Distance learning has been an important feature of the learner experience of countless students for over a century. Initially by way of correspondence courses, broadcast courses (for example in Australia where peripheral communities gained access to second and third level learning opportunities) and by rudimentary e-learning technologies (Blackboard, Moodle etc.), e-learning received a major 21st Century impetus with the advent of the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in 2008.
Since then numerous modules and programmes have been MOOCed to the extent that a massification of higher education, on a truly global scale, has been forecast. IT Sligo is set to embark on its own foray into this MOOCy world. One of the main drivers for this online learning revolution –particularly in the USA – is the prohibitively expensive nature of higher education. Currently, student debt – incurred as a consequence of conventional face-to-face learning experiences - in America is estimated to be in excess of one trillion US dollars. With advocates such as former US President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and an array of influential individuals and large corporations extolling the virtues of virtual learning platforms and learning management systems, one might be forgiven for believing that the future of higher education and its delivery is irrevocably grounded in online technologies and commensurate digital literacies?
This terrain is fast moving: blink and it is likely that one has missed a major advancement. To help make sense of these developments, the Centre for Reserach in the Social Professions at IT Sligo has organised a mini-symposium devoted to decoding and explaining how new online teaching, learning and assessment technologies contribute to and challenge existing tried and test pedagogies.
The event will consist of a number of themes including intellectual property rights, utilisation of open educational resources (OER), choosing and developing discipline appropriate learning management systems (LMS) and reviewing e-assessment technologies.
In keeping with the theme of this event, symposium contributors will deliver their contributions face-to-face, via webinar and as screencasts.
We warmly welcome you to this event.
For more information please contact Dr John Pender, Senior Lecturer, School of Business and Social Science, Institute of Technology, Sligo (firstname.lastname@example.org).