Panel: Dealing with Participant Diversity in Higher Educational e-Learning Projects
(Education and Employment in a Global Market)

Thursday, July 13, 2017: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
Harmony (Crowne Plaza Brussels - Le Palace)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Discussants:  Martin Rehm, University Duisburg-Essen
Panel Chairs:  Mindel van de Laar, University Maastricht
Panel Organizers:  Mindel van de Laar, University Maastricht

Blended Learning Set up of the Master Programme "Analysis and Design of Social Protection Systems"
Esther Schüring, Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Social Security Studies

Evidence-Based Research Methods Blended Learning Mid-Career Professional Programme
Shivani Achrekar, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance / UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University

In this panel presentation we review the importance, benefits and challenges of dealing with diversity in higher education e-learning projects, on the basis of 3 case examples. Cases selected are e-learning packages offered to graduate or postgraduate groups (Master, PhD or post-graduate e-learning packages), with participants from developed and developing countries and with diversity in discipline. Each case will be presented, covering shortly their experience on 1) What was the e-learning project about, 2) What was the participant diversity we dealt with and 3) Was the programme considered a success, and based on what criteria? Case presentation is followed by a guided discussion linking theoretical e-learning perspective to practice on the following issues: i) Does diversity in nationality require special design of e-learning programmes. Do we see different learning behaviour when looking at nationality or region of the participant. ii) Did you experience clear differences in cultural / regional participant behaviour or educational outcomes? iii) Does a diverse e-community require specific programme management and/or tutor preparation, and how can institutions prepare for that? iv) Does diversity by level (master, PhD, professionals) or discipline (health, psychology, social, educational) matter for group performance or educational outcomes? Are there specific approaches to e-learning in various policy area. Each discussion point will be theoretically introduced by the discussant, and explored by the one, two or all case presenters based on their own experience. Experiences will be highlighted and/or visualized with slides using learning analytics from the online platforms, to show behavior and performance relevant for each specific point. The discussant may relate findings to the literature, and common patterns or interesting deviations will be explored based on the practical findings.