Earlier this summer College of the Canyons hosted a group of nine female educators from the National Center for eLearning and Distance Education in Saudi Arabia as part of a year-long, comprehensive eLearning Pioneers Program.
The visit was the result of an ongoing partnership between College of the Canyons and the worldwide Open Education Consortium.
During the five-day visit to the college, which ran July 27 to 31, the group took part in an educational program built on the principles of online learning in the U.S. and meant to prepare female faculty and university leaders with the skills need to engage in online and blending learning.
“Higher education has not yet fully embraced all the opportunities that the digital information age provides to students and faculty,” said Manal Al-Dahash of the National Center for eLearning and Distance Education. “The eLearning Pioneers program will help our female faculty and university leaders embrace technology-enhanced education, which will better prepare our students for the 21st century.”
The group also had the opportunity to sit in on classes at the Valencia campus, tour The Learning Center (TLC) and library facility and participate in various instructional workshops while interacting with COC students, staff and faculty.
One participant observed, “The excellent team at College of the Canyons showed us that there is much more to online teaching than technology. The people are so important.”
By taking part in the training and completing these workshops, the visiting educators will now be better able to incorporate U.S.-based pedagogy and learning strategies at their home institutions — thus creating greater educational opportunity for the Saudi population, and in particular Saudi girls and women.
“By engaging in the global OER movement, College of the Canyons has been able to fulfill one of our institutional missions, which is to help make education more accessible,” said James Glapa-Grossklag, dean of educational technology, learning resources and distance learning at the college.
The Open Education Consortium is a worldwide community of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education.
As the global advocate for the use of open education resources, the consortium includes more than 250 institutional members, including Glapa-Grossklag, who was recently elected president of the organization.
“Not only were we able to help our guests learn about teaching with technology, but also our own staff and students had the opportunity to learn about the educational system in another part of the world,” said Glapa-Grossklag. “This kind of informal interaction helps to infuse a global awareness into our everyday experience.”
Joining College of the Canyons as placement institutions for the eLearning Pioneers program are: The University of New Hampshire, The University of Massachusetts, Tufts University, and University of California, Irvine.