ODLAA Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons in Open & Distance Learning

5-7 February 2017, Melbourne, Australia

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Our theme, Expanding Horizons in Open & Distance Learning has three sub-themes of:

  • Openness
  • Community
  • Innovation

These will allow participants and presenters to explore the possibilities for innovation, openness and community in the ever-changing and expanding world of Open and Distance Learning.



At the heart of expanding horizons is the concept of openness. This includes open access to a growing variety of learning opportunities, open learning and engagement in open scholarship. Open access refers to inclusive and equal access to an increasingly wider range of educational opportunities without barriers such as prior knowledge and entry qualifications, and ability to pay, while open learning is about freedom and the flexibility to choose the mode, medium, time, place and pace of study. And open scholarship is about sharing educational resources under an open license scheme which permits no-cost access, as well as their use, re-use, adaptation and redistribution by others.


Expanding horizons is about expanding learning communities which are rapidly growing to include other than those in conventional on- and off-campus educational settings. These learning communities now include everyone from early learners who can interact with resources to the elderly who might like to engage with learning for social and emotional richness. Principles of openness are opening up opportunities for members of the community who did not previously see themselves as learners. And economies of scale make open and distance education a cost-effective and viable means of bringing learning to a wider variety of learning communities, regardless of their demographics.


Expanding horizons is about innovations in relation to technology. Technologies are playing an increasingly expanded role in the life of students as well as teachers. This includes developments in relation to artificial intelligence, virtual reality, brain interface technologies, teacher-bots and translation software for multilingual teaching, and a lot more. Drivers of innovation in these areas have to do with the globalisation of education and changes in the way learners, as well as teachers are engaging with information and learning resources. The future of open and distance learning is in breaking down and expanding traditional boundaries to explore these innovative opportunities in the use of technology.

Key submission dates:

Call for abstracts opens: 16 May 2016

Notifications to presenters: from 30 September 2016

Submission of full papers: by 31st January 2017


With thanks to our Sponsors and Supporters:


Taylor & Francis


Supporting Partners



LearnTech Asia 2016