Welcome from the Networked Learning Conference series Co-Chairs
We are very pleased to welcome you to the 9th International Networked Learning Conference.
Since the previous Networked Learning Conference the coordination and organisation of the conference has been handed over by Vivien Hodgson and David McConnell to Thomas Ryberg and Maarten de Laat. We would like to thank Vivien and David for trusting ‘their’ conference in our hands and we are proud to be given the opportunity to continue this highly respected event. They have helped us in the background to ease the transition and we are grateful to know we can stand on the shoulders of these two giants and founding fathers/mothers of this conference. The conference is an established international conference that is held biennially and provides a platform for researchers to share and discuss the latest findings and developments in the field of networked learning and technology enhanced learning. The conference has a longstanding tradition in addressing networked learning and its underpinning pedagogical values and application from a critical, reflexive perspective. As such it is a conference series that puts a strong emphasis on advancing learning theory, design and practice. Over the years the conference has spread its focus from predominantly higher education to networked learning across formal, non-formal and informal settings covering education, professional development and leisure.
After a successful conference in Maastricht, The Netherlands in 2012, the conference has returned to the UK and is held in Edinburgh. A wonderful place of great tradition and innovation, which reflects the conference’s ability to assert its core values as well as inspire new learning practices. This conference is hosted by Sian Bayne, Christine Sinclair, Fiona Lennox, Hamish MacLeod and Jen Ross together with other people at the University of Edinburgh who have worked hard to make this conference a success e.g. Marshall Dozier who has helped organise the pre-conference PhD seminar. We would like to take the opportunity to thank them all for their commitment.
Also this year, prior to the conference, there was another Hot Seat series and we would like to thank Jeffrey Keefer for organizing this with the support of Steve Wright. There was a great variety of topics and themes on offer, and we are grateful to all the presenters who contributed so generously and reached out to the networked learning community. We saw an uptake in new members who joined in the spirit of engaging in an open discourse on networked learning and share their research within the networked learning community.
We would also like to thank Jeffrey Keefer and Antoine van den Beemt for their suggestions and support to add another feature to the conference by launching the Sched App. With this App it will be easier to engage with the conference programme, access papers and connect with each other and share our conference experience using twitter and other other social networking tools.
For many years Alice Jesmont and Chris Jones have been a great force making this conference a success. We appreciate their involvement in organising this year’s conference. It has been a great assurance knowing that we can count on their extensive experience in organising and running the conference. We sincerely thank them and everyone else who has contributed to this conference.
Finally, we would like to mention the continued work of David and Vivien in developing a book series on ‘Networked Learning Research’ published by Springer. Further, we are thankful to Melissa James and Miriam Karmil from Springer for their continued work on the book series and for sponsoring our drinks reception, where the most recent book on Networked Learning ‘The Design, Experience and Practice of Networked Learning’ will be presented.
We hope you will enjoy the 2014 conference.
Thomas Ryberg & Maarten de Laat
Aalborg University and Open Universiteit of the Netherlands.
Welcome from the Local Organising Committee
A very warm Scottish welcome from the team at your host institution, the University of Edinburgh. We hope that the weather is also warm; we can be less certain of that, but the beauty of our city will more than compensate for any lack of sunshine.
We are excited to be hosting the 9th international Networked Learning Conference. The University of Edinburgh is an appropriate venue at this time as we have a long tradition of work to enhance teaching and learning through technology, and are now rapidly growing our provision of digital education and networked learning, particularly through postgraduate programmes, engagement in MOOCs, extensive interdisciplinary research, and new high-level posts in digital education and informatics.
The local team organising the conference is drawn from colleagues from the Digital Education group, based in the Moray House School of Education. We run an innovative and popular Masters programme which has a strong international reputation: our graduates can be found all over the world. You can find out more about us from our Programme website.
The team’s belief that ‘closed online spaces limit the educational power of the network’, encapsulated in our Manifesto for teaching online, is carried into our collaboration with colleagues in other institutions and underpins our hopes for the success of this conference. The Networked Learning Conferences are known for bringing out new ideas, practices and theoretical frameworks as well as rich and vigorous dialogues. The University of Edinburgh’s Digital Cultures and Education (DiCE) website is where you’ll find our own current and recent contributions to these debates; we anticipate they’ll be greatly enriched following our engagement at the international Networked Learning Conference 2014. We look forward to meeting new people, catching up with old friends, thinking, talking and networking with all of you.
Sian Bayne, Fiona Lennox, Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross & Christine Sinclair
The University of Edinburgh.