Oct 15, 2011

Penn State Alumni Feature

In March, I was interviewed by the Penn State Education Alumni Magazine. I did more or less forget about it, so I was surprised when I found the printed version in my mailbox today. Anyway, my original answers to the interview questions back in March are presented below the online version of the Magazine:

- What is your Penn State degree and what year did you earn it?
I was a graduate student at the Department of Adult Education and Instructional Systems from 1990 to 1992. Working as a graduate assistant at the American Journal of Distance Education, I established The Distance Education Online Symposium (DEOS) as the world’s first online journal and discussion forum for distance education. This was an extremely interesting time which allowed me to build a broad international network in distance and online education. It also helped me develop the theory of cooperative freedom which has become my guiding star in online education.

After two years, I returned to Norway with the overambitious plans of completing my dissertation in one year. My life as an online doctoral student was hard to combine with a full time job and two more children adopted from Brazil – and remember that this was a period that the Penn State internet services were quite limited. So, it took me five years to complete my dissertation about online teaching techniques, and I become a Doctor of Education in 1998.

- How has your degree in education aided you in your career and life?  
Back In 1986, I became one of the very first European online educators when I designed the EKKO Learning Management System, taught my first online courses and established the NKI Online College (www.nki.no). This was ten years before Penn State introduced its World Campus, so I felt like an online education pioneer and expert when I came to Penn State in 1990. But, I soon realized that my Penn State studies gave me broader perspectives and propelled my academic and international career. It made it possible for me to become a professor of online education in Norway, an adjunct professor at the Athabasca University and a professor associado at Universidade Aberta in Portugal.

It’s undisputable that my Penn State experiences have been instrumental for my participation in a number of international projects, editorial boards, conferences and committees.

- Last summer, you were elected president of the European Distance and E-Learning Network, can you tell me what that organization does? 

When I was elected, I stated that my three favorite e-learning words were: flexibility, cooperation and transparency. This year EDEN celebrates its 20th anniversary, so I have added celebration to my list of favorite words.

EDEN - the European Distance and E-Learning Network (www.eden-online.org) is an association with 200 institutional and 1200 individual members in more than 50 countries. Penn State is among the seven member institutions in the US, and Penn State Professor Michael G. Moore is among the distinguished group of EDEN Senior Fellows.

As President, I chair the Executive Committee with outstanding colleagues from eleven European countries who rely on the excellent work of the eight people secretariat in Hungary.

EDEN takes part in numerous European projects, operates an online journal (www.eurodl.org) and an online network for its 1200 academic and professional members. EDEN also organizes two international conferences per year. Our next annual conference is in Dublin in June and our Open Classroom conference is in Athens in October.

- Would you like to make any additional anecdotal quotes about your degree, your career, and/or your interests?
I now work as the director of development and innovations at NKI, and I’m really proud that we can celebrate our 25th anniversary as an online college next year. At the moment we have 400 online courses and 12.500 Norwegian online students in more than 40 counties. Now, I look forward to taking part in the future development of online education with my new web 2.0 motto I care, so I share:


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