LC Experts at the Forefront of Distance Learning

By Allison Fitch-Markham

content imageThe Teaching & Learning Centre congratulates two of its own on receiving prestigious awards for important contributions to distance learning research.

Dr. Randy Garrison, Director of the Teaching & Learning Centre, was a joint recipient of the Canadian Association of Distance Education’s (CADE) 2005 Award for Excellence in Research. The award is given for projects that significantly further understanding of distance education issues. Dr. Garrison and his research partner, Dr. Martha Cleveland–Innes, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the U of C’s Department of Sociology and Assistant Professor for the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University, studied “Student Role Adjustment in On-line Communities of Inquiry.” This research is part of a multi–phase exploration of the social transition from the role of learner to online learner and the required activities and competencies incumbent in such a role. The initial phase of this research was to validate an instrument designed to measure role identity adjustment for online learners. A second study revealed the importance of structure (i.e., design) and leadership (i.e., facilitation) for online learners to take deep and meaningful approaches to learning.

Dr. Norm Vaughan, Instructor with the Teaching & Learning Centre, was honored with the 2005 Alberta Distance Education and Training Associations’ (ADETA) Research Award for his dissertation on “Investigating How a Blended Learning Approach can Support an Inquiry Process within a Faculty Learning Community.” Like the CADE award, the ADETA award recognizes valuable achievements in distance teaching and learning research.

Both awards highlight the Teaching & Learning Centre’ expertise in and commitment to exploring issues related to distance education, blended learning and e-learning. This dedication is in direct alignment with the U of C’s academic plan, which states the need to enhance distance opportunities for students who are unable to attend courses in person. For more information on distance learning initiatives at the U of C, please see http://commons.ucalgary.ca/onlinedelivery/index.html.

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