Meet the OEB23 Keynotes: Margaret Korosec

Margaret Korosec is an innovative strategic leader bringing creativity, intentionality, and systems perspective to her leadership in scaling online and digital education. She is the Dean of Online and Digital Education at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom leading on establishing a design ecosystem to support and scale online education and a digitally-enabled student experience.

As part of her role, she has academic oversight of the Digital Education Service. The service provides specialist learning design, development, production, media, creative and learning systems management for online and digital education. She led the development of a digital learning accelerator, Helix; a creative space to encourage experimentation, iteration, and exploration fostering sense making of emergent technology and enabling radical internal and external collaboration.

We had a chance to catch up with Margaret, now a confirmed OEB23 keynote speaker. Learn more about her life and work in digital education in this exclusive interview.

Who, or what, was your most important teacher?

My mother was an important teacher. She raised me on her own and I learned a lot about hard work and overcoming barriers.

What was your most important lesson?

My mother always said, ‘Dare to be’! She encouraged me to be and do what brought be joy and where I could have an impact in the world. This lesson has served me well in my professional and personal life.

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

A pilot, a ranger, a travel blogger…

A genie gives you three wishes — what are they and why?

A year to write a book from an elephant lodge in South Africa.

A train trip back in time on the original Orient Express to experience the innovations of the 1900s.

An extended trip on the Silk Road to experience trade in new countries and cultures.

What current learning trend do you think will have a lasting impact?

Some of the recent trends in learning are not trends at all. Large language models and artificial intelligence have been developing for many years. The difference now is that the general public has access to explore the technology, so the way we embrace and innovate with these available tools will have a lasting impact on how adaptable we are in our future ways of teaching and learning.

Which technology, in your view, has had the biggest impact on how we learn now?

Something as simple as shared files, such as Google Docs, had a big influence on how I taught in the past and how I saw students learn and explore. The notion of ‘seeing’ collaboration in a shared document is powerful, as is receiving and responding to feedback. Crucially, the ability to try and fail and try again is the essence of iteration and experimentation.

What is the coolest gadget/ technology/ tool you have seen lately?

In-house and on-person medical technology that helps monitor the health and safety of vulnerable or elderly people is relevant and provides a solution to those who live independently but need some additional support. Our devices have these features now, but the older population may need more accessible options of support.

Who would you recommend in the learning world to follow on social media right now?

I was lucky to participate in a webinar last year with several individuals who I would highly recommend following on Twitter (though this may not be new to anyone!): Donald Clark, Neil Mosley, Stephanie Moore, Phil Hill and Leonard Houx. I have also been recently inspired by Joann Kozyrev’s futurist exploration and innovation strategies on LinkedIn.

Follow Margaret’s recommendations on Twitter

Donald Clark – @DonaldClark

Neil Mosley – @neilmosley5

Stephanie Moore – @steph_moore

Phil Hill – @PhilOnEdTech

Leonard Houx – @leonardhoux

And on Linkedin

Joann Kozyrev – @joannkozyrev

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Tales of a modern-day nomad

What was your first thought about our overall theme, ‘The Learning Futures We Choose’?

The element of choice is a powerful one. We can feel like the world (or education?) is against us, but that certainly takes a lot of energy to fight! I prefer to intentionally choose how I engage and respond to challenges and I do not believe that the future is always pre-determined. There is also something here about choice when we are in a liminal space on the cusp of innovation and new ways of working or learning but we can’t quite grasp it yet.

Do you have a final message for the OEB community?

I have been attending OEB for over a decade now. This is a brilliant space and an opportunity to learn new things. Sometimes, it is enough to learn someone’s name. Connect with those you know and introduce yourself to someone new. We can learn a lot from others who challenge our thinking.

Thank you, Margaret.

Written for OEB Global 2023 by Margaret Korosec.

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