Meet the committee: Naomi Wahls

Committee member Naomi WahlsBased in:

Open Universiteit, Netherlands – see below for update.

Passionate about:

Intercultural Learning, Open Virtual Mobility, Virtual Exchanges, Collaborative Open Learning, and Open Educational Practices

Open network: My channels


Trying connecting courses through virtual exchange with an international course. Instructors and administration learn so much about themselves, students, the educational systems in both countries, and about peer educators during the experience.

Although most recently I work predominantly with language educators and online language teaching, I have worked with various fields in online higher education since 2006. Even in the earlier years though, I’ve had interests in virtual exchanges (VE) for various course topics, including non-language learning courses that share the same language for the course content. During that time I completed 2 Master programs: Spanish and Information and Learning Technologies. During my Spanish Masters research, I studied video lessons, social media, and game based learning. My thesis was: “Using Video Lessons and Gaming to Teach Spanish Commands with Participant Interaction in Social Media”.

In 2010, I started practicing open virtual exchanges with 3 institutions between Mexico and the United States. At that point the students interacted for less than 3 weeks as part of their current course. This past year, educators in Mexico, Peru, and Uzbekistan began asking for stand-alone courses for credit focused on VE. During the first virtual exchange with Uzbekistan, the Uzbek university was able to award credit to the students for the virtual exchange, a step closer to Virtual Mobility (VM).

I started a small company in 2012: Wahls Instructional Design and was the instructional designer for a graduate teacher education MOOC specialization for credit in Colorado. During the design, I realized that MOOCs could be designed to be more inclusive of students in developing countries and rural areas which drew me to open education more directly. I also realized that Open Virtual Mobility (#OpenVM) might be of use to many non-native English speaking countries as a means of practicing English and advancing their studies with native speakers. As an external PhD Candidate with Open Universiteit, Netherlands, I’m researching OpenVM through Intercultural Learning.

The VE with Uzbekistan and the newer course model lead to the UNESCO project in Uzbekistan: Open Education for a Better World focused on Professional Development for English Teaching in Uzbekistan which includes Open Educational Practices (OEP) and collaborative open learning with the mentor team of Dr. Chrissi Nerantzi, Dr. Alisher Abidjanov, and myself. Dr. Chrissi Nerantzi introduced me further to OEP and collaborative open learning. This month, the UNESCO OER textbook project was accepted to the Rebus OER beta textbook project.

Update 2021:

Naomi Wahls is a Learning Developer and Continuing Professional Development Coordinator at the Delft University of Technology and the Hub Coordinator on topics related to society, peace, justice, gender, equity for UNESCO Open Education for a Better World. She has an MA in Spanish and an MA in Information and Learning Technologies from the University of Colorado Denver.

Naomi has worked in online higher education since 2006, including supervising the CU Online Helpdesk, supporting faculty and students. In 2013 she worked with colleagues in a Game Based Learning course design for the Advanced Academic Achievement 109 online course for the Community College of Denver. In 2014 she designed and taught the first online Spanish course at the University of Colorado Denver. A medical education membership site released in 2014 with her design and in 2015 with a new platform. In 2016 and 2017 she supported and researched Virtual International Exchanges (VIEs) published in, Educause, and LearnTechLib.

She was the instructional designer for a Teacher Education MOOC specialization for graduate credit in Colorado, and an UNESCO mentor for Open Education for a Better World on a project in 2018 and 2019.

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