West Bank officials review educational technology and distance learning

Four university representatives from the West Bank with expertise in educational technology visited Brandeis Nov. 11 to speak with distance-learning faculty.

The guests, from An-Najah National University, Al-Quds Open University and Al-Quds University, came to campus as part of the Brandeis-Al Quds University Partnership and through coordination with WorldBoston, a local organization which works in conjunction with the U.S. State Department to host delegations of international visitors for cultural and professional exchanges. They were accompanied by a representative of the State Dept. and a translator, though all were fluent in English.

The agenda for the visit was to discuss e-learning ventures and best uses of classroom technology.  The first portion of the morning consisted of a meeting led by Sybil Smith, executive director of the Division of Graduate Professional Studies in the Rabb School for Continuing Studies; Anne Marando, director of distance learning for the Division of Graduate Professional Studies in the Rabb School; David Wedaman, assistant director for Research and Instruction Services; Matt Foster, director of corporate education in the Division of Graduate Professional Studies in the Rabb School; and Daniel Terris, Vice President of Global Affairs and the director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life.

The guests and other university representatives exchanged ideas and experiences about distance learning through LATTE, the need for support of design-blended learning, and the need to shift away from traditional teaching methods.  Brandeis’ classrooms were described as “technology enhanced” and ready to serve a diverse body of students.  The uses of LATTE and Moodle were explored in-depth, including communication tools and how courses are structured.  The group also spoke about Elluminate, the video and audio-enabled software that students and professors use to see and hear one another in real-time.  The guests use the same software in their universities, but commented that their infrastructure is much weaker, as they still must use dial-up modems.

After a brief visit to the server room in Feldberg, the guests joined other Brandeis faculty, staff, and students for lunch and to continue the dialogue.  They discussed the on-going Brandeis-Al-Quds University Partnership, differences between their three universities, the Palestinian educational system, as well as U.S.-Palestinian relations.

Categories: International Affairs

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