Appointment of new COL Chairs announced

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The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is pleased to announce the appointment of six new COL Chairs for a three-year term.

The Chairs for the period 2023 to 2026 are:

  • Professor Shironica P. Karunanayaka, The Open University of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
  • Dr Mark Nichols, Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, New Zealand
  • Professor John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
  • Professor Geesje van den Berg, University of South Africa, South Africa
  • Professor Denise Whitelock, The Open University, United Kingdom
  • Professor Michalinos Zembylas, Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus

The COL Chairs were selected from a number of applications received from various open and distance learning (ODL) experts in the Commonwealth. During their term, the Chairholders are expected to promote thought leadership within the focus of COL’s areas of competence.

The COL Chair programme is designed to (i) facilitate the development of effective ODL and technology-enhanced education, and training through advocacy, research and capacity-building across the Commonwealth; (ii) strengthen regional cooperation; and (iii) provide visibility for COL in the field.

According to Dr Jako Olivier, COL Adviser: Higher Education, “This group of Chairs represent some of the best ODL scholars from a number of highly regarded universities. Furthermore, they have specifically been tasked to explore ODL in terms of innovations and education technology, such as artificial intelligence, assessment, open educational resources, technical and vocational education and training, as well as teacher training.”

COL Chairs are honorary positions hosted by universities within the Commonwealth.

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