From the AU News Room:

Dr. Terry Anderson’s appointment as Canada Research Chair in distance education has been renewed for five years. He was presented with the award at the Convocation ceremony on June 10.

Terry Anderson
Leslie Chivers, communications director for
MP Brian Jean, presented Dr. Terry Anderson
with the documentation to officially renew his Canada Research Chair in Distance Education.

The CRC program, which is funded by the Government of Canada, will provide $500,000 in research funding over the next five years. Canada Research Chairs are selected by a college of reviewers, composed of experts from around the world, to recognize exceptional researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. Terry was first awarded the chair in distance education in 2001.

For the past five years, he has been investigating the kinds of interaction that occur among teachers and students in online learning environments and how the degree of interaction impacts learning, satisfaction and completion rates. Over the next five years, his research will focus on unpaced learning and how social software tools can build communities of learning online despite the individual nature of the process.

“Distance learning has come a long way since the days of mail-out exams,” Terry said. “Today’s technology allows for the near-instantaneous exchange of material between teacher and student and between students. The Internet challenges educators to look for ways of improving teacher-student interaction while creating cost-effective learning experiences.”

“Enhancing and expanding distance learning methods through research is a continuing priority for Athabasca University,” President Frits Pannekoek said. The university has specialized in university-level distance learning for over 30 years. It employs a variety of electronic technologies as well as print materials and telephone-tutoring in its teaching. More than 85 percent of AU’s courses are now wholly or partly online.

“Dr. Anderson’s research in network technology is vital for Athabasca University because it speaks directly to our mandate,” President Frits said. “Athabasca University is one of the world’s leading distance education specialists. By focusing on innovation in learning, we continue to remove barriers and makes exemplary post-secondary education more accessible.”

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Terry is Tops

Terry Anderson The accolades for Terry Anderson keep on coming. In a letter from Dr. Michele Jacobsen with the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (CJLT), she advises him of a prestigious recognition:

“It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been chosen to receive the 2006 CJLT Editor’s Award for your Volume 31, Issue 2, Spring 2005 article, Design-based Research and its Application to a Call Centre Innovation in Distance Education.

“The CJLT Editor’s Award is presented by the Editor of AMTEC’s Journal to an individual who has provided the most outstanding article to CJLT during that year. In making my recommendation for this award, I have relied entirely on feedback from the Editorial Board … your article emerged as the clear favorite.”

Terry’s article discusses a new methodology for distance education research and applied the model to work done with call centre innovation in AU’s School of Business.

In his acceptance comment at the CADE/AMTEC conference held in Montreal in May, Terry reminded delegates that at various times in his carreer he had submitted and had articles rejected from both CJTE and the CADE Journal, but that “one shouldn’t let such setbacks stop efforts to share the insights from one’s research and practice.”


Another AU connection from the CADE conference: Liam Rourke, Ph.D. adjunct faculty in Centre for Distance Education and former Canadian Centre for Distance Education Research (CIDER) employee, now with Nanyang Technological University, won the Excellence in Graduate Research award.