EDEN brings people together: collaboration and networking for better learning and teaching

The 28th EDEN Annual Conference was held in the beautiful and picturesque city of Bruges. The topic of the conference was Connecting through Educational Technology and I believe that many of the participants present will agree with me that we were connecting, collaborating, communicating, discussing, sharing, planning, praising and supporting each other during the conference in a very positive and inspiring atmosphere. It is well known that EDEN is like a family and many friendships, collaborations, projects and initiatives have been raised in such a friendly and open-hearted environment. At the premises of the campus of the VIVES University of Applied Sciences, mixing with students, the conference participants, among whom were young researchers and young scholars, diligently followed a wide range of tracks aiming to get the most of rich programme. I always feel happy going to EDEN conferences, I like belonging to the EDEN community, to be among people who have similar issues and problems to deal with and who will listen to others’ ideas and experiences eagerly with real interest. To me, it gives strength to go on, to continue and do better than before. This year’s conference was special to me as I was elected as the new president. It is a big honour and a huge responsibility firstly as I was given trust to lead an organisation which gathers so many experts, researchers and institutions in the field of distance learning, e-learning and education, and secondly because of previous presidents whom I highly appreciate and I’m lucky to call some of them my friends.

EDEN Presidents: Alan Tait, Sandra Kucina Softic, Airina Volungeviciene and Antonio Teixeira

EDEN works hard on the community level through numerous activities, from small scale ones such as EDEN chats and webinars to those on the big scale like Annual Conferences. It is the joint work of all EDEN members and the community, Vice-presidents, the Executive Committee, the Network of Academics and Professionals, and the Council of EDEN fellows. We can do better, make some changes and set our future only if we work together if we collaborate and network.

I hope you all had a nice summer as new challenges are ahead of us. New online learning trends are emerging: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, gamification, online tutoring… But on the other side, we are still struggling with the changing of ways of teaching and learning, implementation of digital technologies into education and recognition of excellence in teaching.

With EDEN chats and webinars for autumn, we are setting the scene for the next European Distance Learning Week (EDLW) – fourth in a row. We are very proud of this event, which is gaining more attention every year. During EDLW, we organize daily online webinars and panel sessions of expert scholars and practitioners who will present a variety of topics on distance education, from challenges and opportunities of distance education on the European and global levels, the future of distance universities, the influence of the online learning on curriculum transformation in higher education, artificial intelligence in education, to the quality and assessment dimension and social justice and openness in online and distance learning. I’m sure that everyone will find the topic for themselves and enjoy discussions and collaboration in webinars. The EDLW is above all the result of the strong and successful collaboration of EDEN members and community and I hope it will grow further. So save the date and network, share and contribute to better learning and teaching today and tomorrow!

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