Jisc Digital Festival registration open

UK MOOC pioneer Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn confirmed to headline next year’s event in Birmingham

Registration for the Jisc Digital Festival 2015 is now open. Simon Nelson, chief executive of FutureLearn, the social learning platform set up by The Open University as the first UK-based provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), is confirmed as one of four keynote speakers at the festival, taking place from March 9 – 10 2015 at the ICC in Birmingham.

The festival will showcase the very best in UK digital talent. Celebrating the theme of ‘connect more’, the event will bring people together through digital technology across UK education, research, skills and enterprise, to position the UK at the forefront of international practice.

“Our aim is to transform the traditional conference feel and build on our festival experience. By ‘connecting more’ delegates can take advantage of the personalised spaces to share best practice with their peers, take part in the interactive sessions, hands-on demos, speakers corner and debates, and feel very much part of the festival action,” explained Martyn Harrow Jisc’s chief executive.

“Our vision is for the UK to become the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world, and the Jisc Digital Festival will be a great place to showcase how far along that road we already are.

“We know that this event is pivotal in facilitating the sort of information sharing, decision-making and shaping of the digital agenda that will help to take FE, HE and skills to new heights. In creating an open atmosphere that promotes intellectual curiosity and sharing of resources, we are providing a unique platform for achieving excellence through digital technologies for the benefit of all.”

A number of leading organisations in the learning technologies space have already confirmed as exhibiting, including software and technology company Digital Science, media streaming and archive solution service, Planet eStream, and Figshare, a cloud repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.

Also at the festival will be the Jisc Fab Lab, which will showcase the latest advancements in digital technologies for education and research through a series of live talks and demonstrations.

Simon Nelson is the first of four keynote speakers to be announced. “Simon Nelson epitomises a spirit of digital exploration and innovation that is helping the UK to stand out as a leader in global higher and further education.  He is the perfect person to kick-offthe line-up for this year’s Digital Festival,” continued Martyn Harrow.

With a background in digital disruption across a range of sectors, Nelson has won multiple awards for digital innovation and product development, including several Emmys, Webby and Bafta awards for his work at the BBC, where he was a key figure in the development of the corporation’s online and digital services, including the Radio Player and the BBC iPlayer.

Simon added: “Free online courses are just one example of how the internet is transforming higher education and its traditional pillars.  The notion of connecting people to ideas lies right at the heart of what FutureLearn does, so I’m looking forward to sharing and debating ideas about the future of the sector with this important audience, using MOOCs as the starting point.”

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