PMB woman takes e-learning forward

2015-10-24 09:30
Liesl Scheepers

Liesl Scheepers (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Liesl Scheepers from Scottsville is still ecstatic after she was selected to make a presentation to over 900 international delegates from 67 countries at Sun City last week.

Scheepers delivered a presentation at the 26th International Council for Open and Distance Education World Conference which was hosted by the University of SA.

“It was a real honour to be there representing both the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) and Pietermaritzburg,” she said.

Intimidating as it might have been, Scheepers was happy with the experience she gained. “I had the opportunity to network with a number of individuals who are considered to be among the most informed and provocative voices in the field of open and distance e-learning,” she said.

The theme of the conference this year was “Growing capacities for sustainable distance e-learning provision” and Scheepers’s presentation was entitled “A New World Demanding New Skills: Exploring digital literacies through fully online engagement”.

“In March of this year, Varsity College became the first Private Tertiary Institution in South Africa to launch a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) titled ‘Web and Digital Literacies’. I developed this course, and my paper covered the design of the MOOC, as well as the importance of web and digital skills in the 21st century.

“I’m really passionate about education and the importance of web and digital literacies; you just need to look at some of the stories that have been in the press lately to understand that there is a moral imperative to provide people [of all ages] with the skills to not only access the digital landscape, but to do so safely and ethically,” she said.

Scheepers said she had been encouraged by her academic manager Anne Whaits to respond to the call for the paper.

Due to the high profile of the conference, Scheepers said the organisers had warned them of a “fairly rigorous” selection process. “I was really thrilled to discover that I had been selected to present a full paper,” she said.

Scheepers has honours degrees in Fine Art (and English) and in Education (Barriers to Learning), and has been involved with private institution Varsity College for the past 17 years. “It was really encouraging to discover that the work I am involved with at Varsity College is right up there with what is happening at some of the leading institutions around the world,” she said.

Scheepers will be running a full-day “Web and Digital Literacies Masterclass” on the Pietermaritzburg Varsity College campus on October 30

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education

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