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22st Annual OLC International Conference
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Definitions of E-Learning Courses and Programs: A Conversation

John Sener (Founder/CKO, Sener Knowledge LLC, USA)
Frank Mayadas (Sloan Foundation, USA)
Karen Pedersen (Online Learning Consortium, USA)
Additional Authors
Gary Miller (Sloan Consortium, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 2:45pm
Leadership, Values and Society
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Featured Session
Southern Hemisphere II
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 3
Virtual Session

Join a conversation focused on a set of commonly understood e-learning definitions to guide ongoing development of the field.

Extended Abstract

There is a need for a common set of terms and definitions to guide the ongoing development of the e-learning field. The increased diversity of e-learning has complicated our ability to share research findings and best practices, because we lack a shared set of definitions to distinguish among the many variations on e-learning that have arisen. The purpose of this panel presentation is to further the conversation that will move us toward a set of shared, commonly understood definitions that will facilitate the sharing of research data and professional standards in our field as it continues to evolve. The panel discussion will be based on a paper written by two of the panelists entitled "Definitions of E-Learning Courses and Programs;" this document is designed to provide practitioners, researchers, and policy makers with a set of common terms and definitions. The definitions incorporate existing definitions developed by others and also from colleagues who have reviewed earlier drafts of the paper. The panelists invite practitioners interested in this topic to come to this session and move the conversation about common e-learning definitions forward to help practitioners in the field.

Lead Presenter
John SenerJohn Sener is the founder/CKO of Sener Knowledge LLC, a consulting practice which co-creates knowledge leading to positive change in education, learning, and society. He is the author of the recent book The Seven Futures of American Education: Improving Learning & Teaching in a Screen-Captured World. He has been involved in a wide variety of Sloan Consortium activities since its inception, including service as Director of Special Initiatives, JALN Editorial Board and Advisory Panel on Scale member, Sloan-C Mentor, and many others. His career in education and training over the past 30+ years is a unique mixture of broad practical experience and academic expertise. He holds a M.S. degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College.
A Frank MayadasA. Frank Mayadas, Ph.D. At the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Dr. Mayadas is involved in a number of areas: online education, globalization of industries, industry studies, and career choice in technical fields. He started the Sloan online learning program in 1993. This program (known as Asynchronous Learning Networks or ALN) has had a profound impact in moving the field forward. Members of the Sloan Consortium now number over 1400. Dr. Mayadas has been a keynote speaker at several distance education conferences and has testified before Congress on web-based learning.
Karen PedersenDr. Karen Pedersen recently stepped into the role as Chief Knowledge Officer for the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). Prior to joining OLC, Pedersen served as the Associate Vice President for Extended Campuses at Northern Arizona University. In this role she was responsible for leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation as well as managing marketing, technology, and academic operations. Previously, she served as the Vice President for Professional Studies at Southwestern College (Kansas) for eleven years. Her responsibilities included envisioning and building an online program from the ground up (including seeking regional accreditation approval) and launching over 25 innovative online programs. Additionally, Pedersen had responsibility for expanding military partnerships, engaging in strategic infrastructure projects, as well as positioning the institution in an enrollment growth trajectory. Pedersen also held the academic associate dean and dean roles at Upper Iowa University’s Extended University. In these roles she was responsible for curriculum development, resolving academic issues, supporting learner success, as well as faculty hiring, training, and evaluation. She also built the foundations for an online operation and traveled internationally to develop partnerships in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia while at UIU. Prior to starting her administrative career, Pedersen served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Pedersen holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a doctor of philosophy degree from Oklahoma State University. She has been active with the OLC Quality Scorecard, deploying it at two institutions and serving as an OLC instructor and reviewer.