On 21 June 2021, the Open University of China (OUC) and the Open University in the UK (OUUK) jointly held an online teacher-training workshop for teachers from the OUC headquarters, aiming to enhance their capacity for both teaching and innovation. It consisted of three sessions covering online tutoring skills, class design, and curriculum and MOOC production. 30 teachers from the OUC’s ten departments were selected to participate.

Yang Xiaotang, OUC vice president, and Viren Patel, commercial director of the OUUK, attended the opening ceremony.

Mr. Yang reviewed the friendly partnership between the two universities over the past 20 years in the areas of curriculum development, teacher training, scholar exchanges, research projects, and so on. In the past decade, nearly 70 OUC personnel have visited and studied at the OUUK, and more than 20 OUUK leaders, experts and scholars have visited and conducted discussions with the OUC. Fruitful cooperation and exchange have been achieved. This workshop further enhanced the knowledge and skills of the OUC teachers in their fields, and contributed to strengthening the connection of the two universities. It is hoped that their cooperation will continue to grow in terms of course and resource development, as well as scholar and student exchanges.

Viren Patel delivered a welcome to the participants and introduced the OUUK. It is a pioneer in the field of distance education, with a unique social mission to combine outstanding academic research with promotion of educational equity. It is committed to building a distance-learning model suitable for self-directed learning, and its innovative model of education has allowed more than 2 million students to achieve career and life empowerment. Furthermore, the OUUK has always adhered to the academic standards and quality-supervision procedures of traditional universities in the UK, as set by the UK Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). He spoke highly of the cooperation between China and the UK over the past 20 years, and expressed the hope that the workshop would contribute to the development of OUC teacher teams.

Both sides expressed the hope that the participants would cherish their opportunities to learn and communicate, contributing to distance education in China and the UK, and benefiting their students.

In the "Online-tutoring Skills" workshop, Professor Martin Friel from the OUUK introduced learning objectives and ice-breaking through group discussion. The workshop focused on learning styles and their corresponding teaching methods. In-depth studies of VARK (Visual-aural Read/Write and hands-on) learning styles were conducted through questionnaires, discussions, and other means.

The workshop was essential in terms of implementing the requirements for strengthening teacher-team development in the OUC Comprehensive Reform Plan, strengthening international cooperation, introducing high-quality training resources, and gaining from the experience of teachers in other countries in terms of skills, innovation, and use of resources.

Written by Li Donghai; Photo by Zhuge Huanyu, OUC Voice