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Shanghai Open University is pleased to announce that applications for its 2023 International Visiting Scholar Program is 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.


SOU is offering up to 15 fellowships for the 2023 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 distance education to create global communities of scholarship for our Visiting Scholars.

Duration of the Program

On-site in Shanghai: 2 weeks from 16 to 27 October2023. 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

Deadline for application: September 8th, 2023

Notification of acceptance: September 15th, 2023

Requirements for Candidates

The candidates for the program

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

ØMust possess a post-graduate degree and have held the position of instructor or above in the home institution.

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

ØMust be in good health.

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

Required Materials for Application (Written in English)

ØCurriculum Vitae (candidates should have advanced English skills and hold a M.A degree or above)

ØA research proposal for the fellowship program: it could be a study on SOU practices, a comparative study between SOU and the applicant’s home institution, a proposal for future collaboration, etc. Topics may include but are not restricted to

(1)The new opportunities and challenges in the pandemic era

(2)Specialty construction and curriculum development in open and distance education

The specialty includespreschool education, elderly care, public safety emergency management, art design, international Chinese language education and cultural dissemination.

  (3) Promoting lifelong learning in higher education:from institutional strategies to practical implementation

  (4) The application of AI in education

  (5) Quality assurance and evaluation of open and distance learning (ODL)

  (6) Teachers’ professional development related to ODL

  (7) Personalized service design for online learning in open and distance learning

  (8) The learning analysis in open and distance learning.

ØA professional letter of recommendation from the head of the home institution (President, Rector, Chancellor or Vice Chancellor)

ØA recent photo (passport size) of the applicant.

ØA scanned photo of the passport (for VISA application)

Financial Information

SOU will provide the following for the fellowship:

ØHotel accommodation

ØLiving expense allowance & transportation within Shanghai (during the two weeks), which is 250 RMB per day for the allowance (before tax).

ØWorkspace with Wi-Fi, telephone and internet access


Visiting Scholars or their Home institutions will be expected to cover

ØA round-trip air ticket between their home country and Shanghai, China

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

Required Health Insurance

All fellows are required to show proof of health insurance for the entire length of their stay. This health insurance must meet specified minimum levels of coverage (Please send us the copy via email when you apply or bring it in person when you attend the program). 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 health insurance in China.

Fellows’ Activities and Responsibilities

ØThe nominated candidates should keep regular electronic contact with SOU to inform the visa application process and travel plans. SOU reserves the right to cancel any fellowship offer if full visa and travel plans have not been successfully completed. SOU has to be notified of all required details at least two weeks prior to the start date of the program.

ØThe fellows will visit and meet with relevant departments and facilities (Shanghai Education Resources Center, SOU Library, Department of Research and Development, Information & Network Management Center, Teaching Affairs Office, Student Affairs Office, SOU branch schools, etc.).

ØThe fellows must conduct their proposed research.

ØThe fellows are to give a presentation based on their research conducted during their stay at SOU. This presentation will also include an introduction of their own institution.

ØThe fellows will submit a final report (minimum 3000 words) on the outcome of the research to SOU within 30 days at the conclusion of the program.

ØThe fellows will also be required to complete a feedback form on the quality of the Visiting Scholar Program.

How to Apply?

Please refer to the following link: https://lowcode-0g0lid1w4bab76d8-1259223015.tcloudbaseapp.com/app-ffhvlait/production/

to complete the online application.

You can also send the required application documents to the emailtanghf@sou.edu.cn

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

Contact details:

Ms. Dorothy Tang

Email: tanghf@sou.edu.cn, or tanghf0901@163.com

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

Further Information

Shanghai Open University website: http://global.sou.edu.cn/

SOU’s Institute of International Exchange’s website: http://iie.sou.edu.cn

Shanghai Open University