UF to host online learning conference to kick off pioneering effort in digital education

Published: November 25th, 2013

Category: Announcements, InsideUF, Preeminence, Technology, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As the University of Florida adds four-year programs to its online course offerings in January, the Office of the Provost and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service will kick off this pioneering effort in digital education with a conference Dec. 3 – 4 in University Auditorium.

Leaders from around the nation and faculty and administrators from UF and other State University System schools will gather to engage in a substantive discussion about new technologies and ways they can be deployed to strengthen the learning experience of students. Issues surrounding online education from delivery platforms to student engagement to intellectual property will also be addressed.

Will Weatherford, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, will offer a luncheon address on Dec. 4. Weatherford, a champion of the legislation that mandated the online track at UF, will discuss the impetus behind the expanded funding for online education by the Florida Legislature.

“We are looking to set UF Online apart from other online learning experiences by employing innovative teaching frameworks,” said Joe Glover, UF provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “It is critical that faculty be involved in the development of curriculum as we look to create meaningful learning experiences online.”

Keynote speakers for the conference will include Eric Grimson, chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, professor of computer science and engineering, and leader of MITx – the institute’s new initiative for online learning, and Richard A. DeMillo, a distinguished professor of computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Conference participants will also attend a series of breakout sessions during the conference. The sessions are designed to bring together faculty who are teaching in new formats with faculty who are teaching traditional classes so they might collaborate on ways to deliver the highest quality online education.

“This conference represents an important opportunity for faculty and administrators to shape the direction of online education on campus,” said David Colburn, provost and senior vice president emeritus and director of the Bob Graham Center.

UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, known as BEBR, is conducting a survey to determine faculty perspectives on the challenges and benefits the new technologies pose for higher education. The results of the survey will be sent to all meeting participants prior to the event and will be used as a springboard for discussion.

“At the conclusion of the forum we hope to have an agenda for future forums where we may continue to discuss progress and challenges facing UF as it seeks to enhance the learning experiences of its students,” Glover added.

For more information about the conference, titled Online Education and the Future of Higher Education, go to http://www.aa.ufl.edu/online-learning-conference.

The event will be streamed live on the Bob Graham Center website, www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu.

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