Foto: Thomas Haugersveen/

Statsministerens kontor

The Prime Minister in Norway Erna Solberg will hold

the opening address at the conference.

Speakers International Conference

Click photo for a brief bio

Cathrine E. Tømte

Elina Iloranta

Juliane Granly

Marjaana Mäkelä

Mark Brown

Dr. Neil Fassina has been president of Athabasca University since 2016, overseeing the university’s five-year strategic plan to transform AU into a world-leading, digital-first university. Imagine: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities, is a strategy that builds on AU’s rich history as an innovator in higher education and positions it to take on the challenges of the learners of the future. As president of Canada’s online university, Neil is a strong advocate for accessible, flexible, lifelong learning to enable adult learners to improve their lives and their communities.

Neil Fassina

Paul Stacey

Pellegrino Riccardi

Rob Farrow

Sabine Wollscheid

Sveinung Skule

Tony Sumner

Torunn Gjelsvik

Vito Laterza


Cathrine Edelhard Tømte is Professor at the Department of Information Systems; member of the Center for Digital Transformation (CeDiT, ) and of the ProDig – Network for professional digital competence for teachers and teacher education at University of Agder. Tømte has a PhD from the NTNU.  She has previously been affiliated with the Norwegian Center for ICT in education and the OECD. Before joining Dep. of Information Systems at Universtiy of Agder, she worked at the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation Research and Education, NIFU. Tømte’s research interests include digital transformations of society and education.

Elina Iloranta (M.Ed.) is a Development Manager in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. She works in the team of Continuous Learning and her responsibilities are related to development and research of continuous learning, academic advising, validation of learning and work-integrated learning. Her masters thesis dealt with work-integrated learning in the framework of UAS education and teaching. Entrepreneurship and corporate co-operation are key areas in her professional expertise.

Juliane Granly is a project and development manager in ICDE. She has spent several years working with NGOs on inclusive and innovative education programs focusing on increased job-opportunities and entrepreneurship. She is currently the project manager for the Erasmus+ project called European Network for Catalysing Open Resources in Education (ENCORE+) which is coordinated by ICDE in a consortium of 9 different partners within Europe.

Marjaana Mäkelä (PhD, Lic. Phil., MA, MSc) is a Principal Lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. She works as a researcher in the team of Engaging Vocational Pedagogy, with responsibilities in vocational teachers’ education, curriculum development, quality management and consultation in export of education and internationalisation of Haaga-Helia. In pedagogical development of higher education, her areas of expertise relate to continuous learning, validation processes and work-integrated learning. Her research orientation includes moreover study of pedagogical discourse, consumer studies and hospitality education. She is a member of the Finnish working group of validation in the framework of Nordiskt Nätverk för Vuxnas Lärande.

Mark Brown is Ireland’s first Full Professor of Digital Learning and Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU). He is an EDEN Fellow and is both Treasurer and an Executive Committee member of the European Distance and eLearning Network (EDEN). Mark also serves on the Supervisory Board of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA). In 2019, Professor Brown was Chair of the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in Dublin.

Dr. Neil Fassina has been president of Athabasca University since 2016, overseeing the university’s five-year strategic plan to transform AU into a world-leading, digital-first university. Imagine: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities, is a strategy that builds on AU’s rich history as an innovator in higher education and positions it to take on the challenges of the learners of the future. As president of Canada’s online university, Neil is a strong advocate for accessible, flexible, lifelong learning to enable adult learners to improve their lives and their communities.

Based in Vancouver Canada, Paul Stacey is Executive Director of Open Education Global (https://www.oeglobal.org/) where he leads a global team and community of members in advocating for and adopting open education policy, practices and resources. Paul leads a wide range of initiatives at Open Education Global including Open Education Week, Open Education Awards for Excellence and the largest global conference devoted to open education. Paul is co-author of a book called “Made With Creative Commons” which describes sustainable open business models. The 2019 adoption of the UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommendation by all UNESCO member states led Paul to form a Network of Open Organizations to collectively join forces and coordinate efforts in support of its implementation.

For over 30 years, Pellegrino Riccardi has excited and delighted audiences all over the world with a style of public speaking that brings together the ability to present complex ideas in a simple and accessible way, which is then wrapped up in a seamless fusion of masterful storytelling and observational humour.Pellegrino has a unique ability to quickly connect with a wide spectrum of audiences, from Baby-Boomers to Z Generation, from public sector employees to C-suite executives, from high-risk entrepreneurial enterprises to more “conservative” international organisations.

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Dr. Robert Farrow is Senior Research Fellow for the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK.  Rob has worked on many high-profile open education research projects, including the OER Research Hub (2012-2016); OER World Map (2014-2018); BizMOOC (2016-2019); and UK Open Textbooks (2017-2018).  He currently leads work packages for the Erasmus+ projects European MOOC Consortium: Labour Markets (2019-2021) and European Network for Catalysing Open Resources in Education (ENCORE+) (2021-2024) as well as leading the research activity of the Global OER Graduate Network, the worldwide community for doctoral scholars working in the field of open education. 

Dr. Sabine Wollscheid has been leading NIFU’s work with the systematic review. She is Senior Researcher at NIFU and holds a PhD in sociology (Title: Reading socialization in the family) from the University of Trier, Germany. Her research interests comprise studies of literacy, inequalities in education, the use of digital and analogue devices for learning and systematic review methods. She is main author of a range of systematic reviews on topics like gender differences in education, flexible learning in adult education, and the use of digital and analogue devices in education.

Sveinung Skule is the Director of Skills Norway and Head of the Norwegian Committee on Skill Needs.

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Tony Sumner is a PhD student in the School of Education at Durham University.As a mature student, his research is situated within his lived, professional and educational context. His work in digital storytelling within health and social care won two international awards and lead to his research into the possibility of a “dimensionality of storytelling” that might facilitate the development, categorisation, assessment and utilisation of stories.Tony has a BSc in Physics from Imperial College, London and a PgDip in Astronomy and Astronautics from the University of Hertfordshire.

Torunn Gjelsvik is the Secretary General for International Council for Open and Distance Education – ICDE. She has held several executive leadership positions in various educational institutions and organizations, including the national membership association Flexible Education Norway. From 2015 to 2018 she was Head of Development at the ICDE Secretariat, and her international experience covers policy development, international networks, global events and cross-country project management related to the global field of online, open and flexible education. Gjelsvik has been a member of the Orientation Board of CNED (The National Centre for Distance Education in France) since 2016 and represents Norway in the “NVL Digital” network of the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL).

Vito Laterza is Associate Professor in the Centre for Digital Transformation (CeDiT), University of Agder. He holds a BSc from LSE, and a MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Vito is an interdisciplinary anthropologist working on higher education, digitalisation and political economy. He has been studying the digitalisation of higher education since 2006, when he was the lead researcher on a large-scale project on the use of the SAKAI platform as a virtual research environment at the University of Cambridge.