Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL)
October 29, 2015 16:15 Age: 2 yrs

CFL at ICDE 26

Tomasi, Neelam and Dhiraj with a colleague from the University of Papua New Guinea taking in the conference atmosphere at Sun city, South Africa.

The 26th International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference, hosted by the University of South Africa (UNISA), took place in Sun City, South Africa under the theme ‘Growing Capacities for Sustainable Distance e-Learning Provision’. The conference was from 13th-16th October and was attended by over 900 participants from 67 countries across the globe. The University of the South Pacific was represented by Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) staff members, Acting Director Dhiraj Bhartu, Neelam Narayan and Tomasi Cabebula.

The sessions and presentations focused on sharing knowledge and tools on Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Education, Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), quality assurance, doctoral consortium and sustainable distance learning. Apart from the key notes, panel discussions, posters and pecha kucha style presentations were used to illuminate the conference theme.

Neelam considered herself fortunate to be given the opportunity to present at an international conference and she saw that as an opportunity to network and engage in discussions with other delegates and share experiences in open and distance learning. Particularly of interest to her was how other universities were handling issues of quality in the courses and programmes. Some of the ideas and issues shared by the presenters were similar to experiences at CFL.

For Tomasi the conference was engaging and worthwhile in terms of relevance to his core work at CFL and also for professional development.  He said that the knowledge he gained from the conference would assist him in enhancing his course design and development skills. He noted in particular the following 2 points that the CFL team could be mindful of: 

  1. transition points in learning are the most vulnerable times for students; and
  2. understanding the social process of learning or social learning in an online context is important.  Transmission of content to information to knowledge is only effective if the instruction is clear and proper.

The next ICDE world conference is scheduled to be held in Toronto, Canada in 2017.

For more information on the 26th ICDE-UNISA conference click here: http://www.unisa.ac.za/icde2015/

The keynote by Tressie McMillan Cotton on ‘The Access Paradox: Can Education Expansion Balance Access with Equality?’ can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQV29czVN-w