APODE Week 2023

Asia-Pacific Online Distance Education

The Asia-Pacific Online Distance Education week is being held from November 7 – 9, 2023. The Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) and the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ) are delighted to collaborate to jointly host the Asia-Pacific Online Distance Education (APODE) Week. 

During APODE Week 2023, a series of freely available webinars will be conducted by leading practitioners and international educators working in the area. It is an excellent opportunity to critically reflect on contemporary topics in open and distance education.

7 November 2023


11:00AM  – 12:00PM


12:00PM – 1:00PM


1:00PM – 2:00PM 

Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand

Digital assessments: A form of flexible learning

Presenter: Kwong Nui Sim, Sydney International School of Technology and Commerce

Digital assessments have become significantly critical as part of the digital learning and teaching process, as technology provides not only teaching and learning opportunities but also assessment mechanisms, including productive feedback. With the rapid development of educational technology, e.g. the evolving of Artificial Intelligence, and the expansion of related research, digital assessments allow educators to create, design, and grade assessments at any time and anywhere, either in a summative or formative manner for the real-world challenges of the future workplaces.

In the new reality of flexible learning, innovative forms of assessments can provide enhanced student engagement and empower staff as well as students in their daily academic practices. The aim of this session is to generate a discussion on the ways to develop pedagogically sound as well as student-centred digital assessments, which serves as a pre-2024 FLANZ conference conversation to invite submissions in this domain.

Presenter Biography: 

Kwong Nui Sim

Kwong Nui Sim is an Associate Professor/Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at Sydney International School of Technology and Commerce after being the Learning, Teaching and Innovation Manager at International College of Management Sydney for a short term. Prior to this, she was seconded as a Senior Advisor/Senior Lecturer at Graduate Research School in Auckland University of Technology in conjunction with her position of Senior Lecture/Learning and Teaching Consultant at AUT Learning Transformation LAB (altLAB). From 2015 to September 2020, I was an academic developer/lecturer at the Centre for Academic Development, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

8 November 2023


11:00AM – 12:00PM


12:00PM – 1:00PM


1:00PM – 2:00PM

Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand

Getting started with UDL for open, flexible, and distance learning

Presenters: Annette van Lamoen, Professional Learning and Development Consultant at Ako Aotearoa and 

Michael Grawe, Manager of Professional Pathways Awarua

Ako Aotearoa, New Zealand’s National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, has developed a free self-directed course on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for educators who are new to UDL or would like to brush up on their knowledge. The purpose of the course is to support educators in putting UDL into practice. It’s a step-by-step introduction to UDL, where the UDL principles are ‘unpacked’ and discussed, with examples, activities, and resources.

In this interactive session, the course creators, Annette van Lamoen and Michael Grawe, will showcase UDL practices that are well suited for open, flexible, and distance learning contexts and give participants the chance to explore these practices. Dive into the world of UDL with us and continue your journey after this session through the Ako course.

Presenters Biographies: 

Annette van Lamoen, MEd (Hons.), has a background in working with high-needs learners. She was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, where she lectured and tutored in adult literacy education and dyslexia.  She was the Manager of New Zealand’s National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults and now works for Ako Aotearoa as a Professional Learning and Development Consultant. She is passionate about supporting educators and, by extension, their learners.

Michael Gawe

Michael Grawe, MA, is an experienced educator and is the Professional Learning Manager for Pathways Awarua (based in Aotearoa New Zealand), where his focus is on literacy and numeracy education. With a Master’s Degree in American Literature, Media Studies, and Teaching, Michael has dedicated over 20 years to the education sector, both in Aotearoa and abroad. He has a diverse background, having worked in various roles such as ESOL, Kaiako for Business & Computing, and Advisor for Literacy and Numeracy at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Michael has also made significant contributions as a resource developer, facilitator and professional learning consultant at Ako Aotearoa, hosted by Massey University. As part of his work at Pathways Awarua, he has presented at several conferences, showcasing his expertise and insights on effective literacy and numeracy instruction. Passionate about learner success and whānau transformation through education, Michael understands the power of education in driving positive change. He has been instrumental in supporting the professional development of educators and empowering learners to achieve their goals. With his wealth of experience and dedication to educational excellence, he continues to make a significant impact in the field of literacy and numeracy education.

9 November 2023


 11:00AM – 12:30PM


12:00PM –  1:30PM


 1:00 PM – 2:30PM

Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand

Lifelong joy: Promoting the joy of online learning across context, audience, and time

In the rapidly evolving landscape of education, the integration of technology in learning environments has been both a transformative and challenging journey. As we navigate the digital era, it becomes increasingly vital to explore not only the effectiveness of online learning but also its emotional impact on learners. The theme of our panel discussion revolves around ‘Increasing joy in online learning,’ seeking to champion joyful, intelligent, ethical, and compassionate user- and learner-centered technology in educational settings.

Our panel consists of diverse and knowledgeable experts representing the K-12, vocational education, and higher education sectors. Each speaker will present on their specialised topic related to promoting joy in online learning. They will have the opportunity to utilise slides and other media to enhance their presentations, engaging the audience. Moreover, the presenters will act as facilitators, encouraging insightful discussions and interactions with attendees.


Key discussion points

The essence of joy in learning: The panel will explore the profound impact of joy on cognitive processes and overall learning outcomes. Understanding how positive emotions, such as joy, can enhance engagement and knowledge retention will be a key focus.

Designing joyful learning environments: Presenters will share strategies and best practices for creating online learning environments that spark joy. From interactive and immersive content to incorporating gamification elements, the panel will highlight innovative approaches that captivate learners’ curiosity and enthusiasm.

Fostering inclusivity and empathy: Joyful learning extends beyond content delivery; it encompasses a sense of belonging and emotional well-being. The speakers will delve into cultivating empathy within online classrooms, forging connections between learners and instructors, and nurturing a supportive community.

Overcoming challenges in online joyful learning: Acknowledging the obstacles in fostering joy in online learning, the panel will discuss methods to address these challenges. Whether it’s tackling technical issues, combating digital fatigue, or navigating diverse learning needs, the aim is to create a resilient and joyful learning experience.


Presenters Biographies: 

Associate Professor Sarah Prestridge

Dr Sarah Prestige is an Associate Professor of Digital Pedagogies at Griffith University. She was a classroom teacher, deputy, education adviser then lecturer and academic always focused on how technologies enable engagement and learning. She researches in both the k-12 schooling context, further education (Uni, Tafe) and self-directed professional learning through social media.

Lina Du-Lazzara

Lina Du-Lazzara is the Associate Director of Learning Experience at RMIT’s College of Vocational Education. She is an experienced and innovative organizational and learning development leader with deep understanding of effective pedagogical strategies and a passion for people. A significant achievement during her tenure at RMIT includes the development and successful launch of the innovative Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Business Professional Practice programs. In recognition of this work, Lina’s team was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Award for Imagination.

Dr Chinh Nguyen

Dr Chinh Nguyen is Faculty Talent Manager at Curio. Chinh’s passion and interest are in the online learning and teaching transformation and consultancy across all levels of education and clients. He has strong experience in delivering seamless online education experience to student globally, ensuring the highest quality and engaging learning for students. He is known for bringing speed, quality, transparency, expertise in online program deliveries. He also has hands-on teaching experience in business and management at the Faculty of Business & Economics, the University of Melbourne.

Anitra Nottingham is currently the Head of Course Design at RMIT University Online, where she leads the learning design team producing all the RMIT Online courses. Anitra works across programs and almost every discipline in the accredited portfolios, micro-credentials and bespoke workplace learning solutions.

Toni Jones

Toni Jones is an Online Coach at RMIT. With a strong coaching background, Toni has been actively engaged in the field of online education for close to a decade. Through years of coaching online students to success, Toni has honed the skill of fostering self-direction and resilience in adult learners. Today, Toni is dedicated to mentoring industry experts, helping them to build capability to excel in online teaching.


Dawn Gilmore

Dr Dawn Gilmore is the Academic Director at RMIT Online and current President of ODLAA. She plays a leading role in managing and interpreting academic standards and processes for RMIT Online – ensuring that the creation of all accredited and non-accredited online services and experiences are both at the forefront of the digital education industry and informed by a robust system of academic quality and continuous improvement.