The University of Wisconsin at Madison held its 28th Annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference on August 8th-10th, 2012. Over 900 educators and professionals in the field of distance learning attended the conference to discuss the best practices and strategies of successful distance learning programs.
Among the goals of this nationally recognized conference is to provide a forum for discourse on the current issues in distance learning. One such issue is the use of technology in the distance learning program. Because the use of technology is rapidly increasing in higher education settings, distance learning programs must keep pace. Panelists, Judy Brown, David Gagnon, and Norma Scagnoli discussed the development of quality tools and applications that students can use in distance learning programs, and the methods of support that schools can provide to students.
Keynotes speakers included Dr. James Zull who spoke on applying concepts in neuroscience to distance learning education to create a more meaningful learning experience for students, and Judy Brown, who spoke on the use of technology in distance learning classrooms.
Exhibition booths were also available at this year’s conference for products and services in the field of distance learning to reach out to educators and professionals in the field. Over 35 publishers, design, software developers, and technology providers attended the conference, bringing their best products and services to the conference for distance learning programs to peruse.
Another highlight of the conference included the awards. Established in 2010, the Shauna Schullo award for Best Teaching Practices is presented to an information session presenter of the previous year’s conference. The first award given for the 2011 Annual Distance Teaching and Learning conference went to Betsy Bannier, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry/Mathematics Online at Lake Region State College. The award honors an educator in the field of distance learning who is learner-centered, creative, and whose practices demonstrate impact in the lives of his/her distance learning students. Bannier received a complimentary registration to the following year’s conference, invitation to present at that conference, and public recognition and award for her contribution to the field of distance learning.
This year’s award winning educators and professionals include, Constance Wanstreet of The College of Education and Human Ecology, David Stein of The Ohio State University, Rena Palloff of Fielding University, and Keith Pratt of Walden University.
Next year’s conference will be held on August 7-9, 2013 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Information for this article was taken from The University of Wisconsin’s Annual Conference for Distance Teaching and Learning website. Visit http://www.depd.wisc.edu/info/ for more information.