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LINC plans distance learning event

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Sarah H. Wright
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The MIT Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) will host its second symposium and workshop, "Creating and Sustaining Learning Communities," on March 23-26 at the Hotel@MIT in Cambridge.

Richard Larson, professor of engineering systems, founded LINC to help meet the educational needs of the growing population of youths in developing countries through e-learning, distance education and other technologies.

Representatives from MIT, Harvard and other universities will join policy-makers from organizations including USAID and UNESCO in the symposium. Academics and practitioners from 25 countries will participate.

Leaders of such pioneering open and virtual learning communities as African Virtual University, Arab Open University, Gaza International Foundation for Peace on Earth, Israel Open University, Malaysia University of Science and Technology and Pakistan Virtual University will present their experiences and best practices with using computer and telecommunications technolgies to help underserved or isolated youth.

Etienne Wenger, author of "Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge," will be a featured speaker. Feiyu Kang, deputy dean in the School of Continuing Education at Tsinghua University in China, will outline Tsinghua's role in China's current and planned activities for creating learning communities via distance learning programs.

Members of the MIT community will lead discussions on such topics as "On-Line Global Learning Communities: The Case of Urban Operations Research," moderated by Larson; "I-Labs: Performing Laboratory Experiments Across Continents," presented by Jesus del Alamo, professor of electrical engineering, and Steven Lerman, director of the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives (CECI); "MIT Africa Internet Technology Initiative" (AITI), presented by Solomon Assefa, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and co-founder and president of AITI; and "A New Model for Open Sharing," presented by Anne Margulies, executive director of MIT OpenCourseWare.

Training workshops will focus on web-based technologies for distance learning, new pedagogical models for distance learning, achieving competitive advantage with knowledge ecosystems and a case study of Mexico.

For more information on LINC or the symposium, see To register, go to

--Sarah H. Wright

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 17, 2004.

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