Format: Panel discussion
In this session we will reflect on the present situation in higher education in post pandemic times by asking several key questions. How well did we cope and what lessons did we learn? How are those lessons reflected in future planning? What now? We plan to discuss how we can take this opportunity and the legacy of a crisis to rethink traditional models of teaching and learning. What should stay and what needs to change? Will higher education ever be the same again? Will we be able to retain the advantages and benefits of gaining more experience in online education, or will we feel compelled to get back to “normal” times? Why did we need a pandemic as the catalyst for the digital transformation of higher education? What is the role of the Digital Education Action Plan in contributing to shaping a new European Education Area? Has the future of online education been endangered by emergency remote teaching? What are some of the debates and challenges we need to address in establishing the place of online education in the higher education ecosystem? So, join us in this lively conversation and share your views and reflections.
Sandra Kučina Softić
EDEN UK president,
University Computing Centre SRCE, Croatia
Dr. Sandra Kučina Softić is President of European Distance and E-learning Network EDEN, elected in 2019. She has been a member of the EDEN Executive Committee since 2013 and in 2014 she received the EDEN Fellow Title.
She is the Assistant Director for Education and User Support at the University of Zagreb University Computing Centre SRCE (Croatia). She is also the Head of the E-learning Centre at SRCE. She has 25 years of experience working in higher education. Her work is focused on monitoring and fostering e-learning in Croatian higher education and providing support and advice to institutions, teachers and students in implementation of new technologies in learning and teaching.
Her field of interest is strategic decision making related to digital education implementation in higher education and enhancement of digital skills of teachers. She is also active in the field of open education. She has been involved in a number of projects (national and international) related to these fields and she actively presents at international conferences. She is author of training courses for teachers and speaker at conferences. In 2021, she authored the book on digital transformation in higher education published in Croatian.
She has a master’s degree in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) and PhD in Information and Communication Technologies at the University of Zagreb (Croatia).
Head of Unit and Interim Digital Education, Directorate-General ‘Education, Youth, Sport and Culture’, European Commission
Georgi Dimitrov is responsible for the newly created unit Digital Education in the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture. He joined the European Commission in 2008 and was first involved in various roles in setting up the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). He then helped to develop and launch HEInnovate, an initiative by the European Commission and the OECD aimed at supporting universities to become more entrepreneurial. He led the development of the first Digital Education Action Plan adopted in January 2018 and also of the new Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 that was adopted in September 2020. Before joining the Commission, Georgi worked for a leading multinational telecommunication company and in a software start-up in Germany. Georgi studied at the University of Bonn (M.A.), the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (PhD) and the Open University UK (MBA in Technology Management).
Josep A. Planell Estany
Rector, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Graduate in Physics at the University of Barcelona; Ph.D. (Materials Science) at the University of London. Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Technical University of Catalonia. Rector (President) of the Open University of Catalonia. President of the Centro Interuniversitario de Desarrollo Andino (CINDA) (since 2016). Director of the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia since its creation in 2005 to 2013. George Winter Award from the European Society for Biomaterials, 2013. Fellow Biomaterials Science and Engineering (FBSE) by the International Union Biomaterials Science and Engineering Societies. Vice-president of the European Society for Biomaterials (2005-2009). Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine (Springer) (2007-2013). Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona, and Member of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Barcelona. Honorary Member of the European Society for Biomaterials, 2018.
Dublin City University, Ireland
Prof. Mark Brown is Ireland’s first Professor of Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU). He serves on EDEN’s Executive Committee and is a member of the Supervisory Board of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU). Mark is also Vice-President of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA). In 2020, Professor Brown served on the European Commission’s high-level consultation group on developing a policy response to the growth of micro-credentials.
EDEN Digital Learning Europe,
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
Prof. dr. Airina Volungevičienė has been working among leading researchers, methodology specialists and education policy makers in the area of technology enhanced learning (TEL) development in Europe and Lithuania since 1997. Having established Lithuanian Association of Distance and eLearning Association (LieDM association) in (2010), she continued as a leader in research and project work to promote the development of TEL in Lithuania and Europe, introducing many innovations in different education organizations from school, VET, adult learning and higher education sectors. Her main responsibilities at Vytautas Magnus University is to direct the Institute for Study Innovations activities to implement its mission: to advise University teachers to design online study curriculum, to ensure online learning and teaching, as well as curriculum quality, and to experiment with the innovations in education before mainstreaming them in university studies. Airina has been involved in EDEN Governance since 2009, as the Board member, Vice President for Research (2016 – 2019) and the President (2016 – 2019).
University of Porto, Portugal
Degrees in Civil Engineering (UPorto) and (UFlorida, Ph.D.), Pro-Rector of U. Porto, past president of IACEE, of AUPEC, of SEFI, secretary general of AECEF, vice-president of ISHCCO, member of EDEN Board, coordinator and partner of several EU projects in e-learning and author of several papers in e-learning, assessment of competences, construction safety, construction management, quality of teaching and learning and use of digital tools.