Prestigious international education forum to be held in Canada for the first time

Tenth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning to focus on innovations in educational resilience

Calgary, Alberta, Sept. 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The world’s leading experts in open and distance learning are coming together to discuss the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning. The Tenth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning will be held in Calgary from Sept. 14-16, 2022.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) hosts this triennial conference in partnership with universities around the world. This year, COL is partnering with Athabasca University (AU) to bring the conference to North America for the first time. AU, Canada’s Open University, is a research-intensive university based in Alberta, Canada.

Innovations for educational resilience

Taking place every three years, the forum is considered one of the world’s leading international conferences on open, distance, and technology-enabled education. The theme for this year’s conference, Innovations for Educational Resilience, will address issues of learning loss due to school closures and lack of access to technology for teaching and learning. This reflects the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on education and training—a topic many AU researchers have focused on over the past several years.

“There has never been a better or more important time to come together to discuss open education around the world and the need for incorporating accessible and innovative technologies, for fostering equity and inclusion for all, and for supporting sustainability and resilience in education systems,” said Dr. Peter Scott, AU president.

“During the pandemic both policy makers and practitioners responded to the crisis with a sense of urgency and developed solutions appropriate to their contexts,” Prof. Asha Kanwar, president and CEO of COL added. “PCF10 provides a platform for diverse constituencies to come together and share their experiences and insights. This is also an opportunity to network and forge collaborations for building back better.”

For the first time, PCF10 is being offered as a hybrid event, with options to attend in person or virtually. More than 400 in-person delegates are already registered, with the number of virtual attendees growing by the day.

Highlight of speakers

High-profile speakers and experts from around the world will provide keynote addresses as part of the conference.

Claudette McGowan (Canada) is a global information technology leader with more than 20 years of success in leading digital transformations, optimizing infrastructure, and designing new approaches to improve service and cybersecurity experiences. She will speak as part of the forum’s country showcase.

Professor Tim Blackman (United Kingdom) is currently vice-chancellor of The Open University in the U.K., and has held senior leadership positions at several universities. He will deliver the Asa Briggs lecture, named in honour of the founding chairman of COL’s board of governors.

Dr. Rolph Payet (Switzerland), executive secretary of the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, has a doctorate in environmental science and formerly served as the minister of environment and energy of Seychelles. He will deliver the keynote address on the sub-theme, Building Resilience.

Prof. Olaf Zawacki-Richter (Germany) is a professor of educational technology and COER director at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. He has authored more than 120 articles, book contributions and editorials, and serves in an editorial role with several open-learning-focused academic journals. He will give the keynote address for the sub-theme, Fostering Lifelong Learning.

Mohammed Rezwan (Bangladesh) is founder and executive director of Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha in Bangladesh, an organization that operates a classroom on a boat in the flood-prone country. Rezwan, an architect, designed this creative solution to bring the school to students who can’t go to school. He will deliver the keynote address on the sub-theme, Inspiring Innovations.

Mr. Buti Manamela (South Africa) is the deputy minister of higher education, science and innovation in the Republic of South Africa. He has served as a Member of Parliament since 2009, including roles with the labour portfolio committee and with Nelson Mandela Day activities. He has also served in various roles with the ANC Youth League, South African Students Congress, and other student organizations. He will deliver the keynote address for the sub-theme, Promoting Equity and Inclusion.

Carrie Anton (Canada), accessibility services coordinator at Athabasca University, is a passionate advocate for persons with disabilities and gold-medal Paralympic athlete. She is a published researcher, having worked in assistive technology for over 30 years. She will serve as the master of ceremonies.

There’s still time to register until Sept. 13, 2022! Find more information about PCF10 on the conference website, including how to register to attend in person or virtually.


Tenth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

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