icde highlights 2011

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ICDE's annual publication of highlights and news from 2011


  • ICDE Highlights | January 2012 | 1

    ICDE HighlightsAn activity report from the International Council for Open and Distance Education

    ICDE is an NGO in formal consultative relations with UNESCO, and is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and its members.

    January 2012www.icde.org

    Browse and order copies of ICDE Highlights at www.icde.org/highlights

  • 2 | January 2012 | ICDE Highlights

    learning (ODL), online learning, and open educational resources (OER) can help, and are increasingly popular. Technology and the Internet have coupled with demand kick started a long term development that is impossible to stop. But to distil the real added value from ODL, online learning and OER is not a quick win. It takes competence, capacity, leadership, cross-sectoral cooperation, and partnerships.

    The 24th ICDE World Conference in October in Bali, Indonesia, which was hosted by Universitas Terbuka, was a good example of how ODL

    Globalization has made the reach of knowledge more global, and networks based on joint interests and opportunities more important than ever. Education has become a key factor in fuelling the process of poverty reduction and knowledge based economic growth and freedom. The need for higher education and lifelong learning has become a global responsibility for both public and private organizations. So when UNESCO has estimated a growth in the need for higher education places from less than 100 million students in 2000 to over 250 million students in 2025, this is a challenge to which all serious actors in the knowledge business must relate.

    Many parts of the world are in serious diffi culties because of the fi nancial crisis. They need to help society to readjust and to mobilize the workforce to more future oriented, knowledge intensive tasks. The solutions, which to a large extent lie with the younger generation, are hampered by an educational system that is not capable of offering education for all. There is a real need to move the world in the right direction. Open and distance

    It takes members to move the world

    develops and innovates around the world. OER was a key theme at the conference, and this commitment has been taken one step further through the decision of the ICDE Executive Committee to accept the invitation for closer partnership with UNESCO in promoting OER and the fi rst World OER Congress in June this year. This issue of ICDE Highlights illustrates that ICDE is engaging more broadly and deeply in areas and activities of core interest to its members. The lesson learned is that members involvement is crucial in making a difference.

    ICDEs tools projects, studies, networks and conferences can be used by its members to facilitate measures, strategies and policies to expand high quality ODL, online learning and OER and contribute to transforming the current education system to user oriented education for all. ICDE offers through its members and its organization a platform for identifying steps to take, tasks to do, creating networks and partnerships, for liaison with governments and international knowledge actors, and for action. ICDE is a membership driven organization, and to move in the right direction members need to engage, take a lead and move. Throughout 2012 ICDE will defi ne its strategies for the years to come. It takes members to move the world.

    ICDEs Executive Committee from 2012

    Tian Belawati, Rector, Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia

    Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Quality, The Open University, UK

    Mandla S. Makhanya, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of South Africa

    Marta Mena, General Coordinator of PROCAE, Cabinet of Ministers, Government of Argentina

    Frits Pannekoek, President, Athabasca University, Canada

    Yang Zhijian, President, The Open University of China

    A message from the Secretary General

    Gard Titlestad, Secretary General, ICDE

    The ICDE Executive Committee 2008-2011: (front row left to right) Marta Mena,

    Tian Belawati, Denise Kirkpatrick, (back row left to right) Mandla S. Makhanya, Frits Pannekoek, Fredric Litto. ICDE Secretary

    General, Gard Titlestad, is also pictured.

  • ICDE Highlights | January 2012 | 3

    The 24th ICDE World Conference on Open and Distance Learning was held in October on the island of Bali, Indonesia, and attracted over 600 delegates representing 49 countries. Hosted by ICDE member institution Universitas Terbuka, the conference addressed new approaches to open and distance learning and included signifi cant emphasis on open educational resources. It featured a range of internationally respected keynote speakers whose presentations were streamed live during the event.

    Praise for open education

    In opening the conference, the Minister of National Education of the Republic of Indonesia, Muhammad Nuh, praised Universitas Terbuka for its work in overcoming challenges in the provision of access to education. We have to be creative open and distance learning has to be used as widely as possible to narrow social gaps, he said.

    24th ICDE World Conference

    Hal Plotkin, Senior Policy Advisor in the Offi ce of the Under Secretary of Education, United States Department of Education, drew on his own life story to highlight the opportunity that distance education can bring to underprivileged sections of society. On the verge of losing the family home, 17-year-old Plotkin left high school to work as a waiter until a newspaper article about school dropouts provoked him to write a reply, the beginning of a career as a writer and journalist. His formal education came through the US community college system which has no requirements for previous formal education. He noted that only 5% have real opportunities to enter higher education, while among the other 95% could be geniuses capable of fi nding the cure for diabetes and solutions to the worlds economic challenges. Open education is the only tool to unlock talent and capacity and to extend economic growth, he said.

    Access challenges in developing countries

    Signifi cant investments in access to education were discussed during the conference, particularly in the USA and in Korea, though Onno W Purbo, an IT evangelist noted that in Indonesia 6 million children enter school annually, but only 600,000 graduate from higher education. While learning materials are ever more freely available, the predominance of English language creates barriers. However, ingenuity is the watchword of many developing nations, and Google translate is widely used, while students and

    teachers use USB memory drives to overcome the problems of slow internet connection, and kitchen utensils to extend the range of Wi-Fi hotspots.

    From a Brazilian perspective, Stavros Xanthopoylos spoke of the challenges to creating and distributing free educational content when quality education is only available through private universities

    and colleges: the value chain is based on profi t and this goes against what they are about, he said.

    Academic perspectives

    Lawrence Lessig, lawyer, activist and founder of Creative Commons, an initiative to provide certifi cates for the licensing of scientifi c and educational materials, spoke passionately about the injustices of commercial scientifi c publishing which restricts access to knowledge to the most privileged: copyright is 18th century rules in a 21st century world, he said.

    Respected academics working with open educational resources including Grinne Conole from the University of Leicester, UK, and Rory McGreal from Athabasca University, Canada, spoke on the role of technology in learning. Professor McGreal advised colleagues to create educational materials for mobile devices fi rst: a third of the worlds population can only access the Internet from mobile devices, he noted.

    The hospitality of Bali

    The conference included a number of highly successful social events with dinners under an open sky, and music and dance including traditional Balinese entertainment. A complimentary full-day tour was included in the conference fee, allowing delegates to explore the island and gain a fl avour of its culture, history and traditions.

    24th ICDE World Conference website: www.ut.ac.id/icde2011

    Keynote speaker Lawrence Lessig

    Group discussions during a parallel session

    Delegates at an evening event

  • 4 | January 2012 | ICDE Highlights

    A total of 16 delegates from countries with developing economies, including a number of students, received sponsorship to take part in the 24th ICDE World Conference. The programme was made possible by the generosity of member institutions, and ICDE both contributed to and administered the scheme. Recipients were selected by the conference organizing committee on the basis of strength of motivation and the value of the expected contribution to the conference through an academic paper.

    As a condition of their participation, recipients - nationals of Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey and

    ICDE World Conference Fellowship Programme

    Zimbabwe - were asked to write a report on how the experience benefi ted them personally and their home region. Here we present a selection of their comments:

    Nikhila Bhagwat, India

    I have come back home with a backpack of new stimulating ideas, many friends across the world and a life saving drug called hope for a better future for my global family with broader access for education! [...] Peer group discussions and collaborative learning experiences have

    enabled me to gauge my own performance and to develop an insight into the dynamics of open and distance lear