Online Worldwide, UNMC to co-host first in a series of talks on distance education Aug. 23

August 19, 2013

Building on widespread interest generated at a recent inter-campus symposium on distance education, the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide will host a series of talks in the 2013-14 academic year focused on key topics related to distance learning. The first talk will be co-hosted by UNOW and the University of Nebraska Medical Center and will discuss massive open online courses (MOOCs).

The session, titled “The Impact of MOOCs in Higher Education,” is Aug. 23 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education on the UNMC campus. The session is free for all NU employees, although registration is required. It will be web-streamed live for those who cannot attend in person. A link to the presentation will be provided to virtual attendees following registration.

“In May we hosted a symposium on distance learning that attracted more than 500 attendees from the four campuses – an excellent turnout that demonstrated that University of Nebraska faculty, staff and administrators are eager to engage in a dialogue about the opportunities and challenges presented by distance learning,” said Mary Niemiec, associate vice president for distance education and director of University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. “I encourage members of the university community to participate in our upcoming series and engage in a dialogue with their colleagues about how they might take advantage of new technologies in today’s rapidly changing environment.”

The Aug. 23 session will offer information on how distance education could be used to address gaps across curricula, inspire faculty to develop innovative new teaching models, and engage NU educators in a dialogue about contemporary issues in higher education, including distance learning. The session is particularly timely given the university’s recent announcement of its intent to partner with Coursera, a leading provider of MOOCs.

Guest speaker Anthony Rostain, professor of psychiatry, will describe the University of Pennsylvania’s journey in exploring MOOCs, including his own recent experience designing, building and teaching a Coursera-based unit. Following his presentation, Dr. Howard Liu, UNMC assistant professor of psychiatry, will moderate an interactive panel featuring Niemiec, Dr. Dele Davies, UNMC vice chancellor for academic affairs; Dr. Suhasini Kotcherlakota, assistant professor of community-based health; and Jery Inbarasu, College of Medicine class of 2015 president, offering perspectives on distance education.

Dates for future distance education talks – which will be held on each of the campuses throughout the year – will be announced as they are scheduled. All sessions will be free for NU employees and streamed live on the web.

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska