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< It's quite fashionable to say that the education system is broken – it’s not broken, it’s wonderfully constructed. It’s just that we don’t need it anymore. It's outdated. Sugata Mitra



in ThiS iSSUE

Magazine for innovative education


SYNKRON is published by the Norwegian Association for Distance


She is an American who grew up in China and Japan, studied in Norway and the USA, lived in France and Denmark. Now she has settled for good in a small town in Norway. “The search is over, this is home,” she says. She is a social anthropologist, psychologist and innovator, working with a consultant company, Making Waves, in Oslo.

and Flexible Education (NADE). SYNKRON IS FOLLOWING THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE EDITOR This declaration is a joint document agreed upon by The Association of Norwegian Editors and The Norwegian Media Business Association EDITOR IN CHIEF


Ebba Køber, NFF kober@nade-nff-no


In this spring semester, teacher education students at The Department of Teacher Education and School Research (ILS) at the University of Oslo have been able to use technology while doing their exams. In these new types of digital exams, students can use any resource they have available: They can access the internet, their curriculum literature and they can even talk to fellow students or others if they want to.

PUBLISHER Torhild Slåtto, Director, NFF EDITORIAL STAFF Birgitte Blom, NKS Morten Flate Paulsen, NKI Tone M. Nygaard, BI Nettstudier Audhild Håvaldsrud, BI Nettstudier PHOTO Famefotografene AS Torunn Gjelsvik Torhild Slåtto TED Creative Commons Eirik Solheim Patrick Nouhailler





Ebba Køber

Interview with Sugata Mitra by Steve wheeler



People-Centered with a passion for learning, anna Kirah




Art Director

Torhild Slåtto, Torunn Gjelsvik Steve Wheeler

org to Sverdrup! ge

Kirsti Engelien Adresse NADE Lilleakerveien 23,

digital exam – all resources allowed


Following the ed tech track to San Fransisco and Silicon valley


MooCs will affect and even transform formal education


N- 0283 Oslo Tlf. 22 51 04 80 Faks 22 51 04 81 E-mail: Web: For electronic newsletter

Innovation and challenge – 20 years of online education in norway 20-21 Speakers Corner: My experience as a MooC student


Calendar ummer/autum s 2013


a Century of flexible education in norway, infographics


go to our website TWITTER @NADE_NFF The Norwegian Specialized Press Association

folloW US on TWiTTEr @nADE_nff 2 Synkron 2:2013

EDITORIAL Welcome to Oslo This conference addresses key issues for future teaching and learning. The title of the conference The Joy of Learning goes straight to the core of our education; we want all to be able to experience joy of learning. Distant education has a long history, also in Norway. Today, we have a plethora of possibilities, e.g. through Open Content. We are moving towards Open Education. Massive Open Online Courses - MOOCs - are high on the agenda in Europe, and will challenge our Universities and Colleges in many ways. Schools and universities must become dynamic, creative and innovative learning environments. However, the process has started. The eCampus project in Higher Education provides the institutions with ICT tools for teaching and improved opportunities for education online. In Primary and Secondary Education we see innovative ways in exploiting the technology, e.g. Flipped Classroom. Unemployment is growing fast, especially among young people in Europe. There are too many drop outs from schools. We must reach out to this generation. The NotSchool in UK has shown one way of doing this. It offers through the Internet alternative education provision for young people who cannot cope

with traditional schooling. I have initiated a Virtual School on Mathematics aimed at students in lower secondary school, included those who want to follow courses in upper secondary education. This could also be an opportunity for young people who have dropped out of traditional schooling. I will end by highlighting the importance of peer learning between countries and institutions. I will further give credit to the work done by EDEN in sharing knowledge and improving understanding amongst professionals in distance and e-learning, and by promoting policy and practices across the whole of Europe and beyond. I wish you a successful and productive conference Kristin Halvorsen Minister of Education and Research Norway

THE MOOC MEME A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures, Wikipedia reports. When there is a shift in opinion, technology or political ideas in a large part of the population, we call it a paradigm shift, and memes are often a part of that. The term paradigm shift was coined by Thomas Kuhn in his classic book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He describes 3 phases: Pre-Paradigm Phase: When something new comes along, nobody is quite sure what to make of it. There are a lot of ideas and opinions, but no clear consensus. Normal Phase: At some point, a new framework evolves, problems start getting solved and things start happening. A consensus builds about the “right way of doing things.” Revolutionary Science: A new generation of ideas comes along with novel approaches that make significant progress in solving the important problems of the day.

From being practically unknown a few years ago, the word MOOC (Massive Open Oline Courses) is suddenly something everyone in the field of education is talking about. The New York Times dubbed 2012 ‘The Year of the MOOC,’ and it has since become one of the hottest topics in education. MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (OER) movement. Stephen Downes and George Siemens offered open online courses about connectivism (google it!) that drew a large number of participants and it was named MOOC. When Stanford launched a free internet course of Artificial Intelligence in 2011 it blew the concept out of proportions with the number of participants. The combination of elite university and free education seemed to be a winner. So after a while they discovered that this was not a new idea. Online education has been there for a long time and MOOC rises a lot of pedagogical, political and financial issues. But the meme is out there, and a change is coming. This issue of Synkron is in English - in order to communicate with 400 participants at EDEN 2013 in Oslo 12 -15 June. We wish all our readers a fine summer!

Ebba Køber, Editor in Chief Synkron 2: 2013 3


The media and education worlds have been buzzing about the work of a quiet, unassuming Indian born professor

Living in the age where “knowing” may be obsolete InTervIew wITh SugaTa MITra By STeve wheeLer

Born in Calcutta in 1952, Sugata Mitra started his academic career in computational and molecular science. His later research also encompassed biological science and energy storage systems. Mitra has also researched diversely into areas such as medicine (Alzheimer’s disease and memory research) and psychology (perception in hypermedia environments) and he received a PhD in Physics for his studies into organic semiconductors. It is not hard to see why some have hailed him as a polymath and even ‘something of a genius’. Most recently, Professor Mitra won the prestigious TED prize of 1 million US dollars acknowledgement of his work setting up computer kiosks in developing rural areas, and for his studies into ‘minimally invasive education’. He is now Professor of Educational Technology at

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Newcastle University, in the North East of England. I managed to catch up with him to interrupt his busy schedule for a brief interview ahead of his keynote at the EDEN 2013 Oslo conference.

Steve: A lot of your recent work has been around the use of technology in education. What benefits do you believe technology is offering to learners, and what evidence is there that it is making a difference?

Steve: Sugata, thank you for taking some time out from your busy schedule to speak to me, and congratulations on your recent TED prize. You have been an inspiration to many through your research, but what is it that inspires you the most in your work?

Sugata: In www.sugatam.wikispaces. com you will find several examples, including children teaching themselves to use the Internet on street side computers, and doing it well enough to pass a government examination on computers. Children in Kuppam teaching themselves biotechnology 10 years ahead of their time and children in Uruguay whose reading comprehension in Spanish has jumped several levels because of their access to computers.

Sugata: When the numbers from measurements come together I look for strong correlations - black and white with zero probability of error. Like in a Physics experiment. Sometimes I get results like that and I think, ‘I guessed that one right’.

There are many other published results. Anecdotally, a student from a


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Profil: SUGATA MiTrA village in Maharashtra, India, is doing a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology with a scholarship to Yale. He says he got there because he used to read New Scientist from a hole in the wall computer in his village. A child from a slum in Hyderabad, India, is studying medicine with a scholarship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He got there with encouragement, advice and support from a ‘Skype Granny’ from England. Steve: These are certainly remarkable results, leading me to think that education is in need of change. What do you think are the main constraints preventing any significant reforms of education? And what might be done to overcome them? Sugata: There is a powerful belief that schooling should be done the way it is. All we need to do is improve classrooms, make teachers better and review the curriculum every five years. This is thinking from another century, so powerfully reinforced that we find it impossible to think any other way. Schooling does not need improvement, it needs to be reinvented. Every aspect of it - curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and certification. Some brave Government, somewhere, will have to take a plunge.... Let me give you an example. Here is one of today’s examination questions: How long will it take a 5 Kg mass to fall to the ground if dropped from a height of 20 metres? (Do not use computers, calculators or any other aids. Do not talk) This could easily be changed to: Use the Internet to find out how long it will take a 5 Kg mass to fall to the ground if dropped from a height of 20 metres. Discuss the answer with your colleagues and report the results of the discussion. Justify why you think the answer is right. Steve: That would certainly bring more relevance to learning, especially for children who have

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grown up with technology all around them. Let’s talk about your recent work. You are known worldwide for your groundbreaking work in minimally invasive education. Can you explain what this is and why you think it is so important?

human decency!’ said a child to another in a self organised learning session without teachers. The teacher and I giggled from the corridor for a long time. I don’t know why I find this inspiring, but I like laughing.

Sugata: There are places on the planet where good teachers cannot or do not go. We have tried to level the playing field for a thousand years, unsuccessfully. We need an alternative. Children, given technology and left alone, seem to be able to level the playing field by themselves, probably because Computers and the Internet work the same way in the swamps of the Sunderbans as in Washington DC. Teachers don’t work the same way, neither do parents. So, if there was a way of learning that had minimum dependence on parents and teachers, children everywhere would have a better chance. This is Minimally Invasive Education.

Steve: Following on from your hole in the wall projects in their various contexts, you developed the idea of remote mentors, popularly called the ‘Granny Cloud’. Can you explain how this works and why it is important?

Steve: You seem to have attracted the nickname of the ‘Slumdog Professor’ in regards to the influence your research had on the making of the Slum Dog Millionaire movie. Is this something you are happy with? Sugata: I am happy that Vikas Swarup was inspired by my early work. I am not happy that self taught children should aspire to win game shows. They should do a Ph.D. instead, as, at least, one child from a hole in the wall computer has done. I love the name though! Steve: You tell stories about your contact with learners in remote or under privileged areas of society, many of which are inspirational. Which story (or stories) inspires you the most from your many travels? Sugata: There are far too many stories to tell, all of them incredibly inspiring. One incident came to my mind as I said the last sentence: ‘You Sir, have crossed all limits of

Sugata: As I previously said, there are places on the planet where good teachers cannot or do not go. But they can, using Skype. There are retired teachers who miss children. Grannies can accelerate self organised learning. Put it all together and you get the Granny Cloud. You can get further details about this idea from www.solesandsomes. Steve: Can you talk a little about your latest research interests? Sugata: There are several research questions I’m currently pursuing. For example, can a facility for children be operated remotely over the Internet? What will it take to build one? How can we get Key Stage 4 (14-16 year old) reading comprehension in children of age six? Is there a math (formula) that will explain how learning works? Steve: Those are quite ambitious research questions, and we will be very interested to hear of your results. I had dinner with Nicholas Negroponte recently and your name came up. He told me you have been involved with MIT, working with him and his colleagues such as Vijay Kumar in the Media Lab. Could you talk a little about your involvement there? Did your work there for example relate to Negroponte’s one laptop per child movement? Sugata: I was there as a visiting professor for a year. I am not now.

ProfilE: SUGATA MiTrA My work with Nicholas was on whether children can learn to read by themselves. We don’t quite know yet. Nicholas framed a question for me, ‘is knowing obsolete?’ It is my biggest take away from the Media Lab. Steve: What is your vision for education in the next 10 years? What do you think needs to be done next? Sugata: We need to rethink the curriculum, rethink assessment and rethink certification in an age where ‘knowing’ may be obsolete. Homo Sapiens will transition to Homo Deus in the next 50 years. Our preoccupation will be with meaning and creation. Knowing will not be our main interest - creating will. In order to create we will need

to know things. When we need to know something we will have the means and the capacity to do so in minutes. A page of erudite text may take an educated person an hour to understand. A century ago it would have taken a month. A thousand years ago, a year or more. We could extrapolate to a time when it will take us a minute to understand. A generation or two later, one second. The human brain is evolving faster than anything has, ever before. Steve: Sugata, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Steve wheeler is Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at Plymouth University, in South West England and a passionate blogger. Originally trained as a psychologist, he has spent his entire career working in media, technology and learning. He is now in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society. He teaches on a number of undergraduate and post-graduate teacher education programmes. He specialises in research on e-learning and distance education, with particular emphasis on social media and Web 2.0 tools. Steve is elected Member of the EDEN Network of Academics and Professionals Steering Committee and was named as the world’s 4th most influential Twitter personality on the topic learning technology in 2012.

Sugata Mitra and Sir Ken Robinson, also a keynote at EDEN in June. Photo at the TED award 2013

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KEynoTE SPEAKEr AT EDEn 2013: AnnA KirAh

Learner-centered and people-centered, that is Anna Kirah’s slogan every day. Photo: Eirik Solheim

People-centered with a passion for learning InTervIewed By TorhILd SLåTTo, NADE

after an hour with anna Kirah a metaphor from the Bible strikes me: Sarepta’s jar. It never becomes empty. anna Kirah is full of enthusiastic ideas and points of view. actually I think she is made of a mix of enthusiasm, positivity and flexibility that is getting refilled all the time. She is an american who grew up in China and Japan, studied in norway and the uSa, lived in France and denmark. now she has settled for good in a small town in norway. “The search is over, this is home,” she says. She is a social anthropologist, psychologist and innovator, working with a consultant company, Making waves, in oslo.

anna Kirah is key note speaker at EDEN 2013 in Oslo. Certainly she is going to engage and involve the minds and thoughts of the listeners, as she did some time ago at the NADE conference. With her about 150 centimeters and soft

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personality she lightens up the stage and embraces the audience. Her approach to learning as well as to health service or anything else is that it has to be people-centered or learner-centered. And she will make her presentation genuinely

learner-centered on the EDEN stage 13 July… Children are open To Anna Kirah it is obvious that the best way of learning is to learn from persons that are just like us, not

KEynoTE SPEAKEr AT EDEn 2013: AnnA KirAh experts. “If she can do it, I can do it, too”. - Do children and adults have different ways of learning? - Sure. Children are open and curious. Adults are closed. Much of the success in our generation is related to our ability to follow a linear path. We push this linearity into what we do, but society is not linear, and we do not know how to handle chaos. This linearity will not do for the future. Children are not linear! Today we have access to all the knowledge we want and need, and the authority of the experts has gone. -What about the teacher? -The teacher’s role is to meet the student where the student is, to inspire and to be a “veiviser”. “ She switches to Norwegian for a second to find the right word. “Veiviser” is a guide or a mentor. -With so much knowledge and information we get lost and frustrated? -Yes, learning is also about creating frameworks, but not linearity. Teacher can help learners to find frameworks and hooks for structuring the knowledge. And the joy of learning to me is passion – and compassion. Promote curiosity -We need to encourage the children to explore. We have to let go of the old idea of what learning is. The teacher’s job is to push the students’ boundaries, to go further, to learn more. They cannot rely on a textbook written by one person. They have to learn to ask questions, they have to learn how to be critical, and they have to learn how to connect others to learn more and to collaborate. Teachers have to reinvent ways to promote curiosity and creativity. From the user’s perspective Anna Kirah believes in diversity – diversity in knowledge and

diversity in people! And diversity in perspectives. Her job is to make people-centered innovations, and then she needs diversity to make good solutions. She has conducted many astonishing projects working from the user’s perspective. She has traveled all over the world to learn about the user’s perspective in dealing with computers and software (Microsoft), and passengers’ perspective when traveling by air (Boeing). One of her present jobs is to make Gardermoen airport functional, secure and pleasant for the passengers. To do a good job she has of course studied the passenger’s perspective, and now she is helping to make an e-learning program for thousands of employees at Gardermoen. -They will learn how to express themselves in a warm way showing their unique self.” I am here for you The Gardermoen project goal as well as project slogan is “I am here for you”. The employee is here for the passenger. She has found three categories of employees: heroes, potential heroes and non-heroes. -The non-heroes are good at other types of jobs and should not work as service staff. The first two groups are those who are in contact with the passengers. -How are you going to teach them to become service-minded? -The e-learning program is going to be based on real stories and real experiences at Gardermoen, they will learn from each other, and not from experts. They will think that “When somebody who is just like me can do brilliant service, then I can do, too.” -It is going to be an e-learning course plus follow-up when they go back to their job. Learning in the ghetto of Soweto Anna Kirah was a teacher for top leaders from top companies in Denmark when she was dean at

an innovation school for leaders in Jutland. Once she took a group of top leaders to the ghetto in Soweto in South Africa. They were going to learn project work. She divided them in groups together with Soweto inhabitants to solve certain problems. Four out of five groups failed because the leader from Denmark put forward her or his solution. The fifth group was successful because they collaborated all the way. -When I am engaged to do a job for managers, I use to say that you have to get out of your nice management room and leave your fan club. You have to involve your employees. -And they are very happy? -Well, I push them out of their comfort zone; of course they don’t feel good. But that is what it takes, involve the people and try to understand their perspective, then the solution will be so much better.” user-oriented health system Anna Kirah seems to have an internal power to use her abilities to make the society a better place for people. She is involved in “Design without borders” which is like “Doctors without borders”. In the future she would like to work with the authorities to make public services user-oriented. -Norway has an historical chance to make user-oriented health systems for patients, drug addicts and others in need of help. The resources are available, and it is possible to do it. Anna Kirah refers to one of St. Francis’ prayers: “Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Meet Anna Kirah at EDEN 2013.

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May 12, georg Sverdrup Building opens its doors to EDEN 2013 participants from all over the world. The theme of this half week in EDEN country is – The joy of learning. We ask Anders what he thinks is the joy of learning. Anders thinks carefully before replying. -For me the joy of learning must be meeting the university and discovering the enormous study opportunities when I came here as a student. I found it hard to limit myself and choose, there was so much I wanted to study”

-What is you best arrangement? -Perhaps the debate meeting in April. I helped arrange a debate on the question of whether the university offered the courses business and the economy need today. What about creativity and innovation? An interesting topic and a good arrangement. I am also responsible for the professional educational day, an annual event we put on where at least a thousand teachers come to get an update and top up in their subjects. It is always a big arrangement.

Anders did some Arabic, social geography and Middle East studies before finally deciding on literature. -Imagine being allowed to read literature as your subject. That was a great joy, he remembers.

Had his hands full with 300 teachers -What has been the most fun? -The most fun? Well, the most challenging was the job of compère at a conference on the regulations for the learning environment in school. I was really forced to improvise with 300 teachers in the hall who knew a lot more about the subject than I did.

He enjoyed Blindern so much he began to work in the academic administration after taking his master’s degree. It was here he discovered the joy of working. He worked on facilitating both big and small arrangements.

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arrangements with no technical hiccups Often Anders has a role backstage as

arranger. -What is your idea of an ideal arrangement? -It has to be an arrangement where you clearly experience an open and listening university, one that both influences society and is influenced by it. Without technical hiccups! The aula and Munch -You know the campus well. Do you have a favorite spot where you like to spend time? -I would like to mention the Aula, even if it is in a league of its own. Entering it, seeing Munch’s paintings on the walls gives one a special feeling for the historical role of the university. University Square, symbolically in the middle of the city between the Palace and Parliament. That underlines the significance the university had for Norway as a nation. -Back to the campus at Blindern. What do you like to show visitors? - I recommend a walk along the Blindern axis, from the HistoryPhilosophy Faculty and the Social


welcome to georg Sverdrup! Anders Lundell welcomes nigh on 400 EDEN 2013 participants to the Blindern Campus of the University of Oslo. Not that he is standing in the doorway shaking the hand of each and every one of them, but he wants to be the omnipresent host who ensures that they are comfortable and that the arrangement goes as planned. He feels that the venue, the George Sverdrup Building is a sure card: -The Georg Sverdrup Building is a splendid,classical library, well equipped and an Eldorado for students at the same time as it is a sovereign meeting place for professional and social debates.

anderS LundeLL, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO InTervIewed By TorhILd SLåTTo, NADE

Sciences Faculty at the top down to the George Sverdrup Building and on to the Physics Building. The university at Tøyen -I’d like to mention the Botanical Gardens at Tøyen, which also belong to the University of Oslo. They show the strong historical roots and say something about an important scientific function as well as having great value as a recreational area for the people of the city… That

says something about the long term nature of research. -You are at Norway’s largest educational institute and see thousands of students daily. What is the most exciting or exotic subject at the University of Oslo? -I don’t know. It’s very subjective, of course. For my own part, I’d like more literature topics if I had a year off to study here,” says Anders, who besides his job is also a student, not at Oslo University but at the

The university of oslo in figures

College at Lillehammer, where he is studying communication counseling. This is possible because it is a flexible course combining online studies with periodic seminars at Lillehammer. There are hundreds of courses and conferences at the university each year and it is not the first time Anders Lundell is the host for big, international conferences. Recently the head of NATO came to speak at the European Conference on Security. The university Library at Blindern– the georg Sverdrup Building

Students (in numbers) Doctoral candidates (in a doctoral degree program by agreement) Employees (total) Teaching and research staff: professors, lecturers (calculated in employee/year’s work units ) Support staff for teaching. Research and communication (in employee/ year’s work units ) Administrative and maintenance staff (in employee/ year’s work units) Faculties Museum Library, number of printed volumes Finances Nobel Prize laureates

26,869 3,050 6,028 3,344

The architects Telje-Torp-Aasen designed the new university library around the concept that the building should be the heart of the university complex at Blindern as well as a

1,142 1,541 8 3 3.6 mill. 6.6 billion. 5

knowledge bank for students and staff. It should bind the upper and lower parts of the campus – its glossy black larvikite façade shining. Today the Georg Sverdrup Building houses the former Library for the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as auditoria, classrooms, book archives. It also serves as an arena for representation, conferences and

2012 figures. Source:

cultural arrangements.

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on onlinE EXAM

digital exams – all resources allowed! In this spring semester, teacher education students at The Department of Teacher Education and School Research (ILS) at the University of Oslo have been able to use technology while doing their exams. In these new types of digital exams, students can use any resource they have available: They can access the internet, their curriculum literature and they can even talk to fellow students or others if they want to. By KIrSTI engeLIen, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO

The overarching goal of this new kind of examination is to create opportunities for the students to demonstrate their professional competence, not to reproduce their textbooks. This implementation of digital exams in our teacher training program is closely linked to the development of a new study design. Traditional teacher training have been accused of failing in preparing future teachers for the realities of the classroom. Phrases such as “reality shock” or “transition shock” has for a long time seemed appropriate in describing the difficulties challenging teacher training programs. Research stills shows that the wished for transfer of theory to practice is still meagre or even non-existent. In today’s society, knowledge is no longer solely in the possession of experts but distributed, and the important connection between technology mediated and collaborative tasks and students learning outcome

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has been demonstrated. This perspective challenges traditional teacher education and opens for collaborative practices and knowledge building. Future teachers need to be able to challenge the “wicked problem” of teaching with technology by designing tasks that invites collaboration, exploration and mutual knowledge building. The same can be stated about teacher educators. In 2012, ILS introduced a new oneyear teacher education program. The new study design has been developed in close collaboration with Norway’s first Centre of Excellence in Education, The Centre for Professional learning in Teacher education (ProTed) in anticipation of new national curricula for teacher education in Norway. Our work in this area is inspired from our partnership with Stanford University and builds upon new insight from research on teacher education as well as years of student evaluations. Key features of the new study design are:

The one-year program is divided into two 30 credit courses consisting of pedagogy, subject didactics and clinical work (practice) Each course has learning outcome descriptions that integrates these different knowledge areas Each course has research and development-oriented exam assignments that require them to integrate theory from pedagogy and subject didactics with their experiences from practice Each course offers lectures in research methodology to strengthen students future professional practice and their work with the R&Doriented exam assignments Digital exams” is a ProTed-project connected to work package 3: “Digital learning environments”. In this project we investigate how digital learning environments can enhance and help develop new assessment strategies through using different kinds of technology, and digital video especially. This year we implemented two different kind of

on onlinE EXAM

The good old days, exam in the 50´s, not a computer in sight, photo; Cushing Memorial Library and Archives

digital exams: One campus-based, the other home-based.

The first, a campus-based 6-hours model, was executed with 17 students in our Teach First program, which is a one-year teacher education program. The students took their exam in a computer lab on campus, using all available resources, including each other. The task consisted of three parts: First a series of multiple choice questions, second a discussion of a central question from their curriculum and finally they were asked to do an analysis of a video case from a classroom situation. This type of exam was piloted last year with good results and has laid the foundation for our work in this area. The second digital exam, the home-based 3-hours model, was implemented with 109 students in our five-year master of education program. ILS has nearly a thousand students in different teacher education programs each year. It has

therefore been important to develop exam types that allow students to use The second digital exam, the home-based 3-hours model, was implemented with 109 students in our five-year master of education program. ILS has nearly a thousand students in different teacher education programs each year. It has therefore been important to develop exam types that allow students to use their own equipment. The students took their exam at home, or any other place of their own choosing. As with the other exam, they could use any kind of resource during their work with the assignment. “Control” of student’s reproduction of knowledge is therefore no longer an issue. This exam was shorter, 3 hours, and consisted only of an analysis of a video case from a typical classroom situation. The students were given the assignment and the assessment criteria approximately one week in advance, and could thus prepare beforehand for the more intense work with analysing and discussing

the video case. Our experiences so far are overwhelmingly positive. We believe that these kinds of exams, that combine new perspectives on knowledge, technology and assessment with assignments that give the students opportunities to demonstrate their professional competence in meeting with the “real world”, are the future for teacher education. ProTed: “The Centre for Professional learning in Teacher education (ProTed) has been awarded the title of Centre of Excellence in Education. The center is a joint venture between the teacher training programme at the Universities in Oslo and Tromsø, and will be headquartered at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at The Faculty of Educational Sciences, UiO.”

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folloWinG ThE ED TECh TrACK

Following the ed Tech track in San Francisco and Silicon valley On the occasion of the official visit of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to San Francisco from 7 to 9 May, Innovation Norway initiated and organized an exciting program for a highly specialized business delegation from Norway. The delegation represented several fields of interest such as Tourism, Advanced Technology, IT Security, Big Data and Educational Technology. This travelogue is from a highly grateful and deeply overwhelmed “Ed Tech participant”. By Torunn gJeLSvIK, AKADEMIET NETTSTUDIER

a well prepared program with royal support Innovation Norway had prepared the detailed program in cooperation with several Norwegian partners. For the Ed Tech track it was Abelia, a business of Norwegian knowledge and technology based enterprises, which had been coordinating the input from the participating Norwegian organizations interested in educational technology and learning. With the support and engagement of the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess, the delegation got the chance to meet with the absolute top people from prestigious universities and innovative companies in the area. day 1: Stanford university and the norwegian Innovation house in Palo alto Before lunch the whole delegation participated in a joint program at Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto, also known as “the

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birthplace of Silicon Valley”. This area has fostered a great number of innovative enterprises within technology and new business, and the city of Palo Alto was therefore chosen as the perfect base for the Norwegian Innovation House from its establishment in 2011. The Ed Tech group visited Innovation House in the afternoon and met with some of the breaking Norwegian tech entrepreneurs. Innovation House is a: …soft landing concept for entrepreneurs entering the U.S. market who can tap into our network of technology partners, investors and service providers ( The d. school and design thinking At Stanford the delegation first met with the d. school – The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. This school offers classes to graduate students enrolled at Stanford within design and innovation. Both students and professors come from various

disciplines and are brought together in order to develop innovative solutions to real world challenges. The learning environment is challenging and experimental, with focus on the design process in teams. Dr. David Kelley, founder of the school and chairman of the design firm IDEO, showed us some great examples of student innovations, while the Executive Director at Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Tina Seelig, gave a crash course on creativity and innovative learning. Her book What I wish I knew when I was 20 throws traditional learning methods up in the air, claiming that one of the biggest educational problems is that we don’t teach our students to identify problems as challenges that can be solved. She gave examples of the problem-solving tasks she gives her own students at the school, and how they adapt to real life challenges in the business world.

folloWinG ThE ED TECh TrACK

Silicon valley from above, photo by Patrick Nouhailler

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folloWinG ThE ED TECh TrACK Innovation House in Palo Alto helps Norwegian enterprises to establish themselves in Silicon Valley and provides shared office space, a relevant network and guidance and support to new entrepreneurs in the tech industry.

A clear message to the d. school students at Stanford

Panel discussion at Stanford, here represented by Dr. Mitchell Stevens, Dr. Daphne Koller and Dr. John C. Mitchell from Stanford University, and Paul Chaffey from Abelia, Norway

Dean Christopher Edley at UC Berkeley School of Law shows his revenue model of for-profit online courses.

We were not allowed to take photos inside the Google Headquarters, so almost everyone in the group took this particular photo of themselves.

At the Google Headquarters absolutely nothing is left to chance

Just when you think you have interpreted what MOOC is all about, they invent SPOC Photos: Torunn Gjelsvik

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folloWinG ThE ED TECh TrACK education in the Cloud – a new ecosystem for learning? After lunch the Ed Tech group had the opportunity to meet with the Stanford Online Learning Initiative “Education in the Cloud”. And yes – we talked about MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), but also a great deal about flipped classroom pedagogy and the educational benefits following the online learning initiative. An impressive delegation of academics was represented in the panel, among others Dr. Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. They all shared their knowledge and experience in a lively discussion with the Norwegian Ed Tech group. MOOC and online learning was stated as an unignorable phenomenon that challenges the whole idea of what a University is. It puts the learner in the center instead of the institution, and it challenges the way faculty teach and evaluate their own job. It has been only a year since Stanford first launched its massive open online courses on the Coursera platform. Today, 69 other universities around the world have joined Coursera with several MOOC, and more than 3.5 million students so far has registered for an open online course. Dr. Keith Devlin, who hosted the session, stressed that the most important outcome of the MOOC initiative was not cost effectiveness, but the growth of a new pedagogy and added value for students in the classroom. The flipped model allows the students to watch lecture videos at home instead of using time in class. As a result they show up prepared for class, and use their time solving problems and discussing important topics with their professor. One valuable gain from the flipped model is that the teacher is aware of fundamental misunderstandings that the students might have at a much earlier stage than in traditional lectures. If the online lectures in addition are followed by short interactive modules with clear

learning goals – it hits the spot! Other interesting learning activities are auto-grading exercises where students constantly can retry their efforts, and peer assessment, where students give feedback and evaluate each other. The burning MooC questions The delegation participants raised a lot of questions about the MOOC model. Should we all facilitate MOOC? What platform should we use, and where do we start? And what seem to be the right business models in this picture? Offering free online courses, especially to those who normally don’t have access to education, is a splendid idea, but how are we going to pay for this? From the panel we learnt that there is no such thing as a secret recipe. The whole MOOC development is a very fast moving operation, and the inventors themselves claim to learn something new every week. For a start, the most important thing is to know your own goal, Daphne Koller says. If your goal is to reach out to foreign students in every country, what kind of course would you provide, and what is your motivation? When it comes to business models, the Coursera model is based on free content and paid services. We learnt that the “freemium model” is big in California, which means that the income derives from those who are willing to pay for extra value such as credits, certification fees and tutoring. Another interesting question is how research capacity will be built in order to investigate in what ways education changes. Online learning generates massive learning data, data that can be collected and analyzed in order to identify the most successive methods and features. day 2: google in education and university of Berkeley Still early in the morning, the Ed Tech group arrived at the Google

Headquarters in Mountain View, the county of Santa Clara. We started with fresh coffee from the barista and breakfast from the buffet containing food color-coded to match the Google palette. During the following meeting hosted by Tina Ornduff, Program Manager for Geo Education at Google, we got the chance to speak with another interesting and engaging group of academics involved in Google’s leading edge technologies. The panel gave a broad perspective of the ongoing educational shifts, and described how they will contribute to prepare the students for a future that we cannot see. Important trends in learning are the shifts from local to global, alone to together and from consume to create. With the web at the center, Google aims to create engaging learning and innovative communities on a foundation of technology and access. The Google Apps for education are constantly developing; they are, to a large extent free resources available in the Cloud. Course Builder is an open source project that allows anyone to build and provide their own online courses. The platform contains software and instructions for presenting course material and creating online assessments, and it also opens up to Google community features, such as Google Hangouts for group online discussions. The development of MOOC also came up as a subject, more specifically the copyright issues following the large extent of online course material built into the open source platforms. However, the main focus was pointing out the possibilities that emerge from massive online education. Will there be competitions for star teachers coming up? Will “everybody” become a teacher in their own specialties and fields of interest? The Google experts claimed that accreditation and exams will be conducted very differently in the

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folloWinG ThE ED TECh TrACK future, and that learning units will be smaller and certified by a whole range of teachers. uC Berkeley – a workshop on educational Technology After a general program with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and all participants, the Ed Tech group attended a work shop led by Dean Christopher Edley of Berkeley Law School, and Dr. Inna Lisker, Associate Director of the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education.

and appointed different ways of cash flow to faculty who teach online. The biggest potential is in the lower division of courses where a large amount of tuition fees can contribute to finance on-campus activities and continuous development.

Dean Edley first gave us a perspective of different strategies for online education. In the year 2011-2012, the University of Berkeley represented 10 different campuses with 26,000 online courses and more than 90,000 enrollments, plus 21 MOOC. This huge quantity of online resources and course material raise important revenue questions, as the UC Berkeley experience an emerging capacity shortfall on campus. The online courses are by definition fully online-instructed, web-based in asynchronous pace, high touch tutoring and with UC credits and a full course approval process.

“we got MooCed” Dr. Edleys colleague, Dr. Inna Lisker from the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education (BRCOE), had a slight different approach, representing Berkeley’s long lasting experience in online education for adults. As in Norway there are significant providers of distance and online education in the USA, and the idea of giving people access to education through the Internet is definitely not a new invention. In a way you could say that MOOC only represents a new package of the whole idea. As Dr. Lisker puts it: “We got MOOCed”. There are of course some differences between the two models regarding tuition fees and the degree of communication with a tutor, in addition to the scalability of the MOOC platforms. But they resemble each other a lot, and both traditional online learning and MOOC increase general access to education.

While volume is critical for the UC system, individual online units need less volume. Dean Edley presented a revenue model for online learning

An unresolved question in the discussion was if the two different approaches represent conflicting models, especially when it comes

Torunn gjelsvik has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oslo and 13 years of experience from the field of distance education and online learning. She has recently conducted a project for Norwegian Association for Distance Education titled Innovation and challenge – pedagogical development in Norwegian distance education institutions 1995-2015. The project aims to highlight the online school’s large contribution to ICTpedagogical development in Norway. From May 2013 Torunn Gjelsvik is Managing Director of the online school Akademiet Nettstudier.

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to revenues. Dr. Lisker invited the delegation to participate in a research agenda about MOOC, and even presented an alternative model called SPOC (Small Private Open Course), as a local clone of a MOOC. The SPOC is supposed to represent the “best of both worlds”, providing interaction with tutors and adaptability to the needs of local students and academic structure. An important reason to investigate MOOC (or SPOC) is the fast development of educational technology. We were challenged to jump into it, try out new learning methods and platforms and enter the MOOC Research Lab. As we learnt at the d. school: The only way to do it is to DO IT. And with this “Silicon Spirit” the delegation happily left the building, Silicon Valley and San Francisco for now.

on MooCS

- MooCs will affect and even transform formal education QueSTIonS By TorhILd SLåTTo, NADE anSwerS By anderS noMe, NKS NETTSTUDIER

Anders Nome is Head of Development for NKS (Norwegian Correspondence School) Online Studies. He has years of experience of online education. Recently he took a study trip to California, where the latest trends in online education were the focus of attention. We asked Anders some questions on developments in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in American education. -You learnt something new about MOOCs in San Francisco recently. What was the most interesting part? -What was most interesting was getting insights into the business models that are coming in the wake of the MOOC trend. Some agents are commercial – such as Coursera and Udacity – while others are non-commercial, such as EdX and Khan Academy. Both categories of providers are concerned with creating models for income-generation. We spoke to both Coursera and EdX and they mentioned several possibilities: payment for diplomas/grade certificates, sale of the best students’ contact information to business (optional for the students), licensing the use of course content to other colleges and universities, investment from new partner schools and royalties from the sale of books. A relatively new term was mentioned: SPOC – small private online course. Both Coursera and EdX talk about SPOCs as a possible future. Individual guidance missing -You know a lot about online teaching. Is there a significant difference between NKS online studies and MOOCs? -Both NKS and MOOCs courses contain textbook articles, lectures, exercises and tests. But there are many differences. In all NKS courses students receive individual guidance from a teacher, whereas most MOOCs are based on the students

advising each other, while the teacher functions as a moderator in discussion groups and as the one who posts news announcements. All NKS courses have compulsory written tasks, which are graded and commented on by the subject teacher. This individual guidance by the subject teacher is the web course component that is most highly appreciated by our students. Another difference is the working language. We know that many of our students prefer to read and write Norwegian. In addition, most MOOCs so far are smaller than our courses and not eligible for credits. Much more than hype -May be the MOOC thing is just passing hype? -MOOCs are definitely more than hype. They will influence education in several ways. The founder of Udacity, Sebastian Thun, says that in fifty years we shall only have ten global providers of higher education. It is by no means certain he will prove right, but we see that the threat implied in the new trend has created an awareness of learning technology in the top administration of most universities and colleges. Such attention will accelerate investment in technology and the pedagogy linked to other campus trends such as for example ”flipped classroom”. enthusiasts versus institutional management -Are we now going to face a massive education ‘attack’ from prestigious universities in America and Australia? -That could well be. We will certainly see a great diversity of courses

offered and ways of organizing them. We see, for instance, that the Norwegian Department of Knowledge and NOKUT (the National Norwegian Organ for Quality in Education) are very much aware of the MOOC trend and are quite open about how MOOCs will affect and even transform formal education in Norway. My own prediction is that today’s university and college sector will not die out – most of those who are taking higher education for the first time want to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials, that is actually go to a university or college, but we will see greater pressure on further education. While the enthusiasts are excited about MOOCs, the administrations of many American universities are critical of the trend. Norwegian online schools and SPOCs -What are the opportunities for Norwegian online schools and universities in the MOOC concept? -The major MOOC providers are looking for ways of making money so I think that online schools and universities should think about it before they rush into MOOC country. We have to think about why students actually choose us today and why we succeed in cooperation with our partners. As I see it, the MOOC providers’ concept of the so-called SPOC (small private online course) is very close to what online schools are offering today. I think our approach has qualities that students are looking for. We can develop models that enable us to meet competition from international actors. But – a simple, definitive answer - no, I don’t have that. Synkron 2: 2013 19

flEXiBlE EDUCATion in norWAy

Innovation and challenge – 20 years of online education in norway During the spring of 2013 the Norwegian Association for Distance Education (NADE) conducted the project “Innovation and challenge”, exploring the contribution of the Norwegian online schools to pedagogical development from 1995 to 2015. Despite Norway’s long history and dedicated participation in the international field of distance education, the position of the online schools often remains little known. Hopefully, the report on this project, which NADE will release in June, will help broaden the perspective. A more thorough presentation of the project will be held at the EDEN Conference on the 15th of June in Oslo. By Torunn gJeLSvIK, PROJECT MANAGER, NADE

Background: Initiated by NADE and the online schools as membership institutions, the project has been sponsored by VOX (Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning). An important reason for the initiative was to bring to light the distance education institutions’ considerable role as providers of flexible and online learning for adult students in Norway. The history goes way back, far beyond 1995 for several of the online schools, and the oldest school, NKS Nettstudier, is celebrating its 100 year anniversary in 2014. We have chosen the time period from 1995 to cover the entrance of the Internet, involving as it did the major technological shift from correspondence to net based teaching. 16 online schools were interviewed about their development work for the last 20 years, their priorities,

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challenges and successes. Together these schools offer a large variety of subjects and learning programs on all levels – from high school courses and hobby courses to full master programs. development in different fields The pedagogical development covers several fields, such as technology and learning platforms, learning methodology and study concepts, the development of the teacher role and student administrative support systems and services. Some of the online schools play an important role as partners for higher education institutions in distributing flexible study programs on ESTCaccredited levels. Other schools cooperate closely with a particular industry, such as the banking industry, the lumber industry and the real estate industry.

Successes and dilemmas What seem to have been the most important successes? A part from the obvious opportunity to study without restrictions of time, pace and place, we need to mention the specific infrastructure and services provided to support flexible learning. Especially the two largest online schools, NKI and NKS, have invented specific features and services within their learning platforms to follow up and support the individual student’s needs. At the same time, they have strived to foster a collaborative learning environment and to encourage student cooperation. The online teacher’s role in motivating the students, challenging them and giving individual feedback on their assignments is also a very significant success factor.

flEXiBlE EDUCATion in norWAy BI bank og forsikring Campus NooA eCademy E-skuvla Folkeuniversitetet Nettstudier Folk bibelskole Globalskolen Industriskolen Luftfartsskolen NĂŚring og samfunn nettskole NKI Nettstudier NKS Nettstudier Norges Byggskole Norsk Nettskole AS OPK-Instituttet Senter for eiendomsfag AS The biggest pedagogical dilemma has been the need for individual freedom and flexibility on one hand and the aim for cooperative learning on the other. Individual pace is flexible, but it makes cooperation between students more difficult. However, synchronous pace provides flexibility but reduces individual freedom. The different online schools have landed on different solutions to this dilemma, and the project tries to explore both the advantages and challenges of the various learning approaches. Challenges The project also touches on some of the challenges faced during these two decades. One challenge is the financial situation of the online schools, which has gradually deteriorated ever since the 1980s, especially in the period

2002 to 2006. Another challenge is the general lack of recognition for distance learning as a learning method. Met both inside and outside educational institutions, this scepticism is also present among public educational authorities. At the same time we see a tendency towards more blended concepts within higher education. Moreover, the entry of more providers into the field of distance and online education has made the competition tougher. Trends and ambitions for the future In spite of these challenges, the online schools themselves are full of ambitions for the future. During the interviews we have discussed international trends in learning and education and all the new opportunities offered by an accelerating technological

development. Gaming, social learning design and mobile learning are trends that are very well absorbed by the online schools, which can clearly be seen in their respective strategies and development plans for the next couple of years. The online schools have made a considerable contribution to pedagogical development both in Norway and within the international field of distance education. Hopefully, this project will give the distance education schools the credit they deserve and inspire other learning institutions to enter into partnerships with them. Societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need for lifelong education and the need of new competencies and skills will continue to require flexible learning opportunities for adult people.

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Being curious and because I like to know what I am talking about, I have signed up for a couple of Courseraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s courses. I have not completed them yet; they are still going on.

The lectures do not set any limits, nor do the tests. The same is true of the papers that are to be peer-reviewed for there are always some taking the course.

I must point out that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not taking them for the sake of bettering my qualifications, more out of curiosity and the wish to learn. Besides I have a hectic life where these courses hardly have top priority.

The other point is the extremely variable quality of the videos, some so bad I can hardly bear watching them. I believe some of the subjects could with advantage have had professional communicators/actors to record the script.

Nonetheless, I do have some reflex ions. One is about the synchronous nature of the courses. Most of the teaching materials available in Coursera are such that I could start whenever I liked in whatever time suited me. All the same they operate with deadlines. If I have not taken a quiz within the set date, I do not get the credits. This just does not make sense to me. Why cannot I just hop off whenever I choose?

The third point is that I love Coursera. It is a treasure chest of knowledge with dozens of courses I would like to take, courses that I would never have taken the time to study at a university. One of the courses I am taking (and the only one I am up to schedule on) is Greek and Roman mythology. I can sign for the signature track on this course but am not going to do so. I would rather enjoy the knowledge I get by taking this course.

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CAlEnDAr SUMMEr/AUTUM nEW MEMBErS 2013 JUNE 11-13 June HSS13 - Høgskoler og samfunn i samhandling Høgskolen i Sør-Trøndelag Personal Learning Environments: Learning and Diversity in the Cities of the Future

12-15 June EDEN, DE2013 www.disruptiveeducation2013. com

SEPTEMBER 10 September MOOC i NORGE UiO, HiL, NFF, Bibsys, NTNU Forskningsparken, mer informasjon kommer

JULY 10-12 July The PLE Conference 2013 Berlin og Melbourne

26-27 September EFQUEL Innovation Forum Barcelona

Refocusing Quality of E-Learning. With a new wave of e-learning emerging through new and fascinating developments like Open educational resources, MOOCs and social media in learning and a decade of intense development of quality criteria, methods and management approaches it is time to extract the scientific essence: Where do we stand today in quality development in e-learning?

EDEN ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2013: The joy of learning, Oslo 12. - 15. June 2013 Deadline registration: June 7, 2013 For De2013 program 14.june, see hashtags: #de2013 #EDENoslo Synkron 2: 2013 23

Avsender Norsk forbund for fjernundervisning og fleksibel utdanning Lilleakerveien 23 0283 Oslo

A Century of Flexible Education in Norway 1910


nKI’s precursor, (noréns Korrespondens Institut), was established in Sweden.

nKS (norsk Korrespondanseskole) was established as norway’s first correspondence school by ernst g. Mortensen.

1976 The adult education act created great expectations in the field of ditance education.



1988 The norwegian Centre for distance education (SeFu) was established by nKI, nKS, and nFu. It initiated, organized, and coordinated several research and development projects related to distance education.


nade - the norwegian association for distance education (norsk Brevskoleforbund, senere nFF) was established.

2002 governmental subsidies for distance education was debated and reduced by one third.

nKI offered europe’s first online course as distance education via its in-house developed LMS.


1988 - 90 The parliament white paper no. 43, (Stortingsmelding nr. 43, Mer kunnskap til flere) recognized distance education as a field in chapter 9.

norway hosted the International Council for open and distance education (ICde) world conference. The ICde secretariat was located in oslo and financially supported by the Ministry of education and research.


The norwegian executive Board for distance education (SoFF – later norway opening universities) was established to stimulate ICT-based education in universities and colleges.

2001 The norwegian agency for Lifelong Learning (voX – nasjonalt fagorgan for kompetansepolitikk) was established.

nKI was established in norway.


The correspondence schools’ development centre (BuSBrevskolenes utviklingssenter) was initiated by nKI, nKS and nade.


nKS and BI fjernundervisning introduced online courses for distance education.




The norwegian State Institution for distance education (nFu, norsk Fjernundervisning) was established as a “networking model”, not as an open university model used in other countries.

norway was the first country to regulate correspondence education by an act of Parliament. The Correspondence Schools Council was established by the ministry for regulation and accreditation of distance education.

2000 The Quality reform in higher education was introduced. Life long learning was promoted along with a clear focus on better quality, evaluation and use of ICT in education.


a revision of the 1976 adult education act incorporated important paragraphs of the former correspondence education act. nade developed quality standards for distance education.

1997 -98 The Competence reform was introduced with enhanced focus on life long learning and adult education.


The adult education act was changed and the governmental subsidies were transferred to development grants that certified institutions could apply for.


The norwegian Centre for ICT in education (Senter for IKT I utdanningen) was established as a merger of, ITu and uninett aBC.

Norvegian Association for Distance and Flexible Education

Synkron nr 2 2013  

Magazine for Innovative Education

Synkron nr 2 2013  

Magazine for Innovative Education