References – DisCo2013
Professor Ridvan Peshkopia, University for Business and Technology, Kosovo
This conference represents a wonderful combination of circumstanes: Charles University, one of the oldest universities in Europe; Prague, a major hub of European Renessaince; topic, our current concern of making science matter to society; and organizators, a wonderful group of dedicated young scholars who have set this academic and intellectual environment at an almost perfection level. We are now seven months from the new edition, Disco 2014, and I am looking forward for its topic, so I can prepare a competing abstract. In any case, I have marked in my 2014 calendar: end of June: Prague.
Professor Petra Aczél, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
DisCo is an outstanding conference that creates invigorating community and valued publicity for scholars of several disciplines and divergent ages in a deeply democratic spirit. It is an event where new ideas and modes of participation are introduced to enhance intellectual engagement. It is a conference where innovative ideas, inspiring researches are presented in thought-provoking talks, where fantastic community events are organized. This is a conference of intellectual innovation, fruitful networking, and of invitational scholarly community. I would propose young researchers to come to integrate and more experienced scholars to come to innovate. DisCo conference is a real “meeting of minds”, if you experience it, you will surely want more of it!
References – DisCo2012
Serge Comandina, Australian Industry Trades College, Gold Coas, Australia
I am a e-learning specialist at the Australian Industry Trades College, Gold Coast and have attended DisCo 2012 Conference in Prague. I found a very interesting variety of presenters and relevant topics, and most of all I was impressed with the organiser’s care and effort they invested in making sure that all guests had the most rewarding and pleasant stay in Prague. Amazing hospitality and a great location.
Penelope Brigham – Technical Writer and Trainer – Marian, Inc. USA
DISCO 2012 was the most educational and enjoyable conference I have attended in my career. Not only were the presentations fascinating and workshops well planned, but there were many opportunities to share knowledge with colleagues from around the world. I look forward to attending DISCO 2013.
Professor Dele Braimoh, the UNESCO Chair of ODL at UNISA, South Africa
The theme of the conference was “New Media and Education.” There were three major keynote speakers, and I happened to be one of them from the University of South Africa. My keynote presentation was entitled “ Lifelong Learning and the imperatives of New Technologies” which was presented at the opening ceremony on Monday, 25th June, 2012. The two other two keynote presenters were Dra Mar Camacho Marti from Universitat Rovira I Virgili in Spain and Dr Emilia Nercissans from University of Tehran in Iran.
A little less than one hundred participants drawn from five continents and across 12 countries attended the 3-day action packed conference. The countries included Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Sweden and Spain. Other countries were the UK, South Africa, Iran, Uzbekistan, USA and Australia. A total of 31 papers and 3 posters were presented at the conference.
In addition to my keynote address, I also chaired two different parallel sessions during the conference, apart from presenting, on behalf of Dr Kingsley Omorogiuwa, the postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Open and Distance Learning (IODL), his paper, titled: “Student Learning Assessment in Open and Distance Learning: Quality Assurance concerns”, in one of the parallel sessions at the conference.
The conference was held at Charles University in Prague and it was officially opened by Dr Helena Sebkova, the Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies, which organized and hosted the conference. The role of the host institution is independent public research institute in the area of higher and distance education.
The conference major sponsor was the Fronter Person Inc. Company and the other partners included The Association of Adult Education Institution (AIVD), Cambridge University Press, Navreme Bohemia while the Media Partners were Andragogika, Aula and Ikaros.
Other activities as part of the conference, included a marathon and very educative pre-conference workshop on E-Portfolio, Mahara, which was facilitated by Mrs Sigi Jakob Kuhn on Monday, 25th June, 2012. In addition to this, there was a special dinner on Monday, 25th June, 2012 in a gothic cellar in the heart of Prague and a spectacular boat cruise on river Vltava which lasted about two and a half hours starting from the Old Town to Holesovice and back on Tuesday 26thJune, 2012. The participants also had their dinner in the boat that night which was sponsored by the conference organizer.
References – DisCo2010
Maryanne Maisano, PhD., Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, USA
“The DisCo 2010 Conference was a unique opportunity for an international audience to explore the opportunities and risks of distance education. The Center for Higher Education Studies and University of West Bohemia in Pilsen presented an exciting venue for dedicated professionals across disciplines to experience the use of technology to reach a greater audience in the world of academia. As one of the keynote speakers I not only had the opportunity to present my research but also experienced a broad learning opportunity from fellow presenters. Lectures and workshops gave everyone an excellent forum for intellectual discourse and fellowship among colleagues, professionals, educators and students throughout the conference.”
Linda Pospisilova, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic
“From 23rd to 25th June 2010 I participated in the international conference called Opportunities and risks of distance education – DisCo 2010, which took place in Pilsen in the Czech Republic. It was organized by the Centre for Higher Education Studies and the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. The sixth year of this conference was dedicated to innovative approaches, research, and best practices in distance education. Apart from excellent preparation, organization and programme I would like to highlight information and inspiration obtained from all the key note speeches and the workshop on the Second life together with all the valuable input in the field of e-learning. I am looking forward to another DisCo conference.”
Lynette Naidoo Ms., University of South Africa, Republic of South Africa
“The DisCo 2010 was an enriching and enlightening forum, where experts in academia and higher education crossed paths. The diversification across disciplines enabled cross pollination of ideas and the culmination of new strategies to go forward. The conference in Pilsen was well organised and allowed a platform for expression and robust discussion on a range of topics. The delegates enjoyed practical demonstration and hands-on application of virtual communities including Second Life and 3-Dimensional classrooms, which demonstrated the potential of personal and dynamic interactivity between lecturer and student. Delegates were also treated to a fun-filled social as an introduction and welcome to the conference. This catalysed networking and engagements amongst the delegates.
The discussions and papers presented highlighted the changing face of distance education and its heutagogical (self-directed) characteristics, both in a theoretical sense as well as on a practical level. Overall, the DisCo 2010 encouraged robust enquiry which initiated relevant themes and trends for the 2012 conference.“
Śtěpánka Hronová, The University of Finance and Administration, Czech Republic
Taking part in theDisCo 2010 was not only a very pleasant and memorable personal experience, more importantly it had a strong professional impact on participants as new trends in distance education were shown, results of various studies and projects presented as well as some astonishing possibilities of modern technologies to be used as an educational tool were demonstrated.
Maryanne Maisano from the University of North Carolina gave a keyspeech and organized a practical workshop to introduce Second Life as a techology whichcan enrich teaching of every classroom and which enables lecturing people from different corners of the planet in realtime. Another keynotespeaker Lynette Naidoo from the University of South Africa revealed changes of pedagogy as a discipline which has been transforming with the development of new technologies. Close attention was also paid to open distance learning. Jiri Mares from the Charles University in Hradec Kralove focused his speech on their research findings and disclosed difficulties accompanying the survey of DL pedagogical effectiveness.
A large variety of presentations and workshops were prepared, among all to mention the topics of ten-year history of e-learning at Czech universities, innovations in e-learning, students´ projects such as VIAKISK using Second Life as a platform for information exchange, webcasting systems, e-learning in distant language teaching, blended learning or constructivism.
The event brough wide opportunities for networking and creating new ties among the participants and their institutions.
Thanks have to be expressed to both, the speakers for sharing their expertise, research findings and their practical implementation and the organizers alike – for smooth and flawless running of the conference.