Online Learning, Teaching, and Research in the New Media Ecology


Online learning is one of the most talked about and fastest growing sectors in higher education and corporate training today.
The Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning is the premier global gathering covering this field.
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Thank you for attending this year's conference.  Join us again for 2012 at the WDW Swan/Dolphin.

October 10-12, 2012 



This year’s theme is “Online Learning, Teaching, and Research in the New Media Ecology”. It is clear that we are in the midst of rapid and ongoing changes in the way that we communicate and represent ideas and these changes have profound consequence for how we know, learn, think, and teach in higher education and beyond. The dizzying pace of transformation is seen in emerging means of access, such as mobile and cloud computing, new forms of communication such as video streaming and instant messaging, and innovative modes of participation represented in social media. The 5.5 million college students who currently study online are at the forefront of this rapidly evolving landscape. It is crucial that we understand how to leverage the new media ecology to support student learning.

Our understanding needs to be rooted in solid research that can promote best practices. This year’s conference will create opportunities for learning, networking, and sharing that will make this a reality. Our keynote and plenary speakers each have a unique perspective on the promises and pitfalls of the new media ecology. Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project has vast experience in studying the impacts of the digital age on the citizens of the United States. Lee’s insights on topics ranging from the digital divide, health, safety, gaming, teens, and social networking in the age of the internet will provide breadth in our investigation of the new media ecology for learning.

Additionally, Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons will help us to focus in depth on the new Open Educational Resources movement which inevitably leads to discussions of the vital topic of the economics of higher education. Cable’s participation also marks the opening of a new track in the 2011 conference dedicated to issues surrounding Open Educational Resources.

Rounding out our lineup of speakers is internet pioneer Howard Rheingold, author of many books including the best sellers Virtual Reality and The Virtual Community, as well as Smart Mobs. Howard is credited with coining the term “virtual community” in his early writings with The WELL (labeled “the world’s most influential online community” by Wired Magazine). Among Howard’s many areas of interest and expertise is the use of new media in educational settings. He will contribute his recent thoughts in a plenary presentation on social media and the new culture of learning.

We eagerly anticipate your participation in this year’s meeting. We believe that the theme and speakers we have identified are timely and essential and we look forward to your contributions. The many forums for participation include both face-to-face and online modes. Our new venue, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin featuring the Mandara Spa, 17 spectacular restaurants and lounges, five pools, a white sand beach and much more promises to be a well-appointed backdrop to the stimulating conversations at this year’s event. With more than 580 proposals this will be the most extensive program to date - the full conference schedule will be available in August. Early bird registration and hotel reservations are now open. Don’t miss the 17th annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning!

Peter Shea, Conference Chair - Sloan-C International Conference for Online Learning
Peter Shea

Keynote Address
Wednesday November 9, 4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Pacific Hall B

Lee Rainie

Lee Rainie
Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project

"The New Education Ecology"

 Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, will discuss the Project’s most recent findings about Americans use the internet and their mobile devices to learn, share, and create information. He will discuss how the changed media environment is affecting learners’ expectations about the availability of information and the ways in which learning takes place. In this new environment, the traditional boundaries between home and school, teacher and pupil, public and private are breaking down and that is affecting the way learning occurs. Lee will describe how Pew Internet has looked at these subjects and the ways in which schools and families are responding to them.

Find out more about our Keynote Speakeronepixel

Plenary Address
Thursday, November 10, 8:50 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
Pacific Hall B

Cable Green

Cable Green
Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons

"The Obviousness of Open Policy"

The Internet, increasingly affordable computing, open licensing, open access journals and open educational resources provide the foundation for a world in which a quality education can be a basic human right. Yet before we break the "iron triangle" of access, cost and quality with new models, we need to educate policy makers about the obviousness of open policy: public access to publicly funded resources.

Plenary Address
Friday, November 11, 8:50 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.
Pacific Hall B

Howard Rheingold

Howard Rheingold, author of many books including the best sellers Virtual Reality and The Virtual Community, as well as Smart Mobs

"My Explorations of Social Media and Social Media Literacies in Teaching & Learning"

Although not an educator by trade, I've been interested in the potential of online media for learning since I started exploring what I called "virtual communities" in the 1980s. In particular, I was attracted to the ways online media could facilitate collaborative knowledge sharing and exploration. In 1995, I designed a demonstration of a "university of the future" for NEC corporation. In 2006, I started teaching at UC Berkeley and Stanford. I was initially drawn to formal education because I perceived a need to introduce students to the issues of identity, privacy, collective action, public sphere, social capital raised by our increasing use of what are now called social media. It only made sense to use blogs, wikis, forums, chat, and social bookmarking when introducing these subjects. Contrary to popular beliefs about "digital natives," I soon learned that social media literacies are not uniformly understood by today's students. At the same time, by paying attention to what students were telling me about our encounters, I was led to forms of pedagogy that have existed at least since the time of John Dewey but which have not been practical until the advent of social media -- teaching and learning that is more collaborative and inquiry based and which extends beyond the face to face classroom. In addition to the blended learning I've facilitated at Stanford and Berkeley, I've also started a totally online set of courses: -- and I'm exploring the variety of peer-to-peer courses that are springing up online. I'll talk about how I've learned from my students, how we've learned to learn together, and how I am now experimenting with purely online teaching and learning. I'll touch upon the social media literacies that are the subject of my current book in progress: attention, participation, collaboration, crap detection, and network awareness.

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