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The Open University of Japan has renewed the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Open University, Taiwan

OUJ, President Prof. Masaya Iwanaga and NOU, President Prof. Sung-Po Chen signed the agreement on Nov.26, 2021. The ceremony for signing the MOU was held online, due to the influence of the Covid-19.

President Prof. Chen gave a keynote speech about the overview, the current issues, and the future of NOU. Furthermore, he proposed further collaborative work with OUJ, such as a faculty exchange program and a joint research project.

President Prof. Iwanaga gave a keynote speech with the title “Orientation and Role of Open Universities in the New Norm of Post-Covid-19”. He discussed the impact of Covid-19 on education in Japan, how Japan’s universities responded, and the orientation and role of open distance higher education in the post-Covid-19 era.

With the signing of the MOU as a turning point, it is hoped that both universities could strengthen their relationship and communication in exploring more cooperation opportunities in the future.

ICDE Virtual Global Conference Week 2021

The “ICDE Virtual Global Conference Week 2021: Upskilling and upscaling for quality Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (OFDL)” was held virtually during the week of 25 - 29 October 2021, as the virtual version of the ICDE World Conference 2021. More than 130 delegates from 53 countries including educational experts mainly from European countries participated. From OUJ, Vice President Prof. Masahiro Kumabe, Prof. Tsuneo Yamada, the General Affairs Division staff members took part in it.

Based on the main theme, "Upskilling and upscaling for quality Open, Flexible and Distance Learning ” and three subthemes, the conference had four keynotes, multiple academic papers session, concise impact talks session, digital poster sessions with short video pitches, Labs workshops, and panels, all in various time zone.

As a next event, the ICDE Leadership Summit 2022 will be hosted by Korea National Open University (KNOU) in Conrad Seoul and will take the format of a hybrid event from 20-21 January 2022.

Keynote Speech on “The 20th China International Conference on Distance Education” by Prof. Masaya Iwanaga, President of OUJ

The 20th China International Conference on Distance Education was held by the Open University of China(OUC) on October 14-15, 2021 in Beijing. President Prof. Iwanaga was invited to deliver a 30-minute keynote speech at the conference. The topic of the speech was “Orientation and Role of Open Universities in the New Norm of Post-Covid-19.

President Prof. Iwanaga discussed three topics regarding the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on education in Japan, how Japanese universities coped with, and what are the orientation and role of open distance higher education in the post-Covid-19 era. The speech was concluded by showing OUJ’s next action plan and expecting to deepen the relationship through the exchange of people, teaching materials, and information with OUC.

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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