At the invitation of Anadolu University, from 24-28 June 2019 a delegation of five people headed by vice president of the Open University of China (OUC) Yang Xiaotang visited the Ankara Open Education Study Centre of Anadolu University and Istanbul Admissions Office to discuss school cooperation matters and sign a strategic cooperation agreement. They also conducted field visits and obtained first-hand research data for the "Anadolu University Case Study Project.”
On 24 June, the OUC delegation visited the Ankara Open Education Study Centre of Anadolu University. During the visit, the head of the Office, Ms. Ayfer Karaburun, received the delegation and introduced the functions of the institution. The Centre's institutional settings are roughly divided into the Management Office, Reception Centre, and Call Centre. The Open Education School of Anadolu University has adopted a completely online teaching model and the classrooms for exams are borrowed from other colleges. As a result, the Centre is only responsible for student registration, student status, non-academic support services, and examination organisation management for open education students in the region. It does not participate in academic support services.
On 25 June, the delegation drove to Eskisehir, the Anadolu University headquarters in central Turkey. The three vice presidents of Anadolu University, Prof. Dr. Ali Savas Koparal, Prof. Dr.Selim Basar, and Prof. Dr. Guler Gunsoy, met the delegation. Anadolu University is a typical "dual track" operation higher education institution and is one of the ten largest universities in the field of distance higher education worldwide. The Open Education School of Anadolu University occupies a pivotal position in Turkey. After negotiations, the two sides planned to carry out inter-school cooperation in four areas, including exchanges of teachers/scholars, resource introduction, scientific research cooperation, and setting up study centres at the other school. They also signed a cooperation agreement. At the same time, vice president Yang Xiaotang invited Anadolu University to come to China to participate in the 3rd Symposium on Open and Innovative Education held in Hunan in October 2019 to give a keynote speech. In addition, the OUC also proposed that since both sides are members of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), they can exchange visiting scholars through the AAOU scholar exchange program and implement the projects in the cooperation agreement. Mr. Selim Basar, vice president in charge of the School of Distance Education, agreed with the OUC’s proposal and accepted the invitation. He will visit China in October together with president Şafak Ertan Çomaklı.
The delegation then visited the Video Production Centre, the Open Education School, and the News Centre of Anadolu University. They also held talks with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Fırat and other heads of the School. Vice president Yang Xiaotang gave a detailed introduction to the OUC, the learner development model, its learning resource development, international cooperation and exchanges. The Open Education School of Anadolu University was established in 1985 and is the first higher education institution that offers distance education that is recognised by the Turkish government. According to census data, in 1997, 22.4% of people in Turkey received a higher education (including open education), of which 35% are graduates of Anadolu University's open education project. At present, the Open Education School of Anadolu University offers 58 associate degree and undergraduate degree programmes, cultivating an accumulative number of more than three million graduates. The School has a website called AKADEMA, which provides MOOCs. AKADEMA is oriented towards students with any academic background. There are currently 56 courses available, with a wide range of topics, including cello, basketball, scuba diving, body language, resume writing, photography, Arabic, Turkish, and social network analysis. At the meeting, the two sides proposed localising the resources of AKADEMA into Chinese and then move the resources onto the OUC's five-minute course platform. It was also suggested that the OUC introduce Turkish onto its new multi-lingual platform, embedding the Open Education School's ready-made junior Turkish online course onto the platform.
On 27 June, the delegation visited the Istanbul Admissions Office of Anadolu University. The head of the Office, Ms. Seda Akpınar, introduced the main duties of the Admissions Office and highlighted its second university project. It is an academic education program, aimed at enabling the distance education resources of Anadolu University to not only serve learners who have passed the entrance exam to Anadolu University but also open to all higher education on-campus students in Turkey and the graduates. The programme began in the 2003-2004 school year and the enrolment is targeted at students who have obtained an associate degree or bachelor degree or on-campus students in any programme of any higher education institution in Turkey. They can take the Open Education School’s courses without taking the entrance exam to the university and can obtain an associate degree or bachelor degree. Li Shuguang, teacher of the OUC Education Research Institute, discussed the second university project in detail, obtaining first-hand academic materials for the "Anadolu University Case Study Project.”
By Dai Jing, OUC