EDEN is a comprehensive and multidimensional organization representing all actors in open, distance and digital learning. As such it combines institutional membership with a network of individual members. This Network of Academics and Professionals – NAP – is the largest European association of experts in our field and one of the most important ones worldwide. Amongst their numerous initiatives, the NAP has been successfully conducting in the past months the #EDENChat, in which relevant topics in our practice are openly discussed.
In today’s post, I’ve invited one of the most influential education bloggers in the world, my good friend and colleague Steve Wheeler, who is also the Chair of the NAP’s Steering Committee, to share with us a short reflection on the latest topic of discussion in the #EDENChat initiative. The topic is on the future of distance education. You can follow the debate on Twitter and still contribute to it.
In his post, Steve remind us that the origin of distance education can be traced as far back as Saint Paul and his epistles or even before that. Significantly, the patron of my own education institution – the Portuguese Open University (Universidade Aberta) – was until recently Saint Anthony of Lisbon (aka Saint Anthony of Padua) as a tribute to the global outreach of his teachings and the importance he gave to communication in the learning process. In fact, although we might argue about the names we use, the concept of learning with the help of communication technology is as old as educational practice itself and we should never disregard that tremendous legacy of experience and research.