The Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), which was founded in 1987, is a non-profit association of autonomous legally established institutions of higher learning primarily concerned with education at a distance, i.e. education in which the systematic teaching and the communication between student and teacher or institution take place mainly by multimedia means.

The objectives of the Association are:

a. to widen the educational opportunities available to all the people of the region and to improve the cost-effectiveness of member institutions by exchanging management information, teaching materials and research;

b. to help promote education by distance teaching systems, and develop its potentialities;

c. to help promote professional and ethical standards amongst distance educators;

d. to co-operate with official bodies and others directly or indirectly interested in distance education;

e. to facilitate cooperation with other similar regional and international bodies in all the above objectives; and

f. to do all other things incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.

Founders of the AAOU shared a common belief that the development of distance education can be obtained through friendship and close exchanges among institutions of open higher learning. The AAOU Annual Conference is a forum that provides a focal point to bring everyone associated with open and distance learning in Asia — particularly academics, administrators and students — up to date on the issues, ideas and developments in the field of open distance learning in the region.

The purpose of this guideline is to provide sufficient guidance for any full member of AAOU who is interested and those approved to host the annual conference to ensure a successful conference. The following recommendations can be subject to alterations based on circumstances, which might be encountered locally in the provisioning of meeting facilities and lodging accommodations.

1. The AAOU Annual Conference is hosted in turn by different full member institutions. Any full institutional members of AAOU can host the Annual Conference as far as they meet the requirements.

2. Expression of interest to host the AAOU Annual Conference shall be submitted in writing to the AAOU Secretariat before the holding of the Executive Committee Meeting two years prior to the year of the conference.

3. The Secretariat will invite the interested institution to submit a full proposal in accordance with a provided template.

4. The AAOU Secretariat will send the electronic copy of the proposal(s) to all members of the Executive Committee for their preliminary evaluation.

5. The institutional member whose proposal passes the preliminary evaluation will be invited to the up-coming Executive Committee Meeting to present its proposal.

6. Decision of the host of the AAOU Annual Conference will be made by the Executive Committee (EC) during the Executive Committee Meeting two years prior to the year of the conference.

7. A written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) / Letter of Agreement between AAOU Secretariat and the selected host will be jointly signed.

An approval to host the AAOU Annual Conference will be given by the Executive Committee to the member institution who meets the following criteria:

Good quality proposal

The proposal to hold an event must demonstrate good quality and must include but is not limited to the followings:

  • Statement of interest;
  • Theme, content and scope of program;
  • Number of potential local and international participants;
  • Date and tentative venue for the conference;
  • Adequate facilities for general meetings, sessions, lunches, banquet, exhibitions, etc.;
  • Ample and reasonably-priced accommodations for participant’s lodging within convenient distance to conference venue; and
  • Timetable for planning and carrying out the conference.
Commitment to the field and good reputation

The selected institution must have shown commitment to open and distance learning, and must have a good reputation in its country of operations.

Commitment to AAOU

The selected host must have shown commitment to the AAOU organization over time through active participation in AAOU events and has a record of timely payment of its annual membership fee.

a. Develop the theme and sub-themes, as well as the academic program of the conference to be approved by the AAOU Executive Committee.

b. Promote the conference through an official conference website that should be developed at least one year prior to the conference, and any other relevant communication media and methods as found appropriate.

c. The host will also be responsible for:

  • Provision of rooms and presentation equipment for the EC Meeting and General Body (GB) Meeting;
  • Venue, date, external events, local transport and accommodation;
  • Budget and sponsorship;
  • Registration and advertising;
  • Preparation of Call for Papers, Exhibit Brochure, Registration Circular, Program & Abstract book, refereed publication or proceedings produced in CD-Rom;
  • Confirmation to attending delegates, including assisting participants to obtain the necessary documents for their travel to the host country;
  • Invitation of keynote speakers (the Executive Committee of AAOU may also recommend additional/alternative experts);
  • Pre-selection of papers to obtain a shortlist of nominees for the AAOU Paper Awards (Best Paper, Best Practice and Young Innovator);
  • Design, maintenance and monitoring of conference website.

d. Provide a report on the final preparation of the conference at the latest one month before the conference date, which consists of the list of confirmed keynote speakers, number of attending presenters, and number of poster presentations.

e. Prepare the conference proceedings that will be published to the web within two months of the last day of the conference. The first draft must be sent to AAOU in advance. Participants must get an electronic message informing them about the availability of the online proceedings.

a. The AAOU President will act as the main contact throughout the period of conference planning.

b. The contacts will agree on the timetable for the conference.

c. The AAOU Secretariat will act as an advisor to the host and may take up some tasks in the preparations upon agreement.

d. AAOU will provide financial contribution for holding the Executive Committee and General Body meetings, as well as the conference in the amount that is approved in the annual budget by the Executive Committee.

e. For marketing and promotional purposes, the AAOU will provide the host with its mailing lists. The lists are confidential and to be used solely for purposes related to the conference. The host is expected to provide their own mailing list of institutions and individuals around the world that should be invited.

A three or two-and-a half full days are usually required to host the AAOU Annual Conference with one day preceding the conference dedicated to the EC Meeting and a day within the conference for the GB Meeting.

Suitable dates for the conference will be jointly determined by the host and AAOU, but the months from September to November are usually preferable.

a. Since the AAOU Annual Conference is an international event, the venue of the conference must be representative (e.g. equal to at least 4 stars hotel meeting/convention facilities)

b. The venue must have the capacity to host all the events under one roof, except those that for its nature require a different venue.

c. The venue must be centrally located, within easy access by public transportation, and have other nearby hotels in a wide range of categories and prices.

d. The infrastructure of the venue must be available for adjustment or should respond adequately to the needs of the event.

Facilities required for hosting an AAOU Annual Conference should include:

a. Large conference hall for opening and closing sessions and plenary discussion that can hold a large number of participants (300 to 500 people);

b. An adequate number of break-out rooms to accommodate parallel sessions;

c. Adequate space for the poster session;

d. Exhibition area (close to refreshment areas);

e. Catering facilities;

f. Communication facilities consisting of internet access (web, e-mail) with reasonable number of connections lines and telephones for delegates and speakers;

g. Rooms for AAOU and Conference Secretariat offices; and

h. Rooms for holding the EC Meeting and GB Meeting.

Rooms must have good lighting, good ventilation and good heating or air-condition system, good acoustics and a flexible seating arrangement.

Technical equipment required for the conference and meetings will include:

a. PC’s with internet connection;

b. Overhead projectors / LCD projectors, screens, for presentations in all rooms;

c. Photocopy machines; and

d. Public address system with microphones for question and answer sessions.

Many delegates will expect to use their own laptops and technical support will be required to facilitate this.

a. The host should prepare a clear, comprehensive and explicit promotional material regarding the conference.

b. Electronic Newsletters and emails with relevant information should be sent to potential participants at regular intervals.

c. In all documents concerning the event, the name and logo of AAOU should be clearly displayed together with the name of the host organisation.

d. The badge of each participant should contain the AAOU logo, the participants name, institution and country.

a. The host should develop the AAOU Annual Conference website or pages linked to the AAOU website and to other institutional partners. The website / pages must be attractive, easy to access, easy to navigate and well organised, easy to print and/or download documents.

b. The website should include but is not limited to the followings :

  • Conference Programme;
  • Date and Venue;
  • Call for Papers
  • Conference fee and registration form/ online registration form;
  • Practical information (how to reach the conference venue by different means of transport, information about accommodation with a diverse price range, contact address for questions concerning registration, accommodation and visa issues, news, photos, maps, etc.); and
  • Any other announcement and information that might be helpful for conference participants.

c. The website / pages must be in English, a version in the local language or a second language will be an asset or required (in particular circumstances).

a. The host must establish an academic program committee to develop program planning that reflect leading edge in online and distance learning.

b. The conference should consist of:

  • Keynote addresses covering the main conference theme;
  • A number of plenary addresses covering the conference subthemes;
  • Parallel oral presentations of submitted papers along the various sub-themes; and
  • Poster presentations.

c. Other pre or post events and exhibitions may be organised in conjunction with the main conference activities, on condition that these activities will not jeopardize the success of the main event.

d. The program structure must allow enough time for interaction and networking among participants. Sessions should be provocative, inviting reflection and discussions.

e. All speakers must have confirmed their presence and registered at least four weeks prior to the conference.

f. The host is encouraged to incorporate into the event local experience through introduction of local cuisines and cultural programs.

g. If possible, host university campus tour, should be arranged as an optional program.

h. As part of the conference program, exhibition is also encouraged where both sponsors and members could display their products and services.

i. The working language of the conference is English.

Registration Cost

a. The registration fee should be kept as reasonable as possible and agreed by AAOU and the host to allow as many of the delegates as possible to be able to attend.

b. Registration fees should cover conference registration, welcome dinner, farewell reception / dinner, all meals and refreshments during the actual conference, a registration pack (booklet of abstracts, CD-Rom containing full papers presented, etc.), social events (e.g. in the form of a formal dinner), and city tour (if possible).

c. It is advisable to have a discount for early registrations.

d. Conference fee waiving should only be applied to sponsored participants.

e. Registration to attend the conference must be set within the following categories and ranges.

Category Early Bird Full Payment
Full Member USD250-300 USD300-350
Asssociate Member USD250-300 USD300-350
Non-Member USD300-350 USD350-400

f. The precise cost may be adjusted in accordance with the local context upon the approval of the EC.


a. The local host is responsible for the financing all the conference planning, marketing and organisation. AAOU makes no commitments on the profitability of the event.

b. Cost to consider when estimating budget may include:

  • Venue
    • Cost for rooms (if applicable);
    • Cost for display boards;
    • Technical equipment;
    • Exhibition space;
    • Catering/hospitality.
  • Publicity
    • Website;
    • Flyers/poster/leaflets;
    • Stationery;
    • Postage;
    • Invitations.
  • Registration/program
    • Printing;
    • Registration forms;
    • Travel expenses;
    • Name badges;
    • Invited Speakers’ expenses;
    • Delegate fees.
  • Entertainment
    • Hospitality;
    • Travel;
    • Social events / cultural show.

c. AAOU strongly recommends that the host institution find sponsorships for running the conference from national, regional and or international sources to provide financial assistance to presenting participants.

d. Accommodation is identified separately to allow participants to choose accommodation according to their available budget.

e. Post conference trips are usually optional. However, costs and dates for such trips should be indicated clearly on the conference website to allow delegates to book travel arrangements in good time.

a. The host should refrain from implementing any activity that can affect or harm the image, the goodwill or the reputation of AAOU and not produce or distribute any products or items that will undermine the image of AAOU.

b. The host will immediately notify AAOU of all matters which could endanger or influence the organisation of the event and promptly respond to any request for information made by AAOU on this respect.

Call for Proposals for Hosting AAOU 2020
Every year, the AAOU Annual Conference is hosted in turn by a full-member institution. We would like to invite your institution (if it is a full member) to consider submitting a proposal to host the 33rd AAOU Annual Conference in 2020. The Conference is a stimulating forum for all those associated with open and distance learning (ODL) in Asia, and is a focal point for updating everyone on the issues, ideas and developments in the field of ODL in the region. It is also an international platform for the critical exchange of knowledge and expertise among ODL academics, researchers and practitioners.

If your institution is interested in hosting this important event, kindly submit a proposal to by 30 June 2018.