On November 26-27, 2015, more than one thousand delegates gathered to attend the 14th China International Distance Education Conference. The theme of the conference was "The Learning Revolution: Making Breakthroughs and Gaining Higher Ground".
The conference focused on the learning revolution brought about by the "Internet Plus" era, including the development trends of the "Internet Plus" era and its impact on the industry. Key discussions focused on seeking the path to a breakthrough and the means to gain the higher ground. The conference was sponsored by Distance Education in China, and guided by the Chinese Society of Education, China Association of Higher Education, MOE Research Centre for Online Education, Cooperation Team for National Higher Education Modern Distance Education, and the Open University of China (OUC). Vice President of the OUC Liu Chen, and Deputy General Manager of the OUC Publishing and Media Group and Director of Distance Education in China Zhao Wei presided over the opening ceremony.
President of the OUC and Chairman of CAET Yang Zhijian delivering a speech
Chairman of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) and Chief Editor of Distance Education Som Naidu delivering a speech
Deputy Director of the MOE Department of Vocational and Adult Education Liu Jiantong delivering a report entitled Promoting the Innovative Development of Distance Education Under the Guidance of Five Development Concepts
Chairman of the Chinese Society of Education (CSE) ZhongBinglin delivering a report entitled Internet Teaching and the Study Revolution
Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and President of Central South University Zhang Yaoxue delivering a report entitled "Internet Plus"and Distance Education
Chairman of the United World College International Committee and former Chairman of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) John Daniel delivering a report entitled The Future of China's Online Learning
A host of well-known figures in the domestic and international distance education field gathered to discuss a reform and development plan for distance education. Chairman of the Chinese Society of Education and former President of Beijing Normal University Zhong Binglin; Chief Editor of Distance Education and Chairman of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia Som Naidu; President of the OUC Yang Zhijian; academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and President of Central South University Zhang Yaoxue; Deputy Director of the Department of Vocational and Adult Education under the Ministry of Education (MOE) Liu Jiantong; Director of the Continuing Education Division of the Department of Vocational and Adult Education under the MOE Liu Ying; Secretary General of the Cooperation Team of National Higher Education Modern Distance Education Yan Jichang; Chief Editor of Internet Plus: A Roadmap for National Strategy Action Zhang Xiaofeng; Vice President of Xi'an Jiaotong University and President of the "MOOC China" Alliance Zheng Qinghua; General Manager of Amazon China Public Service Division Wang Shan; Vice President of NetDragonWebsoft Inc. and President of Huayu Education Technology (China) Corporation Yu Biao; President of Hongcheng Education Group Huang Bo; experts in the distance education field both at home and abroad; leaders of the OUC (RTVU) system; and enterprise leaders attended the conference. In addition, industry leader, Chairman of the United World College International Committee, and former President of the ICDE John Daniel extended his congratulations on the conference through video and shared his ideas in a report entitled The Future of China's Online Learning.
Yang Zhijian delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. He said that, with the support of society, over the past few decades the China International Distance Education Conference has attracted thousands of organizations and over 40,000 delegates. The conference has grown considerably and exerted great influence on the common development of the industry. Therefore, it is of profound significance in promoting the development of China's distance education and corporate learning development. In view of the letter of congratulations sent to the conference by President Xi Jinping, Yang stressed that the Internet has made the world into a global village. With today's Internet development, all aspects of human society have undergone dramatic changes. The education field in particular has witnessed the great changes brought about by the Internet. Innovation in science and technology is the core driving force behind education development, and also the fundamental driving force in the development of the Open University. He hopes that the participants will discuss Internet Plus education trends, share ideas, build a consensus, and achieve win-win results.
At the opening ceremony, many participants delivered keynote speeches based on the conference theme, including Liu Jiantong's Promoting the Innovative Development of Distance Education Under the Guidance of Five Development Concepts; ZhongBinlin's Internet Teaching and the Study Revolution; Zhang Yaoxue's "Internet Plus" and Distance Education; Zhang Xiaofeng's The"Internet Plus" Dividend and Education Reform; Zheng Qinghua's Using MOOC in China to Build an Internet Education Public Service System 2.0; Wang Shan's AWS Cloud Computing Boosts Education Innovation; Yu Biao's Breakthroughs in "Internet Plus Education" in the Mobile Internet Era; and Huang Bo's Challenges and Opportunities of Online Education. Sir John Daniel believes that MOOC shave spread from elite universities in the United States to countries around the world. MOOCs have become a movement followed by the public. Today, the main question is no longer whether to use MOOCs and how to use MOOCs, but how to realize the sustainable development of MOOCs. Som Naidu shared his views on how online learning is transforming the outlook for education, which broadened the horizons of the participants, and introduced new ways of thinking on how to break through the development bottleneck. Zhang Yaoxue pointed out in his report that "Internet Plus" has changed the traditional distance education model. "Internet Plus" has changed the spoon-fed method of imparting knowledge. Students can learn what they want to learn rather than being passively taught. The campus, classroom, and teachers interact in an online-to-offline (O2O) way. Game-based learning will become a weapon of success. It is believed that with the rapid development of the social economy and the intensified application of information technology, the learning needs of society as a whole are undergoing extensive and profound changes. In particular, with the implementation of the "Internet Plus" strategy, the new requirements are bound to form a new education ecosystem and value chain. A new study revolution is imperative.
The highlights of the two-day conference included the: "MOOC Development Strategy Summit Forum"; "Presidential Summit Forum on Higher Education Online Education and Continuing Education School"; "Cloud Computing and New Technology Application Summit Forum"; "Online Education Capital Operation and Mode Breakthrough Summit Forum"; "'Internet Plus' and Corporate Training System Reconstruction Summit Forum", and four other forums. At the forum, the participants discussed the development trends related to "Internet Plus" and its impact on the industry, focusing on seeking a breakthrough and seizing the higher ground. Furthermore, they discussed the thinking and practice of online education in ushering in education reform and a study revolution in the era of "Internet Plus".
As an important part of the 2015 China International Distance Education Conference, the "Presidential Summit of the Open Universities and RTVUs" presided over by General Manager of the OUC Publishing and Media Group Yang Xiaotang, and "Summit on Exploration and Innovation in Local RTVUs" hosted by Director of the Development and Planning Office of the OUC Li Yanzhong, aroused special attention from the media. Vice President of the OUC Yan Bing, Vice President of Jiangsu Open University Peng Kunming, Vice President of Guangdong RTVU Lijiang, President of Hefei RTVU Sun Jiangling, and Zhou Chenguang from Pudong South School of Shanghai Open University shared their successful school operation experience by delivering theme reports entitled "Several Goals to be Addressed in the Construction of Open Universities", "Practical Problems to be Addressed in the Overall Advancement of the Construction of Open Universities", "'InternetPlus' Boosts the Construction of Full Credit System Pilots in Open Universities", "Thoughts on the Transformation and Development of City-level RTVUs", and "Involvement in the Learning Circle", respectively.
"These speeches offer valuable wisdom and experience of success." a representative from Shandong RTVU told reporters. "I copied their speeches and will digest them in future. I will learn and absorb their successful experience in combination with our real situation." An attendee from a local RTVU in Jiangxi was taking notes in earnest. He told reporters, "What impressed me the most at this conference is that China, and the open university system in general, have a clear understanding of ‘Internet Plus’ education. For our local RTVUs, this also indicates that more and better policies, and resources support will be available in the future. As a president of a local RTVU, we should seize this opportunity and follow the larger trends. I think only distance education under the support of the Internet can benefit residents of remote counties and towns, allowing them to receive convenient and well-thought-out education services just like in Beijing and Shanghai!" A representative from Tangshan RTVU told reporters, "This is an excellent annual opportunity for mutual exchange, research, improvement, and cooperation. We can find out about the most authoritative education policy, enjoy demonstrations of the latest education technology, reflect on the transformation of open universities, and learn from the experiences of other schools."
From 2002-2014, Distance Education in China has successfully hosted 13 annual conferences. The conferences have all been full of authority, with wonderful speeches and rich information. The attending institutions and the number of participants have reached a grand scale. Over the past few decades, a number of members of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, members of the standing committee of the CPPCC, vice minister of the MOE, as well as directors of the Department of Policies and Regulations, Department of Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Postgraduate Education (Office of the State Council Academic Degrees Committee), Department of Higher Education, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Teacher Education, Department of Basic Education, and the President of the OUC have been invited to deliver reports at the opening ceremony of the conference. Over 1,000 experts and scholars from the education and training industry, and IT field both at home and abroad have been invited to give keynote speeches at the conference’s forum. Tens of thousands of participants from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and abroad were invited to the conference. Over 40,000 people have taken part in the conference exhibition. A total of 600 education institutions and service providers from both at home and abroad have displayed their latest products and technological achievements at the conference.
By Cai Cheng, OUC