ODeL in the Global South: Opportunities in times of volatility and ambiguity


Ask any 21st-century citizen what they consider the defining characteristic of contemporary society, and “uncertainty” is likely to be part of the answer.

While people and institutions generally dislike uncertainty because it places obstacles in the way of planning and shrinks comfort zones, uncertainty has a positive side too: it compels individuals and organisations to be creative in their thinking, to be flexible and to take a broader view on the spectrum of possibilities open to them.

Aware of the potential within uncertainty, Unisa has incorporated the positive side of the concept – the opportunities it brings – into its chosen theme for the 2023 Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) Hybrid Conference.

Taking place from 15 to 17 August 2023, both virtually and in-person at Emperors Palace, near OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng, the conference explores the theme, “ODeL in the Global South: Opportunities in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA)”.

Call for papers in ODeL research and innovation

Established and emergent academics, researchers and scholars are invited to submit an extended 1000-word paper extract for the Unisa Research and Innovation 2023 Open Distance and eLearning Hybrid Conference.

The conference aims to encourage discourse about research in open distance and eLearning (ODeL) in a globally connected digital era.

Specific sub-themes delegates might want to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 4IR - Artificial Intelligence, robotics, internet of things, blockchain technology and smart software
  • Addressing the digital divide
  • Education and the Metaverse
  • The datafication of teaching, learning and student support
  • Platformitisation and commercialisation
  • Micro credentialing
  • New learning technologies and its impact on pedagogies
  • Increasing access to educational opportunities, inclusivity
  • Opening education, science, and publishing
  • ODeL postgraduate supervision
  • Academic integrity in an ODeL context
  • Student support in an online environment
  • Human resource management in ODeL
  • Support for staff wellness in ODeL

For more information, visit To register your interest or for more information, please contact:

ODeL Postgraduate Consortium

In the spirit of growing sustainable capacity development in ODL-related fields, the 2023 Open Distance and eLearning Hybrid Conference will provide a platform for postgraduate students to present their work through the Postgraduate Consortium stream.

Master’s and doctoral students conducting research in ODeL, Open Educational Resources (OERs), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and technology-enhanced learning are invited to participate in the consortium by submitting a 2000-word paper.

For more information, For enquiries, contact

There will be prizes for the best ODeL paper, the best first paper in ODeL and the best ODeL Postgraduate Consortium paper.

*Submitted by the Directorate of Research Support news desk

Publish date: 2023/05/08

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