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Innovating e-Learning 2007 – Closed for postings

Ros Smith
Last modified 18 Jun, 2007
Published 18 Jun, 2007
The JISC online conference, Innovating e-Learning 2007, closed to postings on Thursday 14 June with a tangible sense of achievement.

The event had brought together professionals from around the world with a common purpose – to reflect on the innovations made possible by technology and to discuss how to harness these innovative possibilities to ensure the transformation of post-16 and higher education.

In the closing presentation, Three Critical Issues for Education, Professor Oleg Liber gave his response to the themes that had emerged over the four days of the conference. He outlined the fast-changing educational, socio-economic and technical context in which learning and teaching and institutional structures are currently operating, and identified three crisis points: the relationship between the learner and the teacher (with teachers no longer the traditional guardians of knowledge); the contract between the learner and the institution (as learners move from apprentices to customers) and the relationship between learners and the state (impact of state intervention in the further and higher education system). His proposal that at this point in time we need to rethink the ‘problem for which campus-based learning was the solution’ was widely supported.

As in many of the sessions, the presentation was recorded as audio files embedded into the slides so that delegates experienced the authenticity and immediacy of a face-to-face conference, but at a time and a place convenient to them.

Theme 2 debates continued to explore the richness of the blogging experience, issues related to work-based and lifelong learning – including the difficulties inherent in sharing learning resources between institutions and subject disciplines, and the effective cross-institutional delivery and technical support for Foundation Degrees.

As in Theme 1, the main sessions were supported by some innovative ideas in the In context area, where papers and presentations on topics as diverse as widening participation in HE in developing countries, and re-using video conferencing modules as learning objects for collaborative e-learning discussions, were offered.

So as we pack up our virtual delegate bags and head off to the virtual train station, what have we gained from the Innovating e-Learning 2007 online conference? As always with the close of a conference comes a moment of sadness, but the excitement of discovering new contacts and the sense of moving forward towards a fuller understanding of the relationship between technology, pedagogy and institutional structures have made this an inspirational event for many delegates:

‘I have enjoyed this so much! Even though there are frustrations in bringing about change, I will take away a desire to be more disruptive in my designs for learning and make no apology for tossing tired models out in favour of creativity, collaboration and student-centred activities.’ Peter Whitfield, City College, Manchester

Even though the conference is now closed for postings, it remains open to delegates for a further four weeks for reading, so that the energy of the interactions and the wealth of the supporting content can continue to be accessed and repurposed.


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