ODLAA is managed by an Executive Committee. Each year half of the committee is elected for a two year period, from and by ODLAA members.
President – Dr Mutuota Kigotho
Mutuota has been involved in the area of distance education in Australia for over six years. This involvement started when he took up a position as Lecturer at the University of New England (UNE) in January 2009. At UNE over eighty per cent of the students study online and by distance learning.
Mutuota’s expertise lies in digital literacy where his focus has been the intersection between broadband and analogue investigating the literacies that users need to make sense of their learning environment. He has published in the Journal of Distance Education and in Literacy Learning- the Middle Years. He has also presented papers at the International Council of Distance Education (ICDE) conferences in Sydney and in Bali – Indonesia.
Within ODLAA, Mutuota has served as a committee member, first as secretary, then as Vice-President & treasurer, and from 2017, as President of the association. He believes that access continues to be one of the biggest challenges of our time and is strongly persuaded in sharing content at minimal cost.
Vice-President / Treasurer – Marcus de Rijk
Secretary – Sharon Kerr
Sharon, is CEO of Global Access Project, — a HECG initiative working closely with major technology players including IBM and NUANCE in association with major universities in the US, EU and Canada with the Liberated Learning Consortium. Their focus is to provide information and solutions so that students with a disability can access the full learning experience and achieve their full potential.
In 1992 after a successful career as a Japanese Language teacher, with friends Susan and Tony Bruck Sharon published “Japanese Tutor” through Ashton Scholastic. With this being one of the first multimedia teaching packages in the world, its publication led to a career at Macquarie University in areas relating to technology enhanced learning. Her roles included Lecturer in Education, Educational Developer, Manager Online Education, Assistant Director Centre for Flexible Learning and Manager Macquarie University Accessibility Services.
In 2004 Sharon was responsible for building and managing the team that delivered the first online degree from Macquarie University through Open Universities Australia (OUA). This had a profound impact on the strategic direction of Distance Learning at Macquarie University. Pedagogy and design principles adopted in this online degree were subsequently adopted across Australia by other OUA providers.
In addition to her expertise in online education and management, Sharon brings to the executive of ODLAA a passion for equity of access to education and extensive experience in designing online courses to meet the needs of international students, students with a disability and Indigenous students. She has a Masters of Indigenous Education and in addition to her role with Global Access Project is working towards a PhD with Sydney University.
Sharon’s Linkedin profile can be viewed here.
Publications Officer – Dr Jenny Roberts
Dr Jenny Roberts is a senior researcher at the Institute for Open and Distance Learning (IODL) at the University of South Africa (Unisa). She has undergraduate studies in Statistics and Sociology, a Masters degree in Tourism Development and Management and a D. Litt et Phil in the teaching and curriculum design of Biblical Archaeology, and as such is a true interdisciplinary scholar. She has published articles on distance education, discipline in education, metacognition and engaged scholarship research. She is currently a co-editor and contributor to a textbook on the teaching of Life Skills as well as co-editor of the special themed edition of the Distance Education journal. She has presented papers at local and international conferences in Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia and other African countries. She was a member of the panel discussion on MOOCs at the recent ICDE conference which was held in Moscow. Her areas of interest are Learner Support, Metacognition, MOOCs, Neuro-education and Life Skills. She is the leader of the Unisa research thrust “Technology and the Changing Role of Academics in Distance Education”, as well as a team member together with colleagues from other South African universities on a National Research Foundation (NRF) project on co-operative learning in an ODL context. She describes herself as a lifelong learner, even at a distance, as can be seen from the fact that she is currently enrolled for various Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) in teaching mathematics, psychology and research methodologies. Dr Roberts is the first South African to be elected to the executive committee of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA).
Committee Member – Diane Hockridge
Diane has worked in higher education for around 15 years, with a focus on distance and online education for about half that time. She currently works as an Educational Designer for Ridley College, a theological education college in Melbourne. In this role she works with faculty to design new units for distance students for a range of Bachelor and Masters degrees in theology. Diane also runs professional development workshops and undertakes consultancy work on distance education in the theological education sector.
Diane’s qualifications include a BA and Litt.B in political science from ANU, a diploma in theology, and a masters in higher education – e-learning (Macquarie University). She is also currently a PhD candidate in the School of Education at Macquarie University. Her doctoral research explores learning design for formational learning. This is one of the particular educational challenges faced in the theological education sector, which is keen to explore how distance education and educational technologies can be used to foster more than cognitive learning, including spiritual formation and practical skills required for theology graduates. She is also interested in exploring potential cross-disciplinary insights into the improvement of student learning experiences in distance and online learning contexts.
Committee Member – Adrian Stagg