2020 Digital

We are all living through an extraordinary time, the Corona pandemic defining much of what we do and representing a new level of uncertainty. Considering the situation WLS 2020 will be entirely devoted to sharing experiences and reflections on the meaning of  this new and unexpected reality.  Please join us to chart this unknown territory. 


World Learning Summit is a small, well established  international conference offering scholars, PhD students, entrepreneurs and policymakers a space in which to present and discuss ongoing projects and ideas relating to higher education in the context of globalization and digital transformation. WLS 2020 is our tenth conference. Sign up above to join our global network. 

Beyond Corona:

Digital learning: Policy, theory and practice for the future


October 21st and 22nd
WLS 2020 covers 7+ time zones. We ask you all to bear with us as we try to accommodate all concerns in final adjustments of the program.

October 21st 15:00 -- 18:30

Opening addresses

15:00 –– 15:15: WLS 2020 digital –– our 10th year anniversary –– is opened by the President of the University of Agder. Brief appeals from former keynote speakers to the conference. 
Oddgeir Tveiten, WLS Chair • Sunniva Whittaker, President, UiA •
Keith Devlin, Emeritus Director HStar Institute, Stanford University • Donna Kidwell, CTO at Arizona State University

WLS 2020 Keynote: Open Access in a post-Corona time

15:20 –– 15:40: Inviting back from previous keynote speakers, the 2020 Keynote is given by Cathy Casserly reflecting on the Corona pandemic, as seen from her perspective as an international education strategist and councellor. 

Keynote responses –– Q/A

15:40 –– 16:15: Hosted by Donna Kidwell, the panelists will discuss the keynote theme from their perspectives and answer questions raised by invited summit attendees.

Panel: Phil Long, Morten Brekke, Torunn Gjelsvik

Featured panel: After Corona -- a better student experience

16:20 –– 17:00: The session is introduced and chaired by associate professor Aasmund Hermansen, Oslo Metropolitan University
How is the Corona pandemic changing the way we think about digital learning and social engagement? The first of January 2020 Oslo Metropolitan University launched a four-year program called “A better student experience” which will facilitate and develop measures that contribute to a significant boost in students´well-being, learning outcomes, and academic performance. Digitization in education is a cornerstone of the program.

Session chairs: Aasmund Hermansen and June Breivik.
Panel: Pavel Zemliansky, Morten Rosenvinge, Maria Konow Lund

BREAKOUT SESSIONS -- ALL @ 17:15 -- 18:30

SESSION 1: Nordic Ed Tech: How is the Corona pandemic changing the way we think about digital learning technology and what challenges are ahead? The question of Education Technology has been featured in all our conferences. WLS 2020 offers chance to look back, looking forward.

Session moderator is Eilif Trondsen
Panel: Anne Berit Swanberg, Morten Brekke, Ebba Ossiannilsson, Tale Skjølsvik

SESSION 2: Digital learning designs: How does the post-Corona setting open up for fresh ways of thinking about education innovation? Arizona State University is a forward-leaning US institution of higher learning with upwards of 40000 students learning online. WLS co-chair Donna Kidwell (CTO of ASU) presents key insights from ASU.

Host: June Breivik
Panel: Peter Fagerström, Apostolos Spanos, Abit Hoxha, David Conover

SESSION 3: Innovating learning for sustainable societies: The Corona pandemic is changing the way we think about digital learning and global networking. Might we see an awakening to a new awareness concerning sustainable development, North South challenges and the roles of learning within that challenge?

WLS chair Oddgeir Tveiten together with Phil Komarny  heads up a discussion of education´s digital future in the context of global sustainable development.

Panel: Hanaa Helmy, Bert-Ola Bergstrand, Hanan Malkawi

October 22nd: 15:00 -- 18:30

2nd day opening

15:00 –– 15:20: What have we learned form the Covid-19 lock-down? What were the main take-aways from yesterday´s plenary and break-out sessions? How do they pertain to discussions on the table today? Speedy round-up of yesterday´s discussions.
Host: Judith Molka-Danielsen
Panel: Donna Kidwell, Eilif Trondsen, Oddgeir Tveiten

15:20 – 16.05:  “The new mobilities”: Envisioning student mobility in the post-COVID-19 era. Our current culture of student interaction on university and college campuses are premised on students traveling and seeking experiences. International students are part of the campus experience. Exploring is both scholarly and personal — new friends, new impulses. With COVID-19 and restrictions seemingly pushing a new “normal” and a permanent change, the challenge is twin: To define what is being lost, when we can no longer travel and cultivate the “mobility experience”. Second, to explore what might come instead? What are the long-term implications of less student mobility? How would it make sense to explore a broader understanding of virtual mobility? 

Session host is Phil Long
Panel: Wes Sonnenreich, Vito Laterza, Kemi Jona, Signe Schack Noesgaard

16:10 –– 16:55: What happened to MOOCs?
Keith Devlin has spoken about MOOCs at our conferences several times, the first time in 2013. What global eco system is there for MOOCs in the post-Corona era? 
Pushing this issue, we raise the following question: With worklife focusing more on the ‘skills first’ inherent to MOOCs – in building talent more aligned to the world of work/opportunities – might we have a very specific moment in time to propose and investigate new models education that do much better for many many more people? Keith Devlin sums up thoughts on the MOOCs issue in 15 minutes. We will then take open questions in ZOOM from summit attendees. No need to pre-announce.

Session host is June Breivik
Panel: Phil Komarny, Donna Kidwell, Satya Narayanan

17:00 –– 17:55: Inclusiveness in Higher Education: Lessons from the COVID-19 experience & beyond. The pandemic has changed every aspect of higher education. Expectations and practices around inclusivity are no exception. Academics from world-leading US universities will discuss their institutions’ responses to COVID 19, how it has impacted diversity, the use of digital tools to promote inclusivity and the potential long term trends for inclusion in the post-pandemic higher education ecosystem.

Session host is Anjum Malik
Panel: Chris Stanton, Lourdes Andrade, Rebecca Brenner, Jacqueline Wernimont

18:00 –– 18.30: WLS 2020 closes with our virtual fireside chat. What is “The new normal”: How will COVID-19 impact on future learning? And what are the main take-aways from WLS 2020?

Session hosts: Donna Kidwell, Oddgeir Tveiten

Ways to participate


Sign up above to follow WLS 2020 open webinars for free. The limit is 500 participants. You will have access to the entire program. The program will continue to develop until summit commencement.


Sign up as an active participant in discussions to interact with keynote speakers and other discussants. Paid sign-up gives access to downloadable WLS proceedings, email group lists and WLS badge of participation.


Register to our Global Future Learning Network and receive access to all joint resources, forums, planning of future events, open access publication and future project planning as well as future WLS planning.

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