ICE2021 Emphasises the Importance of Digital Transformation in Education

Issues addressing the importance of digital transformation in the education sector and its impact on teaching and learning dominated discussions during the inaugural online International Conference on Education (ICE2021), conducted via Zoom on 20 and 21 September.

Recognising digital transformation as a driving force for innovative solutions in education, the two-day virtual event hosted by OUM gathered 12 international keynote speakers and 29 paper presenters comprising OUM academics and learners as well as academics from other institutions.

With four sub-themes, namely Effective Online Learning, Distributed Online Assessment, Innovative Digital Solutions, as well as New Norms and Emotional Well-Being, the conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Prof Dr Vassilios Makrakis from Frederick University, Cyprus who deliberated on leveraging online learning to enable post-Covid-19 sustainability.

Dr Hanna Teräs from Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland, left many deep in thought with her meaningful talk on the fundamentals of teaching and learning, and Prof Daryono SH from Universitas Terbuka (UT), Indonesia shared UT’s experience in developing a new learning design by focusing on the social presence in an educational experience.

The sub-theme of Distributed Online Learning was discussed elaborately by Prof Patricia B Arinto from University of the Philippines Open University, Dr Kyoung Phil Joo from Korea National Open University, and Adam Brimo, Chief Executive Officer of OpenLearning, Australia.

Meanwhile, Prof Naveed Malik from the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada, Dr Dinh Tuan Long from Hanoi Open University, Vietnam, and Prof Uma Kanjilal from Indira Gandhi National Open University, India addressed Innovative Digital Solutions, with discussions on core learning technologies, innovative digital solutions used in Pakistan and across impoverished societies, Education 4.0, India’s online education platform, as well as online exams, their challenges and solutions.

Concluding the first day, Dr James Brunton from Dublin City University, Ireland, Prof Dr Boontip Siritarungsri from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Thailand, and Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Tajudin Md Ninggal from OUM touched on the very current topic of New Norms and Emotional Well-Being.

The second day of the conference saw 29 esteemed researchers presenting their papers. Even without face-to-face interaction, it was still fascinating to see lively discussions taking place in every breakout room. Every presenter was professional and prepared to answer all questions asked by an attentive and curious audience, either live or via the chat box.

The highlight of the conference was the announcement of the best paper award winners. Dr Rosinah Mahmood’s research paper on issues, challenges and coping strategies of student-teachers during the pandemic, co-authored with four other OUM academics, came out tops in the academic category. In the student category, the award went to hand surgeon and PhD candidate Dr Vaikunthan Rajaratnam for his impressive submission on developing an online module to train medical residents in microsurgery.

Two workshops, titled Digital Entrepreneurship: How to Start an Online Business, and Space without Boundaries: Managing a New Way of Working wrapped up the conference. The first was conducted by Dr Mohd Nazri Mohd Noor, while the latter was presented by the trio of Sharifah Rosfashida Syed Abd Latif, Ts Mohd Tajuzzaman Hassanor, and Azmi Che Leh.

The conference was opened by UT Rector Prof Ojat Darojat, while OUM President/Vice-Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil delivered the closing speech.

ICE2021 would not have been possible without the dedicated team that brought a wealth of experience and expertise in making this inaugural virtual conference a success.