What Do We Know About Online Learning? The Current and Possible Future State of Online Learning Research

Concurrent Session 8
OLC Session

Brief Abstract

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Online Learning Journal, join panelists Dr. Terry Anderson, Dr. Mark Brown, Dr. Peter Shea and Dr. Karen Swan in a discussion about the current landscape of online learning research. Moderated by Doug Lederman, Editor-in-Chief of Inside Higher Ed, panelists will discuss the one issue that they think is both neglected and most cries out for further research. Panelists will also provide an overview of the  area of research they are currently most involved in, research methods used and how their work may help translate knowledge into practice.  Attendees will be challenged to think about about questions they have regarding the 16 research areas presented in Online Distance Education: Towards a Research Agenda (Anderson & Zawacki-Richter, 2014). These questions, as well as those for the panelists, will be addressed in a question and answer session.


Professor Mark Brown is Ireland's first Chair in Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL). Prior to taking up this position at the start of 2014, Mark was Director of the National Centre for Teaching and Learning as well as Director of the Distance Education and Learning Futures Alliance (DELFA) at Massey University, New Zealand. In addition, Mark had responsibility for oversight of the Central Hub of Ako Aotearoa - National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Over the last decade, Mark has played key leadership roles in the implementation of several major university-wide digital learning and teaching initiatives, including the selection and enterprise-wide deployment of Moodle, the original design and development of the Mahara e-portfolio system, a major implementation of a rich media learning platform [Mediasite], and the first New Zealand university-wide implementation of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform [Open2Study]. Mark is currently Chair of the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Steering Committee for the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) and is a member of the Executive Committee of European Distance and e-Learning Network (EDEN). In 2016, Mark was also appointed as a representative of the Irish Universities Association on the Board of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. In addition, Mark contributes as a faculty member to the US-based Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) and is currently leading an intiative to establish the Empower Online Learning Leadership Academy (EOLLA) for new and emerging institutional leaders in European universities. Additionally, he works closely with Epigeum, a subsidiary of Oxford University Press, in the development of online professional development programmes for university staff and is currently Lead Advisor for a course in the area of Blended Learning. Before taking up his current posiiton, Mark was President of the New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (DEANZ). He was also Treasurer and an Executive Committee member of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite). ascilite is the peak professional body for Digital Learning in Australia and New Zealand. Mark is a recipient of a National Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching and remains a member of the New Zealand Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
Doug Lederman is editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed, higher education's top source of free, high-quality of news, opinion, jobs and other services for professionals in higher education.