SoLAR founding president to address Unisa ODeL conference

An internationally acclaimed authority on how human and artificial cognition intersects knowledge processes, Dr George Siemens, will address the upcoming 2023 Unisa Open Distance and eLearning Conference.

Taking place from 15 to 17 August 2023 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)". Pre-conference workshops take place on 14 August.

In addition to Siemens’ and Jenny Glennie’s keynote addresses on Wednesday 16 August 2023, a four-person panel will debate "Addressing digital access inclusion and exclusion: Datafication of teaching, learning and student support in online environments". 

The panellists are:

  • Prof Uchenna Udeani, Distance Learning Institute, University of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Dr Lilia Cheniti, Digital Learning and Pedagogical Innovation Unit, Sousse University, Tunisia
  • Dr Sibongile Simelane-Mnisi, Department of Curriculum Development: eLearning, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
  • Dr Denzil Chetty, Head: Academic Development, Open Virtual Hub, Unisa, South Africa

For all the conference information, please visit

About Dr George Siemens

Dr George Siemens

No stranger to South Africa, Siemens researches how human and artificial cognition intersects in knowledge processes. He is Professor and Director of the Center for Change and Complexity in Learning (C3L) at the University of South Australia and Professor of Practice in Psychology at the University of Texas, Arlington, administering the Master’s of Science programme in Learning Analytics. He has delivered keynote addresses in more than 40 countries on the influence of technology and media on education, organisations and society. His work has been profiled in provincial, national and international newspapers (including the New York Times), radio and television.

Siemens has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research funded by the National Sanitation Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council  (Canada), Office for Learning and Teaching (Australia), Intel, Boeing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Soros Foundation.  He has received numerous awards for his pioneering work in learning, technology and networks, including honorary doctorates from the Universidad de San Martín de Porres and the Fraser Valley University. He holds an honorary professorship from the University of Edinburgh. 

Siemens is a founding President of the *Society for Learning Analytics Research ( He has advised government agencies in Australia, the European Union, Canada and the United States, and numerous international universities on digital learning and using learning analytics to assess and evaluate productivity gains in the education sector and improve learner results. In 2008, he pioneered massive open online courses (sometimes called MOOCs). His current projects, Global Research Alliance for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Learning and Education (GRAILE – and SenseAI focus on analysing how AI is deployed in learning and knowledge settings and the leadership capabilities needed to enable and support this work.

* By Virginia McManus, Manager: PR and Communication, Department: Research, Innovation and Commercialisation

Publish date: 2023/08/09

Unisa Shop