Report on SCOP 2011 and Policy Forum

The 2011 ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents meeting was hosted by the State University of New York Empire State College in New York, USA on 19-22 June 2011. Around 70 institutional leaders and other executives from 30 countries and every continent took part in this annual meeting for discussion of policies and developments in open and distance education.


The theme for the meeting was The New Economy and the Role of Open Learning, and the programme included a day of focus on new technologies. The Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) meeting was preceded by the ICDE Policy Forum, this year focusing on quality and international collaboration.


Keynote speaker Jagdish Bhagwati

Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor at Columbia University and a Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, delivered the keynote presentation.

He highlighted the role of skills in economic transformation and the need both for governments to develop policy which recognizes this, but also for policy to be exploited successfully. Countries like his native India, he said, are lagging behind in regard to successful implementation.

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Panel discussion on the role of open learning

In the panel discussion that followed, Kevin Kinser of the University at Albany, Michael Fortunato of SUNY Empire State College, Daniel Pianko of University Ventures Fund and Bruno Laporte of the World Bank provided perspectives on the keynote and the interface between open learning and the new economy.

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Group discussions

Group discussions looked at the role of the state in ODL, comparative advantages of distance education, and whether the future of ODL may be secured through public or private funding. Comments were collected by rapporteurs, and will - in common with outcomes of previous SCOP meetings - help to inform ICDE's future strategy and activities.

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The role of technology

Tension between pedagogy and technology in the learning environment was a further key theme at the meeting which was sponsored by Pearson, CISCO, Datatel and Brite Computers. Delegates were given the opportunity to hear presentations from the sponsors, while a session entitled Keynotes and Conversations on New Technologies and Open Learning brought representatives of Pearson e-College and CISCO together with Diane Oblinger of EduCause and Elliott Masie to debate the role of technology in empowering learning.

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Policy Forum

The first day of the Standing Conference of Presidents was given over to an ICDE Policy Forum on the theme of quality and international collaboration and the role that ICDE can play in inter-institutional quality assurance.

Proceedings were led by Meg Benke, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at SUNY Empire State College and President of The Sloan Consortium, and the keynote address was given by Gary E. Miller, World Campus Executive Director Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University.

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UNESCO OER Chairs network meeting

The UNESCO Chairs in open educational resources (OER) held a meeting on the fringes of the SCOP meeting with sponsorship from ICDE and SUNY Empire State College.

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Meeting information and photos

Photos on ICDE Facebook page

All photos courtesy of SUNY Empire State College

22 July 2011

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