Spectrum Logo
A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Successful
conference
will be repeated

By Jeanne Brunson

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 35 - July 16, 1998

"Learning Online 98," an international conference on the use of technology in instruction was so successful that organizers are already planning "Learning Online 2000," according to Timothy Luke, faculty coordinator of the Virginia Tech Cyberschool. The conference was held June 18-21 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center and was hosted by Virginia Tech along with its College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA).
The conference was organized by Len Hatfield, associate professor of English, and Timothy Luke, professor of political science, who are both faculty coordinators of the Virginia Tech Cyberschool and COTA fellows. Luke said, "The conference had two purposes: to provide a platform to publicize to a national and international audience the process of transforming Virginia Tech to a virtual university, and to learn what advancements have been made in the area of on-line learning by national and international organizations."
The conference featured over 60 presentations of papers as well as six keynote speakers. The keynote speakers included Mark Poster, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine; Burks Oakley, associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Illinois and associate director of the Sloan Center for Asynchronous Learning Environments; Michael Joyce, visiting associate professor of English and director of the Center for Electronic Learning and Teaching at Vassar College; N. Katherine Hayles, professor of English at UCLA; Steven Gilbert, president of the Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group for the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE); and Howard Strauss, manager of advanced applications at Princeton University. Strauss said, "I had the chance to talk to people from as far away as New Zealand and to collaborate with attendees on issues as diverse as encouraging creativity in art classes, designing common GUI's for on-line learning, and re-focusing universities from their emphasis on teaching to an emphasis on learning."
There were over 100 attendees, many from other countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and several European countries. Additionally, the conference attracted participants and visitors from many national and international universities and corporations interested in digital discourse, learning on line, and the virtual university.
Gregory Boardman, faculty director of COTA who attended many of the presentations and keynote addresses said, "Through the conference, Virginia Tech demonstrated that it is among the leaders in on-line education and positioned itself to do much more in becoming a virtual university."