Leadership Academy Expands to Greece

The Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA) is a unique and challenging professional development programme. EOLLA.JPGIt was developed by Professor Mark Brown and Fred de Vries with the aim of supporting the needs of both experienced and new and emerging institutional leaders responsible for a variety of open, online and flexible learning initiatives in higher education. Previously Mark has contributed as a faculty member to the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning offered by the Online Learning Consortium in the United States as well as a similar programme in Australia.


The first EOLLA programme was launched last year in a partnership between the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and the European Consortium for Innovative Universities (ECIU). In 2017, EOLLA has been offered at the end of May to a cohort of 15 participants who met in Brussels at the end of May and more recently to a group of more than 20 staff at the Hellenic Open University in Patras, Greece.

During the two-day programme, which usually begins with an online primer, participants have an opportunity to share experiences and learn from a number of authentic case studies intended to reveal both the challenges and opportunities of leading in an era of change. EOLLA2The programme is designed to promote strategic thinking in the context of a number of wicked problems facing higher education and explore future scenarios for preferred new and emerging models of teaching and learning. As the two different EOLLA programmes offered this year demonstrate there are benefits of working with a single institution but equally when participants can learn from each other across institutions.

A brief presentation about EOLLA appears in the following slide-deck, which was presented at in May 2017 a visionary leadership summit at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris.


Brief Reflections on the EdTech 2017 Conference

This year’s conference was held in Sligo (1st & 2nd June) and had a theme of “TEL in an Age of Supercomplexity: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies”. As the conference website reports:

‘Supercomplexity’ is the shorthand term used by Professor Ron Barnett to describe the state of affairs in which we find ourselves: one of uncertainty, unpredictability, challenge and change.

This year’s keynotes included Dr. Paul LaBlanc, Professor Meg Benke and Professor Grainne Conole. Both Meg and Grainne are well known to NIDL staff as both have given invited talks at DCU and the latter serves as a Visiting Professor and member of our NIDL International Advisory Board.


A video of Grainne’s keynote presentation and many of the other sessions is available from the conference website. Once again this year NIDL staff was visible throughout the conference programme with over 20 presentations, Gasta sessions and/or workshops over the two-days. This figure reflects a sizeable proportion of the overall conference programme. A full list of the contributions made by NIDL staff will be available in due course from the research outputs section of our website. In the meantime, below is a link to a joint paper from several NIDL staff on why technology fails to transform pedagogy which reports some of the plans and recent activities underway to more fully engage academic staff and harness the potential of new educational technologies in the service of better teaching and learning.

Lastly, conference was once again well organised and reflects well on the level of innovation and range of scholarly activity in the Irish learning technology community. Congratulations to members of the conference organising committee and we look forward to EdTech 2018.