The long established and highly anticipated Asa Briggs Lecture (held at each Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning honouring the founding chair of the COL Board of Governors) and graciously presented this year by Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University, UK. Lord Briggs, the celebrated British historian and open learning education pioneer, remains a global icon in ODL circles six years since his passing.
In a video address to the assembled in the well-attended main plenary exhibition hall, Prof Blackman delivered a stirring speech that centred around how open learning is the most modern, efficient and cost-effective pathway for underprivileged students seeking higher education opportunities. He also expressed the strongly held view that the experience of distance learning has opened up countless new avenues to education, especially in the wake of Covid-19. He went on to explain that quality, enduring jobs in the modern economy are especially learner-driven vis-à-vis the open learning educational model.
Prof Blackman’s thought-provoking online presentation and subsequent live virtual Q&A – part of a lecture series hosted by COL and moderated by AU’s President Prof Peter Scott – also included a message of hope – how open learning is the most inclusive and least discriminatory method of education, especially those from the most deprived backgrounds and areas. In short, easy access education for all.