The IU Office of Online Education will host its eighth annual IU Online Conference Oct. 25 to 27. The conference will allow faculty and staff to learn new ways of approaching online learning and how it can benefit IU’s goal of expanding educational opportunities.
It will be held virtually via Canvas, which will provide access to pre-conference workshops, Zoom calls, Kaltura recordings and Q&A sessions.
The event will last from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 25 with pre-conference workshops. The conference will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.
“The conference is really an opportunity to bring mainly faculty and staff together to talk about best practices, to see what’s happening with online education and learn about the strategic vision for online education at IU,” Associate Vice President and Director of Online Education Chris Foley said.
The conference is a collaborative effort through IU’s Office of Online Education, Office of Collaborative Academic Programs and eLearning Design and Services.
Each year, the conference has a different theme. Previous themes include Recharge and Go, Transforming Student Access and Success with Education, and Sustaining Student Success. This year’s theme is The Road to 2030, which will highlight the IU 2030 initiative.
This initiative is a seven-year plan aiming to expand the university’s out-of-state engagement, provide more opportunities to students and offer resources to support research and creative opportunities. The end goal of this conference is for IU faculty, staff and students to better understand online education and how it will benefit IU’s growth, Foley said.
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According to IU Online, IU has been offering online courses since 1989, and the program has grown to teach students across the world. Foley said there are currently around 8,600 students enrolled in IU Online, which includes access to 232 programs across all seven campuses. Along with those enrolled in IU Online, more than 50% of IU students take at least one online course within their college career, he said.
The conference will focus on the benefits of online education, more specifically, enrollment growth and student success, helping attendees understand the predominant role online education plays in these topics, Foley said.
“It’s about bringing those kinds of things, not just how do we retain students and create student services and do better advising, but it’s also about how do we construct the classes so that they’re more engaging, more responsive to students and have better outcomes,” Foley said about the deeper topics that the conference will address.
Keynote speakers will include Susan Sciame-Giesecke, IU vice president of Regional Campuses and Online Education, and Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, IU vice president of Student Success.
“Sciame-Giesecke has 45 years of experience with IU and was a chancellor at IU Kokomo-- she brings in a lot of experience and understands the importance of online for IU going forward,” Foley said. “Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, she has such a passion for student success and being student ready. I just think she will be fantastic to hear from and see her vision for students.”
In addition, the conference will provide information on IU’s mission to deliver engaging, high-quality online courses. Attendees will be able to voice their concerns and experiences with online education during Q&A sessions. Questions and comments can be put into the Zoom chat for the speakers and hosts to answer.
“The more you learn about online education, the more you will learn about education in general,” Foley said.
Registration will be open on Teaching Online at IU until Oct. 20. There is no cost to attend the event, and the cancellation fee for this year has been waived. All sessions from previous conferences and this year’s event can be accessed through expand.iu.edu.