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Love MOOCs, Will Travel: A Roundup of Online Learning Conferences for 2019

Laurie Pickard

Class Central team and contributors with Barbara Oakley at Learning with MOOCS conference in Madrid.
Class Central team and contributors with Barbara Oakley at Learning with MOOCS conference in Madrid. L-R: Ronny De Winter, Laurie Pickard, Dhawal Shah, Barbara Oakley, Phil Oakley, Manoel Cortes Mendez, Orlando Trejo

At Class Central, we like to keep tabs on what’s new in the world of MOOCs and online learning. While tracking digital education often means logging many hours in front of a screen, some of our best insight comes from IRL conversations. Over the past couple of years, we have made an effort to meet more of the architects of online learning, by attending some of the conferences in our niche. (You may have seen us last year at SXSW EDU, Open edX, or LWMOOCs.)

Since many of our readers are also involved in MOOC making and may be interested in finding new ways to connect with others in the field, we’ve pulled together a list of all the conferences we know of that have something to do with MOOCs and online learning.

Whether you are a researcher looking for a good venue to present your work; an administrator hoping to get out in front of the changes to higher education; a professor, videographer, or instructional designer looking for inspiration for your next MOOC; or an entrepreneur in the ed tech space, there is probably a conference on this list that will excite you.

We’ve put a * next to the conferences we are planning to attend in 2019. If you’re heading to one of these conferences this year, let us know. We would be delighted to see you there!

Future of Learning Conference
January 4-5, 2019
IIM Bangalore

Now in its second year, this year’s Future of Learning Conference focuses on innovation in online learning, as well as dialogue among academics, administrators,  entrepreneurs, and policy makers.

SXSW EDU
March 4-7, 2019
Austin, TX

The big Kahuna of conferences in the ed tech space (and the little sibling of the larger South by Southwest conferences on technology and music), South by Southwest Education takes place each year in March in Austin, Texas. While the conference does not specifically focus on MOOCs, there is a higher education track where new developments in online learning are discussed.

Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference
March 4-8, 2019
Tempe, AZ

Data heads, this is your conference. If you are measuring, collecting, analyzing, and reporting data about learning, this conference will probably pique your interest. This year’s LAK focuses on how learning analytics can promote learner inclusion and success.

Open edX Conference*
March 26-29, 2019
San Diego, CA

The Open edX Conference is a gathering of the community people using Open edX, the open source software that powers the edX platform and many other learning platforms. The conference offers a fun mixup of software developers and instructional designers, the people who are hard at work creating online learning experiences. If you are in the trenches building online courses, especially if you are using Open edX, this conference is the place to go to meet your people.

ASU GSV Summit*
April 8-10, 2019
San Diego, CA

The Arizona State University Global Silicon Valley Summit is the most elite of education-focused conferences. Headliners have included Bill Gates, Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, and celebrities Matthew McConaughey and John Legend, as well as many other big wigs from government, entertainment, and industry. Entrepreneurs attend this conference to get a chance to pitch to and network with venture capitalists. Last year’s summit included presentations from Udacity, Coursera, and FutureLearn, as well as a panel discussion among the leaders of the major MOOC platforms.

EMOOCs*
May 20-22, 2019
University of Federico II – Naples, Italy

One of the few conferences focusing specifically on MOOCs, the EMOOCs conference takes a 360-degree view of MOOCs, their potential, and the effect they are having on higher education. With four tracks – Research, Experience, Policy, and Business – this conference offers something for anyone involved with MOOC-making. (Plus, the setting in Naples, Italy is pretty nice!)

EdTechXEurope
June 18, 2019
London, UK

Like the ASU GSV Summit, EdTechX is a great place for entrepreneurs and investors to connect. Held each year in London, the conference brings together many of the biggest players in education. The event’s organizer, a partner at IBIS Capital, has described the conference as “TED Talks meets the global Ed Tech community.” This year, EdTechX will also be hosting an event in Africa in February. The event is conceived as a 5-city tour across the continent, with local innovators pitching to a panel of judges in each city. Five winners will go to the big event in London to pitch to a global audience.

Learning @ Scale 2019
June 24-25
Chicago, IL

L@S is an academic conference that focuses on large-scale learning environments involving technology. The conference brings together researchers who study learning, computer scientists, and data scientists.

Learning with MOOCs (LWMOOCs)*
October 23-25
Milwaukee, WI

Along with EMOOCs, this is the other conference that focuses on MOOC-based learning. For researchers working in the MOOC space, this is an excellent place to present your findings. The conference is run by the IEEE, and conference proceedings are published through that organization. The conference is global in scope and alternates between European and North American venues. (Last year’s conference was held in Madrid, Spain.)

Open Education Conference
October 31-November 1, 2019
Phoenix, AZ

Now in its 16th year, the Open Education Conference focuses on all kinds of open education resources (OER), of which MOOCs might be considered a subset. (However, as access to MOOCs become more restricted, they may not fit as neatly within this topic as they once did.)

World Conference on Online Learning
November 3-7, 2019
Dublin, Ireland

This year’s World Conference on Online Learning will focus on how online learning can transform lives and societies. Looking broadly at online learning, the conference raises some big questions for policy makers and educators, including:  What is the future of online education? How can online education contribute to better futures? How should governments and policy-makers respond to online education? If you have answers (or are seeking them), this conference may appeal.

Open Education Global Conference
November 26-28, 2019
Milan, Italy

Also focused on open education, this year’s Open Education Global Conference will address the theme of Open Education for an Open Future

MOOC Platform Partners’ Conferences

The major MOOC platforms also host conferences for their partners. Coursera’s 2019 Partners Conference will take place April 2-4 at the University of London. EdX’s Global Forum typically happens later in the year – 2018’s was held in Boston in November – and is open only to edX partners.