Established in 1985, the Research Institute of Open and Distance Education of the Open University of China (OUC) is China's oldest research institution on distance education. Since 2001, it has assumed the additional function as the Research Division of OUC.

Geared towards the interests of all OU students, the Institute actively pools the wisdom and talent of the experts and the staff members of OUs.  Over the past 25 years, it has engaged in research and achieved numerous results in the theory and practice in such fields as distance education, open education, adult education, and the application of educational technology. 

As the research arm of OUC, the Institute has undertaken numerous national level research projects since 1986.  Such projects include the research on educational mode, curriculum design, teaching mode, administrative mode, support services, as well as quality assurance, and the assessment system of distance education.  The research findings have been published in many journals and books.  As a result of such sustained academic pursuits, a team of full-time and part-time researchers, which consists of researchers, teachers, administrators and technicians, has emerged.  They have gained a solid domestic and international reputation for the quality of their research in distance education.

Since 2008, the Institute has been publishing, on an irregular basis, Currents in Research (internal circulation).  The Journal focuses on the latest developments and trends in research in educational technology as well as in open and distance education (ODE).  The articles may serve as the rationale and reference for decision-making, strategy planning, curriculum development, technology application, support services, and other research projects of the OUs throughout the country.

Currently, it consists of the Division of Theory and Policy Studies, the Division of Teaching and Management Studies, the Division of Media Technology and Application Studies, the Research Management Office, and the Administrative Office.

The Institute has 13 members, most of whom have graduated from such renowned universities as Beijing Normal University, Peking University, Renmin University of China, Nankai University, and Jilin University.  They also come from diverse academic backgrounds, including philosophy, economics, physics, education, educational technology, history, management, and law.  There are three professors (research fellows), four associate professors (associate research fellows), and three lecturers (assistant research fellows).  Three of them hold a doctoral degree, and another six of them hold a master's degree.  While each of them has his/her own research interests and fields, they often work together in a team for larger projects. 


The Institute, established in 2001, is mainly responsible for the planning, administration, and designing of the research projects; for the organization, submission, approval, administration, and inspection of the research projects of OUC; for the organization, coordination and approval of submission of the research projects that are funded by various sources; for the publication and promotion of the research findings; and the provision of research-related information and related services.  In the meantime, it supervises and coordinates the research activities among all OUs in China.  Through research projects and academic activities that it sponsors, the Institute provides researchers with a platform for academic exchanges.

The Institute, as the member of the CAHE (Chinese Association of Higher Education) , the College Distance Education Committee of the Chinese Educational Technology Association, and the secretariat of the Pedagogical Reform Committee of the Chinese Adult Education Association, also exercises the responsibilities of organization, liaison, coordination and day-to-day work of these associations and committees. 

Offices and Their Functions:

The Administrative Office
is responsible for the administration, archive management, inter-departmental coordination, secretariat of the labour union, and secretariat of the academic board of OUC.

The Research Management Office is responsible for the improvement in the research environment for OUC as well as for OUs throughout China, research planning and training, research project management, as well as the rewarding, promotion and application of research findings.

The Division of Theory and Policy Studies is responsible for research on the fundamental theories of modern distance education and its related disciplines, policy and strategy research, reform and development research, and others.

The Division of Teaching and Management Studies is responsible for the delivery and administration of distance education courses, research on learning support services, teaching quality assurance, research on teaching effectiveness, and others.

The Division of Media Technology and Application Studies is responsible for research on media technologies used in modern distance education, research on teaching design, development, design and application of media technologies in distance education, and their effectiveness, the construction and maintenance of website for the Institute, and others.

Organizational Structure of the Institute:

Director: Sun Fuwan
Deputy Director: Wang Ying

 Offices and Staff:

 The Division of Theory and Policy Studies  (+86)10 66490532 Head: Zhang Fenglong

Zhang Fenglong


Research fields: fundamental theory on distance education, social assessment of education
Sun Fuwan Professor Research fields: theory on distance education, teacher training, support services
Wang Shujuan Associate Researcher Research fields: administration of distance education, special learners
Li Ying Lecturer Research fields: educational economics, adult learners

The Division of Teaching and Management Studies
Head: Wang Ying

Wang Ying Associate Researcher Research fields: educational technology, adult learning
Zou Fanlin Associate Researcher Research fields: support services for distance education
Yang Tingting Researcher Research fields: educational technology, quality management for distance education
Yin Shuangxu Assistant Researcher  

The Division of Media Technology and Application Studies

Shen Yafen Associate Professor Research fields: educational technology, application of educational technology

The Research Management Office
Head: Chen Shougang

Chen Shougang Assistant Researcher Research fields: design of distance education, knowledge management, education laws, research management

The Administrative Office

Wang Ting Deputy Head Research fields: management of education and research files

Contact Us:

Add: Research Institute of Open and Distance Education, the Open University of China, Beijing, 100039, P.R.China

Tel: (+86)10 57519240

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