Thursday 29 April 2010

Call for young medical researchers that work or reside in the South: essay competition

At ITM we are organizing the Emerging Voices colloquium which will feature new innovative technologies for research and put young researchers in the driving seat of the colloquium.

If you know any medical researchers residing or working in emerging countries, please send them this initiative. There are all sorts of introductions for the winners of the accompanying essay competition: how to present workshops, introductions to using new media in science, and collaborative research work...

The Institute of Tropical Medicine promotes ‘Health care for all’ in its mission statement. However, achieving universal health coverage is easier said than done. Although progress has been made, innovative perspectives are certainly welcome.

The global health scene is still largely dominated by Northern stakeholders. We want to encourage “Emerging Voices” from developing countries to participate actively in international academic conferences and to raise their voice in the scientific debate.

That's why we are organizing our essay competition. We want to give junior or 'emerging' voices from the South the opportunity to present new ideas on how to progress towards universal health coverage.

The authors from the best essays will be invited to Antwerp to participate in an intensive training workshop (2-10 November 2010) before presenting their work at the ITM colloquium.

They will also be encouraged to participate in the First Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (Montreux, Switzerland, 16–19 November, 2010).

A certain number of travel grants will be awarded for those who need it. Take a look at the essay competition rules for more information on how to participate.

The competition is in French and in English, for download see below:

Tuesday 27 April 2010

2010 Horizon Report on K12 education is out, and free for download

Education and technology leaders, policymakers and key stakeholders in educational institutions need forward thinking information addressing opportunities for teaching, learning and creative expression. The 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition is a collaboration between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). This annual report provides a rich set of topics, examples and resources for use in considering new technologies that hold strong promise for K-12 institutions in the US and globally.

The nice thing is: you can add your own comments to the document, really nice!

Accompanying the Report is the 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition Toolkit, developed by CoSN in partnership with NMC, which helps to facilitate conversations among education leaders around issues discussed in the Report. The Toolkit includes a Discussion Facilitator’s Guide with leading questions to stimulate thinking and discussion and a Presentation Template of PowerPoint slides with notes. A post-event feedback form is also provided. Use these free resources to help maximize the impact of the Report and help education stakeholders better understand new applications of technology and better plan for their successful implementation.

What is covered? The critical challenges for k12 education, the upcoming educational formats, the adoption curve that is envisioned to embed new innovative educational techniques in K12 education... so lots of nice and relevant topics.

What needs to be researched in mobile Learning? Let’s share ideas

If you have any ideas on what should be researched asap to enhance mobile learning, share it and I will put it before an international mobile learning group and send the feedback back to us all so we can build upon it.

20 – 21 May 2010 I will be presenting in the 2nd Annual ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) S&T Workshop which will focus on Mobile Learning. You can follow ADLnet (the people that came up with SCORM) via ADLnet twitter, they give free webinars on instructional design topics.
It is a true honor to be asked to speak, as there will be an International panel of mLearning specialists discussing the future challenges of mobile learning. I was asked to speak in the European panel, and I am currently preparing my 10 minute (aiming at engaging so thinking openness and creativity) presentation. As it will be a workshop, most of it will be dynamic exchange of ideas. The outcomes of this two day workshop will be helpful for any mobile oriented learner/provider/researcher, as it will try and map what the future challenges will be for mlearning, and which mLearning topics should be researched. So if you know of, or are blocked by a difficult mobile learning issue, let me know, I will take it along and send you feedback.

Topics that will be covered during the workshop: augmented learning, connecting mobiles to learning management systems, what mobile projects are currently developed successfully all around the world, successes and lessons learned… It will be a brainy blast of ideas! It is also stimulating, as the format asks you to really analyze what the mobile project(s) lacked, or why it worked ... no blah, just the facts and down to earth analysis to be able to extrapolate into the future.

To think ahead and envision the future is what really stimulates me. So I wondered what could make me come up with ideas that are new or building on what is there, with true affordances for the mobile world? This is what triggered me to start carrying an ‘Ingenious Mobile Universe device’ (IMU-device). Basically I imagine I have an implant, and I move around in an unknown part of the world, surrounded by unknown people, that speak an unknown language and I must discover who is with me and who is against me (in the quest to find world peace). Now it is of course a play, but it is the sort of play that got Jeff Hawkins onto the Palm Pilot which capabilities got designed based on Jeff walking around with a block of wood that symbolized the mobile device so he could feel what would be good to add to this block of wood (thanks Clark Quinn for the anecdote).

Walking around with the IMU-device is not only tech-oriented, I also include the ideas that pop-up when thinking about mobile capacity and human brain necessity as I walk along. This might seem weird, but let’s be honest, all the other speakers are sooo well informed, I have to go for the wild imagination to be able to put forward different ideas that envision the future.

If any of you have encountered a mobile challenge or if you are struggling with one right now, let me know. I will put it before the joined specialists and I will give you feedback on it. Let’s get our minds together.

What I came up with so far:
  • mobile standardization (so mobile learners can access any content with any device),
  • easier scripting languages to enable augmented learning via a mobile device (without too much programming knowledge, ideally based on the modular approach),
  • recognition of people (like google goggles but with people, that would be great for me as I have a slight default in my facial recognition system).
Any other ideas out there?

Why was I asked to speak in this wonderful mix of participants? Because of the iPhone/Moodle project (which is currently in its next stage: the cleaning up of the code = a challenge which my developer friends are working on in collaboration with wonderful php programmers from all around the Moodle world). This project was picked up by mobile learning guru Judy Brown.

BTW: mid May I start a conference/workshop/training rally that might take me to a place near you (London in UK, Lusaka in Zambia, Tromso in Norway, San Diego in US and Bangalore in India… after that I will go on holiday in France looking at ancient roman buildings and settlements). If by any chance you happen to live or work in one of these areas and you feel like meeting up, do not hesitate to drop me a line.

Friday 23 April 2010

Join the e-conference of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative

If you are interested in gender, equality and education, you might want to join the online conference linked to the UN Girls' Education Initiative described b

The E4 Engendering Empowerment: Education and Equality conferences, scheduled to take place between 12th April – 20th May 2010, speak to the goal of strengthening and expanding partnerships for girls’ education around the most pressing obstacles many girls face in pursuit of education. An online e-conference will be held from 12th April – 14th May, followed by a face-to-face conference on 17th-20th May in Dakar, Senegal. Both conferences will examine issues of violence, poverty and educational quality and their intersections with participation, climate change and health.

Consistent with the participatory vision, the conference organizers hope to foster partnership among a small community of activists, practitioners, policy-makers and scholars to build a common knowledge from which to tackle these issues and to plan collectively to dismantle them. To do this, we are emphasizing participation from groups whose voices are typically less heard in this conversation and who bring unique and valuable experience to the discussion. For optimum benefit, we are limiting participation at the in-person conference to a small group of 150 people and will be using a participatory and collaborative methodology oriented toward transformative action.

These conferences are organised by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) in collaboration with the Beyond Access team, coordinated from the Institute of Education, University of London.

Latest Update

The e-conference is now underway.
Join the discussion

There is also a very interesting situation analysis of Girls education.

Get involved

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Course on enhancing the impact of a training programme with eLearning

In the past I had the pleasure and honor to work with Tom Wambeke at ITC in Turin for online sessions on the topic of mobile learning. During these sessions I also met Florence Beraud, who is now working as an independant consultant in eLearning. She just set up a wonderful platform with an eLearning course and featuring eLearning examples from all around the world. The reason behind this platform is to show people what is possible with eLearning as an educational method.

She asked me to provide her with a project to add to the eLearning repository, so I added our mobile project in Peru. If you have an eLearning project that might be of interest to all of us eLearners, do not hesitate to contact her and propose what you have done. That way we canall learn from each other.

You can have a look at the platform and the course on 'Enhancing the Impact of Training Programme with E-Learning'. An overview of all the examples can be found here. The platform is completely open: no registration needed, absolutely no fees. The course takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on one's learning objectives and the platform is meant to be shared to trigger thinking and discussions about the potentials of eLearning.

Blogphilosophy: share your learning story: formal education shackled me, so I got out …

Formal education does not lead up to much for a big portion of its content. After leaving school (university, high school…) the learners often lack the skills to truly be prepared for the working world. There are many hypotheses on why that is actually the case. My hypothesis is: some people feel that formal education shackles them, and a lot of the time this happens to learners from less fortunate classes, as they do not see or learn the benefits from higher education, nor its unspoken rules and social interactions.
So what do learners do that feel shackled by formal education? Those types of people will either rebel (get out, start for themselves), or get numb (becoming machines of society, obeying whatever they are asked to do on the professional floor).

I got out.

Downward spiral
So I paid for it, due to my lack of knowledge on how to get sorted in life. For years I did rather numbing jobs. I compensated these jobs by putting them on hold each time I earned enough money. Unfortunately if one is ill equipped for life, one risks to get in a downward spiral and … I did. At a certain point – well in my twenties – I had nothing: no house, no passport, no work, no nothing (well, I did have one bag with around 12 books and some clothes). In that time I slept on the street and in squatted houses, some of them clean, some of them so filthy it looked as if I was living in a Zoo of rodents and piles of shit (no euphemism). I did not know any better, and such conditions creep up on you (see the wonderful movie Nobody Knows from Koreeda. I did not think I was worth anything back then.

One person makes a difference
After yet another police raid and yet another friend hanging herself from a banister out of sheer despair, this lifestyle got to me. Luckily a friend gave me an option to get back on track with all the bureaucratic paperwork (he made me a deal: work three months for free as a trial, if I did this, he would provide me a job and help out with all the necessary bureaucratic stuff (yes, one person can make a difference, I know that thanks to him, thx Patrick).
After working harder than I ever did for one year (all hours of the day and night, at least 6 days a week) eventually my paperwork was back in order and I rented a small home. My grandfather (72 by then) gave me my first furniture: a rug, a sleeping couch, a small table and two chairs. He even came over (2 hours drive each day) to paint my house and get it fixed. I did not think much of it then, but I know now that such kind gestures make a huge difference.

Discovering I could think
Once that year was over, I quite my job and went back to school. I studied to be a administrative sales secretary (after cleaning and waiting tables, this was a big deal). This time round I did not quit education, but once the course finished I knew I was not fit to be a secretary, I was – and still am – rather disorganized when it comes to paperwork, and my mind needs to act not react. So, I realized that I needed to look for something different: a job that would suite my sometimes rebellious mind and that would frighten off most people from even considering to apply for the job. What better job to choose than a very chaotically described job in a feminist equal opportunities organization? It worked, they choose me to do the job because nobody else wanted it: bad hours, low pay, and quite a bunch of tough thinking women discussing political issues.

Why critical political organizations can make you better
In that environment I really learned a lot: how to organize events, how to lobby with politicians, the importance of a network, how to look at society through your own critical mind, how to rally for human rights, how to change laws to better fit the need of the few (or many).
Although I started out as a secretary, I moved on to be a staff member getting funds, writing articles… But I wanted to learn more and get better, so I got myself enrolled in a post-graduate course (feminist theories and media). I got accepted thanks to the willingness and open-mindedness of one professor, allowing me to enter although I had no formal degree. Again, my learning was enabled by an individual, not an institution. I followed the course successfully on top of my work. It felt good, and I could apply what I learned immediately in my job. It felt like authentic learning and… it was given as an online course, which intrigued me.

The start of the eLearning concept
At that time I also started with giving lessons on how to use electronic devices and services. As most of the members of the organization were working on a voluntary basis, I started providing feedback and updates through mail… hence I rolled into eLearning without giving it the ‘proper’ name.
Because I learned all these new things just by doing stuff, just by being immersed in a group of very intelligent and engaged people, I suddenly realized that my mind just might be capable of more. So I quit my job and went back to school once again (now well in my thirties).

Never accept a ‘no’ that restricts you from accomplishing your personal growth
It was not easy to get into education. I wanted to learn more about eLearning, and the only thing I could find related to that topic was IT/web design. Unfortunately, educational institutions do not allow maverick learners easily. I was an administrative sales secretary with a post-graduate in feminist theory… it just did not sound comfortable to them. So I turned to my network, and another friend. He told me I could make a chance if I was willing to take an IQ-test, showing that my mind was on the same level as alumni from universities (this might sound strange, but there was indeed this one IT course organized for technical graduates that could be entered that way). So I took the test and I got in. I started the IT course and found myself between engineers and all sorts of technical graduates that wanted to specialize themselves in one particular field (you could choose between programming, network skills, and web design). I was again the odd one out, but by then I knew that role would fit me well. I was given a wild card and I was more than eager to use it to its full potential.

Against the odds
It was a tough time. The courses were very difficult as I did not have the technical background, so I was learning all the basics at home, while trying to keep up with the more advanced course during the day. I fell back on well-fare, which really challenges your financial creativity, luckily I knew what to do thanks to my past.
When I looked at my learning colleagues, I was well aware that I was not the best of them technically, but I did stand out in the combination of technical and human skills.
So they were technically better equipped, they were sure about themselves. I struggled through it. By the time the course almost ended, I knew that IF I wanted to make a chance in getting a new job aged 38, I needed to aim at the odd job out once again. I found it in a strange profile description, with loads of demands that were both soft and hard skills, and which required working with different cultures, speaking different languages, it was entitled 'webmaster for eLearning platform'. I got in, again for the same reasons: the other people were bailing out as the job talks progressed, the job just seemed too undefined for them.
By that time I knew I could let any odd job fit my strengths: so I observed what was there, what was lacking, I got to know all the people involved, and I learned whatever I thought would allow me to construct this job to one that was both challenging and possibly lift the institutional eLearning to another level. I choose a specialty (mLearning), read up on it, and started researching it. By now I also knew the strength of sharing knowledge: so I put everything I learned out there for anyone who might be interested.

But where do I go from here? Have any ideas?
For me informal learning in addition to high contact immersion with knowledgeable people, access to courses of choice, and opting for wild cards really made and makes a difference in my learning life.
For sure, at every stage most of the people said I did not make a chance. But I never had a chance for years, so I knew never to listen to negative vibes, they just do not see what you know is inside of you.
The great thing is, now, I still want more. Where formal education could not charm me in my teen years, I am now looking to learn more, know more, get better! So a year ago I started a master in DE. For I know that with this formal course, my mind will certainly see a path to informal learning that will lift me higher, and that will lift my professional work as well.

I am nearing my thesis route, so I am pondering about possible topics. If you have any wild card topics that you would like to see researched, let me know. I want to go for a wild card thesis for the same reasons I had in the past: the wild card does it for me.

Feel free to share your learning story, are there more of us wild cards out there?

To finish a song that has inspired me on many occasions:
Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘The revolution will not be televised’ (an early version of 1970)

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Opera mini for iPhone/iPod on our mobile Moodle application: great!

A couple of years ago I was simply playing with Opera mini (simply the best mobile browser: speed, strength and opening sites that would not open up with other browsers). During the Future of Mobile I met the fantastic Chris Mills . He explained the finer issues and benefits of Opera mini and the love for Opera mini mobile browser has never left me since. If you have never used the Opera mini browser, download it and check it out, it is really worth your while and it will save you a big amount of money as it downloads quicker thanks to a wonderful data compressing intelligence.

Why do I mention Opera mini again today? Well, last week Opera launched its iPhone and iPod opera mini application and what a treat it is. It is free (of course) and it allows you to quickly access the necessary sites. We tried it out with our and it works like a charm (again, compressing the data much more, thus costing me far less when accessing the mobile moodle demo and developer site). Now there are still some glitches, but it feels much more comfortable. If any opera mini people want to join our mobile moodle project (which also includes initial android phone steps) and check out the demo course, feel free to join in, we would love your feedback! (Chris I will tweet you on this one :-)

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Big Question: 5 strategies to keep up with all the latest technologies

In the Big Question launched by Tony Karrer this month, he wonders how do we keep up? Posting a great central sub-question: isn't this an ever-expanding universe of tech goodies? Will we be forced to chase hot tools and social platforms to stay competitive? How the heck are we supposed to stay up to speed on all the latest stuff and be successful using it personally and professionally?

This is a question I pose myself every week. The amount of technological advances that are launched is staggering and numbing at times. It is sometimes numbing, because I feel stupid and behind when following all these new apps and innovations. And taking all these new innovations into account, how can I successfully implement them for learning purposes? The more extreme these innovations seem, the more I feel out of touch with it, and the more estranged I become.

To reduce this uneasy feeling, I use 5 strategies to keep up:

Strategy 1: true innovation through collaboration and trust
The last new development that blew my mind was a lens equipped with nanotechnology that enabled augmented reality. Just imagine that you put in a lens and you can immediately see the information you need to make full use of the knowledge you have or want to obtain? Within a near future relevant data can be superimposed on the visual perception of the person wearing the lens. This has great potential for surgeons, engineers, ... but also for students, for educators as this takes learning, and specifically authentic learning to a complete new level (without too much of an intrusion). This technology will allow professionals to have the latest updated information on e.g. their patient, or the surgery they are performing, or the history of a place you are standing in, or the evolution of a certain aspect of architecture...

Now on a completely different scale: while writing this I realized I just got a new technology out as well thanks to a wonderful team (the iphone, android - and by now multiple phones - to Moodle project). So sometimes, even simple, ordinary educational people such as me can add their two cents to new developments? This made me wonder on what it was that enabled the innovation. I wrote about the little steps we took to get to an educational innovation earlier, but the most important one was: collaboration and trust.

There is no longer - was there ever? - one person making an amazing innovation. Nowadays there is always a complete team behind an innovation, and most of the time it is an multidisciplinary team. To keep up with innovations that might have educational potential, I connect to people I trust and admire. So, one of my key keeping up strategies is to construct my own trusted knowledge team, assembled from different disciplines.

Strategy 2: follow just a couple of tech-zines:
Now this latest one always brings me back to earth and feeds my creativity. Afrigadget recycles, finds amazing solutions for priority needs, and gets the mind going. For instance this wonderful African robot made from spare parts of television sets (that is something more than lego’s mindstorm).

Technology is not all about miniaturization (like nanotechnology), it is about using what is there and improving to fit the needs of your setting or goal.

Strategy 3: keep the focus on my own educational challenges
Keeping a broad perspective is good, but for deepening my knowledge on certain innovations, I need to filter what is out there. Picking up what might solve an educational problem I encounter or focusing on what I can use and what might be helpful for future problems (it is always good to be proactive in any professional branch), helps me to overcome possible educational challenges.

Strategy 4: tuning out, allow my brain some time alone
Another important one is simply tuning out. Let all the information that I absorbed become structured in my head and simply wait for it to be processed. This might sound strange, but I feel that my mind knows better than me at times. It knows how to arrange all the information and turn it into something useful. But it only does this when I let it have its ‘playtime’. During that time I chop wood, rearrange my garage, dig holes in my garden… do all sorts of things that do not include using my professional thinking mind/brain. I trust my brain to come up with great ideas, I know it feels very happy when it can do so.

Strategy 5: reflect, write and share
And last but not least: feeding it all back to you! There is no network to get anything from, unless you give. And let’s face it: giving simply feels good also. Reflecting on newly obtained knowledge, and writing about it gives structure to all the new ideas. It might also safe others time in finding solutions for their challenges, or others can help fine tune it.

So in short how do I keep up?
  1. Getting and giving to a network of people that I trust and are knowledgeable;
  2. Staying on top through tech-zines;
  3. Balance my curiosity for new innovations, with my focus on new educational needs that need to be tackled.
  4. Tuning out from time to time.
  5. Sharing the new found knowledge.

By the way @TonyKarrer, I will be heading your way in June, attending the mLearncon2010 in San Diego from 15 - 17 June 2010.

Meaningful and Powerful learning... how to get students engaged by Kevin Roberts

It always seems strange to me how new educational ideas first start of really big, chaotic debates that need to be discussed amongst a lot of people for a good deal of time.... to end up being a simple set of seemingly obvious ideas that can be rounded up in just a couple of minutes. The only thing is, only a handful of people can fit big chaotic discussions into a simple set of ideas. Kevin Roberts is such a math teacher guy.

In this prezi-driven video Kevin Roberts who put the prezi presentation together for the ASB un-plugged conference 2010 that took place in Bombay this February. If you are into mathematics check-out this great math-made-simple website made by Kevin and his colleagues. It has loads of information on math topics and documents. Kevin really knows how to use Web2.0 tools to engage 21st century learning for k12 and other students.

I got hold of this presentation thanks to John Mack from Australia, who is a great connector and networker. His tweets provide lots of good information and links.

The movie made by Kevin takes about 9 minutes. It starts slowly, but gains speed as it moves along. It puts forward ideas on how educators might make use of all the new technology to get students thinking more responsibly about the use of these technologies, and how to nurture learning skills that can last a lifetime. Kevin even links it to the digital blooms taxonomy, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

Friday 2 April 2010

Seth Godin on why you should take your life into your own hands: be an artist/genius

Yesterday I want to the Elizabethzaal in Antwerp, Belgium to hear Seth Godin talk. At first I was not sure this would benefit me, as he focuses on marketing rather a lot and ... I am into learning and not all that keen on the consumption industry. But I did learn that opening up to people, will give you more understanding. Well, I must admit, I liked his speech. I liked it for many reasons, but most of all because he plees to leave the traditional classroom, ex-cathedra, data memorisation school and ... be creative and shape your own life.
This idea of course is not that new: Napoleon Hill wrote about that in his book Think and grow rich , Steve Chandler did in his 100 ways to motivate yourself , Jay Cross has put some questionmarks on education as well. So, Seth Godin is not alone with promoting this idea. But what is nice, is that he links your own development to daring to leave your comfort zone, daring to go ahead and act despite your natural fears that keep you from being the leader of your own life and potentially (but not necessary) the leader of others.
What was actually surprised that Seth Godin, who people told me was a marketing guru, also emphasized the importance of making a difference and being human.

Basically he said that We all look up to our heroes, but only a few of us strive to be one ourselves. Yet, in this era we can all become our own hero/genius as we have the power and the production possibilities (= internet and a connected laptop).

I tweeted during the session:
  • you r never gonna be the only one. We branded ourselves to death. What worked in the past, no longer applies: if it already exists, you can't win the race. Be a creator, an artist.
  • trust, belief, one person at the time, take the people where they want to go, be exiting.
  • connect to the people directly, choose to make a difference, what you want to do is important enough so do it.
  • do not be interchangeable, be creative, (e.g. Japanese bar sells to you what the previous person ordered, so as you go up to the bar, you are pressed to think: will you order a wonderful dish for the next person (you will probably not know) or do you order something horrible? Which side of humanity do you serve?)
  • choose to do The Other Thing, creating smth human, do not do what can have a best possible score but never be unique (e.g. bowling).
  • own the system and own it... Thx the internet, lulu... You no longer need to be obediant, you can act and deliver/ship what you want.
  • competence is no longer scarce, many people become competent in what already exists.
  • if you can automate your job description, you loose. Build your own thing, do not follow.
  • solve interesting problems.
  • Realise what the instructions are you follow, what is the worst thing that can happen if you stop following? think branson, when he has a thought, he does it and of all the ideas he has some really work (even the ones that others perceived as impossible: space tourism).
  • do art that matters and is human.
  • Kulak (name is wrong... ) general us army: found that the least paid, lowest echelon soldiers now makes the difference in the wars (remark from myself: is grassroots moving up?).
  • do not make boring stuf for average people.
  • give gifts to come together and connect.
  • make the world better, go against the lizard brain, do emotional labour = work by thinking.
  • make an experience, your job is your platform to art, you know how to be a genius, belief it.
  • Your idea would be just a drop? The ocean is made out of drops.
  • be autonomous, no chief above you.
  • take small and immediate steps.
  • the act of writing is an act, discipline is important.
  • make your luck, by doing it again and again and again, figure out what you wanna do and do it, do not sleep until you know.
  • socks story (a company that makes socks that never match, so kids talk about it in schools).
  • home school your kids to solve interesting problems, teach them to lead.
He did not just preach, he also opened the floor to Q/A. concluding that most politicians are no artists, but in fact governed by the industry (most politicians are interchangeable puppets).

On that note... I am off. Happy Easter to those that celebrate it, in Belgium we eat huge amounts of chocolate. We tell our children that 'the easter bells will come and drop chocolate for all'.

Thursday 1 April 2010

We are looking for a master or phd in education who wants to work with international partners? Look here...

We are looking for an academic network coordinator - know anyone who fits this profile?

Be aware that the main focus is on education and pedagogy, and working with different cultures. So if this rings a bell, send your resume! And mention that you got the call through Ignatia/Inge de Waard (that's me, e will sometimes collaborate).

You will be asked to live in Belgium. Here is what the campus building looks like (normally International students roam around on these grounds):

The Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium seeks to recruit an academic collaborator with as main task the support and coordination of an international network of institutes involved in higher education in tropical medicine and public and global health. This network (LINQED - ) is part of a collaborative program for academic capacity strengthening in low and middle income countries, funded by the Belgian Ministry for Development Cooperation. Currently, LINQED counts 12 member institutions from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe and has as central theme “Quality care in higher education”. Actual projects relate among others to academic quality assurance, e-learning, academic exchanges and joint programming.

• Coordinate the management and activities of LINQED in collaboration with its international executive committee. This includes the preparation and attendance of network meetings and workshops, management of information flows and updating the network website.
• Provide academic support to the network partners regarding curriculum development, learning concepts and methods, staff training, quality assurance and accreditation processes.
• Manage the resources of the network, prepare meeting and annual reports, and write concept and scientific papers.
• Contribute to the general concepts and management of academic innovation, international networking and capacity strengthening at the ITM.

Profile (do not be scared if not everything fits)
• Holder of a master and/or a PhD degree in a relevant field, preferably in pedagogical sciences.
• Postgraduate training related to professional and academic health education is an asset.
• Experience in the development, management and quality assurance of higher education programmes.
• Strong and proven skills in communication, problem-solving, academic writing and teamwork.
• Active knowledge (spoken and written) of English and French.
• Willing to travel overseas (occasionally, short term missions) .

Additional assets include
• Experience with ‘teacher training’.
• Working experience in the health and/or education sector in low or middle income countries.
• Conceptual knowledge and practical experience in networking.
• Knowledge of Dutch and Spanish.

We offer
• An intellectually stimulating, international and socially committed environment. Personal initiative and creativity is encouraged.
• An initial contract of one year, with perspective of renewal and/or a long-term position.
• Commencement of employment: May 2010 (but flexible if necessary).
• A salary according the ITM and Flemish Universities scales, taking into account relevant experience and education.
• Reimbursement of public transport costs, bicycle compensation, private pension scheme (after two years); Belgian social welfare and benefits.

For more information, please contact Govert van Heusden, academic coordinator - tel: gvheusden (at) or Hilde Buttiëns, promoter Educational Network - tel: hbuttiens (at)
If you get this, put in you got the call through Ignatia/Inge de Waard.
Applications with motivation letter should be received by e-mail, by April 9, 2010.

Please, make eLearning simple! The eLearningQueen does it…in a Survival Book

Sometimes you just want to read a fun book about your profession. Fun, exciting, a good overview is all I need at times. So what a great find I had, because the eLearningQueen (= who is a Dog, who has an human assistant: Susan Smith Nash) manages to do just that! Read this book (this is the link to the free version, which will only be here for a limited amount of time!), it gives a nice, light and fun overview on eLearning.

Even the (sub)title is fun: “Elearner survival guide: Everything you need to succeed in the wild and wooly world of mobile learning and e–learning, and hybrid college, K–12 and career courses.

Susan writes with wit and clarity, her blog is captivating and … I am jealous (in a good way) of her writing and learning skills. So, I will take what she wrote and how she wrote it with me, to contemplate on what I will do in the next couple of months.

What does Susan tackle in the 295 pages of her guide? She tackles all the topics in fluent and short paragraphs, and linking it harmoniously to relevant research.

  • She begins with what eLearning is, and covers some of the known terms (e.g. push<=> pull);
  • There are also hints on what study skills we will all need to succeed in eLearning (self regulation, checklists, practical steps, collage credits, free online software training,…and twelve very useful sanity-saving tips)
  • Chapters 3 and 4 cover writing skills, dividing it into technical writing and research writing tips.
  • Mobile learning and Web2.0 are covered in short, but very understandable paragraphs. In this section Susan also looks at practical adaptation in a k12 (teenage students) setting.
  • Getting personal with looking at profiles of eLearners and careers.
  • Now, and this part I truly LOVED immensely (because it linked me to some persons from my past, which… I did not take into account in the last couple of years). Susan managed to clarify to me that personal hero’s of whatever discipline can be linked to eLearning: picking up examples from the wonderful poet Maya Angelou , and the great political activist and anarchist Emma Goldman – need to read ‘Living my Life’ again, a.o.
  • The last chapter focuses on institutional challenges and eLearning, or what they mean to the eLearner, which is also very relevant if you are linked to an educational institution.

So, I am very grateful to Susan for this unexpected book treat, I will ponder on what she wrote, and how she wrote it for my seclusion week is coming up. This means I go home, buy everything to last me a week (at least), cut off my internet connection, log-off my phone, leave the door bell ringing, push all humans out of the house… and do whatever I want, when I wanted, completely disconnected… for one week. Time to meditate about where I am going, and looking whether my passion is indeed still fulfilled with the work I am doing, at the place I am doing it. I have radically changed my life a couple of times trying to synchronize my professional life with learning passions and up until now it has worked. Professional satisfaction is crucial for me, for it takes up most of my waking hours. But fine-tuning is still needed, so meditating is a good path and eye opener.