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Intellectuals from across Canada are descending on the University of Regina today and tomorrow to attend the eighth annual Canada’s Collaboration for Online Higher Education and Research conference.


“COHERE is the collaboration for online education and research and it’s a group of mostly Canadian institutions that are interested in online and blended learning,” said Kate Cushon, COHERE director and the main planner of this year’s conference.


The conference’s theme this year is Access and Diversity in Blended and Online Higher Education. The focus is on helping people who might not normally be able to access traditional higher education get access to it through technology.


Speaking at the conference are two keynote speakers, Alec Couros, a U of R education technology and media professor, and Valerie Irvine, an educational technology professor at the University of Victoria. Both are well known in the online education world and are some of the earliest adaptors of digital teaching tools.


Also included at the conference are breakout sessions focused on specific issues dealing with online higher education, including a panel of students from various universities who will share their experiences as online students.


“I think this conference is important because more and more we are seeing education move online. Here at the University of Regina we have UR courses and we have a lot of purely online courses. And if we just take the way that we teach in a face to face setting and just move that online it is often not very successful,” said Cushon.


Conference participants are from across Canada, including Keith Hampson from Toronto. Hampson is managing director of client innovation at Acropbatiq, an American company. “(The attendees) are usually some of the more enlightened and ambitious people in digital higher ed(ucation). So I come and have conversation with them,” said Hampson.


The COHERE conference runs Oct. 27 and 28 at the U of R.