Training Objectives and Standards
The aim of the course is to equip graduates with competency and ethics in the Chinese laws and regulations at a local level.
The requirements for the course are: to understand the basic principles and theories of laws; to have a solid command of basic skills; to have the competency of analysing and resolving problems with legal theories and knowledge learned.
Legal Philosophy, Science of Constitution, Administrative Law and Administrative Procedure Law, Criminal Law Science (1)(2), Criminal Procedure Law, Civil Law Science (1)(2), Civil Procedure Law, Economic Law
Duration of Study and Graduation
The course uses a credit-based system. Credits received within 8 years of registration are valid.
The Open University of China (OUC) has designed this as a three-year part-time study course.
The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 76. Graduates obtaining the required number of credits are awarded a nationally recognised diploma certificate of higher education.
Teaching Method and Media
Modern distance-learning technology is used to support students' autonomous study.
The main study media are printed materials, audio-visual materials, IP courseware and CAI courseware, with printed materials being the primary medium. Face-to-face tutorials, correspondence tutorial, online teaching, BBS, e-mail, VBI, telephone and two-way video conferencing, and televised teaching are also used to support students.
The teaching of legal science should attach importance to the case method and legal practice.
Type, Function, and Content of Instructional Media:
- Printed Materials
Printed materials constitute the core of the instructional media for each course. They are the primary means of transferring information and developing the students' self-study skills, and thus are the most important type of instructional media.
Printed materials should cover the entire course curriculum and include all of the basic information the students need to study on their own. The materials should make the learning requirements of the course clear and systematically explain course content. Furthermore, they should help the student learn how to study, introduce new content, and furnish reference material such as laws, regulations, and case studies.
Printed materials may be "whole" or "discrete". "Whole" materials organically combine course material with self-study aids and reference material, and are then divided into modules. "Discrete" materials join primary and auxiliary instructional material together in a complementary fashion.
- Audiovisual Materials (including VCD)
Audiovisual materials (including VCD, hereinafter) are a needed supplement to printed materials as they can further clarify printed content. They help students to better grasp and understand course material.
Audiovisual materials should be closely linked to printed materials, but should not simply repeat the material. They should be primarily used to clarify areas which the students find difficult to comprehend, requiring additional induction, generalisation, prompting, or explanation from the instructor.
Audiovisual materials generally teach or tutor key points. For the more practical courses, every effort is made to increase content such as case study discussions, thematic debates, or mock trials, raising the student's perceptual awareness.
The form of audiovisual material used should be appropriate to the characteristics of the course content.
- CAI Software (including online edition)
CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction) software serves to break down and refine printed materials, helping the students to learn and practice on their own and test themselves.
CAI content is closely matched to the content of the printed materials. By breaking down and analysing course content from various angles, the software provides students with a personalised, interactive learning environment on the computer or online that enables self-practice and self-testing.
CAI software is available in CD-ROM form and online; students are free to pick the format that suits their circumstances.
Other Study Support Services:
- Face-to-face Tutorial
In principle, face-to-face tutorial is organised and implemented by each pilot unit, with the OUC providing corresponding guidance.
Each subject in the Law degree programme should have arrangements for face-to-face tutorial. The instructor can resolve difficulties and questions encountered during the student's self-study, or arrange case study discussions or seminars. Through application of the case study teaching method and face-to-face instruction and interaction between teacher and student, the student broadens his or her thinking, acquires knowledge, and receives comprehensive training. Face-to-face tutorial need not be lengthy; each semester course can be completed in approximately 20 class hours.
The tutors conducting face-to-face tutorial should be equipped with the corresponding qualification and ability.
As to the time and manner, it will depend on the reality and decision of each pilot unit.
- Correspondence Tutorial
Correspondence tutoral is organised and implemented jointly by the OUC and the pilot unit.
Correspondence tutorial formats include periodicals, publications, and letters.
Correspondence tutorial content should include: Guidance in study methods, key points of the course, difficult points, explanation of unclear points, practice, self-test, trends in the development of the department, end-of-semester review guidance, Q&A, etc. End-of-semester review guidance for required courses and limited elective courses is uniformly prepared and issued by the OUC.
- Phone and Two-Way Video-conferencing
The OUC and the pilot unit should establish a study hotline number and a fixed time for Q&A and teaching feedback.
The OUC and the pilot unit then gradually progress to a two-way video-conferencing to conduct teacher training and discussion of difficult questions and case studies.
- Televised Teaching
The OUC schedules televised teaching every semester. The pilot unit should arrange to view the programme at the appropriate time.
The OUC is responsible for producing the televised teaching programme. Main contents are educational information, resolving difficult questions, and special lectures on the latest trends in law.
Televised teaching will be merged with the two-way video-conferencing for real-time teaching.
- Online Learning (including online discussions, email, etc)
In coordination with the OUC's revolutionary open education system, we have drafted a distributed online virtual campus using existing hardware and the OUC's online learning platform. The campus is centered around the OUC and supported by the pilot units. Tying together each school's network and multimedia classroom, employing network information technologies such as instructional web pages, online discussion boards, and email accounts, the campus breaks through the limitations of traditional one-directional teaching methods. Students and teachers alike benefit from this online self-learning and personalised education environment. The campus is a student-centric online learning system that provides an abundance of educational resources and a comprehensive array of online learning support services, and allows for mutual feedback between teacher and student.
This system will be implemented through the OUC's system platform shortly. Details are as follows:
Course Administration: Provide teaching plans, outlines, and information such as teacher directories. Allow for search and input. Facilitate the timely release of information related to teaching and developments in the department.
Course Teaching: Include course and subject offerings, arrangements, study goals, requirements, guidance on study methods, and tutoring on course content.
Courseware: Fully utilise existing resources and adapt existing audiovisual material to gradually develop online CAI courseware. Provide necessary supplements to printed material, demonstrate a mock court, aid in self-testing, strengthen the student's sense of self-study. The student can study in a selective and focused manner based on his or her study needs.
Online Discussion Boards: Primarily provide for real-time and non-real-time discussion, increasing interaction in the learning process. Students and instructors can raise or answer questions in their discussion groups. They may arrange two or three online seminars during the semester for such questions.
Email accounts: Establish a dedicated teaching email account for the collection and timely answering of questions. Homework may also be assigned, checked, and marked.
Case study, mock court: Provide legal examples and demonstrate a mock court, develop the student's practical skills. May use CAI courseware or a video-on-demand feature.
Practice question database: Provide an appropriate number of practice questions or test questions, allowing for self-study and self-testing. The instructor can record, produce, and change questions.
Instructional material: This system will closely follow the pace of the teaching, make timely updates to course content, and provide instructional resources. The student can adjust the pace of study to his or her liking and ask questions at any time in an interactive environment. The content will be dynamic, simple, and practical. The system aims to focus on training, collaborative learning, improving the student's self-discipline and self-study abilities, increasing educational resources, and expanding the student's horizons.
- Is responsible for the design, production, and maintenance of the overall framework of the instructional web pages;
- Is responsible for the overall study goals and requirements at the course level and the subject level, furnishes all of the teaching resources for each required subject;
- Is responsible for organising the development and production of CAI online courseware;
- Is responsible for conducting training and tutoring for course leaders at other RTVUs;
- Gathers instructor feedback at other RTVUs to assess the students' learning conditions, makes timely adjustments to subject content or subject arrangements as necessary;
- Assumes responsibility for tutoring in related subjects.
The pilot unit:
- Is responsible for regularly organising students for online study, participation in online discussion groups and discussion activities;
- Develops and produces CAI online courseware in conjunction with the OUC, assumes responsibility for teaching work such as online tutoring Q&A for the course and grading homework;
- Is responsible for building online resources for optional modules and independently offered subjects.
The teaching media for compulsory subjects falls under the jurisdiction of the OUC, while for the pilot optional modules, it falls to the provincial open universities.
Those involved in compiling the teaching media are all appropriately qualified.
The syllabus, teaching proposals and samples of teaching materials for independently established optional modules are all submitted to the OUC for evaluation and approval before teaching commences. Outstanding ones are recommended for use in the OU system.
Curriculum and Teaching Management
The course includes compulsory subjects, bounded optional subjects, optional modules and practicals. The subjects are divided into unified offered subjects, modules with unified services provided and independently offered modules according to their natures.
- The compulsory subjects offered by the OUC employ uniform syllabus, teaching materials, examinations and standards of marking. With the authorisation of the OUC, local universities will take on the teaching of some of the compulsory subjects according to OUC standards. Teaching process management are strengthened via centralised tutorial, inspection on teaching and examinations and the like.
- The bounded optional subjects refer to specialised compulsory subjects, whose names are given by the OUC. The unified syllabus (or teaching requirement) is abided by and the teaching materials are recommended. The teaching process management is strengthened via centralised tutorials, inspections on teaching and on examinations, among others.
- The optional modules are set up in both diploma period and degree period. The optional modules are selected by local open universities or students in accordance with their own needs. Optional modules taken during the diploma period do not need to be repeated during the degree period, or replace the credit needed or be exempted from learning. It is up to the local universities to offer independent optional modules in line with training targets and local needs.
Those doing the diploma and not intending to do the degree may take the compulsory subjects form the degree as their optional modules in the diploma.
- To the modules with unified services provided, the OUC will give service support of teaching resources in providing syllabus, multi-media teaching materials, and examinations.
- Students can choose optional modules from the list of General Optional Modules. They may choose cross-discipline modules, but credits for these must not be more than 10 percent of total course credits.
- Each law subject will have a formative assessment organised in accordance with the OUC and local open universities requirements. The results of the formative assessment generally account for 20 percent of the total mark. Those without formative assessment results are not permitted to take graduation examinations.
- The assessment of each subject of legal science shall be based on syllabus and printed materials. Both theoretical knowledge and practical capacity should be tested when questions are set in the test paper.
- The practicals are made up of the subject practicals and the final practical. The final practical includes legal practice and graduation theses. The responsibility of practicals will rest with local open universities based on the equirements of the syllabus. The legal practice which cannot be exempted can be done in the form of mock court, legal consultancy service, thematic debate, internship, court hearing or social investigation.
- The focus of graduation theses is to cultivate the students' ability to resolve practical problems with the integrated knowledge learned. The topics can be diversified, and the selected topics should conform to the requirements of the jurisprudence.
Teaching Quality Guarantee Insurance System
The pilot units are responsible for employing and improving the teaching staff within their regions. Each subject has full-time course leaders and full-time or part-time lead teachers that meet the following qualifications:
- Course Leaders
All course leaders have an undergraduate degree or above in legal science; are active in the teaching and teaching management of legal science; are able to teach online; and are fully conversant with the characteristics of teaching in open universities.
- Lead Teachers (chief editors of teaching materials)
Lead teachers have an undergraduate degree or above in legal science as well as senior professional titles; are active in the teaching and academic research of legal science; have rich teaching experience and strong oral and written communication skills. In addition, they all speak fluent Mandarin (putonghua) with clear pronunciation.
In addition to those with the required educational background titles, the position of lead teachers for specialised and practical subjects can also be held by those who work in judicial or administrative law-enforcement departments, or who have rich practical experience and hold leading posts, once their academic level has been verified.
Full-time tutors have at least an undergraduate degree, while part-time tutors not only have at least an undergraduate degree, but also have professional titles in legal science at or above mid-range level and a certain level of academic theoretical level. In addition, they are engaged in teaching, research or practice in open universities or conventional institutions of higher education, professional research institutes, or the related disciplines of judicial or administrative law-enforcement units.
- All teaching staff and tutors of the pilot units receive thorough training.
- The OUC is responsible for giving training to teachers of the compulsory subjects, while the pilot units are responsible for training those in their regions.
- Training is determined by the actual situation and can involve meetings, classes, online initiatives, two-way video conferencing, or training materials.
- The teacher training includes teaching requirements, explanation of focal and difficult points of subjects, introduction to the use of multi-media for teaching and ways for students' autonomous study.
- Pilot units give students guidance on the course contents, subjects offered, study plan and study methods.
- Each subject has an induction including overall design, teaching requirements, study methods and materials.
- Centralised tutorials are given on problematic areas in compulsory subjects through live classes, two-way video conferencing, online teaching resources and correspondence.
- Each subject has approximately one or two tutorials per term.
Centres for Experimental Teaching
- The OUC selects representative pilot areas to carry out experimental teaching and learning activities, to test the practical effect of various teaching media, to explore the reform in teaching and learning models, and to improve learner support.
- The establishment of centers for experimental teaching is to be decided by the OUC after inspection visits.
- At least two formative assessments are given in each subject.
- The OUC has a uniform process for the formative assessment of compulsory subjects, which is conducted mainly through correspondence channels. The pilot units are responsible for their own formative assessments and having them checked and marked.
- The format of formative assessments is governed by the subject contents and has a practical focus. They take the form of case analysis, thematic discussion, comprehensive tests, court hearing, teaching practice, mock courts and mid-term examinations.
- The assessments are marked out of 100. Those who have not finished their assignment receive 0.
- The assessment counts as 20% of the course's total mark. The result of the unified offered subjects must include the score of the assignments given by the OUC. If the pilot units independently give two or more formative assessments, they can choose which one is to be counted in the final mark.
- Each subject is marked on the formative assessment and exam on completion of that subject. Students with no formative assessment mark cannot take the exam.
- Generally, the OUC is in charge of the compilation of exam papers for all the compulsory subjects, with exams being either open or closed-book. For those subjects with fairly fixed contents, a test item database or test paper bank will gradually be compiled.
- The exam scores are converted to the remaining 80 percent. A minimum of 60 marks (from the formative assessment and exam) is needed to pass the subject and receive the corresponding credits.
- The types of exam questions for closed-book examinations are decided according to the nature of the subject and usually contain four types from the following: filling in blanks, multiple-choice, judgment, explanation of terms, question and answer, essay, and case study.
- Those who set questions in the test papers shall have high professional level and rich teaching experience in the subjects and have professional titles of legal science at or above mid-range level.
Teaching and Exam Inspection
- The OUC is responsible for inspecting the teaching and exams of each pilot unit, checking formative assessments and practical teaching arrangements, as well as feedback on teaching information.
Problems surrounding diploma-to-degree conversion
- Students graduating from non-law courses at or above diploma level wishing to take the law degree course must do a conversion for the compulsory subjects. They are Science of Constitution, Economic Law, Foundation Knowledge of Legal Science (B) and others. The OUC provides subject description, syllabus, recommended teaching materials and assessment requirements to support students' autonomous study.
- The corresponding credits for each conversion subject is 4, with the total coming to 12 credits.
- When making teaching plans for implementation, all the pilot units must include the conversion subjects in the teaching plan according to the OUC regulations and teaching requirements of the subjects. They shall give teaching and examinations in accordance with the credits and study hours. All the pilot units should make clear regulations and formulate practical and effective schemes for implementation.
- This consists of the subject practicals and the final practical, and is obligatory for all degree students.
- The teaching practicals includes the subject practicals and the final practical in legal science and the final practical contains a graduation thesis. The OUC is responsible for formulating the uniform basic requirements for the practicals, while the local open universities are responsible for implementing them based on the requirements of the syllabus.
- The format of practicals can be decided on according to the actual situation on the ground. It can be done in the form of thematic case discussion, mock courts, legal consultancy service, court hearing and internship as well as social investigation and thematic debate.
- Those successfully completing the final practical get the corresponding credits. It cannot be omitted and those without it are not permitted to graduate.
- The final practical is generally scheduled for after students obtain most of the obligatory subject credits.
- All degree course participants must write a graduation thesis.
- The basic requirements (covered separately) are formulated uniformly by the OUC and carried out by each pilot unit, with the OUC making inspections and giving instruction.
- The thesis is written after students obtain all the compulsory subject credits and complete the practicals on legal science.
- After completing the thesis, the student must attend a viva taken by a fully qualified OUC tutor.
- Those completing their thesis get the corresponding credits, without which graduation is not permitted.