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June 2012

ICDE Achievements 2009-2011


Executive summary The ICDE strategic plan for 2009-2012 provides the foundation for ICDE’s work. It was developed by the previous ICDE Executive Committee in consultation with members and was published together with the ICDE Secretariat’s activity plan. Feedback was invited at meetings, conferences, and online. A Progress Report published in June 2011 responded to member expectations, described progress in the planned activities, and provided direction for the final period of the strategic plan.

Key actions to be the global arena for the discussion of distance education policies Project in cooperation with UNESCO on the regulatory frameworks for distance education A study of the regulatory frameworks for distance education was commissioned and delivered during the period of this strategic plan. ICDE had determined a need to identify and draw attention to rules and regulations that hinder development, arguing that the social relevance of distance education, as well as security, quality and equity of access are closely linked to the application of sound regulatory systems. Bids were sought from member institutions and regional associations to carry out a pilot project, and thirteen bids were received through an open bidding procedure. ICDE provided USD 10,000 in seed money. An independent selection panel was formed which selected a consortium

The Executive Committee completed its term of office at the end of 2011 and this report therefore summarizes achievements and lessons learned during the period 2009-2011. These are presented under each of the four main objectives in the spheres of policies, quality, new methodologies and technologies, and cooperation between members. Analysis is also provided of the membership, the management and the organization of ICDE. Two key achievements and two lessons

based around the Australian Distance Education Hub (DEHub) who proposed to study the regulatory frameworks for distance education in 24 nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Early work on the formulation of a proposal benefited from input from ICDE’s General Delegate to UNESCO, though this organization was not involved in the study (see page 3: relations with UNESCO). ICDE in numbers


Nations in the AsiaPacific region covered by the study of regulatory frameworks for distance education

learned may serve as a summary of the organization’s experience of its activities and development during the period 2009-2011. A common strategy was agreed in dialogue with members and this has been followed, while trust in the governance and management of the organization has been established. ICDE must, however, recognize the need for greater external focus and wider relevance. A structured and methodological approach to activities built on the strengths of its membership is required to achieve success.

A database of information on 24 countries and five institutional case studies are published on the ICDE website

Report demonstrates that regulatory frameworks are not necessarily a limiting factor – other issues such as infrastructure play a greater role

• Significant member interest generated: twelve bids received • Presentation of preliminary findings at 24th ICDE World Conference

Lessons learned • Importance of a realistic scope • A clear target audience should be defined

Achievements • Pilot study completed • Methodology devised to give the basis for future studies • Report creates the basis for further advocacy activity

• Regulatory frameworks are not the only limiting factor and often not the most significant • It may be necessary to revise the methodology for future studies


Invite submission of articles on policy issues for publication in Open Praxis There is a need for ICDE to provide exposure for policy issues related to distance education. This has been carried out through the organization’s electronic communications channels and its news service. The ICDE journal, Open Praxis, has since 2009 been redeveloped as a journal concentrating on innovative practice. Achievements • News articles on policy forums, cooperation with UNESCO and other policy areas • Greater news coverage of UNESCO, OECD and World Bank reports and initiatives • Dedicated section of ICDE website for policy articles • Significant coverage of policy issues relating to open educational practices (see page 3: Open Educational Quality Initiative) • Regional reports in the 2011 ICDE Highlights publication and online Lessons learned • Need for more regional policy issues to be covered, for example through a series of news stories

Project in cooperation with Brazilian Association for Distance Education and partner institutions on developing distance education statistics A need was determined for improved clarity on the status of distance education globally, to demonstrate how engrained it is in education systems around the world and to demonstrate its achievements. The Brazilian Association for Distance Education offered ICDE access to its own work in this area and facilitated contact with its own partners to help determine how ICDE could progress with such a project. Achievements • ICDE has developed an understanding of the considerations necessary for undertaking such a project Lessons learned • Issues remain unresolved about ownership of data, access to raw data, and where data would be stored 2

The importance of ICDE being able to guarantee the correct and responsible management of data provided by its member institutions

• The need for improved structures for deciding upon and carrying out projects

Lessons learned • The need for clear definition of purpose

Organize a Policy Forum together with a member institution

• The need to consider integrating the aims of this activity in other activities • The need for considering partnership with relevant international bodies in undertaking this kind of activity

The organization, together with partners, of a task force to explore the opportunities for increased exchange between regions on ODE policy and to promote intra-regional collaboration Policy challenges to distance education are often different from region to region, and variations may also exist within regions. ICDE perceives its role to be an organization which facilitates dialogue between regions and within regions. It has been necessary for ICDE to build a stronger, more formalized network at the regional level. A task force has not been established. ICDE in numbers


Associate members of ICDE – regional and key national associations

Achievements • ICDE has opened its membership to regional distance education associations • Twelve regional and national associations have become associate members • Policy Forum on collaboration at ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents in New York, USA, 2011 • Policy paper on collaboration published on the ICDE website •

Meetings held with representatives of regional associations at the 24th ICDE World Conference to discuss forms for future collaboration

This activity was deemed necessary to gather members’ concerns and input to ICDE’s future work on policy. Achievements • Policy Forum held at the 2010 ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents •

Report published on the ICDE website summarizing the barriers to distance education and potential strategies to be used to overcome policy barriers to ODL

• Subsequent Policy Forum held in 2011, and planned for 2012 • Policy Forums have become an annual feature in the ICDE calendar • Policy Forum working groups and reports provide useful feedback to strategy development • Policy Forum reports are useful documents for building future advocacy work

Lessons learned •

Policy Forums will maintain support of members as long as they are part of a strategy for the organization’s policy work

ICDE in numbers


ICDE Policy Forums held or under planning – in 2010, 2011 and 2012

Invite the highest level of officials in ODE at Ministries of Education to report on findings from the task force and projects The strategic plan envisaged that the findings of ICDE’s work on policy should be communicated to decision makers at the political level. Work has begun on developing the necessary contacts for the realization of this action. Achievements •

Paper delivered at Southeast Asian Ministers of Education High Officials Meeting in 2012 and agreement achieved to consider future joint projects

• Dialogue initiated with UNESCO on a joint study with potential to influence governmental policy makers •

Dialogue initiated with UNESCO on a possible future high level policy forum, focusing on policies beyond Education For All

Lessons learned • ICDE needs alliances in order to gain ministerial attention • SEAMEO and UNESCO are both positively inclined to working with ICDE to influence member governments • Other regional groupings could be targeted, such as the Commonwealth Ministers’ conference • ICDE requires external sponsorship to realize this activity

Activity to strengthen relations with and support the work of UNESCO

members are granted a voice at UNESCO through ICDE’s General Delegate at the International Conference of NGOs, while obliging ICDE to acquaint its members with UNESCO programmes, activities and achievements pertaining to open and distance education. Achievements • Influence over the final communiqué of the 2009 UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education • Address by ICDE’s General Delegate at UNESCO to the 2010 ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents • Participation of the ICDE President in the UNESCO Ratings Forum in 2011 • Useful channels created at operational level with the Section for Communication and Information •

Meetings held between the President, Secretary General and UNESCO management, including the Director General Education

Lessons learned •

An external project, the Open Educational Quality Initiative, was a driver for relations to be developed with UNESCO at an operational level

• Relations between the ICDE secretariat and the relevant UNESCO sections must be further developed • ICDE must be aware of the need to balance its relations with the different relevant sections at UNESCO •

ICDE is an NGO official partner of UNESCO (consultative status). ICDE’s

There are considerable synergies to be found between the importance which UNESCO affords to teacher training and the achievements of ODL in this area in developing countries

• Dialogue between UNESCO and ICDE should be further developed, broadened and deepened step by step, based on joint interests

Key actions to promote quality in distance, flexible and ICT-based education Develop a section on the ICDE website where major initiatives on quality in education are described This activity was required in order to underline ICDE’s commitment to quality within open and distance education, and to begin to create an online resource of the major initiatives and organizations working with quality in education. Achievements • Section created as planned Lessons learned •

External input on the content of this section should be sought in order to improve and update the content

Develop a section on the ICDE website where major distance education journals are presented and indexes of contents are successively updated ICDE in numbers


Journals featured on the ICDE website

Achievements • Section created as planned Lessons learned • The use of RSS feeds means that these are updated automatically

Open Educational Quality Initiative together with partners, and supported by the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme ICDE was invited to take part in this project in partnership with seven other institutions and organizations in order to raise awareness of open educational practices – practices involving the use, reuse and sharing of open educational resources – which lead to quality and innovation.


Quality auditing. Continue and further develop structures and methods for auditing of the student learning experience

Achievements • Added value for members through creation of tools to aid uptake of open educational practices • Represents a worthy follow up activity to the ICDE OER Task Force report •

Close collaboration with ICDE member The Open University UK, and with UNESCO Higher Education and Communication and Information sections

• Has created visibility for ICDE among and beyond its traditional constituency • External funding allowed for an increase in information activity 2009-2011 • Staff of the secretariat have improved their collaborative skills and understanding of project methodology Lessons learned • Participation in a large, collaborative and externally funded project brings clear and measureable achievements which ICDE can be proud of • Such projects are a tremendous opportunity for close collaboration and relationship building with member institutions and other important actors • External funding created an increase in the overall capacity of the Secretariat • Projects of this nature are by their nature forward looking and innovative, characteristics which it is important for ICDE to embrace ICDE in numbers

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Institutions and organizations which partnered with ICDE in the Open Educational Quality Initiative

ICDE has for a number of years offered member institutions the opportunity to engage the organization to perform an external review of their provision of services based on international best practice. During the period of the strategic plan, it is envisaged that the procedures for this activity should be revised, and improved, allowing ICDE to offer this service to its membership. Achievements • • • •

Framework developed as a revised service for member institutions Survey of member interest in service carried out Review carried out at Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia The future service is developed as a project, step by step, to be launched during 2012/13

Lessons learned • • •

Further planning is required before this can be launched more widely as a member service Guidelines and profile requirements for consultants need to be developed The service has the potential to be a source of revenue for ICDE

Together with partners organize a task force which will explore and describe criteria for excellence and accreditation strategies […] to reflect the values and interests of both developed and developing countries A key element of ICDE’s strategy has been to work to find common strategies for enhancing the profile of open and distance education, and demonstrating that open and distance education equates to quality education. Achievements •

Standing Conference of Presidents meetings in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and Policy Forums in 2010 and 2011 provided significant member input to this task

• Request for proposal prepared inviting independent consultants to bid to map the quality situation and report to the Executive Committee Lessons learned •

Importance of engaging a consultant with experience and appreciation of the challenges in open and distance education in the developing world

Develop a template for defining quality in distance education institutions, providing opportunities to compare educational institutions and creating a common language about distance education Achievements • •

Consensus achieved that it is necessary to wait for the outcomes of the report described above before deciding how such a template could be defined Plans in place for a marketing campaign to contribute to the creation of a new language about distance education

Lessons learned • Arguments exist for quality criteria to be embraced which are applicable to all types of institutions, irrespective of the mix of distance and residential studies • The issue of the language used to describe distance education should not distract from the fact that learner progression and outcomes are more significant indicators of quality

Key actions to contribute to the development of new methodologies and technologies Invitation to members to develop a project for the identification of key aspects of the digital divide and possible steps towards overcoming the divide ICDE is a membership organization for open and distance education worldwide, and it is incumbent upon the organization to help members from contexts with infrastructure challenges to embrace technology and the benefits which this can bring.

Achievements • Standing Conference of Presidents meeting 2010 defined key areas of concern for members in developing countries • This theme was covered at the 24th ICDE World Conference

To demonstrate the successes of distance education and the opportunities it brings, ICDE should together with member institutions initiate a collection of articles describing key achievements in the field of open and distance education

• Host institution and editor selected and contract signed for two years and four issues • Planning meetings held and publication timetable agreed

Lessons learned •

A reassessment is necessary of the priority this activity should be afforded in ICDE’s work plans and follow up activities

To achieve progress in this field, the initiative has to be connected to other activities (e.g. teacher training, and policy initiatives)

Develop a strategy for enhancing OER in an international setting following the recommendations of the ICDE Task Force Open educational resources are widely recognized as bringing benefits to learners and educational institutions through providing access to shared learning resources which can be adapted for individual contexts. The ICDE Task Force on OER made a series of recommendations for ICDE’s future work in this area which need to be placed in a structure for effective follow up. Achievements • ICDE’s engagement in the Open Educational Quality Initiative • OER being a significant part of the programme at the 24th ICDE World Conference • ICDE’s engagement with the UNESCO OER Chairs • Partnership agreed with UNESCO for the first World OER Congress to be held in 2012 Lessons learned • The recommendations of the Task Force should be revisited for the further development of strategy

Achievements • A modest start through a call for success stories published online • Plans in place for the further collection of success stories • Plans in place for a marketing campaign for distance education Lessons learned • Resources must be prioritized to allow for follow up of member institutions • Ensuring member engagement in the planning and fulfillment of promotional activities is crucial for success • It is necessary to find synergies with other promotional activities

Develop a literature depository on open and distance learning on the ICDE website Achievements • Sections established on the ICDE website featuring reports and handbooks Lessons learned • Partnership with a member institution or other organization with capacity and competence in this field is necessary

Lessons learned • Need for a smooth transition between one editor and next to ensure Open Praxis continues to grow as a quality, peer-reviewed journal

Key actions to foster cooperation between members Continue to hold ICDE conferences: SCOP meeting in Barcelona, 2009; SCOP meeting in South Africa, 2010; World Conference in Indonesia, 2011 These events were held as planned, constituting a significant part of the activity of the organization. The Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) meeting is for senior management of member institutions and invited partners, while the biennial world conference is targeted primarily at practitioners of open and distance learning.

Develop Open Praxis […] as an arena where young researchers can publish and meet under the guidance of experienced practitioners in the field Achievements • Revised concept for a peer-reviewed journal to focus on innovative practice devised in collaboration with Executive Committee • Call for Editor circulated with offer of grant money from ICDE - three applications received from member institutions

Achievements • Key ICDE events held on 4 continents over a 3-year period providing added-value for members and exposure within the wider ODL community


• Conclusions and recommendations of SCOP 2009 published and distributed • SCOP 2009 demonstrated ICDE’s role in facilitating inter-institutional dialogue on how to maintain quality in the context of the global financial crisis • SCOP 2010 showed that ICDE wishes to be an inclusive organization by inviting presidents of institutions holding membership in the African Council for Distance Education • SCOP 2010 demonstrated the organization’s commitment to dialogue on bridging the development gap and highlighting the achievements of African institutions in this work • The 24th World Conference demonstrated ICDE’s commitment to dialogue on open educational resources and new approaches to learning • The 24th World Conference Fellowship Programme demonstrated the organization’s wish to increase access to this event Lessons learned • ICDE should focus on key areas for cooperation after events have been held • Where ICDE seeks recommendations and conclusions, resources should be determined to develop and fulfil these • A more inclusive programme would increase participation in these events beyond ICDE’s traditional constituency • The World Conference requires a sustainability strategy to ensure that conferences remain financially viable while maintaining high quality

ICDE in numbers

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Delegates at the 24th ICDE World Conference in Bali, Indonesia

Development of a new website: all regional and national associations and major institutions within distance education are described; a section of the website allowing and supporting interaction between members; a forum for continual dialogue between the ICDE business bodies and ICDE representative to UNESCO; a section [...] where relevant issues in work with UNESCO are described Achievements • New website launched in 2009 with attractive design and simplified structure • Integrated newsletter tool allows for news to be distributed with relative ease • Continued and sustained engagement with associations and institutions; profiles published of key actors • A message board facility was established and has been used successfully for specific discussions relating to strategy and constitutional changes • A Facebook profile has been established as a forum for interaction, and has over 500 followers • A Twitter account has recently been established as an alternative forum for interaction, and has 120 followers • Success in holding dialogue with new and existing constituencies through the use of third-party electronic forums including the OER Facebook group, UNESCO WSIS OER community and EduTech debate forum • An extranet has been established for the exchange and cataloguing of documentation between the Secretariat, business bodies, and a limited number of external partners • Stories relating to UNESCO initiatives of relevance for ICDE are published frequently through ICDE news channels, and these, together with key reports from UNESCO are catalogued in a dedicated section of the website

• Cooperation with member institutions has resulted in significant website resources being translated into Chinese and Russian ICDE in numbers

15, 000

Recipients of the ICDE electronic newsletter twice per month

Lessons learned • It is necessary for ICDE to engage proactively in virtual discussions and debates with its members and others • Resources must be guaranteed, and members engaged in order to drive sustained dialogue on key themes • Web 2.0 functionality on the website is costly to upgrade and it is intensely time-consuming to achieve buy-in and engagement; ICDE has had greater success in holding dialogue and making connections through existing communities and forums • There is great enthusiasm within certain member institutions for contributing resources to the updating and improvement of ICDE’s electronic resources • The correct balance must be found between controlling editorial access to ICDE’s website, engaging contributions and maintaining quality of output

Organize and implement a membership campaign Achievements • Membership campaign resulted in 19 new institutional members in 2010 (compared with eleven new institutional members in 2009) Lessons learned • Resources must be available to guarantee follow-up of all available leads • Advocates for membership must be engaged

• ICDE must engage more strongly with its existing members to arrest the significant rate of attrition • ICDE must demonstrate its wider relevance beyond its traditional constituency to achieve significant growth ICDE in numbers


New institutional members joined ICDE in 2010 following a membership campaign

Ensure that appropriate Norwegian actors within distance education are provided with key learning opportunities Achievements • Norwegian language invitations to SCOP meetings sent to higher education institutions in Norway has led to a modest increase in Norwegian participation • Planned seminar for Norwegian rectors with participation from Norwegian and member institutions from around the world for early 2012 to discuss strategies for leadership in an increasingly open and online world expected to attract over 40 senior managers from Norwegian institutions • Seminar held at Online Educa Berlin conference, traditionally attended by significant numbers of Norwegian practitioners, aimed to raise ICDE’s profile among this group Lessons learned • ICDE needs to demonstrate its relevance to Norwegian institutions in order to engage more successfully with them • ICDE needs to develop specific activities in partnership with Norwegian associations and members in order to increase its profile and relevance here • Strengthening dialogue between conventional universities developing blended learning and open universities is seen as increasingly relevant and necessary

Planning of the 2013 World Conference and SCOP meetings 2011 and 2012 Achievements • Host institutions secured through demonstrably open and transparent bidding process for all events • Contract signed for 25th ICDE World Conference to be held in China demonstrating ICDE’s commitment to and focus on this country • SCOP 2011 facilitated dialogue on the knowledge economy and the role of innovative technology • SCOP 2011 demonstrated the role that sponsors can play in this forum • Contract concluded for SCOP 2012 to be held in the United Arab Emirates, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to the development of open and distance education in the Middle East

Lessons learned • The success of previous events is a central factor in ICDE being able to attract hosts for future events in regions of significance for the future development of open and distance education • The importance of having exact and precise information and statistics on previous events eases the process of planning with future hosts • The extension of SCOP meetings to include a one-day policy forum has been warmly received by members and potential hosts, and should be continued ICDE in numbers


Senior executives from institutions in 30 countries attended SCOP 2011 in New York

Develop new arenas for ICDE meetings: virtual conferences [...] at least one virtual seminar, increased attention to regional (international) conferences organized by members Achievements •

SCOP 2009 and 24th ICDE World Conference streamed live online and video of selected presentations from SCOP meetings and 24th ICDE World Conference published online demonstrating ICDE’s commitment to sharing knowledge across the globe, and to openness and transparency

• Online debate organized through the UNESCO/ World Bank Group infoDev sponsored Educational Technology Debate portal gained considerable interest •

Significant coverage of member institutions’ and associations’ conferences through the ICDE website and news channels

Special agreements with third-party conference organizers for reduced registration fees provided added-value for members

• ICDE International Conference organized by Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina, attracted over 300 participants and helped ICDE to raise its profile in Latin America • The organization of a special session at the Online Educa Berlin Conference in 2011 bringing perspectives from the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, China and India to this European event

Lessons learned • An expectation exists that video of conference and meeting presentations be published online • Live streaming is usually preventatively costly • Third-party platforms provide suitable forums for engaging in dialogue • Future virtual seminars should aim to be as interactive as possible


• Marketing cooperation and reduced conference fee offers for member institution and association conferences provide an opportunity for strengthening relationships and providing added-value to members • A specific strategy for the ICDE International Conference brand is required

ICDE in numbers Participants in ICDE International Conference in Argentina in 2011


Lessons learned • ICDE must demonstrate greater relevance in order to recruit significant numbers of members from beyond the major open and distance teaching universities • The associate membership category has enabled greater contact and closer partnership with associations and other NGOs • ICDE needs to engage more directly with each and every member to better understand their needs, communicate the added-value of membership and work to prevent members leaving

Organization: development of the structures for governance

Key organizational actions The following headings are beyond the direct remit of the strategic plan, but encompass key achievements and lessons for the organization during the period 2009-2012

Membership: developing the membership structure and recruiting and retaining members Achievements • Clear and transparent procedures and fee structure for admitting members to the organization • Associate membership established to include regional and national association and NGOs engaged in similar activity to ICDE more closely into the organization – twelve organizations have joined ICDE • 41 new institutions have joined ICDE since 2009 • 22 new individual members have joined ICDE since 2009 ICDE in numbers

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New institutional members have joined ICDE since 2009

Achievements • Procedures for the preparation and follow-up of Executive Committee meetings are well developed; there is good information flow between the Secretariat and Executive Committee • Procedures for the facilitation of Board of Trustees meetings are well developed • Procedures for making changes to the ICDE constitution have been developed, documented, and successfully employed • Procedures for elections to the ICDE Executive Committee have been developed, documented, and successfully employed Lessons learned • Contradictions remain between procedures agreed with the Executive Committee and the legal responsibilities of the Secretary General • The intersection of responsibilities between the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees must be resolved through the work of the Joint Constitutional Committee

The ICDE Secretariat: management and processes Achievements • A smooth transition took place between the former Secretary General and the current Secretary General allowing the organization to continue its activity with the minimum of disruption • Working practices, assessment of employees and opportunities for employees to influence processes are conducted in line with Norwegian and generally accepted international principles allowing for effective operation • A structure for projects has been implemented • Standards have been developed for use of the ICDE logo and protection of the ICDE brand • Procedures have been developed for calls for bids, calls for participation in projects and requests for sponsorship • Financial management has improved through the implementation of a liquidity budget Lessons learned • The organization requires a series of policies to be agreed to allow for the Secretariat to operate more effectively with reduced recourse to the Executive Committee on routine matters • The Secretariat needs to be mindful of the need for documenting routines in order to aid handover to new employees • The Secretariat needs to make improvements to its IT infrastructure to aid collaboration

Picture credits page 2 – SUNY Empire State College page 3 – Michael Ravassard, UNESCO page 4 – United Nations University Vice Rectorate in Europe page 5 – Global OER Logo 2012, Jonathas Mello Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY; Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia page 7 – SUNY Empire State College ISBN print: 978-82-93172-10-9

ISBN PDF: 978-82-93172-11-6

ICDE Achievements 2009-11  
ICDE Achievements 2009-11  

ICDE Achievements 2009-11