IMHE “What Works” Conference, Managing Quality Teaching in Higher Education (Mexicali, Mexico, 5-6 December 2011)

photo of the attendees of the IMHE/OECD "what works?" international conference in 2011

75 experts from 22 countries meet to discuss "What Works? in managing quality teaching in higher education.

I had the opportunity to represent SUNY, the SUNY Learning Network and the SUNY Office of International Programs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development‘s (OECD) Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) “What Works” conference.

OECD (located in Paris, France) is an international organization with 34 member countries from North and South America to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region dedicated to global development and to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

IMHE is the higher education directorate for OECD. IMHE members are comprised of higher education institutions and ministries from around the globe. The organization is dedicated to institutional capacity building and every five years they focus on three main themes. Two of the themes are particularly relevant to SUNY right now:  quality teaching and internationalization. The IMHE project on Quality in Teaching has been exploring how institutions around the world define and support the quality of faculty, pedagogy, learning environments, student support and other determinants contributing to successful student achievement. This project, which began in 2007, culminated with the 2011 “What Works” Conference, held in Mexicali, Mexico on 5-6 December 2011, hosted by CETYS University and co-organized with IMHE and CONAHEC.

My participation in this conference was facilitated by Mitch Leventhal, the SUNY vice chancellor for global affairs, and Jason E. Lane, SUNY Albany associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (EAPS) and co-founder of the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT), who are interested in positioning SUNY as the lead US institution in the IMHE network. Next year (April 12-13, 2012) SUNY is co-sponsoring an international conference on Internationalization for Job Creation and Economic Growth with OECD on the topic of internationalization and higher education.

SUNY representation at the conference in Mexico was an opportunity for SUNY to engage with the organization and further solidify SUNY’s relationship with them. Conference presentations were by invitation of the conference organizer, IMHE’s Fabrice Hénard. Taking into consideration the theme of the conference, I provided @FabriceHENARD with 2 presentation options and was delighted when he asked if I would consider doing them both. This was a great opportunity to showcase SUNY and the SUNY Learning Network.

Presentation 1: Online Learning: Keys to Success of the SUNY Learning Network


This was a panel presentation expertly moderated by George Bonilla, Academic Director of the CETYS University Tijuana Campus. The question for the panel was, How to lead and manage the implementation of quality teaching within the institution? And specifically, what technologies foster quality teaching. Lorraine Stefani, the director of the Centre for Academic Development (CAD) from  University of Auckland, New Zealand joined the panel via videoconference.

Presentation 2: Teaching and Learning in the Cloud
For the second presentation, I worked directly from links posted on my blog. In the presentation I used my own online instruction to initiate a conversation about how to catalyze, support, scale, maintain, and sustain innovative technology-enhanced quality teaching at the institutional level.


Agustí Cerrillo, the Director of the Law and Political Science Department at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in Spain led the panel in presentations on bringing Quality teaching initiatives into force – Using ICT for quality teaching, which included Anita Virányi, assistant lecturer from ELTE University in Hungary.

My conference reflections

The conference began with welcomes and opening remarks from Fernando Leon Garcia, president of the CETYS University System and of CONAHEC, and Richard Yelland, head of the Education Management and Infrastructure Division in the Directorate for Education at the OECD, which manages both the Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) and the Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE).

The first plenary session of the conference was delivered by Amy Tsui, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of the University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, China, and titled Achieving Quality Teaching in the Context of Overall Quality Assurance Policies.

Amy started out with the following provocative questions: what is quality? and who determines quality teaching? How is it assessed? Are surveys valid? Are students even able to assess quality teaching? –and finally, from the professors perspective, “Why don’t you just leave me alone?!”

Amy asserted that in this discussion of quality teaching there are competing discourses & practices.

  • quality=large/comprehensive/elitist institutions
  • quality=pursuit of excellence
  • quality=client (student) satisfaction
  • quality= course objectives are fulfilled

In China, she went on to say there has been a shift from classroom-based quality teaching (QT) to quality assurance (QA) and the conundrum of QT in QA. She said that managing change and QA is a triangulation of quantitative and qualitative data, requiring data transparency, ownership of data, and follow-up-closing the loop.

The second plenary session was delivered by Alenoush Sorayan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec Canada, – who reported on the Lessons Learned from the OECD Institutional reviews on Quality Teaching in Higher Education

Phase one of the project (2008-10) was aimed at providing an overview of how and why higher education institutions or organizations identify, implement, sustain, reward, disseminate the quality of teaching, and to highlight some drivers and difficulties to be overcome. It was made possible thanks to the collaboration of 29 higher education institutions from 20 countries which provided illustrations on their practice in the field of quality of teaching.

Following the Phase 1 report on the quality of teaching in higher education, Phase two  (2010-11) was aimed at helping institutions explore their institutional engagement into quality teaching through individual reviews to:
• Develop and analyze current quality-led initiatives on teaching improvement
• Investigate the perception of faculty and students towards supporting quality teaching initiatives
• Further explore the link between teaching and learning
• Investigate the ways to evaluate the impact of teaching

According to Professor Saroyan, the definitions of quality teaching (QT) are varied and evolving. Local contexts shape the commitment to it and  innovative evaluation approaches  of quality teaching are needed.

The essential elements of quality teaching are an institutional commitment where sustained and non linear efforts are necessary There must also be  an acknowledged need, evidence of effectiveness of initiatives, and certain synergies. She cited that the ways to support quality teaching involved providing structures and supports, incentives, curriculum-related projects, quality assurance processes and innovations. She reported that they found a “yearning for international leadership for quality teaching”, positioning higher education institutions as dynamic learning organizations with a responsiveness to consequences, and incentives -as common themes in the Phase 2 reviews. Additional themes included a focus on the requisite competencies of graduates, the multi-dimensional nature of QT, and the dynamic unquantifiable thresholds and tensions between corporate and collegial cultures. They found common drivers of quality teaching at the institutions where they conducted reviews that included internationalization, innovation, relevance to the student (problem-based learning, problem-based environments), equity, rewards, and promotion, dissemination, a shared institutional vision, sustainability, imagination, and those initiatives that were resource-balanced. In short, quality teaching, they found, is a pillar of the institution that supports a culture of evidence and a global awareness with a focus on students (student engagement, student experiences, timely completion and student success), a  focus on professors (and their 21st century skills, new pedagogies and assessments, ongoing professional development, and continuous improvement). The required elements for quality teaching are:  data on student performance,  systematic professional development for faculty, and strong leadership to empower administrators Support networks, knowledge sharing, and research are also required.

I had the opportunity to talk with Fabrice Hénard, and to introduce myself to Richard Yelland, head of the Education Management and Infrastructure Division (Directorate for Education), and to learn more about IMHE and OECD (,3…),  and about the AHELO project. I learned that SUNY’s membership in IMHE is via the University at Albany, and Richard mentioned the upcoming joint OECD/SUNY International Conference on internationalization for job creation and economic growth… during his talk on the IMHE Secretariat.

Fabrice presented early results from the The OECD Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes Feasibility study, also known as the AHELO project. AHELO will test what students in higher education know and can do upon graduation. It aims to test student and university performance globally. More than a ranking, AHELO is a direct evaluation of student performance. It will provide data on the relevance and quality of teaching and learning in higher education. The test aims to be global and valid across diverse cultures, languages and different types of institutions. Its objective is to asses what undergraduates know and can do upon graduation across diverse countries-languages-cultures and types of institutions. The test will look at: Generic skills common, discipline-specific skills, and Contextual information The main study goals are an emphasis on improvement of teaching and learning and to prioritize policy goals between accountability and improvement. AHELO is a tool for:

Universities: to assess and improve their teaching.
Students: to make better choices in selecting institutions.
Policy-makers: to make sure that the considerable amounts spent on higher education are spent well.
Employers: to know if the skills of the graduates entering the job market match their needs.

Fabrice attended my second presentation and we chatted throughout the conference. He informed me about the upcoming IMHE General Conference 2012, Attaining and Sustaining Mass Higher Education, September 17-19, 2012 and suggested that I submit a proposal.

Who I met

I learned about life in Finland from a self-proclaimed “unusual Fin”, Vesa Taatila, with the wonderfully enigmatic title of special advisor to the president of Laurea University of Applied Sciences. He is an amazing ball room dancer (which we witnessed at the conference dinner), has a lovely wife who is into fine hand crafts, and a son that is into gaming. He does not eat reindeer or salmon, which he says are fed to tourists, he fears most animals, is not depressed, and enjoys British humor, which he attempts often with very amusing results.  : ) From Vesa I learned about the upcoming Conference on Creativity in Higher Education Learning by Developing – New Ways to Learn, which will take place on May 8th – 11th, 2012, at Laurea’s Leppävaara unit in Espoo, Finland.

I met Jean-Pierre Blondin and Roch Chouinard, both associate vice-rectors from the Université de Montréal I met them with Vesa in San Diego and enjoyed the road to Mexicali with them.

It was interesting to hear from Denis Berthiaume, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning from the Université de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland about about his work and our similar experiences in supporting faculty in technology-enhancing instruction and learner-centered instructional design.

I was very honored to meet Dr. Gulsun Saglamer, the former rector of Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, and thrilled to learn that she established joint degree programs and double diplomas with SUNY Binghamton, New Paltz, FIT, Buffalo, and Meritime!

I had the most excellent conversations about online faculty development and effective practices in online learning design with Patricia Lecuona Valenzuela (and her colleagues Oralia Ferreira and Maria Eugenia Hernández), the director of instructional services at the Universidad Anáhuac, in Huixquilucan, Mexico.

I had a very enjoyable lunch learning more about the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (the Open University of Catalunya),  “the best online university in the world!” according to Julieta Palma (my new friend who shares my passion and enthusiasm for the social web and online learning) and my co-presenter Agustí Cerrillo, UOC director of the law and political science department. See a UOC news report of our presentation here. Julieta is the, director of the Latinoamérican Campus of the Open University of Catalunya.

Chile was very well represented at this conference and to my great surprise met and spent time talking with Aldo A. Ballerini A., the Academic Vice-president of the University of Bío Bío in Chile, (who happens to be my friend Marlene Muñoz Suplevida’s  boss). Bío Bío, was one of the universities I visited a couple of years ago and where I had the opportunity to address a roundtable of professors in Spanish for the first time!  I also had very enjoyable conversations with Sonia Bralic and Magdalena Jara, both from the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile.

Raul Romero, a professor of psychology at CETYS, was a very interested attendee at both of my presentations, and was very enthusiastic to learn more about online teaching.

Ray Land, currently professor of higher education from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, attended my presentation and expertly led our working group to identify barriers to quality teaching in their institutions and suggest improvements and examine how to measure effectiveness, progress, and the impact of quality teaching in their institutions.

I met Cynthia Davis, the associate dean of academic affairs from the University of Maryland University College – the only other American at the conference, who interestingly enough lived at one time in Schenectady, NY. It was great to get an update from her in her plenary presentation on online teaching and learning at UMUC.

I had a great conversation on the trip back to San Diego about online learning with Cynthia Davis, Gulsun Saglamer, and Associate Professor Peter Mederly, advisor to the minister of education of the Slovak Republic and Libor Voráz, president of the Slovak Rectors’ Conference.

I learned where Estonia is from Mart Noorma, where he is the vice dean for technical studies and associate professor of technology at the University of Tartu, in Estonia.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Brenda Leibowitz, the director for the center for teaching and learning at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa.

This was an excellent conference, very informative, well-organized and coordinated. I especially appreciated the attention to detail in the travel arrangements.

SLN co-hosts a Russian delegation from the National Research University – Higher School of Economics

staff from HSE

Staff from The National Research University, Higher School of Economics (HSE), Russia

SLN was pleased to co-host with the SUNY CPD a delegation from the Curriculum Support Department of the Higher School of Economics from Russia on July 19, 2010. The delegation, headed by Dr Maria Yudkevich, director for academic development, and coordinated by Yaroslav Bykhovsky, deputy head office for curricula support , came about from a contact with Alla Nazarenko, a fulbright scholar from Moscow State University, at SUNY System Administration that spent significant time with SLN during her stay with the SUNY Learning Network to learn more about online teaching and learning.

The specific aims of their visit were to learn more about professional development for faculty, support, and increasing motivation technology enhanced instruction, as well as the practical experience of LMS (Learning Management System) development and usage in the SUNY Learning Network, including:

  • Services and functions of ‘personal e-cabinets’ for students, faculty staff and administrators
  • Opportunities for faculty staff to storage, present their educational materials, evaluation of students’ progress
  • Opportunities for students to report the results of training activities
  • Opportunities for the organization of individual ‘learning paths’ for students
  • Opportunities for students’ collaboration, communication with other students and teachers
  • Services for administrators: scheduling, obtaining statistics on educational achievements
  • Main problems associated with the implementation process of LMS
  • What were the criteria for LMS system choose?
  • How the faculty staff is motivated to use the LMS system?

This visit and their tour of other universities in the United States (including Georgetown, MIT, Pratt, BU to name a few) is part of HSE’s development strategy as a national research university (in October 2009 we were awarded this status by the decision of the Russian Government) in order to share practical experiences in faculty professional development, learning management systems development, and effective practices in general university administration from American higher education colleagues.

Curriculum Support Department Delegation
Maria Yudkevich – Director for Academic development
Anna Korovko – Head Office for Curricula Support
Yaroslav Bykhovsky – Deputy Head Office for Curricula Support
Natalia Katasonova – Senior Lecturer of Economics Faculty
Alexander Porshnev – Lecturer of Socio-Humanities Studies Department
Alexander Krasilnikov – Graduate of Department of Microeconomic Analysis

SUNY staff
Carey Hatch, Assistant Provost for Library & Information Services and Director of the SUNY Learning Network
Alexandra M. Pickett, Associate Director, SUNY Learning Network
Kim Scalzo, Director, SUNY Center for Professional Development
Rob Piorkowski, Assistant Director of Online Learning
Gerard Marino, Assistant Director for Business Services
Doug Cohen, Assistant Director for Application Services
Lori Thompson, Associate Director for SUNY International Partnerships
Alena Rodick, Assistant Program Officer, SUNY International Programs, Russia Specialist

The online learning global snapshot

The SUNY Learning Network had the opportunity to participate in a unique initiative to take a global snapshot of the state of online learning around the world. Coordinated by friend and colleague, Larry Ragan, the director on online faculty development at Penn State’s World Campus, each region of the world was represented by a research group leader that coordinated groups of international collaborators to document the state of online learning in each region culminating in  a live and virtual series of presentations at Penn State University on July 12, 2010.

SLN provided the research and presentation of the online learning snapshot in the form of a wiki that provides a profile of 13 countries South American countries:

More that 113 people from all over the world collaborated on this project to research and document the state of online learning in each of the global regional areas. Frank Mayadas, Sloan Foundation, Gary Miller, former  PSWC executive director, and Wayne Smutz, PSU also attended the presentations.

For more information on the online learning global snapshot, links to the presentations, and list of research teams and members visit:

Paulina Carrasco Briones, Chilean intern from CIedu INACAP, arrives!

Paulina Carrasco Briones

Paulina Carrasco Briones

Paulina Carrasco Briones arrived today to begin a month-long internship with the SUNY Learning Network, Education Services. Ms. Carrasco works as an instructional designer at the Center for Innovation on Education (CIedu), INACAP in Santiago, Chile, and is an instructor in their master’s program in higher educuation applied pedagogy. She will be working with us under a memorandum of understanding signed  between INACAP and SUNY to learn more about SLN’s online faculty development processes and online instructional design approaches, and to experience first-hand an SLN faculty development cycle. Ms. Carrasco joins her colleague, Fransisca Capponi, to jointly observe and participate in SLN Education services activities and events, and to collaborate with her on activities to adopt and adapt SLN processes, materials, and approaches for use by INACAP. We are very pleased to have Paulina here with us and to “share what we know” to assist INACAP to develop and grow their online faculty development efforts.

Francisca Capponi, Chilean intern from CIedu INACAP, arrives!

(left to right) Robert Piorkowski, Francisca Capponi, Alexandra M. Pickett

(left to right) Robert Piorkowski, Francisca Capponi, Alexandra M. Pickett

Francisca Capponi, Ph.D.

Dr. Maria Francisca Capponi Marshall

Dr. Maria Francisca Capponi Marshall arrived today to begin an internship with the SUNY Learning Network, Education Services. Dr. Capponi works as an assistant at the Center for Innovation on Education (CIedu, INACAP in Santiago, Chile. She will be working with us under a memorandum of understanding signed  between INACAP and SUNY to learn more about SLN’s online faculty development processes and online instructional design approaches, and to experience first-hand an SLN faculty development cycle. The focus of her internship will be to observe and participate in SLN Education services activities and events, to adopt and adapt SLN processes, materials, and approaches for use by INACAP. We are very pleased to have Francisca here with us and to “share what we know” to assist INACAP to develop and grow their online faculty development efforts. Francisca will be keeping a blog of her internship experience.

US State Department Speaker and Specialist Program Trip Report

Thought the community might like to see the report from my trip last year to Chile. On November 12, 2009 SUNY and INACAP signed an MOU agreeing to “Broaden International Opportunities for Students and Faculty “ specifics will be communicated as they become available.

Alejandra M. Pickett, Associate Director
SUNY Learning Network (SLN)

State University of New York (SUNY)
Santiago, Concepción, & Valparaíso, Chile
September 27 – October 10, 2009

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to visit and lecture in Chile via the US Speaker and Specialist Grant Program on “Best Practices in Distance Learning” from September 26 to October 3, 2009, at a variety of institutions and venues.

In Santiago I had the pleasure of meeting with Mrs. Sally Bendersky, chief of the higher education division at the Ministry of Education, to discuss how information technologies can advance the quality of teaching and learning in higher education, and to share strategies that have proven successful in reaching diverse learners. I also met Sonia Zavando Benitez, chief of the department of innovation, and Constanza Mekis Martinex, coordinator of libraries from the curriculum and evaluation unit of the Ministry of Education. They were particularly interested in evidence of online learning effectiveness and I have shared with them various resources and publications on this topic.

I then had the opportunity to visit UNIACC and to meet Andrés Lastra, Academic Vice Chancellor or UNIACC  and Prof. Luis Cabrera, director of the department of educational technology, and to present on the topic of effective online instructional design. It was a pleasure to address this  knowledgeable audience of experienced faculty, administrators, and instructional designers and technologists. They were engaged and asked great questions, looking for examples and feedback on specific online instructional design problems. I have several email exchanges with the director and an interested student from the presentation and am very impressed by the efforts in UNIACConline.

In Concepción I had the opportunity to visit the University of Bío-Bío (UBB), and to meet with Prof. Marlene Muñoz Sepúlveda, director of UBB Center for Distance Education, and her colleagues, Dr. Elizabeth Grandón, director international relations, and Bernarda Larenas, eLearning coordinator, as well as  faculty, administrators, and staff from UBB. This visit stands out for me for two reasons: first, because Prof. Muñoz sought me out prior to my arrival in Chile via several social web venues to initiate contact and conversation with me, something I greatly appreciated; and secondly, because this was the first of several presentations that I conducted in Chile entirely in Spanish. The presentation  “The 21st Century Classroom: Exploring the potential for instruction & learning” was very well received and I have continued my contact with Prof. Muñoz. She has expressed interest in future collaborations and a return visit to Chile for her university.

In Valparaíso, I was introduced to the Aula Virtual PUCV and met Prof. David Contreras Guzmán and his staff. They are in the beginning stages of migrating from a homegrown course management system to Moodle, and so we share similar experiences and had much to discuss. It was an excellent opportunity for me to address a team of highly experienced instructional designers working to support online faculty with whom I have so much in common. I have had several email exchanges with the director and one of his staff. We have become friends in Facebook and I have become more familiar with the impressive work being done in the Aula Virtual. This was also one of the presentations that I conducted in Spanish.

It was a pleasure to be invited to address the group coordinated by Susana Claro, teacher-training director of Enseña Chile. Meeting her and having the opportunity to meet her graduate students and other interested faculty and administrators at the PUC to show them my experimental course ETAP 687 Intro to online teaching as the basis for our discussion on “New Tools in Adult Distance Learning” was a great opportunity to meet an engaged and knowledgeable group of dedicated educators in an intimate classroom setting. This is another of the presentations I conducted in Spanish. I have been in contact with Prof. Claro and she has told me that as a result of my presentation they are now using several of the tools I demonstrated. I was very impressed by caliber of students and the dedication and commitment of the efforts of this group to improve education in Chile.

The presentation at the PUC for the impressive TELEDUC event was very well attended and received. Richard Warner, executive director of the Center for Distance Education UC was a gracious host introducing me to PUC officials, and education, and military officials present at the conference. There was enthusiastic response to the presentation in the forms of lots questions and interest from participants in my contact information.

The main issues discussed in all meetings revolved around the effectiveness of distance education and the development of instructional design methods, support services, and technical resources to facilitate the effective delivery of online courses. Audiences were primarily interested in effective online teaching, learning and course design practices, as well as in how to insure  online course quality, how to authentically assess student learning online, and in keys to success and lessons learned from SLN. I think one clarification that I was able to add to the conversation was the distinction between elearning/ereading and what we in SLN consider online learning, which involves deliberately designed and facilitated interaction between the instructor and students, between students, and with the content to achieve specific course learning objectives. I was able to discuss and demonstrate specific examples of “how to”, “why?”, and “what happens when?” in the design of engaging online content, the facilitation of engaging online collaboration and interactions, and the use of varied methods and approaches to provide engaging online feedback and assessment. I also shared SLN’s model and approach to faculty development and course design, which begins with a student-centered constructivist approach to learning, which is supported by a theoretical foundation that informs our understanding of effective online teaching and learning environments and practices, and that we use to guide our investigations and to move research findings in to practice that positively affect student and faculty success, motivation, retention, satisfaction, and reported learning. Criteria for evaluating the use of emerging technologies to enhance instruction were also addressed.

The highlight of the trip was without a doubt the time spent with INACAP and the CIEDU group, the keynote addresses in Santiago and Concepción, the trip to visit and present at the Valparaíso campus, and the numerous meetings, events, broadcasts, trainings, and presentations at all levels of the institution. I cannot speak highly enough about their interest, care, hospitality and attentiveness during my visit. They are a unique institution in Chile with a dedicated staff, and the vision, leadership, and alignment at the executive levels with the desire and commitment to make a significant impact in Chile and in South America with online learning.  It was an extraordinary honor to be sought out by them and recommended for this program, which I deeply appreciate both personally and professionally. The relationship between SUNY and INACAP will be formalized on November 12, 2009, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions making collaborations between SUNY, the SUNY Learning Network, and INACAP possible. I look forward with great anticipation to the possibilities of future collaborations, exchanges, and projects with INACAP and a continuation of the work begun on this trip with their pilot program of online courses and faculty.

Another highlight of the trip for me was the invitation to attend the reception hosted by US Ambassador to Chile Paul E. Simons at his residence in honor of Angela Emerson, the embassy’s newly arrived Cultural Affairs Officer, and to then to also receive a request from Ambassador Simons for a personal meeting with him to discuss my visit and online teaching and learning. It was a great honor for me to be able to meet him and to introduce him to SLN and SUNY, and to discuss my work and thoughts about online teaching and learning in general, and in Chile with him. It also meant a great deal to me that Laurie B. Weitzenkorn, US embassy counselor for public affairs in Chile, personally attended my TELEDUC presentation and spent time with me discussing online teaching and learning. Lastly, I cannot neglect to mention and commend U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Education Specialist Diana López-Rey Arce for her expert coordination and administration of a very demanding agenda. Her personal attention, genuine interest in the topics, expertise in Chilean education and culture, and her extensive network of colleagues at the institutions, offices, programs, and events we visited made her an invaluable, informed, and effective companion, organizer, and adviser. Prior to my trip I had numerous phone conversations with Diana to review the program schedule and to clarify goals, expectations, and needs to insure that I understood the audiences, the venues, and the contexts of each university, group, and event, so that I could tailor my presentations appropriately. The program schedule was delightfully ambitious and perfectly targeted to appropriate audiences for my presentations. I received a briefing on my arrival at the post and an exit interview attended by Angela Emerson, cultural affairs attaché, Andrew Curiel, cultural affairs associate, and Diana López-Rey, my coordinator. I can think of nothing that would substantively improve the program. The overall logistics and administration of the program were expertly initiated and supported by Program Officer Carmen Gloria Aponte from the U.S. Society, Values and Politics International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC. The arrangements, communications, and details from her office were superb and efficiently handled. I do have to acknowledge and thank my colleague, Claudia Hernandez Muñoz from the SUNY Office of International Programs, for interceding on my behalf  with Program officials while I was on vacation to prepare the paperwork necessary for participation in the program within a very short timeframe

Since being back I have had the chance to review my notes, cards, reflect on the trip and now with that context to review web sites from the institutions, organizations, people and programs I visited. I only regret that we did not have more time for more interaction. I have followed up with each of the principals from my visits and look forward to and would welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation started on the this visit to continue to share experiences, best practices, lessons learned, and to further explore common interests, collaborations, or exchanges. I prepared and provided a document full of links to support all the presentations I made, and to facilitate contact and to provide further information or review of information presented,. I have publicly posted all the presentation slides, websites, and documents (links appended below). In my follow up with individuals, I sent  links to these posted materials, publications, and electronic resources to reinforce my presentations. I have also appended, for your information, links to media, US embassy, and organizational coverage of my visit, presentations, and interviews.

I am so grateful for the warm reception I received in Chile and for the interest in my work. I seek to inform and influence the quality of online teaching and learning environments, to insure the effective development of online educators, to understand online instructional design, and to advocate for the effective use of technology to enhance instruction and engage learners. My mission is to learn from others and to share what I know because I want to change the world and believe that that can be accomplished with education. I believe very strongly that education is a right, and the way to address many of the issues we face in society today in all parts of the world. Online learning is one way to provide access to those that might not be able to avail themselves of an education in any other way. The US speaker and specialist program provided me an important opportunity to connect and interact with educators, officials, decision makers, and innovators in Chile to network, share, learn, and to begin conversations that would not otherwise have been possible. Chile is in a unique position because of its geography, resources, existing infrastructures, and its high percentages of penetration in the population with access to the Internet and telecommunications. They are well positioned to significantly respond to the need to improve their k12 educational system and to meet the higher education needs of working adults and other underserved populations in the country with online learning options.

I learned so much on my trip and had such wonderful opportunities to meet with so many dedicated Chilean educators, officials, and students- all extremely interested in online teaching and learning and technology-enhanced instruction. It was also an extraordinary experience for me on a personal level – to for the first time address groups publicly and professionally in Spanish, my mother’s native language, and to have had the opportunity represent myself in Chile as an educator, woman, woman in technology and higher education, working mother, and Latina of Colombian heritage. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

The opportunity to represent my country, the State University of New York, the SUNY Learning Network, and my work to engage in conversations with educators, decision makers, administrators, staff, faculty, and students in Chile on the topic of online learning is a privilege I feel very deeply. Thank you again.

Public links to web resources, documents, and presentations from my program

Links to web and media coverage of my trip:

Media & Interviews

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