ICDE International Conference in Moscow, Russia, 25-26 September 2014

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Host: Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI)

The ICDE International Conference was hosted by Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) in Moscow, Russia, 25-26 September 2014.



Nearly 200 people from countries across the globe met in Moscow for the ICDE International Conference on 25-26 September 2014, with the theme of 'connecting the world through open, distance and e-learning'. The conference was hosted by ICDE member, Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics. The day prior to the conference, members of the programme committee and conference speakers were invited to a round table discussion about open education, hosted by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

ICDE International Conference in Moscow

The conference yielded many interesting and thought-provoking discussions over the two days consisting of four plenary sessions and 12 simultaneous sessions. ICDE would like to extend its sincerest thanks and appreciation to Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics for hosting the successful conference.

Conference theme and sub-themes

The theme of the conference was ‘connecting the world through open, distance and e-learning’. The conference dealt with economic, technological and social aspects of distance education, the gap between formal education and work, e-learning in conventional institutions, and the balance between quality and diversity and plurality.

The sub-themes included:

  • distance education: the economic, technological, pedagogical and social outlook

  • open, distance and flexible learning for reduction of the gap between formal education and work

  • e-learning in a conventional educational establishment: challenges and possibilities

  • distance and smart education: narrowing or widening digital and cognitive gaps?

  • quality and standards of educational provision in distance settings; social and cultural diversity and linguistic plurality; educational tradition and innovation – where does the balance lie?

  • open, distance and e-learning as a field for cooperation at international, regional, interregional, national, local and institutional levels.


The conference was held over two days, and consisted of plenary sessions and simultaneous sessions each day. Tian Belawati, ICDE President, and Natalia Tikhomirova, MESI Rector, opened the conference on the morning of the first day and closed the conference in the afternoon of the last day.

Plenary sessions:

Open, Distance and e-Learning: From Traditional to Innovative Teaching and Learning. The ICDE Secretary General, explained that big and small governments alike are taking notice and moving towards ODL. Diana Laurillard, University of London, gave a detailed presentation on a recent MOOC which was designed for primary school teachers. She stated that the results showed that nearly 60 per cent of the MOOC participants would prefer to have a guided sequence when doing a MOOC.  

Open, Distance and e-Learning: What’s on Cooperation Agenda?: The session was chaired by Alan Tait, ICDE Executive Committee member, and generated excellent contributions from the audience on collaboration. Alan explained that “trust is a precious commodity” in collaboration and the ICDE Secretary General stated that “collaboration is magic, you can achieve so much more”.

Open, Distance, e-Learning and MOOCs: What’s Next?: This session was chaired by Rory McGreal, ICDE Chair in OER. Wayne Mackintosh, also an ICDE Chair in OER, presented OERu. The session gave an interesting insight into the MOOC phenomenon. Rory stated that more needs to be done to attack traditional education instead of defending distance education, as the whole world is going online and our classrooms need to as well.

The simultaneous sessions had the following themes:

  • Nearly 50 experts were speakers at the conference.

  • Open, Distance and e-Learning: Connecting Countries, Regions, Institutions and Professionals

  • Distance Education and e-Learning: Organization, Pedagogies and Technologies

  • Developments in Distance Learning and Open Education: Meeting the Students’ Needs

  • Open, Distance and e-Learning: Developing Cooperation

  • Distance Education and e-Learning: Organization, Pedagogies and Technologies

  • Instructional Design for Online Learning in a University Master class

  • Open, Distance and e-Learning: Connecting the World of Education and the World of Work

  • Map your Case of Collaboration through ICTs, OER, MOOCs and Virtual Mobility!

  • We Design and Use MOOCs

  • Higher Education Online: Approaches, Models and Practices Round table discussion

  • How to Teach Online?

  • Active Child in the Interactive Environment

  • Presentation slides

Members of the programme committee and speakers at the ICDE International Conference were invited to a round table discussion that took place on 24 September, hosted by the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.ICDE representatives discuss Open Education in the Russian Duma.

The theme was “On-line and e-learning, open educational resources, MOOCs, smart-education and other e-technologies and e-resources: Legislative and regulatory support for their development and application in national educational systems. Russian and foreign experience”.

The round table discussion was co-chaired by Vladimir Tikhomirov, Chair of the Expert Council for IT in Education under the Committee on Education of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Nikonov, Chair of the State Duma Committee on Education and Oleg Smolin, First Deputy Chair of the State Duma Committee on Education. The chairs opened the session and outlined the Russian situation, where one issue highlighted was the high penetration rate of higher education in the Russian population (54%).

Tian Belawati, ICDE President and Rector of Universitas Terbuka in Indonesia and the ICDE Secretary General from Norway, shared their reflections on open education in a life long learning perspective with the Duma.  Interventions were delivered by Dae Joon Hwang, Provost Sungkyunkwan University in Republic of Korea, Piet Hendrikx, senior advisor at EADTU in Netherlands, Kam Cheong Li, Secretary General AAOU in Hong Kong China, Rory McGreal, UNESCO chair in OER and ICDE Chair in OER from Canada, Wayne Mackintosh, UNESCO Chair in OER and ICDE Chair in OER from New Zealand, and Alan Tait, Director at Open University UK and a member of the ICDE Executive Committee. 

Besides sharing their national and international experiences on open education, the participants discussed in particular the increasing need for life long learning, in light of:

  • changing demands in the labour market

  • the joy of learning

  • the role of robotification and need for new, skilled jobs

  • the urgent need for using open, distance, online, flexible elearning to tackle the growing demands for higher education

  • the use of technology to enhance quality of learning.  The role of teachers and faculty, quality in education and the effect of open education on the economy in large were among the most frequent issues mentioned.

Short summary: The ICDE Secretary General suggested that the main issues to collaborate on at the international scene were access for all requiring higher education, quality in education and learning and Student Success. Also, to build and share knowledge on open education would be crucial for the further development. Tian Belawati explained that there has been a change of perception, and e-learning is now viewed as a quality education. She also explained that open education can give people a second chance for education, if they were not able to the first time. Dae Joon Hwang suggested that every aspect of our lives is being driven by technology, and there are now 23 cyber universities within the Republic of Korea. ICDE Chairs in OER, Wayne Mackintosh and Rory McGreal, individually summarized that it is a major task to find ways to provide education for the masses, and open education is the key. Piet Hendrix stated that education has been decentralized. Alan Tait agreed, adding that students are now moving across regions more than ever. 

Representatives from the Russian government and many Rectors from Russian Universities took part. The Round Table was regarded by participants as dynamic, interesting and of great value for the further development of policies in Russia. 

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Programme ICDE MESI 2014
ICDE MESI Moscow 2014 programme


Caroline Seville