EDEN Anniversary Reflections

June 7, 2016 by Antonio Moreira Teixeira   Comments (0)

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!

António

 


 

When António Teixeira challenged past presidents to share their anniversary reflections, I got a welcome opportunity to review the EDEN President’s blog and my memories from the EDEN conferences and Executive Committee meetings.

My first recollection of EDEN is from the early 1990s when I discussed how we could establish an electronic newsletter with EDEN’s first president Erling Ljosa. Later, I attended the EDEN Annual Conferences in Helsinki 2005, Vienna 2006 and Barcelona 2006. Apprehensive, I was elected Executive Committee member at the Naples 2007 Annual Conference, Vice President in Gdansk in 2009 and President in Valencia in 2010.

In my Inaugural Reflections, I stated that the three favourite words in my e-learning vocabulary were Flexibility, Cooperation and Transparency. Realising the importance of the EDEN Awards, Fellowships and Anniversaries, I added Celebration as a fourth word. These words, and my belief in gender balance, guided my work with the EDEN Executive Committee, Secretariat, valued partners and members.

I attended my first executive meeting on the Norwegian costal ferry Hurtigruta in October 2007. The stormy surfs washing the fourth floor meeting room windows made the agenda tight. Seasickness is good for effective meetings and rapid agreements.

Another memorable highlight was our 20th Anniversary Conference in Dublin. It included the first EDEN Fellows day and a noteworthy Keynote presentation by the Irish President Mary McAleese. In my presentation, 20 years with EDEN, I recalled that we launched the EDEN NAP members Area in 2010 and EDEN’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in 2011.

The anniversary conference focused on learning and sustainability while we celebrated our achievements and future opportunities. Just a few months later, the situation was much less spirited when we titled our 2011 Open Classroom Conference in Athens "Never Waste a Crisis".

In spite of the political and economic backdrop in Athens, the delegates focused more on opportunities for change than on the dire economic situation in Europe. Several of the presenters argued that an educational crisis would spur innovation and more cost effective education. Looking back, I believe the crisis accelerated the development of new educational technology, open educational resources and MOOCs.

The dismal economic situation in Europe made it necessary for EDEN to focus more on economic realities and less on new initiatives than we fancied. The situation strengthened my appreciation of cost effective and sustainable online education and the prudent, hardworking and competent EDEN Secretariat.

Looking back, the themes of the EDEN conferences show some of the issues we focused on during my term as President:

  • Valencia 2010 - Media Inspirations for Learning
  • Budapest 2010 - User Generated Content Assessment in Learning
  • Dublin 2011 - Learning and Sustainability
  • Athens 2011 - Never Waste a Crisis!
  • Porto 2012 - Open Learning Generations
  • Leuven 2012 - Learners in the Driving Seat
  • Oslo 2013 - The Joy of Learning

 

My entries in the EDEN President’s blog provide further insights in some of the issues I was interested in during the period:

 

Now, when we celebrate EDEN’s 25th Anniversary, I am proud of belonging to the EDEN family and of our achievements in the field of distance education and e-learning. The members have made it possible for millions of students to get the education they want, and we should all be proud of our important contribution to society.

My presidency ended appropriately with the Joy of Learning, which was the theme for our conference in 2013. It was a great pleasure hosting it in my hometown in collaboration with Fleksibel utdanning Norge and the University of Oslo. There, I received my dearest EDEN souvenir, a memory book with pictures, greetings from many of my EDEN friends and a front cover showing the picture below titled “Our Friend, the President”.

http://www.eden-online.org/nap_elgg/mod/file/download.php?file_guid=10624

 


 

Morten Flate Paulsen is CEO of Campus NooA – the Nordic open online Academy (www.nooa.no). Morten was a member of the Executive Committee for two terms (1992-1998) and is an EDEN Senior Fellow.