World Conference on Online Learning:

Teaching in The Digital Age – Re-Thinking Teaching & Learning

The digital age requires new approaches to teaching and learning that respond to the current and future needs of students and the challenge of meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of quality education for all. Online, open and flexible learning creates opportunities for innovation in teaching, learning and skills development.

Delegates from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Nations, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Arab States are gathering in Toronto, Canada, in October 2017 to expand boundaries and explore new frontiers of teaching, learning and skills development.

The World Conference on Online Learning: Teaching in The Digital Age – Re-Thinking Teaching & Learning, the 27th edition of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference, is your opportunity to connect, engage, and exchange with international colleagues.

Join us from October 17-19, 2017, as the world comes to Canada to explore new frontiers for teaching and learning in the digital age.

At the World Conference on Online Learning, you will:

  • Discover new modes of teaching, learning, course delivery, and assessment in higher education.
  • Find out about new strategies to improve student-learning outcomes.
  • Network with other educators from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Nations, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Arab States.
  • Dialogue with private sector providers of leading-edge technologies and creative applications of technology in learning.
  • Share best practices.
  • Hear from student leaders, doctoral students and young scholars on how open and flexible learning can meet the needs of today’s and future students.
  • Attend an active expo of emerging technologies in education, view live demonstrations, and test prototypes from leading technology providers and start-ups.
  • Learn about research and practices related to institutional change, quality assurance, international collaboration, lifelong learning and the latest trends in online, open and flexible learning.
  • Find partners and collaborators for projects and research.

Who Will Be Attending the World Conference on Online Learning?

In Toronto, you can expect to meet:

  • Faculty and Instructors
  • Teachers and tutors
  • Instructional designers
  • Course developers
  • Faculty development professionals
  • Student support professionals
  • Student leaders
  • Doctoral students
  • Academic Decision Makers
  • Start-ups and edtech providers
  • Association board members, executives and staff
  • Technology developers and providers
  • Academic researchers
  • Institutional leaders and academic decision-makers
  • Quality assurance experts
  • Consultants
  • Industry leaders
  • Policy makers
  • Government officials
  • Funders
  • Media professionals
  • Leaders of quality assurance agencies and accreditation bodies
  • Members of the boards of governors of higher education institutions

The Conference Program

The program for the World Conference on Online Learning integrates concepts such as applications of technology, quality assurance, and presentations of new applications and models as central components of the conference.

Five tracks highlight the key areas in which the Conference seeks to explore:

  1. Emerging Pedagogies and Designs for Online Learning
  2. Expanding Access, Openness and Flexibility
  3. Changing Models of Assessment
  4. New Delivery Tools and Resources for Learning
  5. Re-designed Institutional Business Models

Throughout the three days of this World Conference, you will participate in focused discussions, breakthrough technology showcases, interactive panel presentations, innovation labs, research sharing, hands-on demonstrations, ideas exchanges, presentations of academic papers, as well as plenaries featuring world-renowned experts.

To discover best practices from around the world, find out about transformative developments and new trends, tackle cutting edge topics, exchange with international colleagues, and dialogue with provocative thinkers in the world of online, open and flexible learning all focused on Re-thinking Teaching & Learning in the context of Teaching in a Digital Age, this is the conference to attend.

Track 1 – Emerging Pedagogies and Designs for Online Learning

This track explores innovations in designs for online, open, and flexible teaching and learning, research on learning processes and outcomes, and how new approaches to learning embrace quality and student engagement.

All over the world, faculty and instructors are experimenting with new instructional models and technological applications, such as flipped classrooms, collaborative online projects, and competency-based learning. As acceptance of these approaches grows, educators are looking for models of successful applications that are easy to adapt and supported by research. An essential component of these developments is faculty support from their institutions.

Track 1 addresses questions such as:

  • What are examples of promising new pedagogies for online, blended, open, and flexible learning?
  • What new approaches to teaching and learning online are being developed and tested, with what success?
  • How are quality assurance practices changing so as to support and assess developments in online, open, and flexible learning?
  • How are students reacting to the changes in pedagogy and course design? What factors are core to their acceptance and success?
  • How are faculty and instructors being supported in their adaption of new pedagogies and teaching strategies?

Track 2 – Expanding Access, Openness, and Flexibility

Access to, and success in, higher education are factors needing improvement in most regions of the world, despite the massive growth in the number of schools, colleges, universities, literacy and basic skills and other providers.

The realities of the under-represented student populations vary around the world. Equitable education for women has long been a high priority goal in many regions. Special efforts to improve access and success, including flexible course design, funding and support, are essential for Indigenous populations, migrants, refugees, marginalized groups, those with disabilities, and those living in rural and remote communities with limited access to educational opportunities. Projects, programs and research to expand access, openness, and flexibility offer valuable examples of how online, open and flexible learning can address these challenges.

Track 2 addresses questions such as:

  • What new avenues of access are being opened so previously under-represented groups of students can attend and thrive in higher education?
  • What strategies are successful in enrolling, retaining, supporting, and graduating new groups of students?
  • What are successful examples of program and course designs, from the perspectives of faculty, students and institutions, in increasing access, retention, and completion rates?
  • How have strategies such as credit transfer, prior learning assessment, work-based learning agreements and transnational qualification agreements proven to be successful in enhancing student mobility?

Track 3 – Changing Models of Assessment

The strategies for colleges, universities and other higher education providers to track and report on student achievement are becoming more sophisticated. Technologies and software can now provide an enormous amount of detail on the performance of individual students, class groups, and institutions. While this may raise privacy concerns, it also offers a wealth of data for better understanding learning and the actual behaviour of students.

Track 3 addresses questions such as:

  • What are examples of new models of assessment that respond to the needs of more diversified and mobile students?
  • How can approaches such as competency-based and outcomes-based learning contribute to making learning more accessible, affordable, open and flexible?
  • How are learning analytics and big data being integrated to improve course delivery, quality, student outcomes, and institutional planning?
  • What are the strategies for using online peer- and self-assessment for more independent and collaborative learning?

Track 4 – New Delivery Tools and Resources for Learning

There are game changing developments in the tools and resources being developed and adapted for learning all over the world. Virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, simulations, serious learning games, open educational resources (OER), and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are all among the resources that have appeared in the last few years. While some, like OER and MOOCs have received considerable attention, others are only beginning to make their presence felt.

In addition, social media are being integrated into course delivery, especially for collaboration and communication. These networks may be set up by the faculty or the students themselves.

For all of these developments, questions of quality, access, cost, accreditation, integration, and effectiveness are being asked – and answered.

Track 4 addresses questions such as:

  • How are these new tools used in higher education, whether as integral parts of programs, for supplementary study, or independent learning, or for uses just now being imagined?
  • How are social media, such as Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Slide Share, and Twitter, effectively incorporated into formal learning?
  • What are the new designs and developments showing the most promise in terms of student engagement and learning outcomes?
  • What advantages and challenges are these new delivery tools offering to students, educators, and institutions? What are some of the pitfalls and successes? Do they add depth or are they a distraction?
  • What are the costs of these developments and what evidence is there of their efficacy?

Track 5 – Re-designed Institutional Business Models

Managing the growth of online, open, and flexible learning poses major challenges for institutional planning and management.

Online, open, and flexible learning requires new capacities and priorities in institutions, while rapidly changing technology calls for constant renewal. Learning technologies are requiring traditional institutions to make substantial changes to their organizational structures and processes, including institutional decision-making.

Collaboration, whether local or international, presents enormous opportunities, but also comes with its own set of challenges and requirements for change.

Track 5 addresses questions such as:

  • What are the implications of online, open and flexible learning, for institutional models, planning, strategies and implementation?
  • How has online, open and flexible learning and distance education been integrated into academic and institutional plans? Who is involved? How are – or should – such plans and strategies be evaluated?
  • What impact has online, open and flexible learning distance education had on the costs or productivity of institutions? How is this measured?
  • How have partnerships and collaboration, whether with public or private partners, extended opportunities?
  • What projects demonstrate the necessary conditions for success in collaboration and partnerships in online learning?

Language of the World Conference on Online Learning

The plenaries, demonstrations, and conference program are offered in English. As well, to recognize the diversity of attendees, selected sessions are offered in French and Spanish. Simultaneous interpretation may be available for plenaries.

The World Conference on Online Learning is designed to be first and foremost an opportunity to interact, exchange and share.

Come to Toronto in October 2017 to break new grounds in teaching, learning and skills development with delegates from North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Nations, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Arab States.

Download the World Conference on Online Learning Theme and Tracks (PDF)

Download the World Conference on Online Learning Presentation Formats here (PDF)


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