October 18, 2022: The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), in partnership with the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), virtually launched the ICDE Global Doctoral Consortium (GDC) on October 17, 2022, to support and empower PHD learners undertaking their research in the fields of smart, online, open, and distance education and facilitate their educational journey towards a doctoral degree. The project was launched in the presence of HBMSU and ICDE members, along with other core partners of the Consortium who seek to support the future development of open, flexible and distance learning.
The GDC is a virtual community platform for post-graduate and doctoral scholars that offers a network of expertise and advice from experts in the field of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (OFDL). It aims at supporting learners through various insights on the latest research and prevalent topics in the OFDL sector. It also serves as a two-way communication channel between scholars across institutions, geographical locations and further strengthens the ICDE community and its efforts in enhancing the OFDL field.
H.E Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU, said in his address: “We are delighted to launch the GDC in collaboration with ICDE, based on our Cloud Campus system. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration to establish a solid framework for academic, knowledge and professional excellence. The Global Doctoral Consortium (GDC) is an innovative step towards promoting the prevalence of Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning (OFDL) field in research for doctoral scholars. HBMSU has always been committed to ensure efforts in bolstering transformation to a smart learning system based on technology and innovation.”
Al Awar added: “This reflects our vision of re-engineering higher education in accordance with the challenges of the present stage, anticipating the requirements of the future, and making it easier for learners to access the materials and resources of high-quality education. In order to enable learners to attain academic leadership and brilliance in a variety of subjects, we are dedicated to promoting the smart education sector internationally, particularly in the Arab world.”
The virtual event started with an opening note and introductory overview of the GDC’s historical roadmap, concept, goals and agenda by Torunn Gjelsvik, Secretary General of ICDE, followed by a message from H.E. Dr. Mansoor Al Awar on HBMSU’s partnership with ICDE, which focuses on OFDL field at the university. A session was held introducing the ICDE core partner institutions Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN), University of South Africa (UNISA) and Asia e University (AeU). Furthermore, a brief review session was conducted by two previous GDC participants. In addition, Prof. Moustafa Hassan, Vice Chancellor of HBMSU, presented an insightful outline of HBMSU’s digital platform for GDC. Moreover, a learner member representative of ICDE, explained the benefits of GDC, after which the event concluded with a Q&A session and closing remarks by Torunn Gjelsvik.
HBMSU aims at sharing its knowledge and expertise with the consortium of PhD scholars by offering resources and conducting webinars with the participation of leading experts from the university’s School of E-Education, Deanship of Research and Doctoral Studies. The GDC platform was presented on a ‘Cloud Campus’ system and aims at empowering PhD learners and enhancing their learning experiences. It further supports the projects of the ICDE and reflects HBMSU’s commitment to transform higher education, while addressing current challenges, identifying future requirements and providing learners with the latest resources and tools for a high-quality education. The ‘Cloud Campus’ is a bilingual digital platform that enables learning from anywhere, anytime, and aims at enhancing educational experiences by offering all requisite qualifications for the future of learners. The platform will serve as a forum to present research in innovative teaching solutions, teacher training, EdTech and innovation, designing e-learning, among others. It will also facilitate discussions on research between the PhD scholars and peers and faculty of ICDE member universities.
The ICDE GDC is open to PhD and post-graduate learners pursuing a graduate degree who are researching in the OFDL fields. For the membership, qualified learners must be enrolled in doctorate programs at an accredited higher learning institution and should be dedicating their research to online and open education. The HBMSU and ICDE share a joint vision of enhancing the OFDL sector and realizing its full potential through its members and learning communities.
Scholars obtaining the membership will get certain benefits such as access to a diverse ICDE global community engaged in Open, Flexible, and Distance Learning, opportunities to participate in ICDE and GDC events, access to systematic content, exchange of knowledge and visibility in the ICDE Newsletter. Further benefits include visibility in social media platforms, websites, and peer reviewed ICDE scholarly journal, Open Praxis.