I just flew a long flight to Rio de Janeiro, over a great part of Latin America. My purpose (beyond enjoying this splendid city), was to present a paper at the 22nd ICDE World Conference on Open & Distance Education, a major event which is celebrated every two years in a different place of the world. Actually, two papers.
I have the pleasure to collaborate with a group of researchers in Puerto Rico, on a project that aims to study innovations in higher education. Led by Juan â€œTitoâ€ MelÃ©ndez of the University of Puerto Rico (RÃo Piedras), the group has adapted the theory of innovation (see the Oslo Manual), to education, being perhaps the first to build a theoretical framework to study education under the lenses of innovation theory. The first results are being presented in Rio, regarding Distance Education as an Innovation. Under this work, DE is better analyzed and â€œexplainedâ€. The website Modalidades Alternas is the group’s workplace. This research is sponsored by the Puerto Rico Higher Education Council (CES), and the Puerto Rican Association for Distance Education (APAD).
The second paper has been worked out alone, but I hope more people will soon join this effort. It deals with a beginning proposal to set an e-Learning Manifesto. It starts with some observations on the current state of affairs in Instructional Design and its dual relationship (as opposed to holistic) with technology. The dual approach has some limits: technology and contents form a loop, and technology, moreover tends to â€œdisappearâ€. Think of the funnel (I.D.) as an instrument to pour contents into a container (a course).
Another issue is the current view that the Web might well be seen as a new milieu, a new territory to be appropriated (owned), not â€œmerelyâ€ as a tool, or an information engine. Then, consider the fact that e-learning is the point of convergence of education â€œtout courtâ€. I conclude that it is time to define a set of principles and goals regarding e-Learning. Thus, my paper: Web-based education: Towards a Manifesto. A website is being set up to collaborate on the Manifesto: the paper will be posted there soon. This work was partially sponsored by the NYU Faculty Resource Network. Prof. Joao Mattar of Brazil has published an abstract of this research at his blog (in Portuguese), as well as information on the conference and other presentations.