Scope and objectives of the conference
The “Quality issue” has become one of the leading concepts in modern society, economy and education. It serves different perspectives and stakeholders: providers, customers, partners and citizens. Different stakeholder perspectives give rise to different “quality cultures”. In the emerging range of open, flexible, distance and eLearning settings, there is an increasing need for information and understanding to permit judgement on the quality of the educational offer, including schools, universities, vocational training and adult education. Quality frameworks and quality assurance procedures represent the priority for both the policy makers and educational providers as well as for the learners, students, trainees and the corporate sector.
eLearning is perceived either as new ICT media and pedagogies, making up the emergent flexible learning environments, or as the new paradigm of knowledge acquisition with related competencies in the Information Society. Whichever the perception, in order to succeed with the mainstreaming of the various ICT-supported learning solutions, it is essential to bring about dialogue between experts, academia, the ICT industry and the publishing sector as well as the education and training authorities across Europe. There is huge interest in the definition of quality assurance practice to be deployed by the broad range of stakeholders in education and training in the public and private sectors, in order to consolidate knowledge, ensure consistent approaches and to add value.
The aim of the 12th Annual Conference of the European Distance Education Network organised in Rhodes, Greece in 2003 was to raise awareness and disseminate knowledge, addressing this strategic area in the learning agenda in Europe. The Greek Presidency of the EU, during the first semester of 2003, has already prioritized ICT and Lifelong Learning as the means for pursuing the upgrading of quality for European education systems.
The conference themes
- Quality assurance, quality management systems and frameworks in flexible and eLearning
- Distance and eLearning quality approaches, criteria, standards – formulation and implementation; theory and practice
- Convergence towards standardization and platforms
- Principles and practice of accreditation of courses and institutions
- Development and operation of quality concepts and frameworks in open and distance learning with the integration of emerging ICT solutions
- Quality in the context of innovation, competitiveness and marketability
- Evaluation and benchmarking methods and procedures, testing and certification
- Competencies and the added value of different learning cultures and quality approach