Distance education: Some free COL resources

Foreign Providers in the Caribbean: Pillagers or Preceptors?

Stewart Marshall, Ed Brandon, Michael Thomas, Asha Kanwar and Tove Lyngra

Published: 2008

The growing phenomenon of cross-border higher education (CBHE) will not help developing countries unless it is accessible, available, affordable, relevant and of acceptable quality.

"Foreign Providers in the Caribbean: Pillagers or Preceptors?" focusses on the trends of CBHE in the Caribbean, which has its own unique characteristics.

The nine commissioned case studies provide an in-depth analysis and insights into a very complex and dynamic phenomenon. Are the foreign providers in the Caribbean pillagers or preceptors? Do they threaten existing institutions or further the developmental objectives of the countries they operate in? Are they a financial threat or an opportunity? Can the subjects they teach address both global and local concerns? Or is this a new form of cultural imperialism? These are some of the questions that this timely publication invites you to examine.

Free to download from: http://www.col.org/colweb/site/pid/5310

This is a new book in the "Perspectives on Distance Education" series. Other books in the series can be found at: http://www.col.org/colweb/site/pid/4039

Other COL Resources

"Costs and Financing in Open Schools" (Ed Du Vivier, ed.), resource book and CD-Rom

"Education for a Digital World", collaborative resource and course materials, co-published with BCcampus

"A Prospective Vision for Universities: The role of the technology transfer units and distance education" (Luis Miguel Romero Fernández, Ph.D., Rector, Universidad Técnica Particular De Loja). Translated from Spanish and published in English by COL.

Updated resource CD-ROM:

COL produces a CD-ROM that contains our most popular resource publications, news, and software. It now contains over 70 publications including training manuals, start-up guides and research, including all 21 titles in COL's popular Knowledge Series, as well as free and open source software. While most of the contents are also available in print or on the COL web site, the CD-ROM provides a convenient, fast-loading compilation of the open and distance learning resources that COL has produced for public distribution and use. It is available upon request.


Technology: A platform for development?

Thursday 30 - Friday 31 October 2008
Chatham House, London

Technology is now recognized as having the potential to transform the lives of millions in the developing world. This major international conference will seek to identify best practice for achieving the successful implementation of new technology. Sessions will address issues including:

* The role of broadband and mobile technology
* The political environment and regulation
* Infrastructure development and scaling up solutions
* Selection of optimum technologies
* Driving new investment
* Ensuring successful implementation

This conference will provide a unique opportunity to meet with senior figures from the technology and development sectors, including policymakers, government representatives, industry leaders and investors. The format of the event allows extensive opportunities for networking and informal meetings between conference sessions, and at the drinks reception at the end of day one.

Conference brochure

All details for this conference will be published on the Chatham House website. Please check the site for up to date information on registration, confirmed conference speakers, sessions and other information.

Speaker highlights

Greg Butler
Industry Director
Microsoft Education Solutions Group

Professor David P Mellor OBE
United Kingdom Telecoms Academy

Rt Hon Alun Michael MP
United Kingdom

Richard Simpson
Director General, e-commerce
Industry Canada

Estelle Akofio-Sowah
Managing Director

Professor Tim Unwin
Professor of Geography and UNESCO Chair in ICT4D
University of London


A virtual conference on educational technology in Africa

e/merge 2008 - Professionalising Practices (7th - 18th July) is the third virtual conference on educational technology in Africa. e/merge (http://emerge2008.net) is primarily designed to share good practice and knowledge about educational technology innovation within the further and higher education sectors in the region, as well as to strengthen communities of researchers and practitioners. This includes sharing stories, sharing good practices and sharing research. The conversations in e/merge 2008 will engage with our regional context of unequal access to technology and to education within a global context of changes in teaching and learning tools and practices. The range of topics includes infrastructure, learning design, staff development, mobile learning, gendered use of learning technologies, open educational resources, new tools for educators, and learning environments. The interaction will include both asynchronous discussions and live online meetings.

What participants said about e/merge 2004 and 2006:
* "High calibre ... it met if not exceeded the quality of a face to face conference"
* "Thank you for a well organized, professional and thought-provoking experience"
* "technology ... can help make the difference through networking and exchanging of ideas"

The e/merge 2008 keynotes are:
* Dr Bakary Diallo, Rector of the African Virtual University on "Reaching the potential of ICTs in African Higher Education Institutions: Lessons learnt from the AVU Capacity Enhancement Program";
* Irene Karaguilla Ficheman, Researcher at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil on "Digital Learning Ecosystems: Authoring, Collaboration, Immersion and Mobility";
* Dr Ross Perkins, Senior Research Associate at Virginia Tech, United States on "Rethinking e-Learning Strategies in a Web 2.0 World";
* Howard Rheingold Author and Online Community Pioneer, Visiting Professor at Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, United States on "A Social Media Classroom for Student-Generated Learning"; and
* Dr Sasha Barab, Professor of Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems Technology & Cognitive Science, Indiana University, United States on "The Quest Atlantis Project: A Curriculum for the 21st Century".

Conference Registration is open online at http://emerge2008.net.
The conference fees have been set to encourage participation:
* Participants based in Africa - R200
* Participants from other regions - R780 (approx US$100)
There will be a small number of sponsored places.

Full information is available on the conference website:
Web: http://emerge2008.net
e-mail: info@emerge2008.net
Hosted by the Centre for Educational Technology, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


Open standards and open source

Harsh words for Microsoft

I see that Microsoft is in the news again. According to James Kanter in the New York Times on June 11, 2008, European Union’s competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, "delivered an unusually blunt rebuke to Microsoft on Tuesday by recommending that businesses and governments use software based on open standards."

(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/technology/11soft.html?ref=technology)

"Ms. Kroes has fought bitterly with Microsoft over the last four years, accusing the company of defying her orders and fining it nearly 1.7 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, on the grounds of violating European competition rules. But her comments were the strongest recommendation yet by Ms. Kroes to jettison Microsoft products, which are based on proprietary standards, and to use rival operating systems to run computers."

But Ms Kroes did not explicitly name Microsoft in her address to a conference in Brussels - instead she referred "to the only company in European antitrust enforcement history that has been fined for refusing to comply with orders".

In her speech, she praised the City of Munich for using software based on open standards, along with the German Foreign Ministry and the Gendarmerie Nationale, a department of the French police force. A policy by the European Commission adopted last year to promote the use of software products that support open standards “needs to be implemented with vigor,” she said.

Yochai Benkler: Open-source economics

In this Ted Talk on "Open-source economics" Law professor Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization. By disrupting traditional economic production, copyright law and established competition, they're paving the way for a new set of economic laws, where empowered individuals are put on a level playing field with industry giants.


ICT for Social Change and Sustainable Development

Here are a couple of free resources that I recently discovered, one on ICT for social change and one on ICT in education for sustainable development:

Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use

Cons & Camp copyBy Sheila Kinkade (ShareIdeas.org) and Katrin Verclas (MobileActive.org).
Commissioned by the United Nations Foundation-Vodafone Group Foundation Technology Partnership.
Published: 2008

Mobile technology is transforming the way advocacy, development and relief organizations accomplish their institutional missions. This is nothing new to readers of MobileActive. This recent report Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use, released by the United Nations Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation, brings this point home.

The report examines emerging trends in “mobile activism” by looking at 11 case studies of groups active in the areas of public health, humanitarian assistance and environmental conservation.

Among the programs highlighted are two conflict prevention projects, both active in Kenya. Oxfam-Great Britain and the Kenyan umbrella group PeaceNet created a text messaging ‘nerve center’ that collected alerts about violent outbreaks during the recent civil unrest and mobilized local ‘peace committees.’ The project served as a vital tool for conflict management and prevention by providing a hub for real-time information about actual and planned attacks between rival ethnic and political groups.

The GSM Association, together with a handful of non-profit and private sector groups in Kenya, developed another conflict prevention project that allows farmers to preserve their crops while protecting wildlife. The program monitors instances when elephants approach farmed land, and provides an early warning system via mobile that is reducing the incidence of human-elephant conflict in an area where as many as five humans and 10 elephants are killed each year.

The report, the second in the Access to Communications Publication Series, produces studies that give governments, NGOs and the private sector research and recommendations on how to use technology and telecom tools to effectively address some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Please download the entire report here. For individual chapters and more information, please also visit the UN Foundation/Vodafone Group Foundation site.

Full survey results are available here: Executive Summary and Memo and Presentation with highlights.

Courtesy of KatrinVerclas's blog.

How Information and Communications Technologies Can Support Education for Sustainable Development: Current uses and trends

By Leslie Paas and Heather Creech
Published: IISD Publications Centre, 2008. Paper, 38 pages.

As part of IISD's involvement with Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth and the UNESCO Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, this paper presents a brief history, and identifies current uses and trends for deploying ICTs, primarily in the formal Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system, with a focus on the online environment. It considers three main questions:
  1. Why do ICTs need to be considered as a critical tool in education for sustainable development (ESD)?;
  2. What ICTs are currently being used by educators and learners?; and
  3. What can we expect to see in the near future?
Details and download at: http://www.iisd.org/publications/pub.aspx?id=956