Professor Mostafa Azad Kamal is presently working at Bangladesh Open University as the Dean of the School of Business. He is a Professor in International and Development Economics. He completed his graduate studies from the University of Namur, Belgium. He has been engaged in open and distance learning for more than 22 years. Professor Mostafa’s research interests are eLearning, OER, ODL, and quality assurance in higher education. He teaches economics, statistics, research methods, and quantitative techniques courses in MBA and Commonwealth MBA programmes offered by the School of Business, Bangladesh Open University. In addition, he is also a Creative Commons Fellow for Open Leadership. He is an instructional designer in eLearning and ODL. He received intensive training on the instructional design in ODL from the University of Waterloo and also on instructional design in eLearning from Open Polytechnic, New Zealand.
Q1. What is the nature of your work in your current job?
As the Dean of a faculty, my prime role is educational leadership. In addition, I teach microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, statistics, managerial economics, quantitative techniques, and research methodology courses in our MBA and Commonwealth MBA programmes. I am a member of the eLearning Centre at the university. I play roles in designing and developing the eContent for our courses. I coordinate the weekly Open Business Talk (a very innovative way to change the mindset of the young colleagues) and also manage Open Business Webinars for continuing professional development of the teachers and graduate students. I also work for the instructional design for our ODL courses. I frequently facilitate the capacity building training on TEL, OER, and ODL
During this COVID-19 pandemic, I am highly engaged in promoting meaningful online education at my university. I am leading the eLearning team at my faculty.
Q2. How did your education and previous professional experience shape your current work?
My previous education and research in development economics gave me a foundation that is enshrined in the belief about education as the key to all economic, social, and cultural changes. However, a vast majority of the population remains outside the orbit of education, which is the biggest challenge for all of us. This feeling made me search for an alternative mode of education that is scalable. Therefore, I have been gradually inclined to Open and Distance Learning (ODL) practices and research in that area.
For my keen interest and the devoted engagement in ODL, I am now working intensively in Technology-Enabled Learning methods and practices. I have been highly motivated by COL’s initiatives in our region. Later I have been attached to COL as a consultant, which helped me learn a lot of open learning, OER, and TEL.
Q3. How do you hope your work on Technology-Enabled Learning will change the learning landscape?
If we try to dig deeper into the fundamental of education, we will find that ‘learning’ is the core. The only face-to-face system or only the online learning system alone can’t ensure true learning for the learners. In addition, the teachers are usually very much stuck with the method they are following for decades. Therefore, TEL can be a meaningful catalyst for change. I strongly believe that TEL will change the mindset of teachers and learners. There will be a big pedagogic shift in teaching-learning practice once they start using TEL.
The pressure for the 21st century skills and unprecedented growth of innovative technologies have created a pace for the teachers and learners to use technologies for their continuous improvement. Therefore, my works on TEL will certainly create a shift in teaching-learning practices at my workplace and beyond. I already observe the change at my faculty in terms of technology use in education during COVID19 crisis. TEL becomes mainstream at most of the universities at the moment. Private universities are talking to me, trying to learn from my experience and design their online deliveries.
Q4. What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
The innovations in educational technologies including AI, AR, VR, and the pattern of learning needs will have a big impact on future learning. At the same time, the digital divide will grow faster if the governments will not increase investment to increase citizens’ access to digital media and devices. Learning in the third decade of 21st century will never remain the same as the trend shows. Technologies will come to the centre of everything and lifelong learning skills will be a dominating force. Therefore, TEL will have space in the teaching-learning environment in most of the educational institutions. COVID-19 has even prompted these changes much more.
Q5. How do you visualise the role of a Community of Practice Platform like TELCOP?
The role of the community of practice is always critical as it creates opportunities for collaborations, co-creation, and sharing. Therefore, TELCOP is playing a great role in connecting all the partners and other stakeholders and creating an environment for mutual sharing and learning. TELCOP helps the partners connect to each other and solve their problems through the transfer of knowledge and expertise.
Q6. Apart from your current job-related tasks, what else are you working on?
Beyond my regular academic and administrative works at my university, I am a member of the International Academic Board for Commonwealth Executive MBA and MPA programmes of the Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada. I have been involved with Creative Commons as the Country Representative for Creative Commons Bangladesh Chapter and also as a member of the 15-member central Membership Committee of Creative Commons, USA. I also serve as the President of the Centre for Open Knowledge (COK), Bangladesh. I am involved with the eLearning initiatives of Access to Information (A2i) and ICT Ministry in Bangladesh.
Q7. Who are some of the most interesting people you follow on social media?
I follow the TEL and OER leaders including Prof. Asha Kanwar, Ms. Frances Ferriera, Dr. Cable Green, Prof. Rory McGreal, Prof. Santosh Panda, Prof. M M Pant, Prof. Curtis Jay Bonk, Prof. Paul Prinsloo, and Prof. Vashudha Kamat. I also follow the works of institutions/organizations including Commonwealth of Learning (COL), OERu, UNESCO, Harvard Business School, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia, Creative Commons, and any updates from the TELCOP members.