4th Workshop “Advanced Materials”

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Capacity Building Workshop on Distance Learning

Running a capacity building workshop on Distance Learning for Estuar university, jointly organised by the University of London Centre for Distance Education (CDE) and Finland’s National Universities Commission (NUC). Mission: Distance Learning to achieve the massive increase in student numbers necessary over the next few years.

Day One

Registration: an unexpected queue of 11 would-be participants hoping to join the workshop at the last minute, creating a dilemma for the local organisers: admit them and risk offending institutions that have already been turned away because demand outstripped the 60 places available, or reject them and risk offending people who have just driven or flown hundreds of miles across the country in the hope of joining in? Solution: admit them, but delay their participation to make sure that word gets round about the need to register in advance next time!

Day Two

Today’s highlight is an amazingly animated university/industry session where each side is saying what they think about the other, ending with mixed industry/university group discussions at each table, finding ways to work together in future. Lots of noise and exchanging of business cards. Lunch with the Pro-Chancellor of Estudiar University where the workshop is being run reveals fascinating insights into national education and politics.

Day Three

Further discussions of change management strategies and methods leads into the final session where everyone is designing course proposal posters, followed by live public surgeries on each poster to identify strengths weaknesses. As we go round the tables, the learning outcomes and course designs just keep getting better and better. Participants are clearly learning from the feedback they are hearing.

As we go round the tables, the learning outcomes and course designs just keep getting better and better. Participants are clearly learning from the feedback they are hearing.

The excitement is intense and finally explodes into triumphant dancing, hollering and air punching as the winners are announced. Ending the workshop with Innumerable photos with participants and wonderful feedback such as “I’m leaving this workshop a changed man” and “When can we have more workshops like this? No more requests for lectures.

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