We Are @VConnecting at #OEB16 Online Educa Berlin

Virtually Connecting goes to Germany for the first time, at OEB16, November 30-December 2, 2016. Our onsite buddies are Christian Friedrich (lead), Inge DeWaard and Hoda Mostafa. Our virtual buddies are Maha Abdel Moneim, Nadine Aboulmagd, Simon Ensor and Maha Bali

We have three sessions lined up with confirmed guests, but we may be adding more guests as we go along. Below, you will find information on dates/times of sessions, and the YouTube events embedded. If you would like to be a virtual participant in any of the sessions, please leave a comment here or tweet to @vconnecting. All events are in Berlin time (CET) but there is also a timezone converter, so you should be able to see your own timezone as well.

Wednesday, November 30, 2pm CET

Onsite buddy Christian Friedrich will be meeting Alek TarkowskiLuca Morini (confirmed), and hopefully Sylvester Arnab, Helen Keegan and Josie Fraser. Virtual buddy will be Maha Abdel Moneim

Time conversion:
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

To watch:

Thursday, December 1, 6pm CET

Christian Friedrich will be reporting right after his session #TowardsOpenness (check hashtag on Twitter) on safety and ownership in online learning (more info on it by Christian here and by Kate here) and hopefully bringing some participants with him to discuss it. This session will have virtual guests Kate Green (co-presenter with Christian and provided a provocation) and Robin DeRosa (provided a provocation for the session). Virtual buddies will be Maha Bali (provided a provocation for the session) and Nadine Aboulmagd.

Timezone conversion:
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

To watch:

Friday, December 2, 1:30pm CET

For this session, onsite buddies Christian Friedrich, Inge DeWaard and Hoda Mostafa will speak with guests Jeanine Reutemann. Ilona Buchem and Aziza Ellozy. Other guests may join.

Timezone conversion:
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

To watch:

We may be adding more guests or sessions for this conference, so stay tuned for additions!

We added a last minute guest!

Friday Dec 2 at 3.30 CET

Alec Couros will join us last minute pop-up session. Watch

Remember that you can join any of these sessions virtually.

Added later: OEB16 made plenary and spotlight videos available after the event. Watch here


  1. Sorry I couldn’t join you – but very interesting to follow your discussions. Quite a range of issue covered.

    I would like to address the issue of ‘traditional assessment’ that was raised, because it is the difficulty of automating assessment that makes it difficult to scale up education – informal learning yes, but not formal learning in education.

    MOOCs are great for informal learning, and we do use them in the context of formal education, at all levels, but MOOCs alone do not provide what education does, because mass education does not provide for individual nurturing, guidance and assessment.

    So taking out the teacher in the framework was a way of differentiating informal learning where they are not present from the formal learning within education, where they are. Both types of learning have great value, and both are accelerated in value by technology – including MOOCs.

    So I think this debate is not about traditional forms of assessment, which we should certainly not be tied to, but it is about how to assess and validate individual competence (knowledge, skills, whatever is important).

    In formal education the competence of the learner has to be judged, and we cannot yet do this automatically. In most areas it requires labour-intensive human evaluation. Unfortunately, in many areas of education a lot of this has been consigned to multiple choice questions. We have still not developed good technology-based forms of assessment that could be scaled up, to allow education to be massive.

    Many people do bring the conversations and collaborations from MOOCs into formal learning. Part of the value of MOOCs is that experience with those formats is bringing some of these activities into conventional teaching now. They act as a kind of Trojan Horse, to bring tech-based innovation into conventional teaching. So MOOCs are an incredibly important route to innovation in education, and have already proved their value to informal learning.

    • Diana, thank you so much for commenting here and we hope to one day have you live on a Vconnecting session inshallah. I will come back to this with a longer reply soon (here or on my blog)cand tag you on Twitter if that’s ok? Thanks?

    • Diana, thank you so much for commenting here and we hope to one day have you live on a Vconnecting session inshallah. I will come back to this with a longer reply soon (here or on my blog)cand tag you on Twitter if that’s ok? Thanks!

  2. Thank you for clarifying why you took the teacher out, and indeed, now I understand it better in terms of the effect it gives and how it emphasizes the role of the teacher. Validating the indivdidual competences also seems so difficult, and I totally agree with you that this assessment of competences should be more than simply checking boxes. It also came up during a discussion on personalized learning, that it is difficult to self-evaluate your own learning, even if you are knowledgeable on teaching/learning.
    This issue you raise on MOOCs being embedded in formal education, and that potentially being trojan horses… I am not sure I understand this. Why would they be a threat? Do you mean it is similar to the black data boxes and artificial intelligence that is not transparent and thus result in unclear outcomes, I mean where MOOC parts are the untransparent content boxes?

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