John Baker

John Baker

President & Chief Executive Officer

John Baker founded D2L in 1999, at the age of 22, while attending the University of Waterloo as a Systems Design Engineering student. A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide. He was recognized in 2013 as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year within Ontario, received the Young Alumni Achievement Medal from the University of Waterloo, and inducted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame as an Intrepid Entrepreneur. He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School and other organizations. John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.

John will discuss how technology is changing the notion of distance in education. From D2L’s early days as a web-based distance education platform to its current place as a global leader in learning technology, the company has helped make learning more accessible to more people in more places. Over time, learning technology has changed our world’s perception of distance - making both distant corners of the globe easier to reach and narrowing the distance between teacher and student in the classroom. However, for learning technology to be truly effective, there are still some distances we need to overcome.

Narendra Rustagi

Narendra K. Rustagi

Director, Center for Global Business Studies
Howard University

Dr. Narendra K. Rustagi is Director of the Center for Global Business Studies, School of Business, Howard University. Dr. Rustagi is professionally very active both at Howard and at professional organizations. He was a co-author of the grant to start online programs at the Howard University. He participated in review of programs at the Kogi State University, Nigeria, Sohar University, Oman, and the University of Mauritius, Mauritius. He is also co-founder of the International Educators Group, and is passionate about developing strategies for efficient delivery of higher education. He was recently requested to join the Academic Council of Invertis University, India.

His topic is Global Collaborations to Create Global Citizens. Today, businesses need individuals who can thrive in diverse environments around the globe, leveraging lessons learned across cultures while functioning like locals. To prepare individuals to adapt to new environments, either as entrepreneurs or as employees, we need to expose students to global interactions both in person when possible, and through technology. Going a step further, students must understand that knowledge of and use of plurality in all its forms is necessary for personal, business and national competitiveness. Additionally, faculty should be able and willing to deliver education globally both in person and via technology. The demand for U.S. education is very high and courses taught in a hybrid mode involving embedded travel will expose both faculty and students to other cultures. Thus, we should build collaborations with institutions around the globe through programs such as short-term study abroad, joint faculty projects, joint student projects, joint programs such as bilateral and trilateral degree and certificate programs, hybrid and fully online courses, internships in other countries, etc.

In this presentation, Dr. Rustagi plans to use examples which would include programs that he has been personally involved in, including online MBA and executive MBA programs, Global Trilateral MBA certificate program, and embedding of short-term international projects in courses wherein students work on projects in foreign countries with local executives.

Benjamin Ola Akande

Benjamin Ola Akande

BOA Consulting

Benjamin Ola Akande, Ph.D. is president of BOA Consulting. He is the former 21st president of the 165-year-old Westminster College. Previously, he was tenured Professor of Economics and Dean, George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, Webster University. Dr. Akande also served as Webster University’s Chief of Office of Corporate Partnerships, charged with forging partnerships with organizations and businesses around the world on behalf of Webster University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma and has completed post-doctoral studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Saïd School of Business at Oxford University.

His presentation is titled "The Value of Partnership: The Case of Cirque du Soleil." Dr. Akande will seek to challenge Business schools and corporations to create the ultimate next practice through collaboration. He will reference the highly successful Canadian entertainment giant Cirque Du Soleil as a case study on how to use partnerships to achieve sustainable business practices and to change the business landscape of the future.

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