Open Distance and eLearning Conference


ODeL in the Global South: Opportunities in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA)

Ask any 21st century citizen what they consider to be the defining characteristic of contemporary society, and the word “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 wider view on the spectrum of possibilities open to them.

Aware of the potential that lies within uncertainty, Unisa has incorporated the positive side of the concept – the opportunities that 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)”.

The theme is likely to strike a chord among ODeL scholars and researchers in South Africa, the rest of Africa and globally, given the scale and unpredictability of institutional and societal change over the past few years.

This scholarly event, which will be preceded by pre-conference workshops on 14 August 2023, is an opportunity for emerging and established ODeL scholars and researchers to explore new ways of going about the business of teaching, learning, research and community engagement in an uncertain and often turbulent world.

Scholars interested in presenting papers at the 2023 Unisa ODeL Hybrid Conference should be aware of the timelines for submitting proposals. There are separate deadlines for proposals for the main conference, the pre-conference workshops and the ODeL Postgraduate Student Consortium. Details of the key dates can be found here, and a list of possible topics to consider can be found here.

Students and scholars wishing to attend the conference as delegates, either virtually or in-person, are please to note that registration opens on 2 May 2023.

Speakers and delegates from all over the world will be attending, making the conference an excellent vehicle for networking in the ODeL field.

Your hosts are Unisa’s Portfolio: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation and the UNESCO Chair on Open Distance Learning.

We look forward to your contribution as, together, we explore the opportunities that lie ahead for ODeL in the Global South in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.