Exclusive Interview with Bill Winfield, Director of the 19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning

August 5, 2003

Distance-Educator.com: What are some of the special features of the program this year?

Bill Winfield: This year’s program contains keynotes and forums that will address the wide spectrum of professional issues facing distance educators. Jack Wilson form UMASS ONLine will reflect on the ups and downs eLearning over the last few years, Park Prensky will talk about addressing the needs of younger digital nativesnow emerging as the main audience for eLearning and training. Gloria Gery will outline how learning portals can be designed to be essential performance support tools for both instructors and learners. In addition, two all day forums will bring well know panelists together to discuss Benchmarks and milestones for measuring quality and New models of learning: Blending asynchronous and synchronous formats. We’ve also added a new event on Thursday evening called A Learning Objects Roundup that should be very interesting. It will be an informal ‘electronic poster’ and roundtable discussion about the use of self-contained learning objects as components in actual online courses. Presenters have been invited to give short demonstrations of their learning objects and discuss what motivated them to design and develop them, what were some benefits, limitations and costs, as well as lessons learned.

Distance-Educator.com: How has the new venue for the conference been received by the participants last year, and what changes have you made this year?

Bill Winfield: Our move to the Monona Terrace Convention Center met with universal approval last year. Attendees were very impressed with the facility and the easy access to downtown restaurants and the UW Campus. The technology support in the building will allow us to offer wireless network access this year. We’re also planning to record all the keynotes and panels using Sonic Foundrys Media Site server.

Distance-Educator.com: One of the strengths of the conference has been that professionals from various segments ranging from higher education to K-12, to business, industry, military, and government have participated in this conference. Who do you expect to participate this year, and who should participate?

Bill Winfield: This years conference represents over 500 different organizations that include higher education, continuing education, K through 12 school districts, business, industry, government, military, non-profit organizations and other sectors. More importantly, it also represents the typical distance education team that often includes instructors, program coordinators, technical support, directors, learner support and other departments that are critical to insuring the success of any distance education or training program. This variety of education settings and occupational roles has always been the great strength of our conference. It’s probably largest and most varied assembly of problem solvers in distance teaching and learning in the country.

Distance-Educator.com: What is the best way to get more information about the conference? Who are the contact persons, and how potential participants could communicate with them if they had any questions?

Bill Winfield: All the information you need to register for the conference is on our website at http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/

you can address specific questions about exhibiting to: Kimary Peterson, kimary@education .wisc.edu


Bill Winfield, Director, 19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, University of Wisconsin -Madison

Bill Winfield began developing web based courses in 1994 when the practice was quite young. In addition to designing multilingual educational materials for The Babcock Institute for International Dairy Education and Research, he has worked with University of Wisconsin Learning Innovations on both academic and corporate online projects from 1996-1999. He currently teaches Designing for Online Learning as part of the Distance Education Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been the Director of the Annual Conference in Distance Teaching and Learning, since 1999.