Distance Learning Week 2019 Webinars: 12th & 14th November 2019

We are pleased to announce that the ODLAA Webinars series are returning, commencing with two webinars to celebrate Distance Learning Week 2019 organised in conjunction with EDEN and USDLA.

Webinar 1: Trends in the Distance Learning Literature

Date/time: 1:00pm Tuesday 12th November 2019 (AEDT)

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Panel Moderator: Professor Som Naidu
Webinar Convenor: Associate Professor Julie Fleming

This webinar draws on recent trends observed in ODLAA’s journal Distance Education to help us to reflect on both the history and the future of Open and Distance Education. Led by the current editor of Distance Education, Som Naidu, (Pro Vice Chancellor Flexible Learning, Director, Centre for Flexible Learning, University of South Pacific, Fiji), the webinar draws on the experience of an interesting panel of educators to critique a number of new and emerging developments. It then offers tips, advice and suggestions on what it takes to be a trendsetter by publishing your work in such a highly ranked publication.

The webinar is likely to be of particular interest to first-time authors and
journal contributors. The webinar will respond to the following questions:

  • What recent trends can be observed in Distance Education?
  • Who or what is shaping these major trends?
  • How can you respond to these trends?

Panel Members: The panel will include recently published authors and Editorial Board members including:

  • Dr. Aras Bozkurt is a researcher in the Department of Distance Education at Anadolu University, Turkey. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in distance education. He conducts empirical studies on online learning through resorting to critical theories including connectivism, rhizomatic learning, and heutagogy. He is also interested in emerging research paradigms including social network analysis, sentiment analysis, and data mining.
  • Dr. Patricia J. Slagter van Tryon is an Associate Professor at East Carolina University, in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology where she teaches 100% online graduate courses in the Master of Arts in Education and Master of Science
    in Instructional Technology programs. Patricia completed her doctoral work in Educational Technology with a concentration in Instructional Design and Development at Lehigh University, Bethlehem Pennsylvania, USA. Patricia is currently the Vice President of Communications forthe Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), Design & Development Division. Patricia also serves as an Associate Editor of the journal Distance Education. Her
    research interests and publications include social cognition and schema revision strategiesthrough instructional e-mmediacy in online learning environments as well as research in instructional design and development in online learning environments.
  • Associate Professor Clarence Ng is Research Director of “Learning and Learners” research concentration at the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE), Australian Catholic University. Prior to this research-only appointment, Clarence had held academic appointments at Griffith University, Open University of Hong Kong and University of Queensland. His current research areas include educational reform, motivation and learning, and pedagogy. His research work has been supported by competitive grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Queensland Department of Education. Clarence currently leads an ARC Discovery project examining the promotion of higher-order literacy learning among disadvantaged students. His recent books, published by Springer, include ‘Empowering engagement: Creating learning opportunities for students from challenging backgrounds’ (2018), ‘Improving reading and reading engagement in the 21st Century’ (2017) and ‘Reforming learning and teaching in Asia-Pacific Universities’ (2016).
  • Professor Jon Baggaley has taught at universities in England and across Canada. As a psychologist he has specialised in the design and
    evaluation of the educational media. In retirement he has concentrated on writing books including ‘Harmonising Global Education’, articles for the Distance Education journal, producing educational videos, and playing the trombone. His next book returns to his old research love, the psychology of music.

Link for webinar >

Webinar 2: The History of ODLAA: Reflections on the Past, Present and Future

Date/time: 4:00pm Thursday 14th November 2019 AEDT

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Panel Moderator: Professor Mark Brown
Webinar Convenor: Associate Professor Julie Fleming

This webinar will provide a brief overview of ODLAA’s long history, set against the backdrop of rapidly changing times and powerful global forces for change. It will discuss why we believe the role of professional associations such as ODLAA and EDEN has never been more important. As part of this discussion the panel will update participants on ODLAA’s new strategic plan and what it hopes to achieve over the next 12 months, and beyond. In sum, the webinar will respond to the following questions:

  • Is ODLAA still relevant?
  • Why would anyone want to be a member of ODLAA?
  • How can ODLAA support your work in the field?

Mark Brown is Director, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University, Ireland

Panel Members: The panel discussion will involve several current members of the ODLAA Executive.

Link for webinar >

Previous Webinars

2017 Webinar series

Professional learning at a distance with ANU Coffee Courses

21 September 2017, 2.00–3.00pm (AEST)

Attend webinar using this link: https://usq.zoom.us/j/261973615


Janene Harman – Learning Designer, ANU Online
Katie Freund – Senior Learning Designer, ANU Online

Coffee & keyboardThis webinar will discuss an online, self-paced and fully open model of staff training called ‘Coffee Courses’, available online at http://anuonline.weblogs.anu.edu.au/.

This method was introduced at the Australian National University to deal with the challenges often faced by many institutions in delivering professional development, including low attendance at face-to- face training, time constraints, and staff located off campus. The Coffee Course model relies on regular, bite-sized training in practical teaching strategies and pedagogies, delivered using a public blog so that anyone canparticipate. Each blog post takes only 10 minutes to complete and involves reflection and activities for participants. It is designed for peer learning, where teaching staff can share ideas and engage in conversations with colleagues.

The webinar will discuss the affordances and challenges of this model, and explore the impact it has had on teaching practices at the ANU.

Presenter information

Janene Harman is currently a Learning Designer within the ANU Online Educational Development team. Prior to ANU Janene worked at UNSW Canberra as a Flexible Learning Developer and Trainer, assisting and training Academics
with their Moodle courses. Her enthusiasm for online education developed through working as an Outreach Librarian at UNSW Canberra developing training and online resources for distance students in information literacy skills. Within
her current role Janene trains and develops resources for lecturers in using Moodle and creates Articulate Storylines for various projects. Janene has a background in visual arts, working as a practising and exhibiting artist.

Email: Janene.harman@anu.edu.au

Katie Freund:  advises academics on eLearning design and initiatives, researches innovative solutions in education technology, creates digital media resources, and trains staff on Wattle (Moodle) learning management system and other
digital tools for teaching and learning. She is also a researcher in education technology and digital communication.

Email: katharina.freund@anu.edu.au.

Recent webinars:

Influencing a culture of innovation: USQ Technology Demonstrators

Monday 31st July 2.00-3.00pm (Australian EST)

View recording:

This webinar will showcase and discuss an emerging determined and academically driven approach to introducing technology that facilitates innovation in teaching and learning. USQ’s ‘Technology Demonstrators’ is an approach ussed to explore technologies that assist in learning and teaching and to improve educators professional practice and ultimately significantly enhance learning and teaching.

In order to impact organizational culture and maximize the spread of innovation at one regional university, an explicit diffusion of innovation (DOI) approach known as, Technology Demonstrators, was activated from 2015.   This program drew upon agile principles and addressed all five elements known and evidenced to have an impact upon diffusion of innovation, namely: relative advantage; compatibility with existing values and practices; simplicity and ease of use; trialability; and observable results (Rogers, 2003, Robinson, 2009).  The upcoming webinar will discuss this approach, its impact, successes and challenges with potential recommendations for influencing a culture of innovation within higher education.

Rogers, E.M., (2003).  Diffusion of Innovations, Fifth Edition 2003, Free Press, New York, p221.
Robinson, L. (2009). A Summary of diffusion of Innovations.  (Source: http://twut.nd.edu/PDF/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf retrieved 05 10 2017).


Bill Wade
B.A(Hon) / B.Ed., AGDET / MDE (Athabasca University). Manager, Educational Futures USQ

Bill has been internationally awarded as an educational leader and champion of innovative educational technology / teaching and learning with significant leadership roles in teacher education (Aurora College (Canada), creative arts and the humanities / Charles Darwin University / SAE Creative Media Institute / and academic support / USQ).  Through the CDU Mobilizethis conferences, secondment as an NT Sr. E-Learning Advisor, an Australian Flexible Learning Framework – Emerging Technology Trials and ARC grant recipient, and now Manager of Educational Futures at USQ, Bill continues with his commitment of facilitating sensible and pragmatic use of innovative teaching approaches and solution-oriented technology adoption in higher education.

Duane Roth
BCI QUT. Project Manager (One USQ Experience)

Duane has had managerial oversight and been responsible for steering and supporting the Technology Demonstrator program as part of the One USQ Experience Project – a multi-year investment delivering strategic and practical outcomes for users of the USQ online environment, and enhancing digital skills and technology usage of staff and students. Duane worked in the Queensland public and private sectors prior to joining USQ in 2013. He is passionate about developing collaborative partnerships and participatory environments to help explore ideas, bring people along on the journey and facilitate concepts through development into implementation.

Susan Brosnan
MPST (USQ). Senior Technologies Advisor (Technology Demonstrator Projects)

Susan is the Project Lead for the Technology Demonstrator strategic initiative as part of the One USQ Experience Project.  The programs primary purpose is to build capacity and capability and to explore and enhance creativity and exploration across USQ’s teaching staff by operationalizing a management process which encourages using technologies as part of innovative teaching practices.  Susan has also been a member of the Australasian Council on Open Distance and eLearning (ACODE) Executive team in a number of portfolios since 2003 and more recently with the ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute (LTLI).  Susan studied within the Masters of Professional Studies program at USQ majoring in Project Management with her thesis centering on learning technologies in 2014.

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Student engagement in online environments: what do we know and how do we know it?

Thursday 28th July, 1-2pm (Australian EST)

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This webinar explored how web-enabled learning platforms can enhance student engagement, and the limits of current theories and practice on student engagement. It looked at possibilities for using technology-rich learning environments to rethink the architecture of student engagement in online environments.


Dr Stefan Popenici – Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education

Dr. Popenici is an academic with extensive international experience in teaching, research and leadership in higher education in Europe, North America, South East Asia, New Zealand and Australia. His research and work is focused on learning and teaching in higher education, imagination, creativity and change, educational leadership, student engagement, equity and internationalisation of higher education.

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Assistive Technologies Improving Learning Access

Thursday 19th November 2015, 10.15am–11.15am (Australian EDT)

A captioned video recording of the webinar on Assistive Technologies Improving Learning Access is available to view below.

The webinar was led by Sharon Kerr, ODLAA Executive Member and manager, Global Access Project, Sydney, Australia, and Peter Fay from IBM Accessibility, Cambridge, MA USA.

Accessibility for Openness and Equity

When we consider that globally up to a quarter of our population will experience disability at some time in their life, the relationship between accessibility and equity of access becomes apparent.

Just as we now have ramps to provide access to our buildings for people using wheelchairs, we can design our online learning in such a way that students with sensory disability can access the full learning experience using assistive technologies.  Being blind, having a hearing loss or  being Deaf, having dyslexia – are no longer reasons not to be able to fully engage with education.  It is not only students with a recognisable disability who can benefit from the use of assistive technologies. Those who are time poor because of work or family commitments, those who have English as a second language are just two examples of people who may prefer to listen to their readings than engaging in a traditional way.

Here is an example of a project funded by the Office of Learning and Teaching demonstrating how utilising inbuilt assistive technologies in hand-held devices can facilitate student engagement:


Sharon Kerr from Global Access Project, Sydney, Australia

Peter Fay from IBM Accessibility, Cambridge, MA USA

Research i-Bytes

Thursday 28th May, 12–1pm (Australian EST)

A sample of some current research going on ‘out there’ from practitioners in open and distance education. Watch their presentations, join in discussion … and maybe form a collaboration for your own future research.

Missed out on the webinar?

Catch up by viewing the recording via Blackboard Collaborate.
(View instructions to download the Launcher needed to view this Collaborate recording.)

Speakers and topics:

Integrity – the problem of Self-Plagiarism

Dr Colleen Halupa (Texas, USA), Director of Curriculum Design & Technology, LeTourneau University, Associate Professor; Doctor of Health Education Program, A.T.Still University

In universities in the U.S. there is a lot of confusion about students recycling work; students believe they own it and it is acceptable. Faculty want original work from all students; however, if curriculum mapping is not done, some assignments may very well lend themselves to students using what they have written before. Many universities have not yet addressed this issue in their academic honesty policies. Self-plagiarism by students has come to the forefront in the last decade with the proliferation of online courses and plagiarism detection programs.

In addition to the debate on if self-plagiarism is an academic honesty defense, the percentage of recycled material is also an issue. How much is too much? Does it need to be cited (even though it has never been published)? This presentation will provide a brief synopsis of a study done at three university campuses with online programs where faculty and students were queried about their perceptions of self-plagiarism.

Inclusivity and universal design

Sharon Kerr (Sydney, Australia), CEO of the Global Access Project (GAP), Higher Education Consulting Group; and a researcher through Sydney University

My research question is: ‘What is the current situation with regard to effective inclusion of Indigenous students with a disability into higher education in Australia?’. Indigenous students with a disability are one of the most vulnerable cohorts of students being served by our institutions. By ensuring that their needs are met, I assert that all students’ needs will be met.

Sharon’s research focuses on the concepts of universal design and cultural safety, two major considerations for online delivery of courses. The research has implications for international students, students with a disability and students from a CALD background.

Interactivity – Perspectives of online discussion boards through different lenses: lecturers, facilitators and students

Tracy Douglas (University of Tasmania, Australia) Lecturer, first year coordinator and associate head (undergraduate studies) in the School of Health Sciences

Susan Salter (University of Tasmania, Australia) Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences

Our presentation describes current research findings from two different research projects. What is the nature of interactivity in online discussion boards and what difference do role and purpose make? We will present the perspectives of online discussion boards from discussion board facilitators, students engaged in facilitated discussion boards, students engaged in non-facilitated discussion boards, and lecturers using discussion boards to communicate as part of a research project.

Implicit to explicit – Challenges in researching learning design for distance education

Diane Hockridge (Sydney, Australia), Online Educational Designer, Ridley College, Melbourne, Macquarie University

Design based research is an increasingly used methodology in educational research, yet its methods and practices are not as clearly established as some other research methodologies. This can be challenging for researchers. Similarly, research in the field of Learning Design often brings up challenging questions around evaluation, analysis and representation of learning designs: how can we rigorously evaluate and analyse learning designs? How do we determine whether learning designs are meeting their objectives? How can we represent and share learning designs in a way that’s helpful for other educators?

Diane will talk about some of these challenges in the context of her research which is exploring how educators in the discipline of theology can design distance learning to provide a holistic, formative education for students.

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