Founded in 1987, the Asian Association of Open Universities Conference (AAOU) is a non-profit academic organisation for open and distance education institutions in Asia. As of October 2010, AAOU has 48 full members, 22 associate members and 2 individual members. The full membership is for dedicated open and distance learning institution located within the Asian continent and whose primary instructional delivery is through distance mode. The associate membership is for those who are active in promoting or delivering education by the distance mode. The AAOU has become one of the most influential open and distance education alliances in Asia.
AAOU strives to promote the development of open and distance education in Asia and widen the educational opportunities available to all people in Asia. It promotes the improvement of quality and efficiency of member institutions through exchanges in terms of information management, educational resources and research.
The AAOU Annual Conference, hosted in turn by member institutions, is a stimulating forum for all those associated with open and distance learning in Asia, particularly academics, administrators and students. It provides a focal point for bringing everyone up to date on the issues, ideas and developments in the field of open distance learning.
Contacts with the OUC:
The OUC (formerly China Central Radio and TV University, CCRTVU) is one of the AAOU institution members and has attended the AAOU Annual Conferences on behalf of Chinese distance education institutions. The OUC has been awarded important prizes for its papers submitted to the conferences and it has participated in the AAOU Staff Exchange Fellowship Programme since 2007.
In November 2004, the 18th Annual Conference of the AAOU was held in Shanghai. In 2005, Zhang Yaoxue, then president of China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU), was elected as the rotating chairperson of the 19th AAOU (2005-2007),Li Yawan was nominated as secretary general, with the secretariat located at the CCRTVU. In 2007, Zhang Yaoxue was awarded the AAOU Lifetime Achievement Award.
In October 2010, the 24th Annual Conference of the AAOU was held at Hanoi, Vietnam, in which CCRTVU was elected a member of the new Executive Committee (2011-2013) of the AAOU.
The 25th and 26th Annual Conferences of the AAOU was respectively held at Penang, Malaysia and Chiba, Japan.
The 27th Annual Conference of the AAOU was held in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1-3 October 2013. Zhang Hui, deputy Party secretary of the OUC, led a five-member delegation to attend the conference. This annual conference was organised by Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU). The theme was “Leveraging the Power of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) for Building a Divergent Asia: Today's Solutions and Tomorrow's Vision.” At the AAOU General Body Meeting, the OUC was elected a member of the new Executive Committee (2014-2016) of the AAOU. During the conference, Baleeghur Rehman, Minister of State for Education, honorary vice chancellor of AIOU, met with Zhang Hui and expressed the hope that the two open universities could carry out multi-level cooperation in various sectors in the future.
The 28th Annual Conference of the AAOU was convened in Hong Kong from 28-30 October 2014. A delegation of eight people led by Zhang Shaogang, former deputy Party secretary of the OUC, attended the conference. The conference was organised by the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) with the theme of “Advancing Open and Distance Learning (ODL): Research and Practices.” Zhang Shaogang participated in the 29th Annual Meeting of the AAOU Executive Committee and the 28th Annual Meeting of the AAOU General Body on behalf of the OUC. During the executive committee meeting, Zhang Shaogang expressed the OUC’s clear intention to accept several visiting scholars from Asian open universities to conduct research in 2015. During the conference, Zhang Shaogang exchanged ideas on a wide range of topics with top leaders and scholars from other Asian open universities. The results included agreements on a cooperative project exchanging visiting scholars for teaching Chinese to foreigners with AIOU, the continuation of the China-Japan-ROK Tripartite Seminar on Distance Learning with the OUJ and KNOU, as well as intended cooperation in academic exchanges and education projects for older adults with the OUHK. During the annual conference, a total of three OUC papers were finalists for the best papers award and one paper was awarded the Young Innovator Award.
The 29thAAOU Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 30th November to 2nd December 2015 and hosted by the Open University of Malaysia (OUM). The conference’s main theme was “New Frontiers in Open and Distance Learning (ODL).” The OUC delegation of five people attended the conference and presented papers. Chen Haishan, deputy director of the Open University of China’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchange, attended the 30th Annual Meeting of the AAOU Executive Committee and the 29th Annual Meeting of the AAOU General Body. A team consisting of members from the OUC, the OUHK, Universitas Terbuka Indonesia (Indonesia Open University), Korea National Open University, and the Open University of Japan also presented the 2015 progress report from the Task Force on MOOCs. In the parallel sessions, OUC delegates Cui Naipeng, Chen Siming, Tao Xinxin, and Liu Shu presented their papers and shared with other attendees their research findings.
The 30th AAOU Conference (AAOU 2016) was held in Manila, Philippines from 26-29 October 2016. A delegation of five people headed by deputy Party secretary of the OUC Yang Xiaotang attended the conference. The conference was undertaken by UP Open University (UPOU), with the theme of “Open Education in Asia: Changing Perspectives.” Yang Xiaotang attended the 31st AAOU Executive Committee Session and the 30th AAOU Plenary Session. The conference deliberated on and approved a proposal for seven open universities including the OUC to serve as executive committee members for the 2017-2019 term. A thesis entitled The Development and Innovation of Distance Learning Instructional Textbooks at the OUC written by Zhang Tong from the OUC was shortlisted for the AAOU Young Innovator Award. Yan Xiaohui and Guo Zhiyun from the OUC presented their theses at the parallel sessions.
The 31st AAOU Annual Conference (AAOU 2017) was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from 27-29 September 2017. A nine-member delegation led by Li Linshu, vice president of the OUC, attended the conference, which was hosted by Universitas Terbuka (Indonesia Open University), with the theme of "Open University for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education.” Nearly 300 representatives from Asian countries attended the conference. The following OUC papers were presented at the conference, including Sun Hongfei's paper Providing fair education opportunity and flexible learning services for migrant workers by Credit Bank, Yin Shuangxu's paper A comparative study of external quality assessment in open universities between China and Japan, Yang Min's paper Education equality and the efficiency of ethnic minority students of the OUC, Li Zhixiang’s paper Research on the mode of mobile learning in distance education, Sun Zhijuan’s paper Research on a distance education model for industrial workers in China, and Jiang Xiaoqing’s The practice and reflection for faculty construction of learning-guide teachers in distance education: Based on empirical analysis in the Open University of China. During the conference, vice president Li Linshu also participated in the 32nd AAOU Executive Committee Session and the 31st AAOU Plenary Session.