For online learning expert Dr Thomas Michael Power, visiting the University of Southern Queensland was at the top of his wish list on an extensive year-long academic adventure around the world.
The Canadian academic visited USQ’s Toowoomba campus last week to deliver a presentation on his research and to interview his like-minded Australian colleagues in the field of online and blended learning.
“USQ is recognised as a world leader in distance and online learning, so I had heard a lot about what happens here,” Dr Power said.
After connecting with Dr Petrea Redmond from USQ’s Faculty of Education at a conference in Vancouver, Canada, Dr Power was convinced he needed to visit the university in person.
“In this global society, in a higher education setting, it doesn’t matter where a student is geographically located — they can study through an institution on the other side of the world,” Dr Power said.
“In the future it’s quite possible that Canadian and Australian universities could harmonise courses and programs for joint delivery on a world scale.”
And according to Dr Power, USQ is the Australian university that is best prepared to take on these new frontiers.
“The degree of flexibility that USQ offers students is really without precedent, even in North America.
“Through this visit I’ve developed a deep appreciation of the work being done here. I’m actually very surprise by the scale of the work USQ is doing in online and blended learning.”
As part of Dr Power’s visit to USQ he presented a seminar which explored a range of ways that academics can engage with their students synchronously and asynchronously within the online learning environment.
He also spent time with academics from a range of faculties to discuss how they teach within blended and online environments and he also explored collaborative research opportunities.
Dr Power is visiting Australia as part of a year-long academic sabbatical that will see him also visit Europe, Israel, New Zealand and South America.
He is currently working on three books and will include findings from the Australian leg of his journey in his published works.
Dr Thomas Michael Power is a visiting scholar from University Laval in Quebec City, Canada.
Further details about his work are available here
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