TechChange recently hosted 17 leaders from the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which hosted visitors ranging from Morocco to Zambia to Haiti as part of their program, “Information Technology and Social Media: Power to the People.” The International Visitor Leadership Program is a professional exchange program that hosts foreign leaders for short-term visits to cultivate relationships with their American counterparts. For all of the participants, this was their first visit to the United States.
Isabel Knight and Austin Spivey, both members of the instructional design team, explained the mission of TechChange and showcased some courses they have been working on recently. Austin was excited to get an opportunity to use her French and Arabic skills, as the majority of the leaders were French speakers and some were from Arabic speaking countries.
The session touched on topics like the challenges of connectivity, as well as ways to make courses more engaging, such as gamification. Many leaders shared the concern that even slow internet is expensive in many developing countries, making distance learning tedious and costly.
The issue of English proficiency was also raised, given that a good understanding of English is necessary for success in many online courses. The TechChange team walked away with a clearer picture of the challenge of accessibility in online learning and a renewed commitment to making its courses more accessible for all.
If you would like to see the slides from their presentation, you can do so here: