International Staff Exchange Fellowship Program

SOU postpones the 2020 International Visiting Scholar Program

Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the SOU 2020 International Visiting Scholar this May. Having spent the past year preparing for the program, it is really a pity that we are not able to invite you at this time. We would like to thank you for your support and involvement for our program, especially for those who have showed your interest and have applied for the program. We fully intend to hold the SOU 2020 International Visiting Scholar Program later this year. We will still put all the applications we have received into evaluation process and keep you updated. Please pay attention to our website for the latest information.

Shanghai Open University
20 March, 2020

The SOU welcomes scholars, researchers, government officials, and doctoral and post-doctoral candidates from around the world to pursue research activities at SOU. Each year, two sessions of the program are held during the Spring and Autumn terms lasting two weeks. From a pool of international applicants, a group of visiting scholars are invited to the SOU campus to conduct independent research or in collaboration with members of the SOU faculty. Visiting scholars benefit from a stipend, accommodation and most meals, on-campus workspace, ample opportunities to exchange ideas with our faculty, other international visiting scholars and neighboring institutions, and present their work to the SOU faculties and students. In addition, the Visiting Scholar Program has provided unique international networking opportunities that extend well beyond the duration of the program.

Shanghai Open University is pleased to announce that applications for its 2020 International Visiting Scholar Program are now being accepted.

Shanghai Open University (SOU), sponsored by the Shanghai Municipal Government, approved by China’s Ministry of Education and subject to the administration of the Shanghai Education Commission, is a new type of higher education institution. It was formerly known as Shanghai TV University, which was founded in 1960. SOU provides open and distance ICT-supported education to adults at undergraduate and junior college level. SOU has had more than 470,000 graduates since its foundation. Adapting to the needs of Shanghai’s economic and social developments, SOU carries out large-scale non-academic education and training programs for about half a million people each year. SOU established several schools with appropriate features for those who have special learning needs. SOU has currently the largest number of college students in Shanghai. It also serves as an important lifelong learning platform in Shanghai. In addition, SOU is the coordinating institution of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network in Open and Distance Learning, and received the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Alkhalifa Prize for the use of ICT in education. SOU was awarded an “Excellence Group Work Award” by the International Council of Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and an “Excellent Support Organization Award” by the African Council of Distance Education (ACDE). SOU strategically cooperates with the Open Universities of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and ACDE. SOU passed ICDE’s education quality audit.

In order to promote global cooperation between universities, institutions and interested scholars through academic exchange and to enhance the quality of teaching and research in the field of open and distance learning, SOU has successfully conducted the International Visiting Scholar Program each spring and/or autumn since 2013, with participation by the member universities and institutes of African Council for Distance Education (ACDE), Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), as well as other universities and institutes that currently provide or are developing open and distance education all over the world.

Program Size

SOU is offering up to 15 fellowships for the 2020 International Visiting Scholar Program. We have found that offering the program on this scale promotes excellent collaboration and exchange among the visiting scholars and their SOU colleagues, not only for the duration of the on-site program, but for years to follow. Our International Visiting Scholar program is unique in that we use the same ‘blended model’ as we do in our courses to combine both face-to-face and mobile and internet distance education to create global communities of scholarship for our Visiting Scholars.

Requirements for Candidates

The candidates for the program

  • Must have relevant teaching and/or research experience in open & distance learning.

  • Must possess a post-graduate degree and have held the position as an instructor or above in home institutions.

  • Must have fluent written and oral English ability (the working language for all official activities is English).

  • In good health.

  • Besides the above requirements, applicants who have administrative management experience, or who have been engaged with the collaborative research with SOU, will be given priority in consideration.

Financial Information

SOU will provide the following for the fellowship:

  • Hotel accommodation

  • Living expense allowance & transportation within Shanghai (250 RMB per day, 200RMB in total for the transportation within Shanghai)

    Both are pre-tax.

  • Workspace with wifi, telephone and internet access

Please be noticed that all the financial support comes from governmental program funds, and therefore, depends on government’s confirmation.

How to Apply?

Please refer to the website of the International Institute of Exchange of Shanghai Open University: to complete the online application.

We very much look forward to hearing from you and would also appreciate your sharing this invitation with others in your professional networks who might be interested in applying. Everyone will be assured a warm welcome in Shanghai and the SOU!

Further Information

The website of Shanghai Open University:

The website of Institute of International Exchange of SOU:


Duration of the Program

On-site in Shanghai: 2 weeks from 18 to 29 May 2020. SOU also maintains Wechat (Weixin) social network groups for Visiting Scholars to foster and maintain professional collaboration and support before, during and after the on-site program.

Important Dates

Required Materials for Application (Written in English)

  • Curriculum Vitae (candidates should have advanced English skills and hold a M.A degree or above)
  • A research proposal of the fellowship program: it could be a study on practices of SOU or a comparative study between SOU and their home institutions, proposal for future collaboration, etc. Topics may include but are not restricted to:
  1. Quality assurance and evaluation of open and distance learning (ODL).
  2. Teachers’ professional development related to ODL.
  3. Information Communication Technology (ICT) application to Teaching Research
  4. Talent Training Mode in ODL
  5. Sharing mechanism of ODL Resources
  6. Qualification Framework Design for Lifelong Learning to Promote Inclusion and Mobility
  • ※Shanghai Open University will give priority to the topics related to the research fields and on-going projects of SOU faculty or collaborative research in order to promote international exchanges and collaboration.
  • A professional letter of recommendation from the president/chancellor of the home institution.
  • A recent photo of the applicant.

Required Health Insurance

All fellows are required to show proof of health insurance for the entire length of their stay that meets specified minimum levels of coverage (Please send us the copy via email or by person at arrival). Fellows who bring health insurance from their home country must bring a copy of the complete policy in English. If these conditions are not met, they must purchase insurance in China.

Fellows’ Activities and Responsibilities

  • The nominated candidates should keep regular electronic contact with the SOU to inform the process of applying for visas and making travel plans.
  • Visiting and meeting with relevant departments and facilities(Shanghai Education Resources Center, the university library, Department of Research and Development, Information & Network Management Center, Teaching Affairs Office, Student Affairs Office, SOU branch schools, etc.).
  • Conducting their proposed research.
  • Giving a presentation based on their research conducted during their stay at SOU and the introduction of their own institutions.
  • Submitting a final report (Min. 3000 words) on the outcome of the research to SOU within 30 days at the conclusion of the program.
  • The Fellow will also be required to complete a feedback form on the quality of the Fellowship program.

The SOU reserves the right to cancel any fellowship offer if full visa and travel plans have not been successfully completed and the SOU so notified at least two weeks prior to the start date of the program.

Contact details:

Ms. Dorothy Tang

Email:, or
Telephone: +86 21 2565 3412
Fax: +86 21 25653267
Mobile: +86 13671627400
Mail Address: The Institute of International Exchange of SOU
Room 402, Building No.1
288 Guoshun Road
China, 200433


4F Learning World Plaza, No.288 Guoshun Road, Shanghai China
Post Code: 200433
Tel: (86 21) 25653006
Fax: (86 21) 25653267