--> Openlink Vol 23 Issue 4 (Dec 2014)<!--OUHK hosts the 28th AAOU Conference--> | Hong Kong Metropolitan University
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  •  Openlink Vol 23 Issue 4 (Dec 2014)
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    OUHK hosts the 28th AAOU Conference

    The 28th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), hosted by the OUHK, took place from 28 to 31 October. Some 300 delegates came together to discuss wide-ranging issues under the theme of ‘Advancing Open and Distance Learning: Research and Practices’. Delegates came from more than 20 countries of the broader Asian region namely Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia and mainland China as well as Hong Kong.

    Professor K C Chan, Acting Financial Secretary for the HKSAR, officiated at the conference’s opening ceremony. In his welcoming address, Prof. Yuk-Shan Wong, current President of the AAOU and President of the OUHK, emphasized the importance of the choice of theme for this event. He expressed the view that, ‘in the eyes of the public, open universities are primarily teaching universities. However, research is a focus of this conference because research is essential to improving how we teach, and because it informs every aspect of how we run our institutions. In other words, research is tied closely to practice.’ He added that the conference would offer plenty of opportunities to consider and discuss the many aspects of research and to share innovative open and distance learning practices.

    The conference brought together international administrators, academics and professionals with a diverse range of expertise to exchange ideas and good practices. Keynote speakers included representatives of the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO. Workshops and seminars were held to explore sub-themes such as the hotly debated massive open online courses (MOOCs), how to foster an institutional research culture, technological innovations, as well as practical measures to improve the implementation of open education in such areas as student support, staff development and collaboration with other institutions. Delegates also presented their research papers during the conference. At the closing ceremony, the Best Paper Award, the Best Practice Award and the Young Innovator Award were presented to outstanding researchers and educators in recognition of their contributions. Furthermore, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning
    Prof. Asha Kanwar was presented with the Meritorious Service Award for her remarkable achievements as a visionary and dynamic leader in open and distance education.

    Dr Li Kam-cheong, Secretary General of the AAOU and Director of the University Research Centre was secretary of the organizing committee together with Director of Educational Technology and Publishing Unit Dr Yuen Kin-sun. Both were pleased with the outcome of the conference. ‘The main goal of this event was to facilitate the sharing of research and good practices and build relationships’, Dr Li said, ‘and I believe the conference was both fruitful and enjoyable for all.’ Besides academic engagements, catering and a range of other activities were arranged to extend hospitality to all delegates. A closing dinner with a lion dance performance and a talent show by students and alumni was held on 30 October. During the meal, President Prof. Yuk-Shan Wong also entertained guests with two songs. On the following day, sightseeing tours were arranged for delegates and their families.

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