I was very pleased to be invited to do a keynote at International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) in Maastricht Holland this month. ICDE  is the largest coordinating and professional development organization for distance education and open learning institutions and communities around the globe. It attracts delegates from the large mega universities as well as a smattering of dual mode colleges and universities. My keynote on Open Educational resources, was OK, except the time was limited to 20 minutes and my iphone count down timer failed to bark at me, so the moderator practically had to get the hook out to get me to finish – quite embarrassing! The slides from my talk are here and the slides from the other speakers on the OER panel Peter Sloep and  Andy Lane are as well.

The keynotes were videotaped and there was a promise of streaming, but I can’t seem to locate the links from the conference web page at www.ou.nl/icde2009. I was especially pleased to have the opportunity to hear the legendary network theorist Manual Castells author of the trilogy “The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture”, 1996-2003, translated in 23 languages. For some reason he did not allow a video recording of his talk.

The congress featured the usual scrumptious buffet of concurrent sessions, most of which I quite enjoyed. The concurrent sessions were organized under the themes of cultural diversity, learning technology, removing institutional constraints, quality assurance, student support and a number of other special sub-themes.  Unlike most DE conferences, presenters were compelled to submit full papers, and most of these have been linked from the listings of the schedule at the web site. Unfortunately, the paper from my own session THE DANCE OF TECHNOLOGY AND PEDAGOGY IN SELF-PACED DISTANCE EDUCATION isn’t linked, so I have posted it here

The conference was also the annual conference of the European Assoc. of Distance Teaching Universities, so there was lots of European representation. As always, I was impressed by the amount of money provided for educational technology related research and development in Europe. I attended a presentation from the e-jump 2.0 group whose 2 year project from the EU Lifelong learning program was “Implementing e-Learning 2.0 in everyday learning processes in higher and vocational education”  A great idea, but some of the problems encountered creating ‘courses’ for teachers on web 2.0 tools (why create courses???), were very predictable. More encouraging was the work of the Re-vica Project which “aims to make an inventory and to carry out a systematic review of cross-institutional Virtual Campus initiatives of the past decade within higher education at European, national and regional levels”.  I would love to undertake a similar rear view look at Canadian initiatives during the past decade, but alas, no EU pot of money to make it happen.

All in all, I was pleased with the ICDE Congress, and glad to see that ICDE (under new management) seems to have recreated itself and back to doing important networking and knowledge development in this sector. Congrats as well to the host Open University of the Netherlands, for a well organized conference