By Bruno Cássio and Marina Gadelha

In October 2021, Natal will be the international capital of Online Learning and should bring together researchers, teachers and students from around the world who work in the field. To speak about the preparations for the 29th World Conference on Online Learning, representatives of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the Laboratory of Technological Innovation in Health (LAIS / UFRN) and the Secretariat of Distance Education at UFRN were received by Rector of UFRN, José Daniel Diniz Melo, this Wednesday (11).

ICDE general secretary Torunn Gjelsvik and ICDE events and communication coordinator Caroline Seville visit the university to learn about the institution’s structure and define details of the conference. They highlighted that the ICDE, founded in 1938, has the mission of: promoting democratic access to inclusive, open, online, flexible and quality education.

The Rector of UFRN gave a brief presentation on the university and emphasized the work of distance education, connecting municipalities in Rio Grande do Norte and also with international initiatives. “For us, it is an honor to organize the ICDE event in Natal,” he said. Daniel Diniz volunteered to promote the conference at the National Association of Directors of Federal Institutions of Higher Education (Andifes), where he will invite the rectors.

On the occasion, the conference secretary and professor at LAIS, Carlos Alberto Oliveira, stressed that the conference will address the theme of ICDE Countdown to 2030: reiterating commitments and redefining routes. It is expected that approximately one thousand people will participate in the program, which will have simultaneous translation into several languages.

The LAIS Coordinator and conference president, Ricardo Valentim, thanked the Rector of UFRN for his support for this initiative and reinforced the intention of expanding our university’s participation in the field of major discussions on Education Mediated by Technology, Online Learning, Innovation Technological and Human Formation in the health area.

Also present at the meeting were LAIS researcher Karilany Coutinho, UFPE professor and member of the organizing committee, Cristine Gusmão, as well as the Secretary of Distance Education, Carmem Rêgo, the Secretary of International Relations, Márcio Venício, and the assistant secretary International Relations, Renata Archanjo.

Technical visits
In addition to the meeting with authorities, the organizing committee’s agenda for the 29th World Online Learning Conference also includes a series of technical visits to places that can serve as a basis and support for the event’s activities. This Tuesday (10th), the Natal Convention Center and Holiday Inn Hotel were visited. This Wednesday morning (11), it was time to visit the facilities of Instituto Ágora and Instituto Metrópole Digital, which are institutional partners of the conference.