MOOCs and Open Education around the World

E-Learn Pre-Conference Symposium

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Program Description

Although e-learning continues to proliferate globally, minimal attention has been placed on how individual regions and countries are taking advantage of technology-enabled learning. The possibilities for transformational change in developing and underdeveloped countries are widely accepted as is the notion that e-learning is impacting young and older learners worldwide. The emergence of new forms of blended learning as well as the arrival of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other forms of open educational resources (OERs) have made e-learning front page news across all continents and societies.

However, as new digital forms of informal and formal learning proliferate, there is an increasing need to better understand how people in different regions of the world are implementing MOOCs and OERs. Even more importantly, educators, researchers, politicians, and countless others want to grasp what the outcomes of these initiatives are and how they can be improved. So, along with the current tidal wave of e-learning changes, those fostered by MOOCs and open education have caused institutions and organizations to grapple with issues of accreditation, credentialing, quality standards, innovative assessment, and learner motivation and attrition, among numerous other areas of concern.

In response to the above issues, this preconference symposium undertakes to explore and probe unique implementations of MOOCs and open education across regions and nations. We will also focus on the various opportunities and dilemmas presented in this new age of technology-enabled learning. What are the different delivery formats, interaction possibilities, grading schemes, and business plans?

Symposium participants will explain the MOOC and open education trends in their respective locales, share key research directions and findings, and provide suggestions and recommendations for the near future. Symposium facilitators will help participants bond and form communities of learners.




This Monday symposium will begin with specially invited presentations in a brief and lively TED-talk style. Listen, reflect, discuss, and relax. Next, participants will engage in semi-structured working sessions driven by participant interests and experiences. During this collaborative effort, participants will be grouped by areas of interest in terms of MOOCs and open education.

Some of the possible topics may include credentialing policies, learner issues, international degrees and partnerships, administration and management, quality standards, mobile and ubiquitous learning delivery, emerging technology tools, etc. The exact groups or themes will be determined by a survey of participants prior to the conference. Each thematic group will be coordinated by one or more designated session leader(s).


The afternoon session will begin with an expert panel on: (1) attrition, (2) accreditation, and (3) assessment. Next, self-selected groups will discuss and address these issues or trends. Alternately, participants can return to the topics and groups from the morning session. During the afternoon session, participants may decide to hold a debate, organize a panel or roundtable discussion, or engage in benchmarking or comparison sessions, brainstorm solutions to various challenges, or draft plans for future collaborative research and development.

Participant contributions and ideas will be catalogued in a wiki document that everyone can access. A keynote presentation and preconference symposium coordinator recaps will end the day.

Social Notes:

Several social events will follow including theme group report outs, discussion of individual research projects, take-aways, and general socializing.

The day before (Sunday), there will also be an optional MOOC and open education hiking, chatting, and reflection event in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. See additional information in schedule below.


Tentative Schedule for "MOOCs and Open Education around the World" Symposium

Optional Sunday afternoon in Red Rock Canyon
MOOC and Open Education hiking, chatting, and reflection event in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area which is 17 miles west of the hotel. We will be hiking Pine Creek Canyon Trail, a 2.42-mile, relatively easy hike. Departure time and hike time TBA, most likely mid-morning to noon. Departure location TBA. More information Trail Map

Monday Morning (October 21st):
8:00-8:30 - Coffee, tea, etc., informal chatting and meeting other participants
8:30-8:45 - Brief Welcome to Symposium and Agenda
8:45-9:15 - Keynote #1: Paul Kim, Stanford University, Topic: “MOOCs Through the Lens of Sustainability"
9:15-9:45 - Q&A with Paul Kim
9:45-10:00 - Establish theme groups and coordinate group and room logistics
10:00- 10:15 - Break for tea and coffee and move to groups for introductions
10:15-11:15 - MOOCs and Open Education around the World: Thematic Teams Part One
                        Note: Thematic groups will be based on preconference survey of interests (e.g., accreditation, assessment, design, instructor role, quality, student motivation, etc.).
Breakout Theme Group Leaders: Tom Reeves, Mimi Lee, Tom Reynolds, Curt Bonk, and several others
11:15-11:45 - Expert Participant Insights about MOOCs and Open Education (5 minutes each)
11:45-Noon - Facilitator and special guest recap of the morning and transition to afternoon

12:00-1:15 - Lunch by group or by topic at the hotel 

Monday Afternoon:
1:15-2:15 - Moderated Panel on “Attrition, Accreditation, and Assessment” (4-6 experts)
                    Moderator: Tom Reynolds; Audience Questions: Curt Bonk
                    Panelists: Melinda Bandalaria, University of the Philippines Open University; Tom Reeves, University of Georgia; Mimi Lee, University of Houston; Theo J. Bastiaens -Fernuniversität in Hagen, Germany and Open University, The Netherlands; Paul Kim, Stanford University; Karen Head, Georgia Institute of Technology

2:15-2:30 - Tea Break and movement back to either thematic groups or expert interactions
2:30-3:30 - Thematic Teams Part Two: Action Agenda Meetings and Expert Interactions
3:30-3:45 - Break for reconvening in Main Room
3:45-4:15 - Keynote #2: George Siemens, Athabasca University, Topic: "MOOCs: Where next?"
4:15-4:45 - Q&A with George Siemens
4:45-5:00 - Wrap-up comments from symposium facilitators and others

Monday Evening:
5:00-5:15 - Break or departure
5:15-6:15 - Social Hour (Note: includes Thematic Group Summary Report Outs, Individual Research Discussions, etc.)
6:15-6:45 - Return to hotel rooms and freshen up
6:45-??:?? - Dinner and show (on your own)

Note: For additional details or inquiries, contact Curt Bonk at cjbonk at Indiana dot edu


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