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April 29, 2024

The London International Development Centre (LIDC) joined forces again with the Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) and the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE) to extend the conversation around the decolonisation of digital education, which started last year with our first joint webinar.

On 17 April we held a webinar focused on distance and online education and we listened to the experiences of distance learners. The panel comprised three students who had recently completed or were currently pursuing online courses offered by the University of London.

Conrad Francis, an Australian Sri Lankan dual Olympian, provided a truly international perspective. He completed a PGCE in International Sports Management at the University of London in 2022 and coached across the world. Conrad stated that student empowerment lies at the heart of decolonising education. He encouraged students to question what they already know and what they are learning.

Then Dr Swati Aggarwal, an educator herself, drew on her experiences of decolonisation both in delivering and being a recipient of learning. Dr Swati Aggarwal holds a doctorate in AI and has extensive experience in research and teaching in India. She completed the online Postgraduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher Education by the University of London. Swati exposed the need to diversify the voices that shape education itself to reflect the multi-cultural world.

Finally, Sanjeeva Singh, an Olympian Archer, shared his experiences of working towards a Post Graduate Certificate in International Sports Management at the University of London whilst studying at a distance in India. Shaped by his distance learning experience, Sanjeeva’s argued that decolonisation in education comes down to three key components: inclusivity, diversity and innovativeness. He believes that learning material should be as diverse as the students accessing them.

The audience engaged in a lively panel discussion, chaired by CODE Fellow and vice-principal for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the Royal Veterinary College, Dr Christine Thuranira-McKeever. They posed many interesting questions regarding access to digital technology and how institutions can prevent prejudice and bias towards Western approaches to learning and teaching.

You can watch a recording of the event here.

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