A series of academic seminars jointly organised by the OUC General Office of Party and the Administration and Education Research Institute, an integral part of the series of activities celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Open University of China (OUC), has successfully concluded.

The lecturers and themes for the first three seminars were: Professor Yuan Fujie from the Open University of Japan (OUJ) and her report The Construction of Japan's Lifelong Education System: The Latest Policy Interpretation and Practice; Professor Ding Xin from South China Normal University and his report The Construction of the Distance Education Discipline; and Professor Wang Qiong, director of the Digital Learning Research Centre of Peking University and the Education School of Peking University, who gave a report titled Learning Analysis in Distance and Open Education.

The fourth academic seminar was held on 11 June. The lecturer was Professor Liu Baocun from Beijing Normal University and his report The Internationalisation of Higher Education: Connotations, Measures, and Challenges. The report provided a detailed description of the connotations, motives, policies, measures, paradoxes, and challenges of internationalisation for higher education, which further broadened the international horizons of and deepened the understanding and comprehension for the OUC faculty on the issue of higher education internationalisation.

The fifth seminar was held on 13 June. The lecturer was Han Min, executive vice chairman of the Chinese Society of Educational Development Strategy, with a report titled Education Modernisation and Open Universities. The report introduced the development of open and distance education and its historic contributions to China’s education modernisation, analysed the opportunities and challenges for China’s education modernisation development, and discussed the feasibility, strategic significance, and route map of advancing the transformation of open and distance education and comprehensively propelling the transformation of RTVUs to open universities. The report offers a crucial reference for the OUC’s transformation and development as well as the practice and revolution of open and distance education.

The sixth academic seminar was held on 17 June. The lecturer was senior Professor Ken Spours from University College London (UCL), who gave a report titled The 4th Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Work and Lifelong Learning. In his report, Professor Spours discussed the distinctive characteristics of the transformation initiated by the 4th industrial revolution, as well as functions played by AI and robotics learning. It also explored four relevant technical models. Finally, Professor Spours added that open universities are a new type of future-oriented university with great potential, which is open to everyone for individualised, diverse, and popularised education. His views are a great reference for us to understand open universities.

The series of academic seminars was themed around “Education Policy and Reform” and “The Development of Open and Distance Education”, bringing together both macro and micro factors and domestic and overseas influences. The OUC invited well-known experts and scholars from influential universities and national research institutes to give lectures for six seminars, which will enliven the academic and cultural atmosphere, and broaden the academic horizons of the teaching faculty and staff in order to inspire them to further promote the construction of the OUC.

By Jiang Xiaoqing, OUC