Essen, Germany (PressExposure) June 10, 2014 -- Conference organisers from LINQ and EFQUEL welcomed an international gathering of learning and quality experts in Rethymnon, Greece from May 7 to 9, 2014. The high level of engagement among the participants and their experiences in international education and learning research contexts facilitated a valuable exchange of knowledge and experience. Furthermore, accessible keynote speakers from diverse learning traditions and approaches provided participants with an intellectually intimate conference ambiance, tempering this exchange.
This year's dialogue on quality for opening up education was introduced through a preconference "European Workshop on Opening Up Education in Schools" on May 7, led by the European initiative Open Discovery Space (ODS). ODS presented their new portal and communities for and by more than 2,000 teachers as well as innovative e-Learning services and teaching tools. In the afternoon 60 teachers from the Greek Network of Rural Schools demonstrated best practices that were also highlighted in the Greek press and television.
After a warm greeting by the conference chairs Christian M. Stracke (LINQ) and Ulf-Daniel Ehlers (EIF) to open the conference on May 8, keynotes Vijay Kumar and Zhu Zhiting provided participants with an enthralling contrast between US and Chinese approaches to innovation in learning. Mr. Kumar, Senior Strategic Advisor for Digital Learning and Director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was able to go into detail regarding his experiences guiding the creation of one of the most well-respected online learning repositories. Mr. Zhiting, Dean of the School of Open Learning and Education at East China Normal University, provided a fascinating counterpoint through an exploration of Smart e-Learning in China, student-centric and adaptive education linked across learning institutions.
Following the first day's keynotes, participants joined one of the four different conference strands taking place from May 8 to 9, hosting workshops, papers, and project presentations. These strands elaborated various aspects of quality in open learning, such as overviews of available digital learning repositories, approaches towards learning quality and transparency, and even the collaborative creation of a MOOC on "Quality in E-Learning". The most important result of one workshop, facilitated by Christian M. Stracke representing ICORE and Ignasi Labastida representing OEC, was the development of a "Declaration of Crete for Openness as a Default", detailing that open and free publication should be the default for education and research results. Evaluation through social tagging and references should thereby address the quality of these publications instead of formal, closed review processes.
Keynote speaker June Breivik, Development Manager for e-Learning at the BI Norwegian Business School, initiated the second day of the conference with her insights into the future of MOOCs and what they mean for open education and quality. Pat Manson, Head of Unit of DG Connect at the European Commission, had the honour of holding the concluding keynote and in doing so tied the conference dialogue to progress in EU policy and support systems. Immediate feedback related to the conference was overwhelmingly positive. The interactive sessions engaged participants so that all involved found them to be a productive, valuable experience. Conference organisers intend to build upon the experiences of this year's conference and continue dialogue on quality in open education in 2015.
All presentations and the complete conference proceedings are available online free-of-charge. To access the conference proceedings, including all papers and project descriptions from the conference, please visit http://www.learning-innovations.eu. For presentations, consult the conference Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/eiflinq2014.