Diverse 2009

Diverse 2009

11 May 2009

Monday 11 May 2009

The use of YouTube, podcasts, lecture capture technology and video conferencing in higher education will be the focus for an international conference at Aberystwyth University between 24 and 26 June 2009.

DIVERSE 2009 (Developing Innovative Visual Educational Resources for Students Everywhere) is the latest annual gathering of academics, teachers, technologists and students which engages participants in an ongoing dialogue on the effective uses of visual media in education.

Up to 180 delegates from Europe, north and south America and Australia are expected to attend the Aberystwyth conference. Previous editions have been held in Haarlem (The Netherlands), Lillehammer, Glasgow, Nashville, Amsterdam, Derby and Banff in Canada. DIVERSE 2010 will be held in Portland, Maine, USA.

DIVERSE 2009 is being organised by John Morgan and Janice de Haaff who are based at Aberystwyth University's Language and Learning Centre.

John Morgan said “For over two decades Aberystwyth University has been a pioneer in the use of videoconferencing and communications technology for teaching. It is therefore appropriate that an international organisation such as DIVERSE, which is dedicated to promoting the use of visual media in education, should choose Aberystwyth to hold this prestigious event.”

Chair of DIVERSE, Pieter van Parreeren from INHolland University of Applied Sciences, said “DIVERSE is a living community and is looking forward to welcoming its members and delegates to Wales and Aberystwyth. The aim of the conference is to provide a dynamic forum for discussion, exchange of ideas and experiences that will inspire delegates to push the boundaries in the use of visual technology work for the benefit of everyone involved with education, wherever they may be in the world.”

Two leading practitioners in the field have been confirmed as keynote speakers for DIVERSE 2009.

Obadiah Greenberg is a member of YouTube's strategic partnerships team, where he helps schools make effective use of new media for teaching and learning, PR and community engagement. Instrumental in putting the University of California Berkeley at the forefront of the open content movement by making hundreds of full courses and events freely available, he joined Google in 2006 to help other higher education partners communicate through YouTube.

Carol Skyring is Founder and CEO of LearnTel Pty Ltd and has been involved in the design, application and effective use of learning technologies for education and business applications since 1986. She works with universities, colleges, schools, government departments, large corporations and SMEs throughout Australia, New Zealand, USA and Europe.

Full conference details are available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/diverse/.
Note: Early booking discounts apply up to 15 May 2009.

DIVERSE began life as a Teaching and Learning Technology Programme (TLTP) Phase 3 project, funded by the UK government through HEFCE, the Higher Educational Funding Council for England.

The DIVERSE project ran from 1998 to 2001 and involved four institutions, the Bolton Institute, the University of Derby, the University of Wolverhampton and the Cheltenham and Gloucester Institute of Higher Education (now the University of Gloucestershire). At the end of the DIVERSE project, a dissemination event was planned to take place at the University of Derby. However, Professor Chris O'Hagan (the leader of the Derby group) took the opportunity to create a much larger event, bringing in international practitioners in both video production and videoconferencing.

The response to that initial conference in Derby in 2001 was highly enthusiastic. It had revealed that there were a number of practitioners, both teachers and technologists, who felt that the application of video and videoconferencing was being largely overlooked by the educational community.

The DIVERSE community continues to share experience, insights and innovation through its annual conference, its website http://www.diverse-video.net/ and its conference proceedings. It is now forging new collaborative relationships with other national and international bodies such as ALT and JISC in the UK and SURF in the Netherlands. Since 2001, the technologies considered at DIVERSE conferences have expanded to include other synchronous communication technologies, such as text- and audio-conferencing, and other image-based technologies such as virtual reality.

The focus, however, is still on developing alternative modes of learning and teaching to complement the asynchronous text-based formats that predominate within e-learning. The DIVERSE aim is, more than ever, to act as a means for academics, schoolteachers, technologists and students to get together and share experience in an informal and open setting. The experience of people who have attended DIVERSE conferences is that everyone is welcome, and everyone has something to contribute.

The DIVERSE acronym has developed from ‘Disseminating Innovative Video Educational Resources for Students Everywhere’ to ‘Developing Innovative Visual Educational Resources for Students Everywhere’, which broadens the focus of the community.

Since the surplus of the conference in Haarlem in 2008, kindly was handed over to the community by INHolland University of Applied Sciences, DIVERSE became a foundation, registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The board, Pieter van Parreeren (Chair) and Johan Oomen (Secretary/treasurer) is working for DIVERSE to become a professional organization, maintaining its original ‘anarchistic’ character.