By Morten Flate Paulsen: Acting Secretary General of ICDE
“Can we celebrate ICDE’s 80th anniversary?” was one of the very first questions I got from my young, enthusiastic colleagues when I started working for the ICDE Secretariat in July. Maybe they knew that one of my favorite online education words is celebration?
Caroline Seville then challenged me to write some anniversary reflections for the ICDE Blog. So, I started to contemplate how important ICDE has been for me since I attended the world conference in Oslo thirty years ago. After a while, it dawned on me that my experiences could be useful for organizations that work to improve their membership services and for institutions and mentors who will help and inspire young professionals to excel in our field.
So, here are my reflections on membership benefits that have been important to me.
I will always be grateful to my mentor Torstein Rekkedal who introduced me to ICDE and urged me to attend and give presentations at several international conferences. These conferences opened a window to opportunities, personal development, professional skills, new friends and fond memories. I still remember how nervous I was when I rehearsed my first presentation in English in front of my hotel room mirror.
At my first conferences, it was inspiring to see that young scholars received best papers awards and role models were honoured with prizes for excellence and lifelong contributions. I still remember how thrilling it was to receive a prize for best presentation at one of the first Nordic conferences I attended. Later, I have realized how much celebration of such prizes can mean to inspire people and promote the field.
I have always looked for good ideas and innovations that could benefit the online education institutions and projects I worked for. Looking back, I realize that many of my best ideas and most useful innovations arrived during lunch breaks, dinners or late-night conversations with colleagues at international conferences. These informal conversations with experienced colleagues could be very useful for the exchange of experiences and ideas in friendly environments. Many international projects and valuable partnerships are initiated in these informal meetings.
The conferences also provide opportunities for people who would like to contribute in program committees, chair session or just ask good questions.
Open Praxis is ICDE’s peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal. Obviously, such journals are important for readers who will acquire knowledge and develop good practice. Getting an article accepted is fulfilling and necessary for a professional career. Taking part in peer reviews gives you an early opportunity to learn about new research and understand what experts expect from scholarly articles. Joining an editorial board is also an excellent opportunity to learn more about recent developments.
International organizations like ICDE also provide ample opportunity to engage in various committees, boards, task forces and special interest groups. My experience is that such work comes with new friends, much learning and more opportunities.
During my professional career, I have had the opportunity to benefit from and take part in many of the services and benefits provided by ICDE and other organisations in our field. So, our anniversary prompted me to reflect on how important these opportunities have been for me and many colleagues in the field.
Now, I encourage young professionals to use these opportunities to propel their careers and senior personnel to inspire and help them to engage in our community.
If you are not already a member, you can join ICDE at a special discounted rate to mark the 80th anniversary and also see who is already part of the global ICDE network here.