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Ubiquitous Learning Institute co-organizes online education summit

by Mike Helenthal / Nov 18, 2011

A University of Illinois summit titled "Online Education: The Present and Future" was held October 31 to encourage strategic thinking on campus directions related to online education. The Ubiquitous Learning Institute at the College of Education was a co-organizer of the event.

Speakers at the summit challenged campus leaders to not just address online learning, but to revolutionize it.

"It's a way to think about allowing students more access," said Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise, who gave introductory remarks at the summit. "There is a limit to how many students you can teach in a classroom. It allows them to learn in ways they could never, never access before."

The summit provided "an important opportunity to bring together key stakeholders across the campus to talk about what we are doing, what we need to be doing, and where we want to go as a campus in online and blended education," said Nicholas Burbules, director of the Ubiquitous Learning Institute and Gutgsell Professor in EPOL. "We have a great story to tell about the growth and innovation of e-learning on this campus; I hope this event helps make what we have been doing more visible," he added.

The event, which was held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, was streamed live and featured three morning sessions. Along with Chancellor Wise's introductory remarks, Joanne Dehoney, chief of staff for EDUCAUSE, spoke on national trends in the area of technology-enhanced instruction and online learning; and Sylvia Manning, president of the Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, addressed online education from the authorized accreditor's perspective.

Lunch focused on roundtable discussions on various topics, including research on online education, impediments to developing online and blended courses, and new uses of technology and digital media. College of Education Dean Mary Kalantzis facilitated one of the roundtable discussions.

The summit was sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Online Continuing Education and co-organized by our Ubiquitous Learning Institute, as well as the College of LAS and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.