Keynote Speakers / Forum Panelists / Workshop Facilitators

International Conference on Open and Innovative Education Keynote Speakers / Forum Panelists / Workshop Facilitators

Keynote Speakers / Forum Panelists

Keynote Speakers

Title: Open and Innovative Education for All

Asha Kanwar
President & CEO
Commonwealth of Learning
Professor Asha Singh Kanwar, one of the world's leading advocates of learning for sustainable development, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning. Throughout a career spanning over 35 years, she has made outstanding contributions in the areas of teaching, research and international development.
Prior to joining COL, Professor Kanwar was a senior consultant in open and distance learning at UNESCO's Regional Office for Education in Africa (BREDA). She has also served as Director, School of Humanities and as Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi, India. She was a Fulbright Fellow for post-doctoral research at Iowa State University in the US, where she was later invited to teach. Currently, she serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies and Education (IITE).
Professor Kanwar won several international awards, including the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Prize of Excellence, and the Meritorious Service Award for outstanding contributions in open and distance education from the Asian Association of Open Universities. She has been conferred nine honorary doctorates from Universities in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted various gaps in the education system. Most were unprepared for the sudden transition to online learning, institutions lacked digital infrastructure, teachers and learners did not have the capacity to deliver technology-enabled learning and quality digital content was not readily available. The result was learning loss, the exacerbation of existing inequalities and high levels of social and emotional stress. As online learning became more acceptable, there was a greater emphasis on open and innovative education and the need to build resilience for future disasters. Experts estimate that the climate crisis will be the most pressing challenge in the coming decade. What kind of research will be needed to prepare for the uncertain future that lies ahead? Can open distance and online learning reduce the carbon footprint of education? What will be the green and blue skills required to equip learners for the jobs that do not yet exist? How will technologies be harnessed to build capacity and achieve scale? How can we provide better educational opportunities for persons with disabilities and ensure that no one is left behind? What will be the role of universities in contributing to lifelong learning and sustainable development? It is clear that the idea of openness must be revisited and that innovative solutions need to be implemented for transforming education that is relevant, equitable and affordable for all.

Title: The Future of Educational Technology: Integration, Intelligence, Interaction, and Imagination

Albert D. Ritzhaupt
Professor of Educational Technology and Computer Science Education
Associate Director for Graduate Studies in the School of Teaching and Learning
University of Florida
Professor Albert D. Ritzhaupt is a Professor of Educational Technology and Computer Science Education, and the Associate Director for Graduate Studies in the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at the University of Florida. An award-winning researcher, Professor Ritzhaupt has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, technical reports, and conference proceedings; and has presented his research at numerous state, national, and international conferences. His primary research areas focus on the design, development, and evaluation of theory-inspired, technology-enhanced learning environments, computer science education, operationalizing and measuring technology integration in education, and the professional competencies of educational technology professionals. Professor Ritzhaupt has been funded by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Science Foundation (NSF) to support his research endeavors. His publications have appeared in multiple leading venues, including Educational Technology Research and Development, Computers & Education, and Computers in Human Behavior. Professor Ritzhaupt is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE), the flagship research journal of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE); a consulting editor for Educational Technology Research and Development; a member of the scientific board of Computers and Human Behavior; and serves as a reviewer for several other well-respected journals.
Educational technology is swiftly evolving as new emerging technologies and innovative pedagogies are seamlessly integrated into the fabric of our educational enterprises. Meanwhile, the landscape in formal educational settings (e.g., primary, secondary, and higher education) is often slow to adapt to the changes in our digital ecosystems. To ensure the successful and meaningful integration of future educational technologies in our educational systems, this presentation will describe four essential characteristics to our future educational tools and solutions: 1) Integration, the ability for tools to securely share information and processing capabilities; 2) Intelligence, the ability for tools to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence; 3) Interaction, the ability for tools to support intentional communications among educational stakeholders (e.g., student, teachers, etc.); and 4) Imagination, the ability for tools to support innovative and meaningful experiences. This presentation will elaborate on these four essential characteristics while providing examples to describe a future for equitable and robust technology-enhanced learning experiences for all learners across the globe. The presentation will close with some observations and predictions about the future of educational technology research and practice across formal educational settings.

Title: AI and Digital Assessment: Driver or Disrupter?

Denise Whitelock
Professor of Technology Enhanced Assessment and Learning
Director, Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University
Professor Denise Whitelock is the Director for the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University. She is a Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning and has over twenty-five years' experience in Artificial Intelligence for designing, researching and evaluating online and computer-based learning in Higher Education. She is currently leading an innovative research programme for the Skills for Prosperity project which is supporting the Kenyan government to provide at scale, quality, open and distance learning opportunities, through training 320 staff at 37 public universities.
Professor Whitelock is currently the Editor of Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance & e-Learning. Her work has received international recognition through holding visiting Chairs at the Autonoma University, Barcelona and the British University in Dubai. Professor Whitelock is currently a serving Board Member and Vice President Research for EDEN Digital Learning Europe. Denise is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Fellow of EDEN and awarded a Commonwealth of Learning Chair in April 2023. For complete publication list see:
Digital assessment is an evolving construct used in education to enrich, inform and complement the teaching process. Using automatic feedback however, has been under-utilised and under-valued throughout the assessment process.
This presentation provides insight into a number of projects that have automated some aspects of assessment and feedback, including a system for language learning which is an example of an early AI system. The examples selected from my own AI research have a strong conceptual underpinning, for instance Dweck's (2017) work to develop Open Comment which provided authentic feedback on a free text entry assessment system. With Open Mentor, Bales' (1950) interactive categories were used to help tutors develop effective and supportive feedback. SafeSea, on the other hand, allowed students to trial essay writing before taking the sometimes aunting step of submitting their first essay. This system was using analysis based on Pask's (1976) conversational framework.
Furthermore, the presentation will discuss some of the issues raised by teachers and students about digital assessment and will provide examples of how AI can address their concerns. The issue of disrupters will also be raised including the problems of plagiarism, especially with the launch by OpenAI of ChatGPT a language -generation model, that can write student assignments for them.

Bales, R.F. (1950). A set of categories for the analysis of small group interaction. American Sociological Review, 15, 257–263.
Dweck, C.S. (2017). Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. New York: Ballatine Books.
Pask, G. (1976). Conversation theory: Applications in education and epistemology. Amsterdam, New York: Elsevier Science.

This Research has been funded by JISC, EPSRC, EU and the Open University UK

Title: Research Topics, Challenges and Experimental Designs of Artificial Intelligence in Education

Hwang Gwo-Jen
Chair Professor, Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Professor Gwo-Jen Hwang is currently a Chair Professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Computers & Education: Artificial Intelligence (Scopus, Q1), International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation (Scopus, Q1; ESCI), and Journal of Computers in Education (Scopus, ESCI) as well as Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Education (SCI). His research interests include mobile and ubiquitous learning, flipped learning, digital game-based learning, and artificial intelligence in education. Owing to the reputation in academic research and innovative inventions in e-learning, he received the annual most Outstanding Researcher Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan in the years of 2007, 2010 and 2013 as well as the Excellent Teacher Award from the Ministry of Education of Taiwan in 2019. In 2022, he is reward as a Distinguished Researcher by National Science and Technology Council of Taiwan.
While artificial intelligence (AI) has been widely adopted in various applications, it remains a challenge for researchers and school teachers to effectively apply it to educational settings. In this keynote speech, Prof. Hwang not only introduces the basic conceptions and potential applications of AI in education (AIED) but also proposes several strategies for conducting AIED research as well as applying AI in school settings and professional training. Moreover, several potential AIED research topics with concrete examples are presented, which is a good reference for those who intend to conduct research by employing AI applications in school or professional training contexts.

Title: The 21st Century Disruptive Education in a Time of Transformation

Eesa Mohammed Bastaki
University of Dubai
Dr Eesa Mohammed Bastaki is the President of the University of Dubai.
Dr Bastaki is the recipient of the highest award in the UAE, the “Emirates Excellence Award in Sciences, Literature and Arts”, in the field of Sciences. Dr Bastaki's extensive experience in education, leadership, technology and communications led University of Dubai into its next progressive phase, which besides the building of a new campus and the addition of several programs, such as a Master of Laws degree and Doctorate degrees in Business Administration. Previously, Dr Bastaki worked as a professor at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) specialising in Communications Engineering. He also held positions as: CEO of ICT Fund; Director of Education, Training and Research and Development for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO); Consultant and IT Project Manager for Al-Ain Municipality; Board member of KHDA's UQAIB and was member of many academic boards. He is one of the founders of DSO and RIT-Dubai. He is Honorary Chair of IEEE, Chairman of Emirates Science Club, Board member of the Cultural and Scientific Association and was a Board member of Ankabut (UAE's NREN) and many more. He is the Chair of “Drones for Good Award”, “Robotics & AI for Good Award” and “Emirates Energy Award”. He also judges the Dubai-initiated competition 10X. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Innovation Award in Project Management. He has organised hundreds of events, conferences, forums and competitions.
During his time at UAE University, DSO and ICT Fund, Dr Bastaki chaired several technology and research boards, initiated technology incubation concepts and coined on R&BD terminology, where he brought forward the rich experience of enhancing the University of Dubai's research drives and futuristic programs. His main goals are to enhance Research & Business Development to serve the industry and fulfill his drive towards his vision of “Made in UAE, Sold Globally”.
Dr Bastaki received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of California, San Diego and his PhD from University of California, Irvine, before returning to help improve the education and technology sectors in his homeland, the UAE. University of Dubai faculty, staff and students are gratified that a man of his accomplishments leads the University on its continuing path to provide the highest quality education in the region.
Education in the 21st century is undergoing significant disruptions driven by technology and changing needs. This summary explores disruptive education, which challenges traditional models and leverages technology to provide personalized and accessible learning experiences.
Disruptive education uses innovative approaches and technology to enhance learning outcomes, accessibility, and adaptability. It breaks away from conventional methods and fosters learner-centric experience.
Digital technologies like online platforms, virtual reality, AI, and data analytics are catalysts for disruptive education. They enable remote learning, personalized instruction, and adaptive systems, making education accessible anytime, anywhere, to any student, from any instructor and by any device. This allows the student to reduce the period of graduation to less than two years.
Disruptive education expands access to education and fosters active learning. It democratizes education, engages learners through interactivity and gamification, and offers personalized experiences.
Disruptive education requires adequate infrastructure, digital literacy, and quality assurance. Educators must adapt to new roles as facilitators and mentors in the digital learning environment.
Disruptive education transforms traditional education, offering opportunities for personalized and adaptable learning. Overcoming challenges of infrastructure and educator roles is crucial for successful implementation. Embracing these changes ensures education remains relevant in the evolving 21st century landscape.

Title: Exploring an Innovative Pedagogical Strategy for Metropolitans: Agile-Blended Learning

Li Kam-cheong
Dean, School of Open Learning
Director, Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education
Hong Kong Metropolitan University
KC Li is the inaugural Dean of the School of Open Learning at Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU). He concurrently serves at HKMU as the Director of the Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education and the Director of Research Affairs and Knowledge Transfer. He has also been appointed as a Visiting Professor by education and research institutions such as Middlesex University of the United Kingdom, and Hebei Academy of Social Sciences and Hebei University of Economics and Business in China. Dr. Li has published about 200 refereed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and 8 monographs/textbooks, and co-edited 12 books. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Association of Open Universities Journal and one of the editors of the 'Innovation and Technology in Education' section of SN Computing Science. He has also served as a guest editor of special issues for five renowned journals and an editorial board member for distinguished journals. Dr. Li is keenly interested in research in innovative and open education and has successfully obtained funding for numerous research and development projects. He has earned three bachelor's degrees, four master's degrees and a PhD from renowned institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, Peking University, and the University of London.
In contemporary knowledge economies, urban professionals must continually update their expertise and abilities. However, due to a myriad of responsibilities, such as extended work hours and family commitments, these individuals prioritize learning efficiency and effectiveness. They seek flexible, personalized educational experiences and demonstrate a propensity for self-directed learning. With rapid technological advancements, urban learners also expect seamless integration of learning technologies throughout their educational journey. In response to these unique learner needs, the author and his team propose a novel pedagogical approach: Agile-Blended Learning (AB learning), specifically designed for populations in modern cities. The AB learning approach emphasizes four core principles: flexibility, collaboration, learner autonomy, and technology mediation. AB learning incorporates adaptability across various aspects of the learning experience, including time, location, mode of study, pace, course structure, learning activities, and instructional materials. In addition, collaboration within the AB learning framework highlights the importance of both peer-to-peer interaction and cooperation between learners and educators throughout the learning process. Furthermore, this approach grants learners a high degree of autonomy in planning, designing, and implementing their education, encompassing factors such as time, space, content, and learning modes. Finally, AB learning encompasses a diverse array of technologies to augment flexibility and personalization. The implementation of educational technologies not only enhances learners’ experiences but also bolsters their overall learning effectiveness.

Forum Panelists

Forum topic: Pedagogy for Modern Adult Learners

Internationally renowned experts will share their views on the challenges and proposals for overcoming the challenges.

Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria
University of the Philippines Open University
Professor Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria is full professor at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and has been its Chancellor since 2016. She is also an Ambassador for Open Educational Resources (OERs) (2021–2024) and a member of the Executive Board (2022–2025) of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). She was also appointed as Member of the Governing Board of the SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMOLEC) for the period 2022–2025 and continues to serve as member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU). Professor Bandalaria also served as AAOU President from 2017–2019. She spearheaded the formation of the Consortium of Distance Education Providers in the Philippines (CODEPP) which provides the platform for collaboration among academic institutions involved in offering inclusive and quality learning opportunities through this mode of instruction and the development and offering of Philippine MOOCs model. Her experience in Open Flexible and Distance eLearning spans more than 25 years doing teaching, developing course packages and research in this mode of delivering instruction. She has published numerous book chapters, journal articles and is often invited to speak in international fora and conferences. Her research interests include Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in an OFDeL setting; open distance eLearning; ICT for Education and Development; and Corporate Social Responsibility Communication. Her contributions to the field of OFDeL had been recognized through the Meritorious Service Award conferred by the AAOU in 2021; and the Prize of Excellence conferred by the ICDE also in 2021.
Lily Chan
Chief Executive and Vice Chancellor
Wawasan University
Professor Dr Lily Chan is the Chief Executive and Vice Chancellor of Wawasan Open University (WOU) in Penang, Malaysia.
She has been the driving force behind the University's mission of providing lifelong learning opportunities to Malaysians through distance learning for professional and personal development. She aspires to reach out to youths and adult learners who had missed out on tertiary qualifications and those seeking to equip themselves with skills to keep pace with the rapidly changing work environment.
She recently set up the School of Digital Technology (DiGiT) at WOU, a faculty which offers intensive, skills-centric degree programmes in Digital Business and Software Engineering. The DiGiT School has forged agreements with industry partners for the training and placement of its students, enabling them to acquire hands-on work experience.
WOU's innovative tagline, 'Think Tomorrow', speaks of the University's commitment to produce industry-ready graduates who can compete in today's digitally-transformed workplaces. Its online learning platforms are interactive and engaging, designed to offer an enriching student learning experience.
Professor Chan was previously the CEO of NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore until March 2019. She transformed this division into one of the most esteemed higher education entrepreneurial ecosystems that nurtured hundreds of startup companies.
Before helming NUS Enterprise, she was the Managing Director of Bio*ONE Investments, an investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board with a focus on expanding the growth of the biomedical science industry in Singapore.
In recognition of her talents and contribution, she was honoured with the Public Administration Medal (Silver) at the Singapore National Day Awards Ceremony in 2018.
With over 30 years of leadership experience in the triple helix sphere of academia, industry and government, she is focused on implementing digital distance learning initiatives to transform WOUinto a leading educational institution in the country.
Jia Jiyou
Professor and Head of the Department of Educational Technology
Peking University
Professor Jiyou Jia is a full professor and the Head of the Department of Educational Technology, Graduate School of Education, Peking University, China and is also the founding director of International Research Center for Education and Information at Peking University. He was invited to work as a guest professor in 2015 by School of Education, Technical University of Munich, Germany, and Distinguished Professor at Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education, the Open University of Hong Kong in 2017.
Professor Jia's research interests include educational technology and artificial intelligence in education, especially in TELL (Technology Enhanced Language Learning), math education with ICT, and decision making support system. He has been responsible for a dozen of national projects and international cooperation projects. His research has won a number of national and international prizes including the First Class Award of the Fifth National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Educational Research, from Ministry of Education, China, 2016, and IAAI (Innovative Application of Artificial Intelligence) Deployed Application Award by AAAI (Association of Advancement of Artificial Intelligence), USA, 2008.
Professor Jia has published more than 100 articles in internationally or nationally peer-reviewed journals and conferences including Computers and Education, Knowledge-Based Systems, etc. He has edited one book and authored another one, both written in English and published by IGI Global, USA. He is also the author of one Chinese book and one book in German. He serves as a reviewer for several international journals indexed in SCI/SSCI, a co-chair or PC member of more than 20 international conferences including ICTE, ICCE, ICALT and GCCCE, and an advisory expert for some scientific and governmental organisations.

Workshop Facilitators

Title: Practicing Agile-Blended Learning: Course (Re-)Design and Implementation

William Tang Ko-wai
Acting Head of Education and Assistant Professor
School of Education and Language
Hong Kong Metropolitan University
Billy Wong Tak-ming
Deputy Director
Institute for Research in Open and Innovative Education
Hong Kong Metropolitan University
As an innovative pedagogical approach particularly suitable for metropolitans, Agile-Blended learning (AB learning) emphasizes being responsive to students' diverse needs and expectations through featuring flexibility, collaboration, learner autonomy, and technology mediation in educational delivery. This workshop aims to introduce the application of AB learning in the higher education context. It will walk through the process of course (re-)design and implementation to illustrate the key points to note, covering the areas of course activities, course materials, and technologies, as well as collection of student feedback for continuous refinement and improvement. Relevant activities and software tools which are useful before, during and after class as well as student experience in AB learning will be presented based on its implementation in Hong Kong Metropolitan University.