SUSTech hosts sub-forum of Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021
Adrian Cremin | 12/08/2021

On December 6, 2021, the Global MOOC and Online Education Conference 2021 (the Conference), co-hosted by the Global MOOC Alliance (GMA) and UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), officially kicked off. One of the seven sub-forums of the Conference was held at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech).

The theme of the Conference is “Together for a Shared Future – Leading Higher Education Innovation in the New Digital Era,” and the sub-forum at SUSTech is entitled “Building Future-Ready Higher Education through Equitable and Quality Online and Blended Teaching and Learning.”

Representatives of UNESCO, high-level education officials and policy makers, representatives of global higher education institutions (HEIs), and top scholars in the field of education from 15 countries and regions around the world participated in the event. The meeting was held both online and offline.

The sub-forum was jointly organized by the International Center for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) and SUSTech.

Through keynote speeches and roundtable discussions, participants of the conference conducted exchanges on global education, national and international policies, and the practices of higher education institutions around the world.

Qikun XUE, President of SUSTech and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), gave a speech at the opening of the sub-forum.

In his remarks, he said that SUSTech and UNESCO-ICHEI have cooperated on the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) and Smart Classroom projects to provide support, improve teaching capabilities, and digital infrastructure for more than 20 Asian and African universities in developing countries.

He added that SUSTech looks forward to further participating in promoting the development of world higher education and contributing to the development of a global educational resource sharing network.

In its latest released report, “Reimagining Our Futures Together: A new social contract for education,” UNESCO emphasized that higher education institutions will play a key role in future education, from supporting research and scientific progress and empowering future generations to reimagine their futures and their worlds.

By examining the global education discourse, international/national policies, and good practices of higher education institutions around the world, this sub-forum provided a platform for global higher education stakeholders to chart the way forward for harnessing the power of digital technology and implementing equitable and quality online and blended teaching and learning (OBTL) to build future-ready higher education.

It also explored the challenges faced by HEIs and the roles, policies, effectiveness, development trends, opportunities, and challenges of implementing OBTL in improving equity and quality of higher education.

Ming LI, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, Wei HAN, Executive Deputy Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, Ling ZHANG, member of the University Council and Director of the Office of Communication and Public Relations (CPR), and relevant department heads also participated in the sub-forum.

The Conference will last for four days and follow up on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration of MOOC Development (2020), which recommends UN organizations, international and regional organizations, governments, universities, and online education institutions around the world to deepen international exchanges and cooperation and promote the openness and sharing of MOOC and online educational resources.