On 23 November 2019, the first session of the final of the OUC's Student English Writing Contest was concluded at the OUC conference centre. One hundred sixteen students from 19 branches and schools were shortlisted for the final. A total of more than 200 people attended the contest, including OUC vice president Yang Xiaotang and representatives of the OUC headquarters and the branches.

After fierce competition, a number of awards were presented to the contestants and the organisations, including first prize, second prize, third prize, prize for excellence, outstanding tutor award, and outstanding organiser prize. These prizes and awards were granted to junior college students and undergraduates of both English majors and non-English majors. Zhang Wanxuan from the Guangdong Branch won first prize as a junior college student in the English major group. Zhang Huaping from the Shanghai Branch and Wang Lin from the Sichuan Branch won first prize in the undergraduate English major group. Zhao Lina from the Hubei Branch and Sun Xin from the Henan Branch won first prize as junior college students from non-English majors. Four contestants — Hong Yiyang, Wang Min, Xu Shiling, and Luo Xiya — from the Zhejiang Branch, Cen Wan from the Hubei Branch, and Zhang Zhiyun from the Shanghai Branch won first prizes as undergraduates from non-English majors. Fifty-four teachers including Song Yang were named outstanding tutors. Eleven branches including the Xi'an Branch were awarded outstanding organisation awards.

At the award ceremony, the Xi'an, Guangdong, Shanghai, and Zhejiang branches all performed enthusiastic cultural programmes such as English songs, dance performances, and dubbing shows. They devoted great enthusiasm to the performances, fully demonstrating the positive energy of both the OUC teachers and students.

The competition has received great attention from leaders at all levels, including the OUC headquarters, branches, schools, and study centres. The preliminary stage of the competition attracted more than 1,400 students. The contest has hit a new record among English language-type competitions in terms of the number of participating students and the engagement of the participating branches.

The format of the contest was innovated this year. With the technical support of the "Revision Network,” the contest adopted an online writing system and used an automatic correction system to guide students in their writing and revisions. During the finals, an online answer form was used. Scores were given both by the computer and the experts to ensure fairness and scientifically and objectively reflect the students' true writing level.

According to participating teachers and students, through online writing, the students were able to make full use of their fragmented time to carry out effective learning and overcome the fear and shyness commonly associated with in face-to-face classes. The machine automatic scoring and multiple-modification mechanism drove students to constantly revise their work, training their skills. The feedback scores improved students' sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with English training, stimulating their learning interest and also achieving the goal of promoting learning through competition and promoting practice through competition. It provides a significant reference for the innovation and reform of the English teaching model.

After the competition, Yang Xiaotang pointed out that the competition was a practical activity launched by the OUC to promote teaching reform, demonstrate learning outcomes, and create a good atmosphere for a learning society. The participating students are the best business cards for the OUC to go global.

The contest continues to create a good atmosphere for students to learn English, helping students to get used to a blended learning model in the Internet+ education era, improve their self-regulated learning ability, and advocate for lifelong learning. At the same time, the contest fully demonstrated the foreign language abilities of the OUC’s teachers and students, playing a positive role in polishing the OUC's international brand and building a good social image for the OUC.

By Liu Ning, OUC