Sunday, 15 June 2008

Over my shoulder

Time to reflect on the conference, and looking back over my shoulder, what will I remember?

Firstly the city itself.... what could be said that hasn't already been said? Complex, colourful, aromatic, noisy, spectacular, manic, steeped in culture, ultra-modernity, ancient and bold. All of these describe beautiful Lisbon, but none of them can quite encapsulate its unique atmosphere. I vow to return one day.

Secondly, there were the people. I have renewned some old friendships this week, and made some new friends too. All of the following I shared taxis, trams, buses and metro cars with. We spent time together talking seriously about e-learning, our families and homelives, and a lot of time laughing and joking, simply having fun. These guys helped make EDEN 2008 memorable. I met Dianne Conrad (Athabasca University, Canada) on the first day at breakfast - Gila Kurtz (Bar Ilan University Israel - pictured with me above on the first day of the conference) introduced us, and I'm glad she did. Dianne has a lot of energy and is committed to excellence in e-learning. It was a pleasure to spend some time with her. I also met Dirk Schneckenberg (Rennes, France) at the same breakfast meeting, and spent a great deal of time with him and his colleague Ulf-Daniel Ehlers (University of Duisberg-Essen). We will definitely collaborate together on some projects in the near future. We have already agreed it. Finally, there was another new friend, Mirjam Hauck (UK Open University). She was my partner in crime on the EDEN blog - in fact Mirjam had the idea originally to set up a blog for the conference - I am sure we will be doing the same thing again next year, but better! It was a real pleasure to spend time in such inspiring surroundings with such smart and passionate people. Thank you all!

Finally there was the conference itself - not always what one expects it to be. The papers were sometimes surprising, sometimes disappointing, sometimes inspiring. All shades of academia (and sometimes none) were represented at the conference in the paper sessions. I turned up late for my own session, due to a miscalculation with the time (I was struggling with the conference blog and the wireless connections at the time). I managed to put one presenter's little nose out of joint I hear, but we all got our 20 minutes, so no damage done I suspect!

To all who made the conference and the social events memorable, my grateful thanks. Here's the next year in Gdansk!

Posted by Steve Wheeler. Follow Learning with 'E's.

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