The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Roger Mills

Workshop description: Does research in ODL make a difference? If so why does it have such a low profile?

Roger Mills
International Research Foundation for Open and Distance Learning

Ros Morpeth
International Research Foundation for Open and Distance Learning

     Full text: HTML
     Last modified: October 18, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/02/2006 2:30 PM in NT Ortanique
     (View Schedule)

This workshop will be based on a series of short case studies from different parts of the world which illustrate where research has had a positive impact on decision-making in both policies and practices. Examples of where poor decisions may have been avoided if research had been undertaken will also be given.

The following colleagues will contribute to this session:
Som Naidu, University of Melbourne, Australia
Sushmita Mitra, National Institute for Open Schooling, India
Brian Sayer, University of London, UK
Anne Gaskell, The UK Open University
Jocelyn Calvert, Distance Education Consultant, Canada
and, it is hoped,
Evelyn Nonyongo from the University of South Africa

Colleagues attending the session will be invited to give examples from their own experiences.

A paper, which will be available at the conference, addresses the key issue of the role of research and evaluation in influencing policy and practice change and development in Open, Distance and elearning. (ODL) It takes as its hypothesis the fact that research does make a difference if well conceived and constructed and argues for this by providing recent examples of how research has made a difference across a range of institutions and countries. It reflects on the question of who should do the research, practitioners or specialized researchers. It is hoped that the paper will be of use to colleagues who may find themselves in the position of making a case for modest research expenditure to inform decision-making in their own institutions.

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