EDEN Progress 2020


EDEN President Sandra Kucina Softic:
Rethinking the future of teaching and learning – A time to reflect on what’s good and what we can do better

Read our President, Sandra Kucina Softic’s special blog post summing up EDEN’s endeavours and accomplishments in this extraordinary year of 2020 and our visions ahead for 2021 which at the same time will be EDEN’s 30th anniversary year!


EDEN’s 2020 webinars in numbers

20131 registrations

8605 live participants online

19728 recording views

119 presenters and moderators


Open Education Week #OEW

Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its goal is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide, the free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone, everywhere, right now. It is coordinated by The Open Education Global. From 26- March, 2020 EDEN organised six webinars, with 348 participants, and over 1400 viewers during and following the event altogether.

During the Open Education Week, EDEN offered the following online events:

OER and Open Pedagogies – Best Practices

2 March 2020, 13:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

Open Education Recognition and Credentials

3 March 2020, 12:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

Open Education Technologies

4 March 2020, 13:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

Open Education for Civil Engagement and Democracy

4 March 2020, 15:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

Unboxing the Textbook for an Open World

5 March 2020, 13:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

Microlearning and Quality for Lifelong Learning in the Digital Age

6 March 2020, 13:00 CET

Open Education Week webinar

EDEN NAP webinars

EDEN’s Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP) has continued its acclaimed tradition of online webinars series in 2020 as well. The distinguished experts of the EDEN community held ten NAP webinars throughout the year, attracting 1379 participants and nearly 4900 viewers (the recordings are available on the YouTube channel of EDEN) globally.

Critical thinking in education

2 December 2020, 17:00 CET

EDEN NAP webinar

Designing online courses: a practical approach

7 October 2020, 17:00 CEST

EDEN NAP webinar

Accessibility and Inclusion in a Time of a Pandemic

Wednesday, 10 June 2020, 17:00 CEST

EDEN NAP webinar

EDEN webinar series: Education in time of a pandemic #onlinetogether #covid19 – Summary

EDEN rolled out a series of practical webinars on how to take face-to-face education online. These webinars focused on the day-to-day challenges our teachers and educators face and move on to consider other, broader institutional aspects. These #onlinetogether #covid19 webinars were especially developed for these uncertain times, featuring experts and experienced practitioners within the field of open, distance, and e-learning. These weekly, one-hour webinar sessions were held every Monday, starting on March 30, 2020. Eleven webinars with 35 speakers and moderators – experts and experienced practitioners within the field of open, distance, and e-learning – gathered more than 3500 participants from all over the world. This initiative confirmed the need for collaboration, for sharing and networking within the education community. This is why EDEN plans continuation of this initiative for the autumn, further focusing on the issues confronting education in the time after pandemic.

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EDEN 2020 Virtual Annual Conference: #eden20
21-24 June 2020

Human and artificial intelligence for the society of the future

The EDEN 2020 Annual Virtual Conference went completely online due to the restrictions of the pandemic. The conference on 21-24 June was hosted by the Politehnica University, Timisoara. Nearly 50 selected scholarly papers were presented. In addition to the 10 submitted workshops, EDEN presented conceptual sessions about the Covid-19 webinars’ experience, on leadership, strengths and opportunities of the Association. The Open University UK featured with their 50th Anniversary session. The PhD Symposium strand was also integrated in the programme with progress report of young scholars and discussions by senior academics. The Microcredentials in Higher Education strand  was introduced by Anthony F. Camilleri’s keynote presentation: ‘Micro-Credentials in the Future European Policy Landscape’. An EDEN Fellow Award was bestowed to Radu Vasiu, President of the Politehnica University Timisoara. The Best Research Paper Award and Young Scholar Award were also endowed (read more below under “Recognition“).

EDEN Approved as a New Member of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition #LearningNeverStops

We are honoured to announce that EDEN’s application for membership in UNESCO’s  Global Education Coalition has been approved in the summer of 2020.

At a time of when 87% of the world’s student population is affected by COVID-19 school closures, UNESCO launched a global education coalition to support countries in scaling up their best distance learning practices and reaching children and youth who are most at risk. UNESCO rallies international organizations, civil society and private sector partners in a broad Coalition to ensure #LearningNeverStops. The Coalition has already had over 100 members from multilateral agencies and major global brands to start-up technology businesses and local education organizations. EDEN joined a community of globally acclaimed members like OECD, UNICEF, Global Partnership for Education, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Moodle, BBC World Service and France Médias Monde, just to name a few.

EDEN’s pledges as a newly joint member

EDEN is providing free, continuous and high quality online support for the international open, distance and e-learning community of education by regular, updated series of webinars. Our follow-on autumn initiative of webinars (as a sequel of the spring “Education in time of a pandemic” series) was organised in that spirit. The #onlinetogether #LerningNeverStops webinar series entitled “Education in time of a new normal” provided six webinars to address the challenges arising from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the longer-term digital transformation.

Education in time of a new normal

EDEN has moved forward with a follow-on autumn initiative of webinars “Education in time of new normal”. In addition, EDEN has joined UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition #LerningNeverStops to help in facilitating inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this challenging period. The #onlinetogether webinar series have already provided six webinars on this current and intriguing topic.

Research Workshop 2020

“This Workshop has been a triumph of resilience for the EDEN community.” (Alan Tait)

With more than 200 delegates from 43 countries, the 11th EDEN Research Workshop has officially closed. Thank you to Universidade Aberta de Portugal for being our wonderful host, and huge thanks to all participants, keynotes and supporting staff to make these three days meaningful and unforgettable. The Best Research Paper Awardand Best Research in Progress Award (debuting this year) have been bestowed, as well as the acclaimed EDEN Senior Fellow and EDEN Fellow Awards. EDEN’s Annual General Meeting was also included in the programme. The closing summary with Alan Tait, Inés Gil Jaurena and Maxim Jean Louis can be rewatched here. Proceedings will be published online in November. See you next year, hopefully in person, at the 30th EDEN Annual Conference in Madrid UNEDFor the summary and highlights of the Workshop click HERE. 

European Online and Distance Learning Week #EODLW

Dear EDEN Members, Partners, Friends,From November 2-6th (+9th) we had a full week + 1 day of exceptional sessions at which we had an opportunity to show the full strength of our community and professional collaboration. We held 13 sessions altogether, with 62 moderators and speakers, having attracted more than 2400 participants all over the globe. This year we were in partnership again with USDLA and ODLAA jointly with FLANZ who were launching the Australasian Online and Distance Learning Week. We had special contribution from ICDE and EADTU and we embraced an Open Classroom Conference and the European Vocational Skills Week as well. We are also happy to have contributions from the European Student Union and Commonwealth of Learning. This week was a good time to reflect on present changes influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and to enhance the possibilities of online and distance learning and foster the quality of education in today’s “new normal”. The online webinars (up to 2-3 in a day) with expert scholars and practitioners presented a variety of cutting edge open and online learning topics, from innovations in design to assessment and open educational research.

Promoting Digital Education in the Commonwealth

Monday, November 2, 2020, 18:30-19:30 CET

EODLW webinar

We are all in this together – Rising to the challenges

Tuesday, 3 November 2020, 15:00 CET

EODLW webinar

Exploring new avenues of online assessment

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 17:00-18:00 CET

EODLW webinar

Practical and pedagogical ways to assess your students online

Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 12:00-13:30 CET

EODLW webinar

Next normal: Including students’ views into shaping future higher education

Wednesday, November 4, 2020, 17:00-18:30 CET

EODLW webinar

Open Education Technologies for online education

Friday, November 6, 2020, 15:00-16:30 CET

EODLW webinar

Opening session of the Open Classroom Conference

Friday, 6 November 2020, 17:00 CEST

EODLW webinar

European Vocational Skills Week 2020 – VET and digital tools

Monday, November 9, 2020, 13:00-14:30 CET

EODLW webinar


Best Research Paper Award and Young Scholar Award endowed at the EDEN 2020 Conference

Since 2008, EDEN has been continuously granting the Best Research Paper Award at the EDEN’s Annual Conferences. This year, the Best Research Paper Award was granted to Cecilia Fissore, Marina Marchisio and Sergio Rabellino from the University of Turin, Italy.

The title of their winning paper is “Secondary School Teacher Support and Training for Online Teaching During the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDEN has also dedicated a special attention to involve and motivate the future generation of stakeholders of the Open and Distance Learning field, at first offering them visibility by rewarding their achievements.

The 2020 EDEN Young Scholar Award was granted to Francesca Amenduni from Roma Tre University, Italy

Best Research Paper Award bestowed and Best Research in Progress Award debuting at the Lisbon Workshop

Since 2008, EDEN is continuously granting the Best Research Paper Award at EDEN’s Annual Conferences as well as at EDEN’s bi-annual Research Workshops. A high quality standard selection process shall guarantee the branding of a distinguished and reputable award for scholarly conference papers in the field of open, distance and e-learning.

The selection process takes place in collaboration with the Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in Open and Distance Learning and is supported by a Jury. Members of the Jury for the 2020 EDEN Best Research Paper Award are Dianne Conrad (Chair), Ph.D., Athabasca University (retired), Canada; Member of the Editorial Advisory Board EURODL; Inés Gil Jaurena, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain; Member of the Editorial Advisory Board EURODL; Lina Morgado, Associate Professor, Researcher at LE@D- Distance Education and Elearning Laboratory, Universidade Aberta (UAb), Portugal; Aras Bozkurt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Distance Education, Anadolu University, Turkey; Ulrich Bernath and Thomas Hülsmann, Directors and Trustees of the Ulrich Bernath Foundation for Research in Open and Distance Learning, Oldenburg, Germany.

Of 45 conference papers submitted and completed by the extended deadline for submissions on September 29th, 2020, 10 conference papers were short-listed for the competition.The winner, announced on 22 October at the 11th EDEN Research Workshop is:

Irène Charbonneau, Stockholm University, Sweden for the paper entitled: “Social Presence and Educational Technologies in an Online Distance Course in Finnish Higher Education: A Social Constructivist Perspective”.

In 2020, EDEN introduces the new Best Research in Progress Award as well. The prize recognises the quality of the research in progress being presented in the full posters category at EDEN’sbi-annual Research Workshops. An innovative selection process blending standard high quality procedures and more open and participative processes assures the impact and value of this new recognition for scholarly full posters describing ongoing research in the field of open, distance and e-learning. The selection process took place in collaboration with RE@D – Revista de Educação a Distância e eLearning and was divided in two phases. A specially appointed jury preselected three nominees.

Members of the Jury for the 2020 EDEN Best Research in Progress Award are Alda Pereira (Chair), Associate Professor, Universidade Aberta (retired), Portugal; Editor-in-Chief of RE@D; Antonella Poce, Associate Professor, Department of Education, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre (UniRoma3), Italy; Vlad Mihaescu, PhD, Associate Professor, Politehnica University of Timisoara (UPT), Romania; António Quintas Mendes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Researcher at LE@D – Distance Education and Elearning Laboratory, Universidade Aberta (UAb), Portugal; Isolina Oliveira, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (retired), Researcher at LE@D – Distance Education and Elearning Laboratory, Universidade Aberta (UAb), Portugal.

A total of 16 full posters submitted was considered for the competition. The jury shortlisted three finalists, and the winner of the BRiPA was finally chosen by the conference participants voting on the best full poster submitted. The winner, announced on 23 October at the 11th EDEN Research Workshop is:

Ana Afonso, Antonieta Rocha, Maria João Spilker, Lina Morgado, Laboratory of Distance Education & eLearning, Universidade Aberta, Portugal

EDEN Senior Fellow and Fellow Awards bestowed at the Lisbon Research Workshop

The Grand Opening Ceremony of the 11th EDEN Research Workshop on 21 October afternoon was special in many regards. Besides officially launching the virtual, two and a half days long workshop hosted by the Universidade Aberta (https://portal.uab.pt/en/), Lisbon, the President of EDEN, Sandra Kučina Softić presented EDEN’s two most prestigious annual awards: EDEN Senior Fellow Awards and EDEN Fellow Awards.

The purpose of the EDEN Fellow scheme is to provide validation and support to professionals in Europe in this field, and to enhance their mobility within Europe through a respected scheme of recognition. The first Senior Fellow and Fellow Awards as an idea was initiated by Professor Alan Tait, and were first presented at the 2007 Annual Conference in Naples. In the last 12 years, nearly 100 Fellow and Senior Fellow awards have been handed over.

EDEN Senior Fellow Awards 2020

“In recognition of contribution to the development of
open, distance and e-learning in Europe and for valued commitment
and support to the evolution and progress of EDEN”

Professor Airina Volungeviciene, Vytautas Magnus University
Kaunas, Lithuania

Airina has served for nine years in the EDEN Executive Committee: three years as Member, then three years as Vice-President, crowned by another three years of her Presidency. These years were a unique period in the modernisation of education in Europe.

She has been one of the leading personalities of integration of the Baltic professional community in the EU.

Every president leaves its hand marks in one way or another on the development of the Association. Airina has ensured a stable continuity in EDEN, contributed to our enhanced reputation in Europe and beyond. The leadership style she has applied initiated new
co-operation culture of activities in the Executice Committee. With her nice personality she has strengthened further the “EDEN Community” atmosphere which was acknowledged by the Ingeborg Bo Prize in 2019.

Professor Antonella Poce, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy

Antonella was serving as Member, and later Chair of the Steering Committee of the EDEN Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP). The NAP Chair post is one of the important ones in EDEN and the Exective Committee. Her inspired and systematic activities have resulted enhanced impact and visibility of NAP internationally. The EDEN NAP Twitter Chats attracted many hundred experts every week for professional discussions. Later the NAP Webinars have launched tradition of regular exchange of experience. The exceptionally successful Annual Conference in Genova, Italy is also linked to her academic networking achievements.

Professor Josep M. Duart, Universitat Oberta Catalunya

Josep as Vice-President for Research has given a great momentum to the strenghtening the academic reputation, international recognition and the enhanced quality of the EDEN publications. He was behind the invention and introduction of the PhD Symposia, an important movement for young scholars and development of the academic and professional community. As member of the EDEN Presidency, his experience and wisdom has often supported the strategic decisions.

EDEN Fellow Awards 2020

“An expression of appreciation of professional merit to EDEN Members who have demonstrated excellence in professional practice of open, distance and e-learning
and provided valued support to the evolution and progress of EDEN”.

Ulf Sandström, Swedish Association for Distance Education

Ulf is Chair at Swedish Association for Distance Education (SADE – SVERD) which is is a leading association in Sweden in the area of open, online, flexible education and distance learning (ODL), including new research, networking and project-creating activities. SADE members come from the entire education sector, from K-12 to higher education, and public education, business and the private sector are also represented. The 2017 EDEN conference was held in Jönköping, Sweden   where SADE was a co-organizer. The Swedish Association, with the leadership of Ulf Sandstrom has been a special strategic partner of EDEN for many years in the Scandinavian region, supporting collaboration with these important countries, having a special professional culture in open, distance and digital learning and the information society.

Maria Rosaria Re, Università Degli Studi Roma Tre

Maria Rosaria is scholar at the Department of Educational Sciences, in Education,Culture and Communicationwith fields of interest in E-Learning, Online Learning, Science Teaching, Pedagogy, Assessment and Educational Evaluation. She was carrying out research in interactive teaching and learning online with specific reference to MOOCs and cooperating with the Laboratory of Experimental Research and Centre for Museum Studies.

Winner of the Young Scholar Award at the 2018 EDEN Annual ConferenceSpeaker at several EDEN conferences, participant of PhD Symposium and author of a paper in the Best of EDEN volume of the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning.

James Brunton Dublin City University.

Dr Brunton has a PhD in Social/Organisational Psychology from Dublin City University. James is Chair of the DCU BA in Humanities Programme at the  National Institute for Digital Learning and member of the Digital Learning Research Network. His research specialties include Social and Organisational Psychology, Identity Studies, Qualitative Methodologies. He is chartered Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland and the British Psychological Society. At EDEN conferences he has delivered several valuable contributions, among others noted as speaker of the “Assessment Strategy: Managing and Supporting Assessment Designers” lecture in the Garden of Learning of EDEN.

Professor Covadonga Rodrigo, UNED Spain

Professor Rodrigo works in the Department of Computer Languages ​​and Systems at the UNED and Director of the Digital Inclusion Laboratory, Co-director of the Innovative User INteraction to Accesible Digital Objects programme. She was Vice-Rector for Technology at UNED and Deputy Vice-Rector of Technologies in Associated Centers. In EDEN, besides her papers at conferences, hosted an EDEN Chat on Development of Inclusive Museums Through Innovative Technologies.

Radu Vasiu

(EDEN Fellow Title has been awarded to Radu Vasiu at the EDEN Annual Virtual Conference in Timisoara, June 2020)

Radu Vasiu received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania in 1982 and 1997, respectively. He is currently a professor at the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technologies of the Politehnica University of Timisoara. He is President of the Politehnica University Senate and the Director of the Multimedia Research Centre. His research interests in the last years are in the area of open data , smart cities, mobile applications, e-learning, multimedia and web technologies. He acted as invited professor in different universities from UK, Finland, France, Austria, Greece and Netherlands.
The publication list includes 12 books and more than 150 papers presented at different international conferences. He was involved in 32 research or international cooperation projects.
Currently, prof. Vasiu acts as President of the International Association for e-Science (IAFeS), that promotes at international level the use of ICT in science and technology.
He is also a member of IEEE Computer Society and IEEE Communications Society, European Association for Telematics Applications (EATA), European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN), International Association of Science and Technology Engineers for Development (IASTED) and of the Commission for European Integration of the Romanian Academy, Timisoara branch.


EDEN was proud to welcome the following prestigeous organisations as new members in 2020

  • University of Zagreb (Croatia)
  • Horizons University (France)
  • asknet Solutions AG (Germany)
  • Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary)
  • Hibernia College (Ireland)
  • Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) (Russia)
  • Euspert (Slovakia)
  • Online Business School (Spain)
  • Kingsway International College (United Kingdom)
  • East London Business College UK (United Kingdom)
  • International Curriculum and Assessment Network (United Kingdom)


EDEN has always dedicated much attention to keep the professional community up-to-date on the latest results of the Open and Distance Learning field by the regular online publications The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning (EURODL) was further developed in collaboration with EDEN’s professional editorial service provider, Sciendo. Besides the modern platform, a new editorial management system supports authors, referees and the whole editorial board collaboration. Articles of the last 7 years’ EDEN Conference Proceedings were processed, have been provided with Digital Objective Identifier (DOI) and published via the Open Journal System for enhanced indexing. All EURODL and EDEN Conference Proceedings volumes can be consulted free in the Central and Eastern European Online Library page upon registration.

EU Policy

Suggestions and contributions were prepared by EDEN towards the implementation of the European Commission Digital Education Action Plan adapted in 2018. Actions were performed in frames of the ET 2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA) of which EDEN is member. The president of EDEN organised and hosted the Peer Learning Activity of the DELTA working group in Zagreb at the SRCE site on 3-4 February 2020. The SG also attended the meeting. In August, EDEN was invited by the European Commission to provide views on the roadmap for the New Digital Education Action Plan, to take part in the European Commission research participatory action workshop.
In September EDEN was requested to join to the HEInnovate expert group. This is showing that EDEN is really highly recognized and defined as an important actor and stakeholder in bringing novelty and shaping new policies. The SG of EDEN was invited to take part in the public consultations on the Digital Education report in December 2020. EDEN senior staff was invited to take part in the EU Consulting Group on Micro-credentials and took part in developing a European approach of micro-credentials. Its importance is reflected in the recently published Work Programme of the European Commission for 2021 that includes a Council Recommendation on micro-credentials foreseen for the last quarter of 2021. EDEN members and stakeholders of Education and Training sector are continously informed by the latest developments of the EU Policy regarding the Open and Distance Learning field.

EDEN Newsflashes monthly informs the members on the latest EU policy developments in a special session.