NEWTON, Mass., July 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Education Consortium today announced a partnership with the National e-Learning Center of Saudi Arabia to offer a year-long, comprehensive eLearning Pioneers Program. The core of the program is built on the principles of online learning in the U.S. to prepare female faculty and university leaders with skills in online and blending learning. With a strong foundation in eLearning tools, techniques and learning, and mentoring, these teachers will have the opportunity to incorporate U.S.-based pedagogy and strategies into their institutions to better educate the Saudi population of girls and women.
"Higher education has not yet fully embraced all the opportunities that the digital information age provides to students and faculty," said Manal Al-Dahash of the National Center for eLearning and Distance Education. The eLearning Pioneers program will help our female faculty and university leaders embrace technology-enhanced education, which will better prepare our students for the 21st century."
Participants can specialize in Leadership or Instructional Excellence. The Leadership Track is designed for faculty and administrators who develop and implement strategy, assess teaching and learning, and make decisions about e-learning. The Instructional Excellence track is geared for those who incorporate online learning and academic technology into their teaching practice and programs.
"The impetus to bring Saudi Arabian female teachers to the U.S. to learn our teaching strategies is strong. For the first time in history, we can give woman teachers the opportunity and the edge that they need to lead education practices in Saudi Arabia. The OEC is proud to bring together some of the top U.S. institutions of education in the world to provide these renowned, top-tier programs to this well-skilled set of faculty members and teachers," said Mary Lou Forward, executive director, Open Education Consortium.
The goal of these two tracks is to help faculty to:
- Employ a variety of technical and pedagogical approaches in e-learning appropriate for the desired student learning outcomes;
- Apply tools and knowledge to reach personal professional development goals;
- Understand relevant learning science and its application to e-learning practice;
- Evaluate e-learning tools, approaches, and outcomes;
- Contextualize skills and knowledge gained through the program for implementation in Saudi Arabian higher education and;
- Inform colleagues about best practices in using technology for teaching and learning.
A faculty member that just completed the second phase of the program about technology enhanced teaching said, "My understanding of online learning has shifted from merely providing course materials and announcements online to students, to an in-depth understanding of what is possible with online technology. I found that it is a very careful planning process that has the student at its center. The program is demanding, however, from my own experience as a student in an online course it is enriching."
Saudi faculty will be starting their placements at U.S. universities beginning July 20th. Placements will be provided by The College of the Canyons, The University of New Hampshire, The University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, and the University of California, Irvine. While at these institutions, the Saudi faculty will meet with faculty and instructional staff to discuss strategies for the use of instructional technology to help students learn. They will also have the opportunity to learn about institutional strategy, faculty development and student-centered pedagogy through meetings with senior administrators, workshops on innovative teaching practices and exchange with U.S. peers.
ABOUT THE OPEN EDUCATION CONSORTIUM: The Open Education Consortium is a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education. We envision a world where everyone, everywhere has access to the education they need to build their futures. We seek to instill openness as a feature of education around the world, allowing greatly expanded access to education while providing a shared body of knowledge upon which innovative and effective approaches to today's social problems can be built. The Open Education Consortium realizes change by leveraging its sources of expert opinion, its global network and its position as the principal voice of open education. For more information find the OEC online, on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube or contact Kathy Tam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy Seaton Tam
Open Education Consortium
SOURCE The Open Education Consortium