This is the week of the EDEN16, the largest and probably the best academic and professional conference in Europe in the field of open, distance and eLearning. Year after year since 1992, the community is gathering in June for the EDEN Annual Conference. After the first one in Krakow, 20 other major European cities have hosted the conference at its 25 occasions so far. No less than ten thousand delegates had attended the different editions and shared the EDEN Conference experience. Looking back and forward to the history of such major annual event, what did actually strike us the most? What have we learned? What can we expect in the future? What surprises has EDEN prepared for the Budapest conference?
To inspire you on your reflection about this questions, I’ve invited today my good friend Andras Szucs, Secretary General of EDEN, to share with you his insights and personal recollections of the many editions of the EDEN conference. Naturally, to reflect on the 25 various EDEN conferences is also the sharing of a personal account about the experience of belonging to the EDEN community and also to analyse the evolution of the Association throughout these 25 years of service. Andras has kindly accepted that challenge too.
The connection of Andras to EDEN is deep and enduring. He has been the Association’s Secretary General since 1997, accumulating in the process a truly amazing experience, almost without parallel, that has been a tremendously valuable asset for our organisation. The continuity of EDEN throughout these decades is in many ways a result of the solid organisational development work carried out by the Association’s Secretariat under the responsibility of Andras and also his capability to advise wisely the Presidents and the Executive Committee. During my term, I had the opportunity to fully benefit from this great advantage as a leader.
In his most interesting post, Andras looks into the history of EDEN and shares a significant episode of the early days. His conclusion, that EDEN has become a pillar for the modernisation of education, is very appropriate. It should be said though that Andras was a major contributor to that reality we’re so proud of.
I hope to see you soon in Budapest, at the EDEN16. Come and join us for the celebrations of the Association’s Silver Jubilee.
We complete today the special series of guest blog posts by former EDEN Presidents on EDEN’s 25 years of service to the open, distance and eLearning community. For the conclusion of this memorable cycle of reflections, I have the privilege and the pleasure of sharing with you the contribution of our former President Erwin Wagner. He was the leader of our Association from 2000 to 2003.
Erwin was the President who drove EDEN into the new Millennium and celebrated the Association’s first decade (1991-2001). This symbolic milestone is not just a happy coincidence, but a good metaphor for his Presidency’s legacy. To borrow the words of my dear friend Ulrich Bernath, the chief editor of EURODL, Erwin made a substantial contribution to the consolidation of EDEN as the leading European association in our field. It was under his vision and leadership that the Association adopted his current name: European Distance and E-Learning Network, instead of the original European Distance Education Network. This was the result of a bold and expertly organised effort of modernisation, which included the refreshing of the brand and raising its profile. He was also responsible for strengthening the Association by strongly emphasising the necessity of professional and academic development.
Although I didn’t experience those exciting days in EDEN, I can relate to the enduring legacy of Erwin’s Presidency. My personal view about Erwin is that of a kind and generous colleague whom I’ve learned to deeply respect and appreciate.
In this final post of the series, Erwin looks at EDEN from a very interesting and original perspective in which he shares a very insightful analysis on how EDEN has evolved since the start of the Millenium. Erwin highlights factors of major importance in our Association’s more recent transformation, namely, EDEN’s new global leading role. He finally claims that EDEN is already part of the history of our field. This is quite true indeed and we’re very proud to carry this great legacy which resulted also from the work of such visionary leaders as my good friend and past president Erwin Wagner.
I wish you’ll enjoy reading as much as I did this delightful post by Erwin.
As we approach the end of the special series of guest blog posts by former EDEN Presidents who have kindly shared their visions and experiences, I’m honoured to introduce the contribution of our former President Ingeborg Boe. She led the Association from 2003 to 2007, making her term the longest so far, and prior to that she was also a Vice-President.
Ingeborg’s presidency had an impact on EDEN in many ways. Her progressive, optimistic and sensible approach represented at best a time of great expansion for the field in Europe and also for EDEN. She remained a most beloved and respected member of our professional community and a true symbol of EDEN. For me personally, Ingeborg represented from the first moment we’ve met a most kind and reliable friend who helped me and my University in a very important moment of our history. It was under Ingeborg’s presidency that EDEN took the decision to organise an event in Lisbon – this was our first conference in Portugal. More recently, during my time as President, she has also been a wonderful advisor.
Ingeborg’s account takes us on an exciting journey to the days of her presidency and beyond. In her very personal open style she highlights the fundamental mission of our Association - to foster collaboration, and also the importance of combing it with the human dimension of our academic and professional community. In fact, it was Ingeborg who first described the EDEN community as a family. This metaphor is still valid today.
I hope you’ll enjoy this excellent post by my dear friend, Ingeborg.
Celebrating the silver jubilee of EDEN (1991-2016), all the past Presidents are sharing in this Blog some of their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field.
In today’s post, I invite you to read the contribution of Morten F. Paulsen, President of EDEN from 2010 to 2013. Morten was also a Vice-President in the period 2009-2010.
Morten is a very dear friend and was the President for most of my time as Vice-President in EDEN. Since we first met personally in 2007, we have shared many experiences within and beyond the organisation and have continued cooperating in many academic endeavors until this day. During his term, Morten marked the Association with his open, transparent and friendly style of leadership which empowered colleagues and staff as well as his concern with the emerging topics and discussions in the professional community.
In his contribution, Morten presents a very good summary of the major milestones and accomplishments during his presidency and shares a personal reflection on how he experienced this adventure.
I leave you the reading of the delightful post by my dearest friend, President Morten!
As part of the celebrations of the silver jubilee of EDEN (1991-2016), I’ve invited all the past Presidents to contribute to this blog, in order to share some of their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field. Last week, I published the first contribution of this special series of posts. This was a most inspiring account from EDEN’s founding President, Erling Ljosa.
In today’s post, we give continuation to the initiative, sharing the reflections of Alan Tait, who was President from 2007 to 2010. Alan was also a Vice-President, NAP Steering Committee Chair, and the editor in chief of EURODL. In fact, it was he who introduced the EDEN President’s blog amongst other innovations. Alan’s strong connection with EDEN has followed the entire history of EDEN and no one knows the Association and its development throughout these past 25 years better than him.
On a more personal level, Alan has also been a great mentor and a very dear friend. He was the President at the time when EDEN held the Annual Conference in Lisbon, in 2008, and the 7th Open Classroom Conference in Porto the following year, in collaboration with my institution, Universidade Aberta. Then, he welcomed me on the Executive Committee and I became Vice-President during his term. More recently, during my own Presidency, Alan was again a very close and strong inspiration.
In his impressive contribution, Alan shares with us a deep reflection on his personal experiences spanning from two decades and covering very different phases of the history of the Association. At the end of his post, Alan calls our attention to the challenges of communication in multicultural environments. In fact, EDEN is fundamentally a network of people with many shared interests but also diverse cultural backgrounds. As such, the experience of leading in such complex environments can become quite a difficult challenge. But I can assure you this is an art that Alan masters superbly with charm and wit!
Some two years ago, at the occasion of the 100th meeting of the Executive Committee of EDEN, I had the chance of publishing a dedicated blog post entitled “They are looking at us”. In the post I argue the importance of our Association carrying on its rich legacy of values and expertise. Inspired by the venue of that memorable meeting - Oxford -, I’ve used a classical metaphor to express this idea: «as a river remains basically the same though the waters keep changing, our quest is not essentially different from the one our brave founders embarked on twenty years ago». In spite of the much different historical, cultural and technological contexts, we’ve shared with those colleagues a similar optimism and generosity, along with a shared dynamism and commitment, as well as the same sense of mission and care for our professional community. This is what makes EDEN such a strong organisation.
As we proudly celebrate EDEN’s silver jubilee (1991-2016), I’ve invited all the past Presidents to share with us some of their personal recollections and retrospections on the development of the Association and the field. As announced in my last post, I’m proud to report that they’ve all graciously accepted.
We’ll start today this special series of posts with the contribution from EDEN’s founding President, Erling Ljosa. And what an inspirational way to initiate this journey. As early as 1992, Erling wrote these visionary words: The future of EDEN will grow from our ability to create links across national and regional boundaries, and between people and institutions with either similar or quite different experience, but with common interests and aims in the field of distance learning. Europe is a fragile and complex mixture of societies and people. I hope that by creating new and stronger links in one of the growing fields of education and training, EDEN will contribute significantly to the development of educational opportunities within the whole of Europe (EDEN Newsletter 1, November 1992). You’ll be able to learn more about this here.
Over two decades later, in his unique engaging and sensible style, Erling guides us through his personal memories of the exciting and complex days which lead to the creation of the Association. In his itinerary, you’ll be able to identify many of the great pioneers who moulded our field in Europe and rediscover their wonderfully visionary ideas. At the end, Erling reminds us of the essential - that EDEN should always be a learning environment. Yes, Erling, we’re still learning! This is, in fact, the secret of our enduring success. Thank you, dear friend for your vision and wise guidance. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this excellent guest post.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, EDEN is celebrating its silver jubilee (1991-2016). This is a most significant milestone not just for our Association, but for the whole European academic and professional community. In fact, the creation of EDEN opened a new social and political horizon in Europe for the development of a then still emerging field of practice, which proved to be critically relevant throughout the years. The early nineties of the 20th century were a time of great promises and expectations. An exciting moment marked by a great confidence in the future and an almost blind faith in how it would develop.
Looking back at how it all started a quarter of century ago and realizing how much EDEN has evolved and grown both in size, complexity and impact proves that the ambition of our pioneers was not overoptimistic. On the contrary, the progress has been astonishing. This success however expresses how EDEN has been capable of understanding the evolution of the European open, distance and online learning community and interpret correctly its needs and trends, smartly adjusting the Association’s strategies and modes of operation to the different emerging scenarios.
Looking now into the future and to its difficult challenges, the European academic and professional community can rest assured that EDEN will always remain faithful to this close bond to the field. Read more…
The upcoming EDEN16 in Budapest will be a very special conference and a milestone in our Association’s long history. The European Distance and E-learning Network is celebrating its 25th anniversary and several significant related initiatives are being prepared. The underlying idea for this programme of activities is to celebrate our European legacy of know-how and expertise in open, distance and digital education by projecting it into the future. In accordance, we’ve invited the different generations of researchers and practitioners in our field to engage in a joint reflection on the digital learning futures based on an analysis of the experience and know-how accumulated by our community in the past 25 years.
One major example of this is the panel discussion on the topic of the personalisation of learning, which we’ve designed in a most engaging way. In fact, imagine a confrontation between two perspectives and theoretical approaches on this theme as different as the ones of Michael G. Moore and of Cristóbal Cobo. It sounds quite exciting, don’t you agree? But, just think that we have also invited Steve Wheeler to instigate and moderate the discussion and try to find a synthesis of both sides. Well, I’m sure that you’ll be expecting a memorable debate. We are too! So please make sure to mark the date on your agendas: 17th June, at the closing session of EDEN16 in Budapest.
To introduce you to this exciting event, what better way than to give the floor to the keynote speakers themselves? That’s why I’ve invited my dear friend and EDEN Senior Fellow, Michael G. Moore, to contribute to today’s guest blog post. It is an honour and a privilege for me to be able to share with you a wonderful and thought-provoking reflection on the topic of the personalisation of learning by one the greatest scholars in our field and one of its pioneers.
I do hope you’ll enjoy reading Michael’s excellent contribution and feel encouraged to come to Budapest and attend his live debate with Cristóbal Cobo and Steve Wheeler.
The call for papers of the EDEN RW9, to be held this year in Oldenburg next 4-7 October, has just been announced. Following up on the success of the RW8, held in Oxford, two years ago, the theme is once again very exciting and thought-provoking - “forging new pathways of research and innovation in open and distance learning: reaching from the roots”. The EDEN RW9 will be organised in collaboration with the Institute of Education and the Center for Lifelong Learning at Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, in Germany.
The announced selection of invited speakers is impressive and much diversified, including such names as Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Paul Prinsloo, Inge de Waard, George Veletsianos, Adnan Qayyum, Isa Jahnke and Som Naidu. This diversity and richness represents the current wide outreach and impact of EDEN in the research community worldwide.As you know and I’ve been pointing out in many of my blog posts, one of the focal points of EDEN’s strategy and one of the major aspects of our Association’s 25th years legacy in the field has been the support to the promotion, dissemination and recognition of quality research in open and digital learning. The organisation of the very successful biannual research workshops (the EDEN RWs) is only a part of that comprehensive activity, which has no parallel with any other association in the world in our field of practice.