the CRTVUs.