In November 2012, Yang Zhijian, president of the Open University of China (OUC), led a delegation to the Open University, UK (OUUK) and attended the 2012 International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Professor Liu Dailin from the School of Foreign Languages of the OUC, Yang Yongbo, director of the International Cooperation and Exchange

Department, Secretary Hou Songyan, Wang Ying, deputy director of the Research Institute of Open and Distance Education, and Feng Liguo, deputy director of the Learner Support Centre, were among the delegates.

On November 8-9, the delegation visited the OUUK headquarters and its regional centre in Cambridge. The delegates were welcomed by Martin G. Bean, vice-chancellor of the OU, and Professor Alan Tait, pro-vice-chancellor (Academic), as well as directors from the Institute of Educational Technology and Open University Worldwide.

Yang Zhijian and Martin G. Bean introduced the latest developments at their respective universities and discussed options for further cooperation. The two sides have decided to establish a long-term strategic partnership emphasizing high-level visits, personnel exchange programme, and course development. Specifically, the OUC will continue to send Sino-British fellowship recipients to the OU and the OU will send two experts to provide teaching advice in January 2013. In the first half of 2013, Martin G. Bean and Sir John Daniel will also lead a delegation to visit the OUC. Furthermore, the OUC plans to send a delegation of deans to communicate with their peers at the OU in March 2013. In addition, the delegates exchanged ideas on the development of three courses for online tutors and practitioners in China (Learner Support, Tutoring Online and Course Design licensed by the OUUK), and discussed the licensing of economics and management courses. After the talks, the delegates visited the OUUK’s regional centre at Cambridge, followed by a series of discussions on learner support issues with directors and tutors of the centre.

Vice-Chancellor Martin G. Bean with delegates including President Yang Zhijian  

President Yang Zhijian presents OUC commemorative coins to Vice-Chancellor Martin G. Bean

Delegates visit the OUUK regional centre in Cambridge

From November 12-15, the delegation attended the ICDE SCOP 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Entitled “Open and Distance Education (ODE): Barriers, Opportunities & Strategies Forward”, the conference was attended by 150 presidents of distance higher education institutions around the world. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, addressed the conference. The conference was followed by a policy forum, providing an opportunity for consultation on ICDE’s strategic plan for 2013-2016. Members of the ICDE Executive Committee discussed a possible cooperation between ICDE and UNESCO with Dr. David Atchoarena, UNESCO director of Division for Teacher Development & Higher Education. 27 issues concerning the 25th ICDE World Conference in Tianjin were also discussed. 

During the conference, Yang Zhijian spoke with Dr. Greg Von Lehmen, senior vice-president of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) for the cooperation between the two universities. He also had an interview with Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.

ICDE Executive Committee members communicate with Dr. David Atchoarena (third from right), UNESCO director of the Division for Teacher Development and Higher Education  

President Yang Zhijian speaks with Dr. Greg Von Lehmen (far left), senior vice-president of the UMUC

President Yang Zhijian presents OUC commemorative coins to Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University

By Yang Yongbo, the OUC