Panel Session TRA115
A New State of Institutional Preparedness: Online Learning in the Wake of COVID-19
By now, universities are well out of the "emergency teaching" mode. Across the world, new experiences have been gathered on digital teaching and unexpected constraints.
Cases presented in this session share the reasons to believe that many of the changes we are now seeing will continue to improve teaching in the future. Among others, speakers will discuss lessons learnt on student-motivation, learning outcomes, faculty-readiness, technical issues and more.
University of Maseno, Kenya
Mildred Atieno Ayere is a senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Technology and Curriculum Studies, Maseno University.
I teach Educational Technology courses at the University to undergraduate and post-graduate students. Currently I serve as the acting Director eCampus where I provide strategic leadership in the development and implementation of appropriate policies in eLearning and virtual learning at the University.
Earlier on, I worked as a high School teacher in Mathematics, a teacher trainer in Mathematics education and a staffing officer with the Teachers’ Service Commission, Kenya. In addition to the teaching experience, I am an entrepreneur in teacher education and a practitioner and a trainer in the Times Travel Methodology: An educational method that uses local heritage in a learning process, to create reflection on contemporary issues, and provide tools for community building.
My primary research interests include innovative and online learning methodologies; ICT integration in pedagogy; Interactive learner centred methodologies in teaching and learning in general and Mathematics education in particular; online examination systems; Mathematics in the Historic Environment; and use of Time Travel method in democracy, peace building and social cohesion
University of Agder - MatRIC, Norway
Professor Brekke is vice rector for education for the period 1 August 2019 - 31 July 2023.
As vice rector for education, Brekke heads the Academic Affairs Committee. He also leads the work developing a strategy in the priority area Learning and Education for the Future, with special emphasis on developing a future oriented educational leadership.
Brekke has been working at UiA since 1993. Throughout his career, he has focused on quality and development in teaching. He has a central role in MatRIC, an international centre for mathematics didactics, which has been appointed a Centre for Excellence in Education.
He wants to make room for development and testing of different teaching methods which will improve the quality of learning outcomes - and also disseminate the knowledge created.
Brekke has long been a role model in the pedagogical uses of video and other digital technologies in mathematics teaching, and he has published several articles on the topic. In 2018, he was awarded Excellent Teaching Practitioner as the first recipient at UiA.
Brekke has a goal of improving students’ achievements; he therefore emphasises quality culture and systematicity to improve quality in the field of education. He is particularly concerned with building a good and inclusive learning environment.
In keeping with the university’s ambitions for the skills reform “Learning throughout life”, Brekke strives to highlight and strengthen alumni relations and continuing education at UiA.
Brekke was formerly a college lecturer, university lecturer and assistant professor and received his Cand. Scient. in theoretical astrophysics from the University of Oslo.
Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Dr Nai Li is an Educational Researcher at Edtech Lab, Imperial College Business School. She mainly involves in the Research and Evaluation programme that helps with developing, implementing and evaluating innovative educational technologies and pedagogies.
Prior to joining Imperial, she worked in both commercial and higher education sectors. She worked for more than 5 years at the Open University where her research interests focused on learning analytics, online learning and quantitative research methods. She also worked as Research Director at Ipsos-MORI China, Research Fellow/Research Associate at University of Oxford, and Senior Researcher at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), London.
She obtained her PhD in Educational Technology from Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University, UK.
North-West University, South Africa
Chief Director of Information Technology at North-West University responsible for setting and executing of IT strategy, management of IT resources and the IT portfolio. Co-responsible for the university Digital Business Strategy.
Board member of Open Apereo, managing director on the board of the assosiation of IT directors in South Africa and board member of Open Collab.
Masters degree in Computer Science and many years of expereince in T/L support.
Recently became a member of the University Covid-19 response team responsible for IT protocols, but mainly to enable emergency remote learning and work from home.
Herman Van Der Merwe
North-West University, South Africa
Prof Herman van der Merwe calls himself a “recycled Geneticist”, but his previous Vice-Chancellor renamed him “e-Man” to capture his fascination for the use and management of technology in education!
Prof Herman is currently Deputy Dean of the Faculty Economic and Management Sciences at the North-West University, responsible for Teaching and Learning across all three campuses of the NWU.
He is also the CEO of an expert centre called CUTE (Centre for the Utilisation of Technology in Education).
Besides his recognised international expertise on the utilisation and management of technology in education, Prof Herman also serves on various national and international workgroups that do research in his field. He has a keen interest in the manner in which technology can enhance the teaching and learning experience of both lecturers and students, and has read and published several papers, nationally and internationally, on this topic. As chairman and CEO of CUTE, he organises and presents workshops and conferences to promote the empowerment of academic staff, actively.
Prof Herman’s current research focus is more on mobile and handheld devices, open source software (Android for the mobile platform), social networks and the effective use of that in specifically higher education and everyday life.
He acted as co-chairperson of the mLearn 2005 and 2015 conferences and is a founder member and one of the directors of the International Association for Mobile Learning (IAmLearn) and chairperson of the SABS’s SC71N subcommittee in IT, developing SA standards for IT in e-education.
The Serious Games Institute, AppFactory and a community of practise in innovative teaching and learning with technology (iTLT) support his research initiatives and the empowerment initiatives of staff and students in a creative environment.
As a true Entrepreneur at heart he stimulates entrepreneurship on Campus in the bhive Enterprise Development Centre as well as locally in a Faculty supported research entity on Local Economic Development. In 2015 the North-West University recognised his contribution to innovation with an “Innovation Evangelist” award.
He is a keen nature lover and to recharge his batteries he will do something in nature to listen to what the wind and the birds want to share with him.
“As a teacher, researcher, policy advocate, manager and leader, he is a visionary leader whose fascination with technology has been informed by his commitment to serving the highest ideals of people and education.” Prof Reggie Ncobo
 South African Bureau of Standards