Distance education institutions usually consist of sub-system of designing, developing and delivering teaching resources, sub-system of interactive teaching and learning, sub-system of management for teaching and learning implementation, and sub-system of student support. The sub-system of student support relates closely to the students' retention and teaching outcome. The upgrade of students' intelligence, emotion and organizing skill require strong support from the institutions and tutors.The author takes the view that successful student support should contain two respects: academic support and non-academic support. The purpose of offering academic support lies in helping students to acquire knowledge in the course materials and develop learning skill. The main content of academic support is teaching tutorials. The responsibility of the tutor is to help students solve problems. In academic support activities, we have to adhere to the concept of student-focus principle and try to change the traditional teaching style. Non-academic support contains offering information, consultation and exploration. Non-academic support comes from institutions, tutors, students' families, friends, classmates and employers, etc. Student support can be offered via multi-media to facilitate students in personal development and problem-solving capability.The author further elaborates the exploration and practice of student support in the Open University of UK. The Open University has developed trial learning packages to help students to select appropriate courses. The university is keeping contact with the students at the four critical moments to maintain students' retention and it lays emphasis on timely feedback. Apart from that, they offer the students not only with professional support through experts, but also general support from the region. At the end of this article, the author introduces the readers with quality assessment criteria to guarantee quality of student support.
Distance Education in China