From 3-5 June 2019, a delegation of five people headed by vice president of the OUC Lin Yu visited the Department for International Trade, the University of Leicester, and the University of London to discuss the Sino-British Fellowship Programme and explore other potential areas of cooperation.

On 3 June, the delegation visited the Department for International Trade and met with Ms. Sarah Chidgey (China Lead, Education, Department for International Trade) and Ms. Aisling Conboy (Higher Education Specialist, Education Team, Department for International Trade). Lin Yu introduced the history of the OUC and its mission and school-running system, as well as information about subject setup, student composition, teaching faculty, degree/non-degree education, learning resources, international cooperation, and, in particular, the details of the Sino-British Fellowship Programme. He hopes that the Department for International Trade will provide support for the visiting scholars programme in cooperation with British universities and institutions. The Department for International Trade said that one of its important missions is to work together with the UK Department for Education to jointly promote Sino-British education exchanges and cooperation. It clearly stated that it will publicise and demonstrate the OUC’s school-running features and cooperative intent, building a bridge for programme cooperation between the OUC, British higher education institutions, and other distance education institutions.

On 4 June, the delegation visited the University of Leicester. They visited the main campus of the University and its modern teaching buildings, and held talks with relevant leaders from the Education School, International Teacher Development Department, Research Institute, International Office, and Business School, as well as distance education experts and scholars. During the talks, Lin Yu introduced the basic situation of the OUC and the work currently progress. The University of Leicester expressed its appreciation for the OUC’s achievements. The two sides have held in-depth exchanges of research and practical experience with regards to distance teaching and examination methods, the improvement of tutors' distance teaching abilities, degree and non-degree education learning outcomes accreditation, and MOOC construction. They said that they would strengthen support for the Sino-British Fellowship Programme and further discuss the implementation of cooperation in areas such as teacher training, curriculum introduction and development, and distance education research.

On 5 June, the delegation visited the University of London. Professor Mary Stiasny (Pro Vice chancellor, University of London), Dr. Linda Amrane-Cooper (Head of the Centre for Distance Education, University of London), Mike Winter (Sino-British Fellowship Programme), and Professor Alan Tait (researcher of the Distance Education Centre), and other relevant personnel attended the reception. Lin Yu and Mike Winter introduced the basic situations of their respective universities and international business departments. The two sides exchanged views on development trends in distance education and shared their school-running experiences. The University of London believes that the two universities have some similarities in terms of distance education and have great potential for cooperation. They said that they will receive the visiting scholars (inside the OUC system) of the Sino-British Fellowship Programme this year. They welcomed scholars to conduct research at the University of London and participate in exchange activities such as academic seminars. The two sides also discussed cooperating on teacher training (combination of online and offline, domestic and overseas), online course introduction and development, and distance education research. They will further communicate specific cooperation orientations based on this meeting in order to expand cooperation between the two universities.

The Sino-British Fellowship Programme was launched in 1999. It is funded by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust and the China Scholarship Council, and is jointly implemented by the China Scholarship Council and the OUC. Each year, five visiting scholars from the OUC system are provided with the financing to go to universities in the UK to carry out research for three to four months. The research field is distance open education. Through the programme, the visiting scholars has broaden their horizons and enhanced their analytical and research capabilities. After the programme finishes, they come back to China and use British distance education concepts and advanced practical experience to explore China's distance education, playing an important role in their respective work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   By Chen Na, OUC