Archives - 2003

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Policy makers’ workshop: ODL Knowledge Base and Expert System
ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) in Barcelona
AAOU annual conference on ODL collaboration
ADB loan of US$60 M for Open University of Sri Lanka
Global Virtual University (GVU) proposes web-based M.Sc environmental programme
UNITAR Malaysia obtains MS ISO 9001:2000 Quality System Certification
Serving open learning and distance education in Asia: A new quarterly journal

Policy makers’ workshop: ODL Knowledge Base and Expert System
To contribute to the quality of higher education provided through open and distance learning, a Training Workshop for Policy Makers on Open and Distance Learning (ODL) on Higher Education Knowledge Base and Information System will be held from 3-7 November in Shanghai, Organized by UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education and hosted by the Shanghai TV University, the training workshop will be participated by policy makers and ODL service providers in 18 countries in the region.

The workshop goal is to develop greater understanding of the role of open and distance learning in the delivering higher education and the use of information and knowledge base and the Expert System in promoting information-based decision making and programme implementation. It will also help set up a networking mechanism that will ensure consistent updating, maintenance and sustainability of the ODL Higher Education Knowledge Base.

The training workshop is part of the global programme coordinated by UNESCO Headquarters aimed at creating an information management and processing tool for decision-makers in developing countries and those in transition to address policy issues in higher education open and distance education provision.The programme aims to develop, test and make available a sustainable Knowledge Base for decision makers in the target regions.  It identifies the priority information needs and available sources of information and uses this information to develop a Knowledge Base suitable for decision makers.

The five-day training workshop will include presentations by high-level experts on the latest developments and trends on open and distance learning at the global and regional levels and on specific topics such as ODL policies and legislation, programmes, quality assurance and technology and delivery systems of ODL.

The main focus of the training workshop will be the presentation of the ODL for Higher Education Knowledge Base website and the Expert System to test their usefulness in decision making and programme implementation. The website and the Expert System will be evaluated by the participants for their appropriateness, relevance, and usefulness towards their further improvements and revisions. The training workshop will also identify a networking mechanism that will strengthen the maintenance and sustainability of the ODL Knowledge Base. The participants will also have the opportunity to join the World Summit of Mega Universities to be held in Shanghai from 6-7 November 2003.

Building the ODL for Higher Education Knowledge Base. One of the main purposes of the training workshop is to evaluate the ODL Knowledge Base. In order to build a most relevant and useful knowledge base in the Asia-Pacific region, the challenges and issues that confront ODL providers as well as their information needs are the starting point. These information needs were gathered in a needs assessment survey undertaken last May to June to launch the project. Faced by the many challenges and issues determined from the survey, the ODL providers in Asia and the Pacific identified a set of knowledge and information needs that could help them address and respond to these challenges. Among these, the most cited information they require dealt with the following:
  • Quality assurance and mutual recognition
  • Country policies on ODL
  • Policy issues
  • Best practices on policy formulation
  • Examples, best practices on ODL programmes
  • Management issues and ODL strategies
  • Research findings on effectiveness on delivery methods, of ODL programmes and policy research
  • Examples, best practices on international collaboration
  • Collaborative programmes
Based on these information needs, UNESCO Bangkok developed the Higher Education ODL Knowledge Base which will help address the many issues and challenges raised as well as respond to the information needs of the ODL providers in Asia and the Pacific. Delivered through a web-based platform, this website has the following objectives:
  • To provide information to help policy makers, administrators, and decision makers to make decisions, formulate policies, develop strategies, programmes and plans and manage or supervise ODL programmes;
  • To provide up-to-date, state-of-the-art information on ODL in terms of concepts, development, modes of delivery, media structure, technology and research trends;
  • To serve as a network for international collaboration by providing a platform for electronic exchange of information, ideas, experiences, lessons learned, best practices and innovative strategies related to legislation, policies, management, ODL technology, delivery systems and academic programmes; and
  • To provide a gateway access to ODL databases and knowledge resources
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ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) in Barcelona
The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) are organizing the ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) in Barcelona from 29-31 October 2003. This year’s theme is “Universities for the Communication Society:
Best practices and new challenges for ODL institutions.”

The heads of universities, schools, education and/or training organizations as well as departments or institutes of open learning and distance education and training within a conventional (dual mode) university, school or training system are invited to participate in the 2003 forum for ICDE member institutions.

To know more about the conference, visit SCOP 2003 website [http://www.uoc.edu/symposia/scop2003/eng/]
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AAOU annual conference on ODL collaboration
“Networking and Partnership for Strengthening Collaboration in Open and Distance Education” is the theme for the 17th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU). In line with its 25th anniversary of establishment, the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) will host the conference on 12-14 November 2003.

For more information, visit the website for the 2003 AAOU conference [http://www.stou.ac.th/aaou2003].
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ADB loan of US$60 Million for Open University of Sri Lanka
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka signed an agreement in mid-August for a loan project on Distance Education Modernization amounting to US$ 60 million. The Secretary to the Treasury, Charita Ratwatte and ADB's Country Director in Sri Lanka, John R. Cooney signed the agreement.

The project aims to expand existing facilities and modernize administrative and teaching-learning facilities of the central campus and 26 centres of the Open University of Sri Lanka.

News source: http://www.dailynews.lk/2003/08/26/new19.html

Date: 26 August 2003
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Global Virtual University (GVU) proposes web-based M.Sc environmental programme
The Global Virtual University (GVU) – a branch of the United Nations University (UNU) – has been preparing to offer a Masters degree programme in Global Environment and Development Studies (GEDS) by Autumn term, 2004. The idea behind the four-semester study programme is to establish an e-learning, web-based educational alternative, involving a network of professors and students from universities and institutes in developing and industrialized countries.

The core institutions involved in programme development are the United Nations University (UNU), UNEP/GRID-Arendal, and Agder University College (AUC) in Norway.

GVU was launched as on 17 June 2003 in Arendal, Norway. Its administrative center is in Norway, and headquarters and formal leadership is at the UNU in Tokyo.

Visit the GVU website http://www.gvu.unu.edu to learn more about GVU and its proposed degree programme.
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UNITAR Malaysia obtains MS ISO 9001:2000 Quality System Certification
Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNITAR), a private university first to use a unique e-learning approach in the country, has been awarded the MS ISO 9001:2000 Quality System Certification by SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd on 8 August 2003. The certification covered provision of e-learning services at Kelana Jaya Study Centre, which is the main campus of UNITAR.

News source: http://www.unitar.edu.my/newsletter/isocertification.htm

Date: 21 August 2003
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Serving open learning and distance education in Asia: A new quarterly journal
The Asian Journal of Distance Education (AsianJDE) is a new journal specifically for researchers in open learning and distance education, and promises to be the leading journal serving Asia. Its foundation derives wide support among researchers in Asia for a journal with increased relevance to local Asian concerns. Founded by the non-profit Asian Society of Open and Distance Education, the journal has three appointed co-editors who will cover the vast of Asia.

The journal emphasises local research and practice. It is well recognised that western expertise is of interest globally, though there has been little opportunity for Asian expertise to be published until now. The inaugural issue will be released on 4 November 2003 (as Vol. 1, No. 1) and thereafter issues will be released quarterly (with Vol. 2 Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 in January, April, July, and November 2004, respectively). Each issue is planned to have about 150 pages A4-size containing from 8 to 12 major articles, plus regional Focus Reports, Work-in-Progress, a Comments section, Book Reviews, Conference Reports, Asian Calendar, and an e-Notes section. The online version (freely open and accessible) will have additional sections to serve as resources to researchers in Asia. All details are available online at the AsianJDE website [ http://www.AsianJDE.org ].

Institutions and libraries throughout Asia and worldwide are encouraged to subscribe immediately to secure copies of Vol. 1. A call for papers for Vol. 2 is out.

This Journal is produced to satisfy the demand from Asian researchers for a forum to publish works relevant to Asia. This is in part due to the explicit aims of other leading journals to serve Europe or the Americas, which publish few works from Asia. Even the Calendar sections of other journals are mostly events hosted in the United States, and so there is a need for a Calendar for meetings and conferences held locally in Asia. Where generic distance education is included it will be presented to highlight those points of particular relevance and interest to us in Asia. This is especially true of the Asian Calendar, which will present dates and details for small and large up-coming meetings inside Asia since it remains difficult to find out when such local meetings are taking place. This is based on the premise that travelling to the United States for example is two-fold distant - firstly it may be distant in terms of kilometres, time and money, and secondly it may likely be distant in terms of relevance. All this is not to say that western distance education is not of any interest. Indeed we recognise the importance of western expertise and authority, but there is a need for us in Asia to share amongst ourselves our own difficulties, potential solutions, successes and endeavours to develop Asian expertise and authority. And it is with this in mind that we have set out in this venture to provide this journal as a forum. Leading experts from around the world are invited and expected to contribute to the growth and development of open and distance education in Asia. This should be clear from a glance at the Contents page. Beyond this, the website will provide an archive of Asian Abstracts trawled from the many various resources in Asia and reproduced with permission to serve in conjunction with Asian Links as a resource to everyone freely without charge.

Institutions are invited to subscribe to the full print version, and all details are online.

Please contact Paul Kawachi, Editor, AsianJDE, Editor@AsianJDE.org or visit at AsianJDE [ http://www.AsianJDE.org ] online for further information. AsianJDE thanks everyone for being patient during the past year of preparing the journal. AsianJDE developers look forward to a busy future.

Contributed by: Paul Kawachi, Editor, AsianJDE, Editor@AsianJDE.org

Date: 19 October 2003
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