On April 5, the 13th OUC Conference of Scientific Research was held under the theme of "Improving teaching, scientific research, and the overall quality of open and distance education". More than 230 teaching and administrative staff attended the meeting.

Director Sun Fuwan of the OUC Research Institute of Open and Distance Education began with a review of the scientific research work done

in the past year from the five aspects of new research topics, completed research projects, academic awards, research credit and academic activities, demonstrating the OUC's research achievements in 2011 and outlining research plans for 2012. Sun outlined the following six major tasks for 2012: continue key 2011 research topics with the goal of completion by May; establish OUC research topics for 2012 relevant to the construction of the OUC; improve regulations and policies related to research to help teachers actively participate in research; make targeted advancement in major research topics; conduct routine research work including research credit, academic exchanges and research appraisal; improve research services and strengthen research capacity.

OUC Vice President Zhang Shaogang delivered a report entitled "The Design and Implementation of a Digital Environment for Open and Distance Education". He analyzed society's changing demands for the learning environment, and pointed out the need to integrate various new technologies to establish a new learning environment equipped with functions such as process recording, resource recommendation and service provision, making open and effective learning available any time, any place. Zhang also took the audience on a virtual guided tour of the OUC Wukesong Distance Education Building using multimedia tools, briefly describing the production of teaching resources, study and research services, information environment control, the intelligent learning experience system and management subsystems.

OUC President Yang Zhijian praised the scientific research achievements made in 2011 and presented the following three requirements regarding future research work:

The first is to properly understand the importance of scientific research to a university. Scientific research forms the core of a university's competitive strength and is extremely important, since the quality of the university can only be improved with the support of research. The OUC must place great importance on scientific research, stimulate staff's enthusiasm for research, and take research to a new level in order to fulfill its mandate as a university of innovation.

The second is to properly understand what scientific research is. Scientific research incorporates several meanings, one of which is application research. This refers to streamlining and studying the latest research conclusions and practically implementing them to improve teaching. As a new kind of university, the OUC should focus on this type of scientific research in line with its mission and training objectives, and should pay more attention to research in distance education, web-based teaching and course resource construction. The OUC should produce distinctive research in distance education theory and facilitate further exploration of distance education, thereby improving the theoretical basis and quality of distance education in China.

The third is for each department to give priority to scientific research. The goal of successfully constructing the new OUC will be achieved on the basis of research. During the past year, all departments conducted research related to the building of the OUC, but much of the research was insufficient or lacked a strong foundation. Future research projects need to clarify their standards, processes and achievements so as to improve the quality of scientific research at the OUC.

Departments and individuals that won the most research credits in 2011 were also honored at the conference.


By Lu Feng, the OUC