The USDLA is helping to make distance learning easier


Kila Johnson, Contributor

The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) is celebrating National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) with a series of free virtual events from Nov. 9 to Nov. 11.

 The USDLA is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to support distance learning development, training and research. The organization focuses on the fusion of new concepts and puts an emphasis on the importance of communication in distance learning.

 NDLW is an annual event held by the USDLA to raise awareness about distance learning and to recognize leaders in the field. It is an opportunity for teachers, students, colleges and schools to discuss current issues, trends and the best practices associated with distance learning.

 The NDLW 2020 is different because distance learners are no longer a specialty population. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced everyone providing or receiving an education into the distance learning family. This year’s NDLW theme, From Surviving to Thriving: Rocking the New Normal, pays homage to the massive shift in education modality.

 The goal of this event is to help novice distance learning participants connect to and network with veteran participants. Throughout the week there will be sessions, meetings with the event’s sponsors and Keynote speeches from USDLA executives.  

 There will be two sessions per day for a total of 10 sessions with each one covering a different topic. The sessions range from 45 minutes to one hour in length and are led by a panel of experts on the subject.

 Some of the sessions offered during this year’s NDLW are listed below along with a brief description of what will be discussed during the session. For detailed information on the sessions and to view the sessions panelist visit the USDLA’s website.

 Nov. 9, 1:00-1:45 p.m. Constructing Online Collaboratories: Approaches to Building Community Remotely

The session shares insights and best practices to develop, maintain, and sustain online collaboratories for organizations working remotely.

 Nov. 10, 11:00-11:45 a.m. What Everyone Needs to Know about Accessibility in Distance Learning

In this session, leaders in accessibility will discuss best practices in making distance learning available for all.

 Nov. 11, 11:00-11:45 a.m. Focus on Open Education Resources and Digital Textbooks

During this session, representatives from major providers of open education resources and digital textbooks will discuss best practices in online courseware.

 Nov. 12, 2:00-2:45 p.m. The Broadband State of Your State

 This session will describe how the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is mapping broadband infrastructure through the entire United States.

 Nov. 13, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Leadership in Online Education

Experts will discuss the past, present, and future of online education and how the pandemic was a catalyst for change.

 While the sessions are free they do require prior registration. You may complete the registration form online on the USDLA’s website. After submitting your form you will be given an attendee ID that you will use to access the conference.

 If you have any questions or suggestions about NDLW, you may contact the NDLW 2020 chair, Dr. Georgianna Laws, at [email protected].