Selected Keynotes


I’ve done a lot of keynotes since 2015, mainly as result of the publication ‘Teaching in a Digital Age.’ Consequently many of the keynotes cover common ground, so I list just a selection since 2015.

In 2020, because of Covid-19, my keynotes became webinar or Zoom-type presentations. Some of them can be found below as well.

Unless indicated otherwise, click on the title to access the recording.


2021 Recent research into the effectiveness of online and emergency remote learning

This was a webinar for graduate students taking Athabasca University’s EdD course EDDE 801, Advanced Topics and Issues in Distance Education, on 14 October

I present a review of 40 research articles and reports looking at the impact of emergency remote learning or comparing online learning with face-to-face teaching, and identify some of the issues arising, including the value of some of the research.

The following discussion with participants is interesting, as you would expect with graduate students, covering issues such as

  • the experience of those teaching during Covid-19,
  • indigenous online learning,
  • corporate training,
  • the limitations of online learning in the k-12 system, and
  • the use of OER in the Global South.


2021 The Future of Online Learning

This is a recording of a Zoom webinar on 30 September with approximately 40 students and alumni of the University of British Columbia’s Master of Educational Technology program, as part of their MET Community EdTech talk speaker series. This is a Q&A session and covers the following issues:

  • hybrid and blended learning
  • synchronous vs asynchronous learning
  • online learning in the k-12 sector
  • social and emotional learning online
  • the importance of theory
  • the impact of Covid-19.

The recording is approximately 90 minutes and my contribution starts about 6 minutes into the recording.


2021 Some post-Covid trends in higher education, 

This 12 minute presentation on 8 July was part of a webinar with several speakers on digitally-enhanced education organised by the University of Kent in England.

My presentation focuses on

  • the move to blended learning,
  • the need to identify the affordances of face-to-face and online learning respectively within any given teaching context,
  • the need to develop teaching methods in degree programs that more explicitly focus on ’21st century’ skills development, and
  • the importance and limitations of microcredentials.



2020 Designing hybrid learning in a Covid-19 era

This was a Zoom presentation as part of the Colleges and Institutes Canada webinar series for their members. The whole video recording is 35 minutes, with 25 minutes presentation and lively and interesting 10 minute Q and A session at the end.

Click on image to play

Click on image to play video

2019 Enhancing studying and students’ learning in a digital age

This was a keynote I gave at Aalborg University’s Copenhagen campus in Denmark, focusing on teaching the knowledge and skills students will need in a digital age. This provides a good example of the issues in teaching in a digital age. The video is 53 minutes in length, including questions and answers.

Click on image to play

Aalborg University keynote, 2019

2019 Change or die: the coming crisis in Canadian post-secondary education

This keynote, given at the CNIE annual conference, at UBC in 2019, is similar in content to the Aalborg keynote, but with a more Canadian focus.

The whole video is about one hour fifteen minutes, including questions and answers, but the keynote doesn’t start until about 10 minutes into the recording. The Danish recording is a better quality. Click on the title to play.

2018 Re-designing teaching for a digital age

Université de Montréal: Colloque Ressources Numériques, MOOC et FAD: enjeux et collaborations en enseignement supérieur.

This presentation (in English) covers:

  • key forces of change impacting on HE institutions
  • online learning in Canada (including results of the 2017 national survey)
  • current trends in online learning (drawing on ‘Teaching in a Digital Age)
  • pockets of innovation (drawing on the Contact North project)
  • implications for teaching and learning


2018 Developing 21st Century Skills: Why blended and digital learning are so important

April 18, 2018: 2018 BC Digital Learning Symposium, Richmond BC

This presentation, to K-12  teachers and online designers, was focused on the role of online learning in developing 21st century skills, covering:

  • changing economy, changing needs
  • importance of ‘soft’ skills and what we know about skills development
  • the role of blended learning in skills development
  • implications for teaching and learning

2018 Digital learning in an era of change: challenges and opportunities for STEM teaching and the OU

April 25, 2018: The Open University eSTEM conference, Milton Keynes, UK. 

Although there is some overlap with the previous two, this focuses specifically on the role of digital technology in teaching STEM subjects online


2018 Learning in a Digital Age (Implications for Business Schools) 

This presentation at the McPherson Institute at McMaster University on 13 April for the de Groote School of Business naturally focuses a little on business education but the issues are more general.

It looks at the key forces of change outside the university that should be driving curriculum decisions, trends in online learning, then examines particularly

  • the issues around blended learning, such as using it to teach 21st century skills,
  • deciding what’s best done on campus and what online,
  • the shift from content delivery to learner direction and support, including the shifting role of instructors,
  • online collaborative learning, and
  • an example of the design of an advanced digital learning course.

My presentation is just under an hour, and there is another 30 minutes of questions and discussion with the faculty.


2017 Tracking online and distance education in Canadian universities and colleges 2017

17 October, 2017: ICDE World Conference on Online Learning, Toronto

This is a summary of the results of the 2017 national survey of online learning and distance education in Canadian post-secondary education.


2017 Developments in digital learning: an international perspective

This looks particularly at the challenges of technology transfer in developing countries, and identifies approaches that have succeeded.

8 August, 2017: EdTech Fischer Talk, Penn State University


2011 Just ID – A meeting of instructional designers from across British Columbia 

Video and text

May 13, 2011: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

A report of discussions by 50 instructional designers around BC on the following topics:

  • Innovation/creativity and instructional design Web 2.0,
  • Social media and instructional design
  • Mobile learning and instructional design
  • Learning environments that aren’t courses
  • The future of instructional design


2011 Will technology replace the campus?

Video, 90 minutes with questions and discussion.

May 3, 2011: Camosun College, Victoria, BC.

Abstract: The college campus has always been seen as the ‘norm’ for post-secondary education from earliest times. However, the Futurist magazine recently predicted that ‘‘The notion of class time as separate from non-class time will vanish…The next generation of college students will be living wherever they want and taking many (if not all) of their courses online. This keynote examines this issue in terms of the modern student, the academic and practical requirements of college teaching and learning, and the potential and limitations of technology. This means in particular examining the implications of technology for course design. The aim was for participants to go away thinking about when and when not to use online learning – or the classroom – in their own teaching.

See also: Beyond the campus: hope, trades training and skulduggery

2011 The challenge of change: managing technology to transform teaching

Video (60 minutes with questions and discussion.)

February 22, 2011: Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC

Abstract: A study of over 30 universities and colleges in Europe and North America suggests that higher education institutions have been unduly cautious in their goals for learning technologies, focusing primarily on enhancing classroom teaching, thus merely adding cost to the system. As well as using technology to increase flexible access, technology should be used to develop 21st century skills and competencies, individualize learning, more learner-centered teaching, and improved cost-effectiveness. This however requires new models and designs for learning, and this is hampered by lack of training in educational pedagogy for instructors, and technology management in administrators.

A Powerpoint of the slides is available from my Dropbox on e-mail request to me.

See also: The digital future of higher education, on video

2009 Planning academic programmes using e-learning

King Abdulaziz University, November 2009

Download Day 1, ppt (2 Mbs)

Download Day 2, ppt (2 Mbs)

Northern Border University, Ar Ar, November 2009

Download Day 1, ppt (2 mgs)

Download Day 2, ppt (2 mgs)

Umm Al-Qura University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, October 2009

Download Saudi Part 1 ppt (2 Mbs); Download Saudi Part 1 pdf (26 Mbs)

Download Saudi Part 2 ppt (2 Mbs); Download Saudi Part 2 pdf (21 Mbs);

Improving student learning with information technologies:

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, October 2009

Online and flexible learning in trades training: the British Columbia experiment
Waikato Institute of Technology, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 2008
Download pdf


Developing a vision for teaching and learning using Web 2.0 tools
Workshop for teachers at Wellington Loop, New Zealand, September 2008
Download pdf
Also needs accompanying video: download video: 56 kbs 1meg
Use with ‘The implications of Web 2.0 for teaching and learning in a knowledge-based society’ (below)


Investing in online learning: cost analysis and business models
Keynote at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, September 2008
Download pdf

Distance learning, online learning and national and institutional planning for provision
Keynote at University of Victoria Wellington, New Zealand, September 2008
Download pdf

Effective teaching and learning with technology in tertiary education
Keynote at University of Canterbury, New Zealand, September 2008
Download pdf

Why universities must change: the challenge of technology
Keynote at University of Pretoria, South Africa, June 2008
Download pdf

Also available as a podcast at

New technology and market positioning: challenges for universities
Keynote to Ministry of Education, Technology and development conference, Denmark, February, 2008
Download pdf

Planning academic programs using e-learning
Workshop for King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia, March 2008
Download pdf

The implications of Web 2.0 for teaching and learning in a knowledge-based society
Webcast for University of Leicester conference on innovation in education, January, 2008
Download pdf

Issues in international online education: five case studies
Online seminar to students in Royal Roads University Masters in Distributed Learning, November 2007
Download pdf

Distance education in a knowledge-based society
Keynote at ICDE regional conference, Toluca, Mexico, October 2007
Download pdf

Models of collaboration: International experiences, challenges and opportunities
Keynote for conference on collaboration in distance education for Caribbean countries, St. Lucia, November, 2007
Download pdf

The world of e-learning research: an overview
Keynote for Aprenred conference, Universidad de Guadalajara, September, 2007
Download pdf

Quality in distance education
Workshop for staff at Open University of Catalonia (in English), February, 2005
Download pdf
Why e-learning has failed – and why it will succeed
Keynote to EDEN conference, Helsinki, 2005
Download pdf

Seven myths (or realities?) of distance education
Keynote to ICDE World conference, Hong Kong, 2004
Download pdf

The implications of Web 2.0 for teaching and learning

Keynote delivered by video-conference to conference at the University of Leicester, UK,  January 2008

Interview with Mike O’Donoghue of Lancaster University, U.K., 2006, 45 minutes
(recommend the audio version):

Audio Version
Video version


  • strategic planning of e-learning
  • strategic use of e-learning
  • barriers to e-learning
  • is e-learning a useful term?
  • face-to-face vs online: how to decide?
  • why come to campus?
  • teaching skills for a knowledge-based society
  • exploiting IT infrastructure for administration
  • what’s the use of lectures?
  • training for professors in e-learning
  • my favorite technology and why
  • implications of Web 2.0
  • will all learning be through technology?
  • IT in schools vs IT in universities
  • do we still need teachers?

Centralised or decentralised distance education at dual mode universities?

This video interview with Tony Bates discusses the factors at play and the advantages and disadvantages of faculties being responsible for distance education, based on the experience of the University of British Columbia, which unsuccessfully moved to decentralise services in 2003. The interview was done for the University of Wisconsin 2009 Annual Conference on distance education.

The History of the Open University (14 minutes)

This video talks about the early days of the British Open University, and some key factors in its success. It was made for the University of Maryland University College’s OMDE 601.