Serious Research Can Be Fun - Guest Post by Lisa Marie Blaschke

June 3, 2015 by Antonio Moreira Teixeira   Comments (0)

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EDEN plays a world leading role in the dissemination of quality research on open distance and eLearning. As I've pointed out in my introduction to the recent guest post by Terry Anderson, this is a critical aspect of our association's mission and we take it quite seriously. However, this doesn't mean research dissemination should be something boring. On the contrary, serious research can also be fun.

Following up on the series of guest posts on the EDEN conference experiences, today I've invited my good friend Lisa Marie Blaschke to share her personal memories. You can find more about Lisa's background, work and interests here. Lisa has written quite an inspirational testimonial which is an invitation to the many young researchers for whom the #EDEN15 will be their first EDEN conference.

Lisa also demonstrates how the EDEN conferences are not boring at all. In the video recording provided below, you can find Terry Anderson's final keynote at the RW3 in Oldenburg. At the 6', he presents a surprising but striking comparison. Terry simply claims that Distance Learning is better than sex and explains why! Throughout the years, many such memorable moments have happened. They have become part of the rich history of the most important European conference in our field. Be prepared to be surprised in Barcelona.

I do hope you'll enjoy Lisa's excellent contribution and share her and my passion for research. Please, mark on your agendas, EDEN will return to Oldenburg in 2016 for the RW9.



Flashback to 2004. My first EDEN conference was at the third research workshop in Oldenburg, Germany, where I had the pleasure of interacting with online and distance learning (ODL) authors and researchers, such as Desmond Keegan, Börje Holmberg, Ingeborg Bo, Otto Peters, and Terry Anderson, to name only a few. (One participant described the workshop experience as “like being in the room with everyone who is listed in the bibliography of my dissertation thesis”.) The workshop was buzzing with activity, discussion, and debate: How do we support learners in the online learning environment? What would online learning mean for distance education? These discussions poured over from the keynote presentations and out into the hallway corridors, as participants energetically exchanged their perspectives and insights. It was my final semester as a graduate student in the Master of Distance Education and E-Learning (MDE), and the workshop gave me an opportunity to not only meet my online professors in person, but also fellow graduate students. It was also at this EDEN workshop that Terry Anderson’s final keynote inspired me to devote my energies toward the furthering of ODL research and practice, and I became permanently smitten with ODL research.


Third EDEN Research Workshop closing session - Terry Anderson from University of Oldenburg-UMUC MDE on Vimeo.


Fast forward to 2015. As the EDEN conference in Barcelona approaches, I find myself in a much different role than in 2004, as a member of the EDEN Executive Committee (EC) and program director of the MDE in Oldenburg. Throughout my professional journey, EDEN has been with me along the way, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am now without the opportunities and support given to me by the EDEN organization. What are some of the ways that EDEN does this? With its framework of conferences and workshops, EDEN provides opportunities for you to present initial and ongoing research into ODL, to meet with scholars and fellows, and to exchange your ideas with them in a casual and relaxed environment. It is here that you can connect, collaborate, and network with other researchers and professionals. Ideas feed upon ideas at these get-togethers, and in turn the ideas become realities and theory shifts to practice. Partnerships, collaborations, and friendships emerge and are established, helping to advance both research agendas and professional careers. That has been my experience of EDEN, and the reason I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming conference in Barcelona (well, that and because I love tapas and Rioja ;-)).

If you are a new researcher in the discipline of online learning and distance education or even a beginning practitioner in the field, then I encourage you to attend this year’s conference. Of course, that may sound like a shameless conference plug by an EDEN EC member. That may be the case, but for me, EDEN has been hugely influential in my development as a scholar and has opened the windows to many an opportunity. My advice? Don’t pass up this chance to meet and engage with others in the field of ODL. With the hard work invested by UOC and the EDEN teams, I am certain you will not be disappointed. And if you aren’t able to attend the conference this year, consider attending next year’s conference, where we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of EDEN in Budapest. And now comes the shameless-EC-member-conference-plug: Plan to attend the 9th EDEN Research Workshop in Oldenburg, which we are even now in the midst of preparing. We will do our best to make it a workshop you won’t want to ever miss again!

Read more about Lisa Marie and the EC members here | Have you missed previous Blog posts? Read them all here.