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UNESCO/ICDE Chair Rory McGreal

Professor Rory McGreal


Listen to a podcast interview with the Chair


Rory McGreal is the Athabasca University Chairholder of the UNESCO/International Council for Open and Distance Education Chair in Open Educational Resources. He is a professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University - Canada's Open University, based in Alberta, Canada. He is also the Director of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI); Editor of the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL); and founder of the OER Knowledge Cloud, which received an award of excellence from the Open Education Consortium. Formerly, he served as the Associate Vice President Research. He has received lifetime recognition awards from the Open Education Consortium, the European Distance Education Network and the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education.

He was previously the Executive Director of TeleEducation NB TéléÉducation, a bilingual (French/English) province-wide distance learning network. In this capacity, Rory McGreal's team implemented the world's first distance education website, an early DOS-based learning management system and the TeleCampus, a comprehensive learning object metadata database of online courses. For these and other accomplishments, he was given the Wedemeyer Award for Distance Education practitioner in 2002.

Before that, he was a supervisor at Contact North/Contact Nord, a bilingual distance education network in Northern Ontario, where his team implemented distance learning sites in more than 100 community centres, schools, indigenous centres, and other institutions in the remote vastness of Northern Ontario. He has also worked abroad in the Middle East, Seychelles (Indian Ocean) and Europe in various capacities as a teacher, ESL technological training co-ordinator, instructional designer, language and computer laboratory co-ordinator, and educational advisor.

He studied for his PhD (Computer Technologies in Education) at a distance over the Internet from Nova Southeastern University's Graduate School of Computers and Information Systems. He studied the implementation and management of distance education systems and networks from technological, pedagogical and policy perspectives. His present research interests include the use of Open Educational Resources and standards in technology assisted learning, particularly in the development and application of formal assessments at a distance. He is also researching how these would be applied on mobile devices for M-learning. Most recently, he is researching the possible educational impacts of Hearables.

Professor McGreal served on the Canadian Federal Information Highway Advisory Committee, on the Board of the TeleLearning Research Network of Centres of Excellence, and the Education Steering Committee for CANARIE, Canada's broadband research network. Internationally, he has served as a member of the Global Advisory Council of the Observatory of Borderless Higher Education and the Commonwealth of Learning’s Knowledge Management Group. Presently, he is a representative to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and on several institutional advisory boards and scholarly journal boards. He is also Director of the OER Foundation. He has been an invited Keynote at more than 50 Canadian and international conferences and has presented, or conducted workshops in over 60 countries.

Presentations and publications

» Selected presentations

» Selected publications