October 17-20, 2017

Vancouver, BC

E-Learn Keynote & Invited Speakers


Rajiv Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

Linda Harasim

Linda Harasim, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Ron Owston

Ron Owston, York University, USA

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence and Collaborative Learning: Designing 21st Century E-Learning


Linda Harass

Linda Harasim, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Abstract – E-learning today is on the precipice of unprecedented civilizational and technological challenges.  This presentation explores how meeting these challenges can open new vistas for e-learning, based on the successful integration of two disparate components: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Collaborative Learning (CL).  AI is driving technological development in all sectors of human endeavor, surpassing humans in both physical and cognitive performance. The fundamental question and challenge today is: Can AI technology be designed to support and advance human learning, creativity, innovation and productivity rather than replacing it? And if so, how?

Collaborativism, as a theory of online learning, focuses on what we have learned during the last century about how humans learn best: discourse and intentional collaboration. For hundreds of thousands of years, advances in civilization have been based on the development of technologies that support collaboration within our species. It is time to explore how AI might be designed to AUGMENT human learning rather than supercede it, by using collaborativist theory and pedagogy to frame e-learning research, development, practice and technology worldwide.

Biography – Linda Harasim, a Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, is a pioneer in the field of online education and e-learning. In 1986 she conceptualized, designed and taught the first-ever online university course using the Internet (a graduate course at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education – OISE), within the Graduate School of Education at the University of Toronto. Drawing from the best of what we have learned over the last century about how humans learn best, Harasim has been teaching online, conducting research, publishing, and building the field for 35 years. She pioneered the pedagogy of online collaborative learning and developed the Collaborativist Theory of Learning. She has served as senior consultant for many large-scale programs, designing the University of Phoenix Online, designing the first online training system for the Bank of Montreal, and providing training for a number of universities and organizations worldwide.  She is considered a luminary in the field, having published 6 books on the subject of online education and e-learning, 15 book chapters, 25 refereed articles, and 30 keynote presentations around the world. Her writings have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Chinese.

In 1995, Dr. Harasim founded and became the Network Leader and CEO of Canada’s TeleLearning Network of Centers of Excellence,  a seven-year, $50 million program to study, develop, and commercialize elearning technologies, pedagogies and knowledge. She is currently studying how Collaborativist Learning Theory can be used to refocus the design of AI to augment, rather than replace, human intelligence.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blended Learning: Is There an Optimal Mix of Online and Face-to-Face Instruction?

Ron Owston, York University, USA

Abstract – One of the first questions instructors ask when setting out to develop a blended or hybrid course is how much time should be devoted to online activities and how much to face-to-face sessions. Organizations offering blended courses typically want an answer to this question as well so that they can efficiently schedule classroom space. When instructional designers are approached for help with the issue the reply is typically that it depends on what the instructional goals are and the nature of the course. Unfortunately this answer, while appropriate, is less than satisfying as both instructors and organizations want to know whether they should be thinking about devoting, say, a quarter of the course to online activities, half, or even more. Despite nearly two decades of research about blended learning the literature offers very little guidance on the issue. The consensus across many studies comparing online, blended and traditional classroom instruction is that participants in blended courses perform moderately better than those in either in fully online or face-to-face courses. This suggests that there may well be a “sweet spot,” a mixing of the two instructional modes that is optimal for learning. For the past several years Dr. Owston and his colleagues have been investigating this question in a large institutional setting. In this presentation he will first review some of the strengths and limitations of blended learning, and share the somewhat surprising findings of his research on participant achievement and satisfaction across a variety of blended courses where the mixes of online and face-to-face activities varied. His goal will be to provoke thought and discussion on the issue and provide direction to instructors and organizations when planning blended learning courses and programs.

Biography – Dr. Ron Owston is a professor of education, former Dean of the Faculty of Education, and founding Director of the Institute for Research in Learning Technologies at York University, Toronto, Canada. In 2007, York University awarded him the honorary title of University Professor for his “extraordinary contribution to the University as a colleague, teacher, and scholar.” A pioneer in teaching with the web since its early days, he specializes in the evaluation of technology-based educational programs in K12, government, higher education, and continuing professional education. He has spoken at numerous national and international conferences about blended and online learning, and published over 60 articles in refereed journals, including one of the first academic examinations of the role of the Web for teaching and learning in Educational Researcher. Currently, he is researching blended learning in higher education settings.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Open: The Philosophy and Practices That Are Revolutionizing Education and Science

Keynote Speaker: Rajiv Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada

Abstract – Higher education may be a vehicle for economic and social mobility, yet it is often structured in a way that reinforces existing inequalities. Consider for example the crushing burden of student loan debt and that a majority of students in North America do not purchase at least some of their course textbooks because of their high cost. Likewise consider that publicly-funded research that is enhanced by publicly-subsidized peer review is routinely gifted to commercial publishing companies and thereby made unavailable to the taxpaying public or those in the developing world. Or that contemporary science strongly incentivizes the adoption of questionable research practices and trading off unsexy but cumulative research for flashy but non-reproducible findings.

It is against this backdrop that the open education, open access, and open science movements have been running separate—if parallel—courses, steadily transforming the higher education landscape in the process. In each case, digital technologies are being leveraged to enhance access, agency, and rigour in the service of both justice and progress. This talk will make explicit the shared foundation of these movements, showcase their disruptive potential through a few representative case studies, and critically reflect on both their pitfalls and future potential.

Biography – Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani is the University Teaching Fellow in Open Studies and a Psychology Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, Canada, where he conducts research in open education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. A recipient of the Robert E. Knox Master Teacher Award from UBC and the Dean of Arts Teaching Excellence award at KPU, Dr. Jhangiani serves as the Senior Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellow with BCcampus, an Associate Editor of Psychology Learning and Teaching, and a faculty workshop facilitator with the Open Textbook Network. Dr. Jhangiani’s most recent book is titled Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (2017, Ubiquity Press, CC-BY).



Future Directions and Challenges of E-Learning: A Panel Conversation of E-Learning Leaders
Want to know what e-learning will look like in 2020 or 2025? Interested in the untapped potential and emerging niche or growth areas? Or might you want to better understand the challenges awaiting each of these new possibilities of e-learning? The E-Learn executive committee, program co-chairs, and preconference symposium participants will come together to offer their sage insights, advice, stories, and projections about the paths and possibilities awaiting e-learning in the coming decade. They will also be interested in audience suggestions about the topics, trends, and tools that this particular conference might address or embrace in the next few years. Audience questions and suggestions will be solicited throughout this novel event. Come to this unique and timely invited panel and listen, learn, and share. Join us…we want to hear from each of you!
Panelists: Jon Dron, Sanjaya Mishra, Stephanie Panke, Thomas C. Reeves, Saul Carliner, Sheila Jagannathan, Paul Kim, Christopher Devers, Gjoa Andrichuk, Theo Bastiaens, Rajiv Jhangiani
Moderators: Curtis J. Bonk and Thomas H. Reynolds
Rovy Brannon is rescheduled to speak at a future E-Learn Conference.