Looking Back To The Future

September 22, 2014 by Antonio Moreira Teixeira   Comments (0)

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For the European education community, the end of the summer break represents always a time of starting over and of a cyclic new beginning. We tend to look forward in anticipation for the new academic year that is just beginning trying to determine what will come. This is a time for imagining and planning the future, of looking beyond our horizon. But, for me personally, these special late summer days represent also an important moment of reflection. After all, in our field of practice looking back is also a way of looking forward because ours is basically a history of the future.

Photo by Antonio Moreira Teixeira

As you know, EDEN has been experiencing a period of great dynamism and of significant strategic development. Carrying on the great preparatory work done under the previous presidencies of Alan Tait and Morten Paulsen, we have been able to renovate EDEN's vision for the field and enlarge and improve our service portfolio. Adjusting it better to the changing needs of our community and the shifting scenarios of the open, distance and digital education practice.

In fact, times are changing faster than ever in the world of education and most especially in the field of open, distance and eLearning. The sudden global impact of massive open education has brought the attention of the educational community, decision-makers and the general public to our practice as never before. As a result of this, our field is starting to experience a dramatic expansion. In Europe in particular, the new EU initiative «Opening Up Education» is paving the way for mainstreaming eLearning.

But, if on one hand we can consider ourselves the privileged witnesses of the golden days of open and distance education, the culmination of our pioneers’ dream, on the other we have to recognize these are most complex times for our community. The ongoing change of the educational landscape represents probably one of the hardest challenges we've come across. Massive development of eLearning offering with so many new institutions starting their open digital practices is bound to bring some deregulation to our profession and also an increased difficulty in keeping with very high quality standards. The rapid expansion of our practice calls for a renewed capability of our community to self-regulate. In fact, contrary to popular belief open education is anything but new. The current high quality standards in our practice resulted from decades-long extensive research and innovation closely articulated with practical experience which lead to the establishment of solid theoretical foundations.

EDEN, as the premier European organization and one of the world leaders in the field, is proud to have contributed to the consolidation of open, distance and eLearning practice over the years. However, having identified long ago the present challenges, we've been preparing to meet them. EDEN is therefore fully aware of how pivotal its role as a leading professional organization is today. As a result, we also understand how critical it is in the current context to support innovation, to explore the full potential of networking and to scale up our services.


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