The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Jo Osborne

IDPacifica – the emergence of a professional community

Jo Osborne
Faculty of Health Science, University of Tasmania

Jennifer Evans
Centre for Educational Development and Technology, University of the South Pacific

     Full text: HTML
     Last modified: August 15, 2006
     Presentation date: 10/31/2006 4:00 PM in ST Windsor B
     (View Schedule)

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is a regional university serving 12 small island states. It has offered distance education programs for over 30 years and dominates the region’s higher education provision. In relation to designing and developing distance and flexible learning it employs instructional designers (IDs) and is the only regional educational institution with a substantial body of such expertise and experience. However, ID staffing has often proved difficult, with high turnover in an increasingly competitive market, and a very limited regional base for recruitment.

In 2005 a one-week ID skills development workshop was run focusing strongly on application to regional needs, with 21 participants from USP and other Pacific tertiary institutions. Class interaction was essential to workshop progress and group work activities were a resounding success. A distinct group identity began to emerge as practitioners shared experiences, and participants agreed that the community of ID practice should be extended in the region to further collaboration, mentoring, knowledge sharing and professional development. An on-line network has been established to facilitate discussion and partnerships for expansion of regional expertise. Originally envisaged as a one-off staff development exercise, capitalising on the momentum is developing a self-sustaining professional community of practice.

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