2024 International Conference on Building a Learning Society through Digitalization of Open Education

About the Conference

The 2024 International Conference on Building a Learning Society through Digitalization of Open Education aims to address key issues in educatinoal development to the theme of the relevant event. This important event is organized by the Open University of China and Hong Kong Metropolitan University (through its School of Open Learning). It will be held on 12 – 13  June 2024 (Wednesday – Thursday) at the headquarters of the Open University of China (Beijing, China).

The key topics of the Conference include the following:

  • Construction of world-class open universities and life-long learning societies
  • Digitalization of education and teaching, educational reform and innovation

The target audience are mainly senior academic and administrative staff of open universities in mainland China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong SAR, etc.

Conference Programme

12 June
Whole Day
Visiting the Open University of China
13 June
8:45 – 9:00
9:00 – 9:25
Opening ceremony
Opening remarks:
● Wang Qiming, President of the OUC
● Reggie Kwan, Provost of HKMU
Session Chair: Fan Xianrui, Vice President of the OUC
9:25 – 9:35
Group photos of VIP guests and organizer representatives
9:35 – 10:35
Keynote 1: Strategy and Trends
● Keynote Speaker 1: Masaya Iwanaga, President of OUJ
● Keynote Speaker 2: Asha Kanwar, Former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
Session Chair: Fan Xianrui, Vice President of the OUC
10:35 – 11:00
● Keynote Speaker 3: Li Song, Vice President of the OUC
● Keynote Speaker 4: Kam-cheong Li, Dean, School of Open Learning, HKMU
Session Chair: Fan Xianrui, Vice President of the OUC
Keynote 2 : Practice and Innovation
● Keynote Speaker 5: Mark Nichols, President of ICDE
● Keynote Speaker 6: Olaf Zawachi-Richter Director of Center for Lifelong Learning\Center for Open Education Research, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
● Keynote Speaker 7: Xiao Junhong, Shantou Open University
● Keynote Speaker 8: Wang Li, The Open University of China
Session Chair: Du Ruo, Director, Lifelong Education Institution of the OUC
Panelists: Asha Kanwar, Mark Nichols, Kam-cheong Li, Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Wang Li
Moderator: Xiao Junhong

Keynote Speakers

Wang Qiming

Dr. Wang Qiming is the President of the Open University of China (OUC). He has been engaged in higher education reform and management for more than 30 years. Prior to his appointment as the President of the OUC, he served as Deputy Director of the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education of China from February 2017 to August 2023. His main research areas include higher education, open education, older adult education, education digitization, and education internationalization. He has presided over the implementation of more than ten major reforms in China's higher education.

KWAN Ching-ping

Professor Reggie Kwan is currently the Provost of Hong Kong Metropolitan University.

Professor Kwan was born and raised in Hong Kong and he received his BS in Computer Science, MS in Computer Science and Doctor of Education from Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA. Prof. Kwan started his teaching career in Montana in the mid-80's and reaching the rank of full professor in the late 90's before returning to Hong Kong. He was also the Chair of Computer Science from 1990 to 1998 at Montana Technological University. He worked for HKMU for almost eight years until 2006, initially led the Computing Team and later also the Mathematics team. He joined Caritas Francis Hsu College as the President and later also became the President of Caritas Bianchi College of Careers in 2007. In 2011, Caritas Francis Hsu College became a degree granting institute and changed its name to Caritas Institute of Higher Education. Professor Kwan returned to HKMU in 2016 as the VP(Academic) and became the Provost in June 2019. Professor Kwan’s academic interest was Data Compression and later he became fascinated by e-learning and open and distance learning after he joined HKMU in the late 90’s. His recent publications are mostly in the area of e-learning.

Fan Xianrui

Ms. Fan Xianrui is the Vice President of the Open University of China (OUC). She graduated from Peking University with a master's degree. Prior to her appointment as the Vice President of the OUC, she served in the Ministry of Education of China for many years. Her main research areas include digital education, international and comparative education, older adult education. She has published three books, and more than twenty articles, papers, and reports.

Masaya Iwanaga

Dr. Masaya Iwanaga is the President of the Open University of Japan (OUJ). He has been involved in OUJ’s education and administration for almost 40 years. His main research areas include distance higher education, lifelong learning, social research methods, and gifted education. His recent works in English on distance higher education include “The Open University of Japan”, Open and Distance Education in Asia (2022) and “Predictions and Strategies of Open and Distance Higher Education in Japan”, Beyond Distance Education: Cutting-Edge Perspectives on the Future of Global Open Universities (2021).

Mark Nichols

Dr Mark Nichols is President of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), a responsibility he has alongside his work as Executive Director, Learning Design & Development with Open Polytechnic, New Zealand. Mark’s research includes advocacy for open and distance learning (ODL), operating model design for ODL, delivery models, learning design, and improving ODL outcomes. He hosts the podcast Leaders & Legends of Online Learning and is on serval international journal editorial boards. Mark is also co-host for the 2025 ICDE Global Conference being held in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2025. More about Mark can be learned from https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbnichols/

Asha Singh Kanwar

Professor Asha Singh Kanwar, currently Chair Professor at Beijing Normal University, is one of the world's leading advocates of learning for sustainable development. Professor Kanwar was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning for over 11 years. Throughout a career spanning over 35 years, she has made outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, research and international development. Currently, she serves on the boards of several organizations, including as Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies and Education (IITE) and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the WHO Academy.

Kam-Cheong Li

Kam-Cheong Li is the Dean of the School of Open Learning, Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU). He founded HKMU’s Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education in 2016 and is now leading the research of the institute as its Director. He has devoted to higher education and teaching development for 30 years. He has also been appointed Visiting Professor and Advisor of Doctorate of Professional Studies Programme of Middlesex University in the United Kingdom, and a number of institutions in China, such as Hebei Academy of Social Sciences and Hebei University of Economics and Business. He has earned three bachelor’s degrees, four master’s degrees and a PhD from renowned institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, Peking University and the University of London. He has also been awarded many professional qualifications such as Diploma in Education, Advanced Diploma in Translation, as well as Chartered Linguist and Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Linguists. His research interests lie in technology in education, pedagogical approaches, and educational innovation. Now, he is also the Editor-in-chief of Asian Association of Open Universities Journal and Guest Editor of several academic journals, such as Interactive Technology and Smart Education and International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation.

Olaf Zawacki-Richter

Olaf Zawacki-Richter is a professor of educational technology at the University of Oldenburg in Germany, and serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Sciences. He is also the Director of the Center for Open Education Research (COER). With over 25 years of professional experience in the field of open, distance, and digital education, Dr. Zawacki-Richter has contributed extensively as a consultant and advisor, including roles for the United Nations' International Labour Organization, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, and the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat). He has authored approximately 200 journal articles and book chapters and edited several books, such as the Handbook of Open, Distance, and Digital Education, Online Distance Education – Towards a Research Agenda, and Systematic Reviews in Educational Research – all published open access. Dr. Zawacki-Richter is the Executive Chief-Editor of the newly founded Journal of Open, Distance, and Digital Education (JODDE), He is also Associate Editor of the Online Learning Journal (OLJ), and a member of the editorial board of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), Open Learning, and the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (TOJDE). His publications are accessible on GoogleScholar.

Junhong Xiao

Junhong Xiao is Emeritus Professor at the Open University of Shantou, a local branch of the Open University of China and a founding member of the Center for Open Education Research, the University of Oldenburg. He is Editor of the SpringerBriefs in Open and Distance Education series, co-founding Editor of the Journal of Open, Distance, and Digital Education, and columnist for inspired, the newsletter of Open University Malaysia. He is on the editorial boards of various international journals, serves as peer reviewer for numerous high-impact journals (both English and Chinese), and provides consultancy in the areas of his expertise. His main research interest has been in various aspects of open, distance, and digital learning. He has published widely in both Chinese and English with around 300 research outputs. He is featured in Episode 095 of Leaders & Legends of Online Learning. For a complete list of his journal publications, please access his ORCID profile.