Friday, October 11, 2013

Greetings from the 4th International Conference On Distance Learning and Education

Greetings from the 2013 4th International Conference on Distance Learning and Education, Paris, France.  I will be attending this online teaching conference over the weekend, October 12th-13th, in Batignolles, which is part of the 17th arrondissement (administrative district) of the city.  Speakers and participants are from universities around the world including France, Germany, India, Turkey, Bulgaria, U.K., Algeria, Tunisia, Thailand and the U.S.A.

Among the conference presentations are:

The Trellis Theory of Adult Online Learning - Betsy J. Bannier, Lake Region State College, USA

Students As Teachers in MOOCs?  The Double Gain of MOOCs as an In-class Teaching Method:  Experiences From A Student-Made MOOC "Online Data Privacy" - Joachim Griesbaum, University of Hildesheim

On Addressing Design Issues that Hinder Reusability of Learning Objects in Instructional Design - Joan e. Agaba and Jude T. Lubega, Makere University

Producing Lecture Videos From Face-To-Face Teaching - Mikko Myllymaki, Jari Penttila, and Ismo Hakala, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Keynote speakers are: Prof. Dr. Dimiter Georgiev Velev, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria.  Prof. Velev's R & D interests include Internet business applications, cloud computing, mobile learning and applications and information systems for management of natural disasters and Dr. Fang Lou, University of Hertfordshire, UK (School of Life Sciences/Learning and Teaching Institute.  Dr. Lou, a lecturer in psychology, is also involved in the management and training of faculty in the use of the online teaching tool "Elluminate/Collaborate" and "Adobe Connect".

I look forward to this opportunity to gain an international perspective on distance learning pedagogy and technology.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Multicultural Perspectives & National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th to October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Infusing multicultural perspectives into course content is one of five dimensions of a comprehensive approach to inclusive education (Banks, 2004).   Research has demonstrated that an inclusive curriculum has multiple benefits for both students and faculty.  According to Scott (1994):

"We have an academic responsibility and a moral obligation to provide students with an inclusive education that will enable them to deal with the contingencies of living in a diverse world. Research shows that when students are taught from an inclusive curriculum they are eager to learn; they are more engaged in the teaching/learning process. They want more inclusive course content throughout the education process. Faculty who are involved in integrating diversity into their curriculum report that their teaching is revitalized, their student evaluations improved, and their overall job satisfaction increased" (Scott 1994).

Two full-time online faculty members, Dr. Hugo Walter (English) and Dr. Mary Slavin (Philosophy), shared some examples of multicultural course content that celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Dr. Hugo Walter
According to Dr. Walter, students in the poetry course read and discuss images, ideas and themes in the works of several Hispanic poets and essayists.  His list includes:

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651--1695), a nun and a self-taught scholar and poet who was part of the Hispanic Baroque of Mexico. Two of her noted works are Respuesta a Sor Filotea, which was an early feminist work asserting a woman’s right to an education, and “Primero sueno.”

Jorge Luis Borges (1899--1986), an Argentinian short-story writer, essayist, and poet. Two of his prominent works are Ficciones (1944) and The Aleph (1949).  

Pablo Neruda (1904--1973), a Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Two of his most famous works are Alturas de Macchu Picchu (1945) and Canto General  (1950).

Octavio Paz (1914--1998), a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. Two of his important works are Poemas 1935—1975 (1981) and Collected Poems, 1957—1987 (1987).

Dr. Walter recommends several websites including: :,,,  

To read more about Dr. Walter go to:

Dr. Mary Slavin
One of several online courses taught by Dr. Mary Slavin is Feminist Thought.   Included in her course content is the area called Mujerista Theology, which Dr. Slavin describes below:

I am sure you have heard of feminists but have you ever heard of Hispanic feminist, Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz?   Dr. Isasi-Diaz was instrumental in the creation and development of, Mujerista Theology, a theory and praxis rooted in Latina women’s embodiment of Christian ethics and liberation theology for social justice.  Dr. Isasi-Diaz, was Professor of Ethics and Theology at Drew University from 1991 until her death in May, 2012. 
In I991 I participated in Dr. Isasi-Diaz’s seminar entitled Women’s Ethics.  This was a great opportunity to discuss and learn from the works of feminists of color: black, Latina and Asian and how their lived experiences differed from white, Anglo feminists.  To learn more about this dedicated educator, feminist, and theologian, see Mujerista: Definition:

And also:

 “Hoy, Canto de Mujer Que Se Libera – Un Canto de Ada María Isasi-Díaz” by Michele Stopera Freyhauf,

To learn more about Dr. Slavin go to:

Thanks to Dr. Walter and Dr. Slavin for sharing some examples of multicultural content from their courses!

Banks, J. A. (2004). Multicultural education: Historical development, dimensions, and practice. In J. A. Banks, & et al. (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (2nd ed. , pp. 3-29). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Scott, BarBara M. "Integrating Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation into the College Curriculum." In "A Multicultural Prism: Voices from the Field," J.Q. Adams and Janice R. Welsch (eds.), 1994.