The University of Wisconsin has been holding an annual distance education conference over the past 25 years. This means that during the 1980’s educators were discussing how to reach learners through the media of radio and television. Today, of course, it is all about using the Internet to educate and inform.

This year I will be conducting a workshop on casual games, speaking on my research topic: factors that enable team collaboration. I will also be participating in the Think Tank sessions and the Closing Panel.

While this conference is typically attended by academics, I have noticed a shift in who is headlining this year. Before you listen to the conference director, Jane Terpstra, here are a few bullet points she offers addressing the conference goals:

The conference tag phrase is Teach, Learn, Connect and, to this end, our goals are to:

  • Discuss critical success factors and innovative practices
  • Examine the key components of effective distance education applications
  • Share successful approaches, strategies, and techniques
  • Discuss major issues, new developments, and trends
  • Consider future possibilities for distance education
  • Facilitate networking among distance educators, trainers, and administrators
  • Share program resources (proceedings, papers, video, handouts, etc.) via technology.

Listen here to Jane to learn other reasons you, as an eLearning manager, might consider attending.

New formats and events for 2010

  • A series of Symposia are planned, which will provide time for in-depth learning and discussion on 3 topics: open access publishing, scalability of distance education, and online faculty development.
  • Lightning Sessions are being tried this year in which presenters will cover a topic in 10 minutes with up to 10 slides.
  • A Showcase is planned to provide informal networking with those who have successfully used various technologies and tools.
  • New sessions allowing graduate students to discuss their dissertation topics and get feedback on specific questions are being offered.
  • Also Think Tank sessions and a Closing Panel will be held to consider the decade ahead for distance education.
  • The Closing Panel will be one of the events streamed live for the first virtual conference participants who will be attending this year.