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The 34th AAOU Annual Conference hosted by OUSL, Sri Lanka

Hosted by the Open University of Sri Lanka, the 34th Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) Annual Conference was held at Cinnamon Grand Colombo from the 1st to the 3rd of June 2021. About 200 university officials and educational experts in the field of open and distance learning from 23 countries participated in the conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was conducted in the form of a hybrid conference combining onsite and online attendance and presentations, and OUJ participated in it online.

From OUJ, President Masaya Iwanaga and Vice President Masahiro Kumabe attended the AAOU Executive Committee Meeting. Prof. Tsuneo Yamada, Prof. Taisuke Togari, Assoc. Prof. Soichi Omori attended as paper/poster presenters. Additionally, Mr. Toshiaki Tanaka, Deputy Director-General, and staff members of the General Affairs Division also attended as observers.

The main theme this year was “Opening minds for a sustainable future: Re-orienting ODL to surmount challenge”.

Prof. Yamada showed a video presentation titled with “Digital Badge as an e-Certificate of Informal Education Program: A Case Study at Open University of Japan”, in which introduced the results of his team’s pilot implementation of “digital badges” at OUJ extension programs. They compared two prototypes, that is, IMS Open Badge version 2 and Blockcerts and clarified that different badge delivery channels should be prepared depending on recipients’ readiness.

Prof. Togari showed a video presentation under the title of “A cooperative nursing professional education at Open University of Japan”. He talked about the correspondence course in which nursing training schools cooperate with OUJ to help students qualify for the National Nursing Examination, and introduced the trend among users of this education service.

Assoc. Prof. Omori showed a video presentation titled “Network-Based Remote Laboratory in Distance Education: Scanning Electron Microscopy Experiment”, and introduced a computer-controlled scanning electron-microscope observation experiment at OUJ. His talk was followed by lively questions from the audience, e.g. the number of students who can access the microscope experiment at a time.

The conference was concluded with a presentation by Korea National Open University, which will host the 35th AAOU Annual Conference from the 19th to the 21st of October 2022 at International Convention Center Jeju in Jeju Island, Korea.

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