By Dr James Brunton
This brief blog post shares a couple of useful resources and takeaways thanks to James Brunton’s reflections on the recent World Conference on Online Learning, which was attended by over 1400 delegates. DCU will be hosting the next World Conference in November 2019.
The 27th International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) 2017 World Conference on Online Learning was held in Toronto, Canada from the 16th to the 19th October. The conference attracted an enormous number of presentations where information was shared, connections were made, and future relationships forged. One strand of the conference that offered a number of useful resources to the Higher Education community was focused on empowering educators to build up their knowledge, skills, and competencies relating to online teaching and learning.
Carleton University, in Canada’s Ontario Province, has adopted an open approach to the development of resources for building up “the skills and confidence needed for educators to develop and teach blended and online courses”. Carleton has produced these resources as Open Educational Resources (OERs) such that they can be accessed, adopted, and adapted by other institutions.
The Ontario Extend initiative has also been created such that a set of resources, emerging out of Simon Bates’ (2014) Anatomy of 21st Century Educators. This project is led by Ontario’s Northern College in collaboration with eCampusOntario and the publicly funded colleges and universities in Northern Ontario. Again, the aim of those behind this initiative is to empower educators to explore a range of emerging technologies and pedagogical practices for effective online and technology-enabled teaching and learning, and more than that to have this empowerment happen across the Higher Education community rather than in isolated pockets. The Ontario Extend team is enthusiastic about sharing these resources and aiding others to effectively incorporate them into their own practices.
The two initiatives described above not only provide exemplars of best practice in supporting staff development of knowledge, skills, and competencies in online teaching and learning, but they provide resources for effective implementation of such staff training. The adoption of open practices in these two cases is a shining example of how we in the Higher Education community can collectively support each other by producing resources as OERs that can be adopted and adapted by others.
You can read the original reflection piece on the World Conference written by James on his personal Linkedin page.