I’ve never exactly been a conference junkie (at least I claim not), but have certainly been to quite a few and enjoyed most of them. In particular, I had some of my best experiences at the world conferences of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), my first being in Melbourne (30 years ago!), and my favourites being those in Caracas, Oslo and Bangkok. I also had to dubious pleasure of being on the core team of the one hosted by the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) in 2004, toiling manfully (!) alongside Ronnie Carr and Tat Meng Wong (Conference Chair), under the astute leadership and meticulous scrutiny of Jim Taylor (ICDE President). With all due modesty, it was a triumph – our colleagues rose magnificently to the occasion, and Hong Kong was at its beautiful best (despite the delay caused by SARS).
Now the ICDE has had its ups and downs over the years, no more so than when in the grip of a particularly unsavoury and unscrupulous ‘Secretary General’ who lowered its reputation and caused the exit of many talented members. However, it has well and truly rebuilt itself since those dark days, and recently (October, 2011) held its 24th World Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Not all the papers are available for reading by non-members (I guess there has to be some benefit to paying the fee!), but you can browse the abstracts, view the highlights and, perhaps most enticingly, can view videos of three keynote addresses: Gráinne Conole, Director BDRA, University of Leicester, UK, “Open Educational Resources (OER) in a Global World”; Lawrence Lessig, Lawyer, Activist and Founder of Creative Commons, “ODL in a Changing World: Proprietary vs Open Source”; and Hal Plotkin, Senior Policy Advisor to the US Under Secretary of Education, United States, “ODL and Human Capacity Building”.
And there’s more. The ICDE website has plenty for visitors, so take a look at the 2011 highlights, observe the increasing attention being given to open educational resources (OERs), and, in particular, check the ‘Resources‘ for useful links to distance education journals, handbooks, papers and the aforementioned OERs. And note the evolution of the Open Educational Quality Initiative.
Hmm, not bad … I’d better add it to my Blogroll.