SOF2008: Week 3 - Creating our action plan

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

by Terry Anderson -
Number of replies: 11
I hope that many of the 235 registrants to this conference will join us for a brief wrap up tomorrow morning on Elluminate. But I realize that a few of us have other responsibilities, so I wanted to begin an asynch reflection thread.

First a thanks for all of you for hanging in!! Having 356 messages- (make that 357 messages with this one), descend into one's email or RSS box, can be a bit overwhelming. We were a bit "all over the place" but we wanted to keep the discussion as open as possible, and so did very little overt or heavy handed moderating. Thanks for your contributions, your attention and your patience!

Thanks as well to Sylvia, George and Paul for their energies and talents facilitating the show, to SCoPE and BC campus for hosting us and Elluminate for the real-time room. And finally a big thank you to our 6 key note presenters!

We didn't get a complete and polished Research Agenda (yet!) but we didn't spend nearly the time or MONEY that the Irish did , and I think we made progress. I have a better understanding of the issues and complexity of developing and coordinating work among a wide group of committed yet divergent researchers and practitioners. As well we leave a legacy of an agenda in progress (still time to edit those WIKI pages smile), the archives of some great discussions and presentations. And hopefully each of you knows a few more colleagues with whom you can turn to for support and ideas in future endeavors.

We intend to leave the wiki and this site operational for at least a few more weeks, but wanted to formally end the conference after three weeks as promised. Thus, we plan to close the discussion forums early next week.

We would like to ask each of you to take the time to complete the online survey. It will help us get a sense of who we are as a community and of your suggestions, interests and priorities. If you have comments or thoughts outside of the survey questions, which you would like to share with the organizers, just use any open ended question to voice your ideas. They will be read!

Till tomorrow!

In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by minhaaj ur rehman -
Although this conference has taken no steps of drawing a solid framework for making education universal and affordable for both canadian and international students and sadly, academia was not interested in it, this has been a nice endeavor to pull people together. I hope in future like minded people would stay in touch and help in making e-learning more universal and less canadian. Thanks Nellie, Nalin, Stephen Downes for your thoughts about free and affordable education without geographical biases. Summing up over all this has been a very nice event and events like these should be arranged more often.

In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Curt Madison -
I would like to add my thanks to the organizers of this conference. It is a pleasure (from the northern snows of Alaska) to participate in the ramblings of education research policy in the making.
Thanks for letting me eavesdrop on the conversation and reflect on the state of elearning knowledge northwest of Canada.

In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Nalin Abeysekera -

I like to thanks to the conference organizers. Specially  Sylvia for her work. I learned many things  from this.What I like to see from SOF2008 is it will add value to the subject of matter what country we are from. As people who are working with e-learning that should be our hope. This world is huge. we should try to contribute something rather than merely dragging. As I suggested I want to use Canada as benchmark for sri lanka. Because e-learning is quite new to our country and we hope to get much exposure we need some conference like this in future.

Basically I like to see,

1. Create AIDA among public(awareness, interest, desire and action) –because some people just say only computer and internet  as e-learning..But the concept is broad..(instructional radio, televisions etc)we have to promote e-learning among educators, private sector….

2. Elearning research-this we can start from Canada and at least 40 cities(virtual?)We can have some research centers (virtual?)

3.To have good strategic plan in e—learning-we can cascade down towards to tactical plan

To share our knowledge we need to use this. What we are doing is add new knowledge to exciting knowledge.

Thanks Terry for your thoughts and comments..I plan to do one presentation on “how to use forums to induce e-learners” for my faculty and I will use Scope and this discussion to share my knowledge with my members. What you have to see and do is share your knowledge with others.In Managment it is an will get the interest in the future!

What I can finally say is Keep it up!!!


In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Hi Terry, and all the Organizers and Participants,
As we near the end of this very exciting conference, I really want to thank everyone for being there in so many ways and contributing your ideas.

I have really got to appreciate the many possibilities of e-learning. I added Seven Strength in the Wiki, and I followed a long process to develop the ideas I added -- letting them come in art and then, words. What came is the layers of e-learning and our interactions with technology and each other.

I especially want to let all the international folks that e-mailed me, that I am particularly touched by all their contributions to the conference. I think there is much to be done, and I know that we need everyone in many areas of e-learning development, training and learning.

Research participation is an important part of creating wise and creative e-learners and it may also helps with funding.

Thanks again everyone. Jo Ann
In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Susan Lister -
First, I'd like to thank Terry, George, Paul and Sylvia for putting together and facilitating a great conference! Your time is much appreciated. I'd also like to say I thoroughly enjoyed the active participation throughout the weeks...much to chew on, here!

Secondly, following up on Peter West’s call for reflection, I found myself musing over the following question this week: What do we really want from this conference? From the discussions, chat transcripts and presentations, I believe it was more than a Research Agenda! For me, this conference was:

  • a chance to gather and discuss topical issues with others who have a passion for e-learning
  • an opportunity to become more aware of what is happening on the ‘pan-Canadian’ e-learning scene
  • a way to gain a greater appreciation of the breadth and depth of organizing a pan-Canadian educational topic when there are so many tiers and sectors to education in Canada.

I was also glad to work towards a final document…a summary document made a lot of sense to me….despite Steven’s point that the conference doesn’t need a document but more involvement – at this point, what do ‘more people’ get involved in? And to what end? Although I’ve enjoyed the discussion, I also want to feel like it is going somewhere... A document helps to provide this focus and the nice thing about a wiki-fied document is that everyone has a chance to participate and make it what they want it to be.

To put my own words into action… I’m thinking of continuing to map out the Canadian e-learning landscape beyond the conference closing and invite others to join with me. You can see what I’ve started on our wiki here is greatly lacking, very “Ontario-centric” and perhaps more focussed on K-12…just a drop in the great Canadian bucket on this topic area. In time, I believe, the ‘Canadian’ E-Learning picture will begin to emerge and hopefully help seed more innovation, research and collaboration but ultimately better learning! Please join me... perhaps we'll be able to post our page in wikipedia.

A further review of the conference conversations, provides some additional indications of what others hold for e-learning or research and therefore extend to our conference theme:

  • positive impact on classrooms and learners
  • the ability to move quickly on innovative ideas
  • faster adoption of innovations into learning environments
  • more innovation
  • more open research

(my loose interpretations here)

What does it take for the above points to come to fruition? This conference is obviously just a start so I hope that there will be other opportunities to forge ahead together!

I am hoping we can find a way to maintain the networking, collaborations and sharing started these last few weeks, in the interest of better learning everywhere!


In reply to Susan Lister

Re: Final Thoughts

by Virginia Yonkers -
I appreciated the many resources I found which had not been on my radar previously. Like Sue, however, I would like to know more about what e-learning is in Canada at this moment (mapping out the state of elearning as she says). It seems that there is a lot of activity, but not much coordination of resources and sharing of information (although this conference was a first step).

I do wonder though, what is the next step (after the wiki has been developed)? Will there be follow-up conferences? Will there be development of a Canadian E-learning Research Network? For those of us from the outside interested in what is going on in Canada, how can we maintain contact?
In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Caroline Park -
This Virtual Conference has been a huge motivational and learning experience for me but in my head I am still in week one. I will participate in the wrap up but what I would like to do sometime soon is write a paper on why e-learning is "crucial" to Canada. Last week I drove 2000 miles and had lots of time to reflect on the first week ;-) I had a big ahaaa moment when I listened to the archive of Heather Kanuka.

My second major benefit was in actually participating on the "other side" of Moodle. I am now teaching my two first two courses in Moodle and I learned a lot in relation to reading threads in the discussion and navigating the program.

Thank you; Thank you; Terry,George, Sylvia and Paul.

In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by George Siemens -
Thanks everyone for your involvement in the online conference. I'm sorry I missed the discussions this week due to traveling...but look forward to viewing them once I have a better bandwidth :).

I've found this conference interesting for several reasons:

1. The hight level of interest (200+ registrants) with regard to discussing edtech research...and the strong international voices

2. The low level of interest from academics in education departments

3. The affirmed value of individuals collaborating - in wikis, mind maps, and discussions

4. The obvious need for a research agenda...coupled with the significant systemic and policy related challenges

5. The strong underlying theme of bringing practitioners into the research process

6. The need to structure activities in decentralized, networked manner to permit local interests to be prominently addressed

7. The lack of existing and ongoing forums for edtech researchers to connect. (CIDER is one resource...and presentations are valuable. But why hasn't more conversation emerged? Perhaps this conference can link more directly with CIDER or similar groups to encourage a higher degree of ongoing dialogue)

I imagine some steps forward were discussed during the elluminate session, so I'll wait to view that before I comment on where to go from here. Hopefully we can do a bit of thinking, organizing thoughts, adding to the wikis, and schedule another online session in a few week's time. I can understand the resistance to crafting a document/declaration. The model of declarations, however, is the language of policy makers. As we are targeting this audience in particular, I see value in pursuing this approach.

On a side note, perhaps we could arrange a face to face meeting around this topic. I don't suspect a conference is in order...but perhaps we could pair it with another ongoing event. CNIE in '09? or we have an upcoming COHERE conference at York U in Oct...
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Final Thoughts

by Virginia Yonkers -
You might find the following article interesting. It discusses the different types of collaborative organizations (in science) including purpose, organization, and technology required.
In reply to George Siemens

Re: Final Thoughts

by Karen E. Smith -
I found this conference really made a difference for me on several accounts as well and particularly, as an academic in an education faculty (George's point number 2), it has helped me to source like-minded people. It seems that these connections are made across faculties. I look at how Australia has managed this with 7 common-ground universities and wonder if perhaps that type of "connectivity" is what we are all about as we share a vision for a pan-Canadian research agenda.

I also found that though I was physically away in another city at another conference, that I could still feel a part of this online conference. I would like to do this again.

Especially, I would like to continue dialogue with the side-bar contacts that I have managed to make through the conference.

Let's do it again.

Karen Smith
In reply to Terry Anderson

Re: Final Thoughts

by Dolly Bhasin -

Hi All,

I am sorry to have missed out the last week of deliberations due to unexpected business travel out of country.

I have tried to catch up on the deliberations, but I would strongly like to mention a few things:

1. Canada has a unique opportunity to convert its late entry into eLearning to "Do it right the First Time" - by first planning what to do, how to do and whom to involve.

2. Research agendas should be driven by STRATEGICALLY focussing on where the real NEED of eLearning is, and not by fancy jargons and slogans.

3. In my opinion, eLearning is best suited for three areas-

- Short term courses to build skills and knowledge - Continuing education

- informal education (covers over 70% of any person's ) -  Lifelong Learning

- building capacities in short time for specific tasks - Project Driven Learning

- Event & Multi model Education (Education delivered through multiple mediums to reach out to masses - TV, Radio, Internet, audicast, Rich Media, CDs, etc.)

I must congratulate and commend the organisers for making this effort and the sheer participation numbers indicate that the entire world is interested in participation in the research, would appreciate if proper mechanism is developed to engage worldwide researchers in the process.

I have chaired International conferences in elearning and have moderated few technology sessions on e-education as well as I am a practicing enterpreneur of elearning for capacity development in India and would like to offer my participation in the Canadian effort. I have developed over 1000 students in my pilot phase of elearning platform TRAVARSITY in one vertical INSURANCE; and would like to share and further research new ways of bringing elearning closer to real world by offering more professional and needed learning environment in the hands of hungry learners and desperate employers (Industry, businesses and govt.). 

Thanks, once again for a brilliant effort.

Dolly Bhasin

SPH Consultancy & eServices Pvt. Ltd.
Delhi, India