The international conference that will bring together the community connected to the Open edX platform will be held in Lisbon, from April 26 to 29. Anticipating the event, the vice president for the Engineering area of this organization highlights what will be some of the main goals and highlights. Edward Zarecor also leaves a word about the work done by the NAU Platform: "As a project, we are very proud of what NAU has built using the Open edX platform".

Almost two years later than initially planned, the Open edX 2022 conference is about to take place in Lisbon. What is the significance of this event for the Open edX community? 

The Open edX project has a strong community. Many of us have been collaborating since 2013, when the project was initially launched as open-source. So there will be the natural excitement of seeing old colleagues and friends in person for the first time in several years. In addition, our community has been exceptionally busy, during the Covid-19 pandemic, helping learnings move online. We have done many things and reaped several fruits over the past two years. This conference is an opportunity to share and reflect on what we have learned together. 

What are some of the main results you expect for these four days? 

The conference has several distinct goals. As a community, we will gather shared learnings and achievements over the past two years. We will discuss where we want to evolve the platform, taking into account what we have learned. On the other hand, we will also reflect on the "health" of the open-source community and how we can evolve to become a more inclusive project. By the end of the week, the hope is that we can all leave inspired to build the leading platform for online community education.  

The Open edX conference has been held since 2014. How has the event evolved over time? Are there new things in store for the Lisbon edition? 

This moment is a turning point for the Open edX project. The direction of the project has led to its transition from edX Inc. to a non-profit organization: The Center for Reimagining Learning . We are focused on transitioning to a community-led project, where opportunities to participate, contribute, and lead are more inclusive and shared across the community. This year we will have a working group and conversation about project governance , which will be moderated by one of our keynote speakers, Tobie Langel, on Friday the 29th. 

It is usual to find the opinion that the pandemic was an opportunity to affirm online education resources. Do you feel that this opportunity has been maximized? What more can be done about it? 

I don't think the opportunity could even be maximized, given that much of the transition was done in a hurry. The critical point, now, is to evaluate what we were able to achieve. What worked well? What could have worked better? We are at a point where the underlying proposition of online learning is better understood. To take advantage of this moment, we must continue to focus on improving the quality of online education. 

Strategically, this conference also represents an effort to affirm and disseminate MOOCs in European education and training spaces? 

Yes, MOOCs can play an important role in training and other areas of education. However, our long-term goal is to create engaging learning experiences that take us beyond asynchronous learning by supporting blended models and continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible to do online. 

Focusing on the Portuguese context, the NAU Platform recently celebrated three years of existence. Have you been following its trajectory? How do you foresee its future? 

As a project, we are very proud of what NAU has built using the Open edX platform. The FCT FCCN Unit team is made up of wonderful members of our community and great hosts. The NAU Platform has impressed by the number of users that have joined the platform and the number of certificates issued. 

FCCN Computation Unit
NOVA SBE, in Carcavelos, hosts the Open edX conference

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