The Open University of China (OUC) carried out a series of field research activities with the theme of “entering the front line and meeting grassroots-level students and teachers to improve teaching work” with the goal of understanding the actual teaching situation at the front-line.

From 19 to 21 December 2020, a six-person delegation led by Liu Chen, deputy secretary of the OUC Party Committee, Hu Yang, director of the Department of Social Education (Community Education Research and Training Centre of the Ministry of Education), and Guo Qingchun, director of the OUC Experimental School, took a research trip to Nanhai Experimental School and conducted activities including site visits, listening to lectures, and engaging in discussions at the school.

After listening to the report on the overall situation of Nanhai Experimental School by Zha Jun, secretary of the Party Committee and president of the school, the researchers then attended a face-to-face tutorial lecture on Administrative Law and Administrative Procedure Law with undergraduate students from the autumn 2019 class of administrative management in order to understand teaching and learning on the front line.

The researchers and 18 students of the 2019 undergraduate class of administrative management held a teacher-student discussion over forming cooperative pairs with the aim of carrying out the fundamental task of cultivating talented professionals through moral education and better promote the implementation of the project of “creating excellence and improving quality” in “student-centred” degree education. During the discussion, the students spoke freely about their personal learning experiences in the OUC, especially their thoughts about and achievements from online learning against the COVID-19 pandemic. The teachers and students exchanged views and shared their experiences of how to overcome the challenges between work and study in adult continuing education, as well as the functions and applications of the platform of the OUC learning network.

Liu Chen affirmed Nanhai Experimental School achievements in educational reform and innovation and passed on the spirit of the recently-concluded Fourth “Double Representatives Conference” of the OUC, hoping that Nanhai Experimental School, under the leadership of the new team, will forge ahead and become a model and pacesetter for contributing and extending experience and education models in the OUC educational system. Nanhai Experimental School should base its work on the reality of its students, set flexible learning tasks, scientifically and reasonably arrange face-to-face tutoring courses, and help students overcome the challenges created by the conflict between work and study in its teaching organisation and implementation work in order to ensure the effectiveness of teaching. It should design and engage in a diverse range of open education student activities, create an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual assistance for its alumni, and create a campus culture characterised by the features of an open university. He affirmed the optimistic and positive learning attitudes of the students participating in the forum and answered questions on updating course materials and optimising the functions of the learning network platform raised by students in their feedback opinions, saying that the OUC headquarters will strengthen the accessibility of learning resources and improve the convenience of platform functions, so as to enhance the sense of perception and acquisition of the majority of teachers and students in the process of informatisation. He encouraged students to make good use of their fragmented time and the mixed learning methods enabled by the internet to engage in systematic learning through in-depth reading of teaching materials. They should be able to read and learn from good books and successfully complete their studies within the shortest time possible, devoting themselves to study and work by making best use of their time. In this way, they can help the construction of the Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Greater Bay Area and serve the social and economic development in the South Sea area, becoming participants, builders, and hard workers in the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

By Wang Ruyan, OUC