This year EDEN proudly hosting the fourth year of the European Distance Learning Week (EDLW) in cooperation with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)  – and our Special Partner for 2019: the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA).

During the European Distance Learning Week, Concept International CEO Stefan Svicevic Concept had access to daily online webinars and panel sessions of expert scholars and practitioners presenting a variety of cutting-edge open and online learning topics, from innovations in design to open educational research.

In this webinar four experts in the field of e-learning and distance education reflected upon how the very nature of learning at a distance is changing to meet the needs of the modern society, reductions in expenditure in higher education, the incursion of face-to-face universities in this area, changes in institutional structure, and the ever-advancing role of technology. Historically, distance education institutions stood apart from their face-to-face rivals with educational models that were very different, reflecting a variety of types of students.

Nowadays, with the pace of modern society and the need for constant updating of our knowledge and qualifications, the demand for e-learning and distance education has increased. However, traditional face-to-face universities have extended their educational offer to try to meet this demand, arguably blurring the difference between the two types of institutions. This convergence together with the corresponding expansion of technology-enhanced learning and reductions in funding is arguably leaving distance education universities in a state of crisis. The webinar explores the issues related to this crisis and looks at what the future might hold for this educational modality and the institutions that champion it!

Moderator: Timothy Read, UNED, Spain, EDEN Executive Committee Member


  • Antonio Teixeira, Universidade  Aberta, Portugal, EDEN Senior Fellow

António Teixeira is an Associate Professor at Universidade Aberta (UAb), the Portuguese Open University, where he teaches since 1991 and currently heads the Department of Education and Distance Learning. He’s also a researcher at the Center of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon. He was the President of EDEN (2013-16), and Pro-rector for Innovation in Distance Learning at UAb (2006-09), having been a member of the Portuguese Rectors Council specialized committees on Scientific Research and Knowledge Transfer, and on Evaluation, Quality and Innovation. He was also a Director at Ibstpi – International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction (2012-18) and a member of the Academic and Administration boards of the Asia International Open University, currently City University of Macau (2007-09). António is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Distance Education and Learning Futures Alliance of the Massey University and the Vice-president of the Ad Lucem Association (University of Lisbon). He’s also on the scientific board of fifteen international journals and has participated in close to thirty international research projects on educational innovation and open education. António is an EDEN Senior Fellow and an IBSTPI Scholar.

  • Tony Bates, EDEN Senior Fellow

Tony Bates is President and CEO of Tony Bates Associates Ltd, a private company specializing in consultancy and training in the planning and management of e-learning and distance education. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University, Toronto, and a Research Associate at Contact North, Ontario.

  • Jose MotaUniversidade  Aberta, Portugal

Jose Mota is a researcher at the Laboratory of Distance Education (LEaD), Universidade Aberta, Portugal. He is an English Teacher (K12-EFL), always curious about new ways of using technology in education, and also an enthusiast of online learning and the amazing web. He taught in the eLearning Pedagogy and the Educational Multimedia Communication Master’s Programs at Universidade Aberta.  He also participated as a co-author and facilitator in the online teaching training program developed at Universidade Aberta (part of the Innovation Program in Distance Education], with courses both for Universidade Aberta’s professors and tutors, and for other Portuguese universities as well.

  • Alan Tait, Open University UK, EDEN Senior Fellow

Alan Tait is 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.

  • Liz Marr, Open University UK

Dr. Liz Marr is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) at The Open University. She has responsibility for all student-facing development and enhancement, including student retention, progression, achievement and satisfaction, widening access and success, employability, quality monitoring and enhancement and the Teaching Excellence Framework. She is also President of The European Association of Distance Teaching Universities.

EDEN issues digital open badges as a recognition of EDLW participation and contribution. Receiving and collecting badges provides the opportunity to showcase skills and accomplishments to a wide audience in social web communities.

European Distance Learning Week (EDLW) gave award to Stefan Concept with an EDEN Open Badge in order to appreciate and acknowledge his participation at the “What might the future hold for distance education universities?” webinar held on 12 November 2019 in the frame of the European Distance Learning Week.

EDEN encourages the continuous attainment of professional development goals. By awarding open badges in connection with our events and professional activities we aim to facilitate the recognition of a variety of skills and competencies of our community’s most involved members.

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