No. 5 – Why research is important for enhancing the human experience of learning with technology: Taking a peek into the EDEN Research Workshop program

12 October 2020, 17:00 CEST

EDEN webinar


Registered webinar participants will be awarded by EDEN open badges.


This year’s EDEN Research Workshop was planned to be hosted by the prominent Universidade Aberta the Portuguese Open University, in the beautiful city of Lisbon. Faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, EDEN is organising this workshop fully online, taking the full advantage of the virtual environment with an exciting and extensive three-day programme. As with past research workshops, the event will promote intensive collaboration and networking opportunities amongst participants including parallel ‘research-speed-dating’ paper sessions, workshops and dynamic poster sessions. With a high quality programme and close to 90 submissions already, this is the event for you to attend, especially if you are a researcher or post graduate student.

By upscaling and accelerating the adoption of distance and online education across the world, the disruptive impact of the Coronavirus Sars CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of rethinking the educational process as an integral part of the authentic digital life experience of its main actors. In this massive collective experience of change, the role of educational institutions, teachers, learners, and of their families and communities is rapidly transforming. As a result, new challenges for researchers have emerged that need to be addressed: How do we assure truly equitable and socially fair access to digital learning opportunities? How can we conduct effective online learning with non-adult populations? How can we improve teachers’ and learners’ digital competences for teaching and learning? How may AI and machine learning contribute to enhancing the education process and making it more flexible and personal? How can we conduct more authentic and reliable digital assessment? What are the new challenges for research into digital, open, distance and networked education?

In this round table, we will provide you with a closer look into the rich and interesting programme of the EDEN Research Workshop and hold an open discussion on the challenging topics facing researchers and teachers today.


Alan Tait
Former EDEN President
Professor Emeritus of Distance Education and Development, Open University, UK

Alan Tait is an EDEN Senior Fellow. He is also a Professor Emeritus of Distance Education and Development at the Open University, UK, and Director of International Development and Teacher Education, responsible for the strategic direction of major projects in sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh, and India. He was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the Open University from 2007-2012.  Alan is the founding editor of The Journal of Learning for Development, produced from the Commonwealth of Learning (; senior member of St Edmunds College, University of Cambridge; and Visiting Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark.

Ines Gil Jaurena
EDEN NAP SC member
Associate Professor at UNED, Spain

Inés Gil-Jaurena has a PhD in Education and is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at the National Distance Education University (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia-UNED), Spain, where she has been teaching and researching since 2005.

Member of the INTER Group of Research in intercultural education since 2001 and Coordinator of CO-Lab: Collaborative Open Laboratory for teaching innovation (GID 2016-30) since 2016.  She was the Editor-in-chief for Open Praxis, a scientific journal published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), since 2012. from September 2013 to October 2014, she was the  Director of UNED Abierta, the OER Programme at UNED.

She has been involved in various European projects related to open and distance education, and is a member of e-ASEM, an e-learning network under the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning.



Antonio Teixeira
Former EDEN president
Universidade Aberta, Portugal

António Teixeira is an Associate Professor of open, distance and network education at Universidade Aberta (UAb). He’s also a researcher at the University of Lisbon and collaborates with the University of Rome 3.

He was the Pro-rector for innovation in Distance Learning at Universidade Aberta (2006-09) and President of EDEN – European Distance and E-learning Network (2013-16). As a Pro-rector at UAb, António Teixeira conceived and managed the successful and speedy strategic transformation process of the university from a print-based distance learning institution to a fully online one. Throughout the years, he has integrated several boards of directors and many expert committees and task forces in higher education institutions and organizations at national and international level. He’s currently an external expert for AQU Catalunya and ACPUA quality assurance agencies in Spain and the research and innovation national agency of Uruguay (ANII) among others.

António Teixeira has participated in over thirty international research projects and authored over one hundred scientific articles and other publications. He is an EDEN Senior Fellow and a member of the Board of the Council of EDEN Fellows.

Josep M. Duart
EDEN Vice-president for Research
Professor at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

Josep Duart holds a doctorate in Pedagogy from Ramon Llull University (URL), Barcelona, and a Master in Business Administration from ESADE Business School, Barcelona.  Since 1996 is full professor in Psychology and Educational Sciences Department at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). He has been involved in several positions: vice president for Postgraduate Studies and Lifelong Learning, and former director of the International Graduate Institute at the Open University of Catalonia, UOC (2007-2013), and Director of the UNESCO Chair in e-Learning (2002-2009). Currently, he teaches on education and technology field, educational models and quality and is member of the Open Evidence Research Group.

As a researcher specialising in Educational Technology, e-learning models and educational organisation, he leads and collaborates on research projects in areas such as educational policy, higher education leadership and ICT use. He has published several books and a range of co-authored articles in international specialist journals (ORCID). He has also given lectures on ICTs in higher education at international conferences and European, American and Australian universities. He is the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE), member of the EDEN (European Distance Education and E-learning Network) Executive Committee, and member of “ The Universitity of the Future Network”.

Ulrich Bernath
Former EDEN Vice-president
Chair of the Board of Trustees and Directors of the Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in Open and Distance Learning

Ulrich Bernath graduated in Economics. He holds a Dr. Phil. from the School of Education of Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. From 1978 until his early retirement in 2006 he has been the Director of the Center for Distance Education at Oldenburg University. In 2006 he endowed the Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in OPen and Distance Learning [] and chairs the Board of Trustees and Directors. Since 2008, the Foundation supports EDEN in granting the BEST Research Paper Award at EDEN’s Annual Conferences and EDEN’s bi-annual Research Workshops. []
From 2002 through 2009 he served the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) as an elected member of the Steering Committee of the Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP), as an elected member of the Executive Committee as well as an EDEN Vice President. In 2009 EDEN awarded him the title of EDEN Senior Fellow.
Uli Bernath is author of numerous articles reflecting organizational, conceptual, and pedagogical issues in distance education and open learning []. He has been the main editor of the ASF Series on Distance Education []. Since 2013 he is EURODL’s

Sandra Kucina Softic
EDEN President
University Computing Centre SRCE, Croatia

Sandra is also the Head of the E-learning Centre at University Computing Centre. 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. She was appointed Croatian representative in ET2020 Working group on Digital Skills and Technologies (2016-2018) and in ET2020 Working group on Digital Education: learning, teaching and Assessment (2018-2020). In 2018 she was appointed member of European Education and Training Expert Panel. Her field of interest is strategic decision making related to e-learning and distance education, quality assurance, educational technologies and open education and open educational resources. 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 also author of training courses for teachers and speaker on these topics.

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 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb. She has been a member of EDEN Executive Committee since 2013 and in 2014; she received the EDEN Fellow Title. In 2019, she became President of EDEN.

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