Posted May 2011
Delegates from four continents attended the first International Perspectives on the Development of Distance Learning Colloquium at The Open University.
Hosted in April by The Open University’s joint Science and Maths, Computing and Technology (MCT) Faculty Initiative eSTEeM, with Open University Worldwide, the conference aimed to spark conversations with colleagues from around the world about distance education.
In his welcoming address, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Alan Bassindale said; "We want to work with colleagues from all over the world to get better ideas and share our expertise, but also to share your ideas about what is effective learning."
Colleagues from Nigeria, Ghana, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan India and Austria debated issues including Quality Assurance, Assessment and Open Educational Resources.
Professor Steve Swithenby was keen to ensure the conference addressed the needs of both large and small education organisations. "You can look at China with its 10 million students and think, how can we do that? There is a real contrast between countries where government takes a major role and others where more autonomy is given to individual institutions. And those institutions often struggle to build the scale necessary for successful distance learning."
"Yet during a presentation about one small programme, I saw interest around the room. People saying, hang on, that’s something we could do, that’s something we could pick up and run with."
The colloquium resulted in a Joint Actions workshop, with proposals including collaboration in West Africa for the free exchange of knowledge, promotion of best practice in Distance Learning and creation of a Distance Learning Scholarship Network.
To find out more about the event and eSTEeM take a look at the latest eSTEeM Newsletter by visiting the following link e-Newsletter May 2011.