COL Chairs Programme

Several COL Chairs meet at PCF9

COL Chairs met at PCF9 in Edinburgh, UK, to discuss their initiatives in research and thought leadership.

COL appoints distinguished experts as COL Chairs to advance research, innovation and thought leadership in COL’s fields of competence.

The Programme was started in 2010 to (i) facilitate the development of effective open and distance learning (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.

Over the years, several distinguished academics from across the Commonwealth have been designated as an ‘Honorary COL Chair,’ sometimes in collaboration with UNESCO.

Terms of Reference

The COL Chair is expected to:

  • Understand, support and advocate COL’s role in the Commonwealth, and align the Chair activities to COL’s Strategic Plan;
  • Organise, facilitate and engage in research, innovation and thought leadership relative to the current and emerging trends in ODL, OER, TEL and learning for sustainable development;
  • Work at all levels of education, including lifelong learning, and in formal and non-formal settings, in cooperation with universities, civil society organisations, or other institutions;
  • Leverage and expand their network within and outside the Commonwealth to support the Chair activities;
  • Document and disseminate through reporting and other means, the work/findings from the Chair activities with COL and all stakeholders in the region and the larger Commonwealth in a manner that may facilitate uptake by all stakeholders, within these regions and beyond;
  • Promote and strengthen regional cooperation by creating an environment to facilitate and sustain the sharing of intellectual and physical resources (e.g., course materials, delivery systems and networking) for promoting ODL, OER, TEL and learning for sustainable development at all levels; and
  • Serve as Ambassadors of COL and uphold the highest level of professionalism in carrying out the Chair activities.

COL Chairs

Professor Mohamed Ally, Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University (Canada)

Professor Mpine Makoe, Institute for Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa (South Africa)

Professor George Veletsianos, School of Education and Technology, Royal Roads University (Canada)

Call for Applications

The strategic objectives of the COL Chairs programme are to:

For applications and instructions for submission see the following documents. COL Chairs must be Commonwealth citizens. A COL Chair normally serves a three-year term.

Overview | Application

Former COL Chairs

Dr Robin Day, Otago Polytechnic (New Zealand)

Professor Tolly S.A. Mbwette, Open University of Tanzania (Tanzania)

Professor Rory McGreal, Athabasca University (Canada)

Professor T.V. Prabhakar, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (India)

Professor Vincent Tenebe, National Open University of Nigeria (Nigeria)

Professor Joel Warrican, Open Campus Barbados, University of the West Indies (Barbados)

Professor Martin Weller, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University (United Kingdom)

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