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The following abstracts/papers have been accepted for presentation in the conference and publications in the conference proceedings:

Policies and platforms in support of learning: towards more coherence, coordination and convergence (Petru Dimitru)
Dr. Petru Dimitru, Inspector, Joint Inspection Unit, United Nations
The Techtonic Shift in the Professoriate (Douglas Hensler)
Prof. Douglas Hensler, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, USA
Higher education institutions/universities responses to digitalization - Scotland (Ronald McQuaid)
Prof. Ronald McQuaid, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, UK
From crisis-mode to sustainable-mode: learning design in the post Covid-19 era (Manuel Frutos-Perez Pfhea)
Prof. Manuel Frutos-Perez Pfhea, CEG Digital and University of West of England, UK
ِAbstract: During the first half of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world forcing many governments to impose lockdowns to halt the rates of infection, universities had to switch their provision online and teach their students remotely. Institutions did not have time to prepare for the closures of their campuses, and the online provision that was put in place was the best that could be expected in the circumstances. This crisis-mode delivery was mainly characterised by replacing scheduled lectures and seminars with online conference calls and the cancellation of final assessments. In the UK most universities planned for a reopening of campuses for the beginning of the new academic year in September 2020. The plans for reopening envisaged a ‘socially distanced-campus’, with reduced class sizes and some of the provision to continue being delivered online. Now, at the beginning of October 2020, several universities have already seen outbreaks of COVID-19 among their student populations, and have had to place halls of residence under quarantine measures. It is increasingly likely that much more of the provision will have to be switched to online once again. There are a number of issues that are emerging from the current situation: the move to online has largely seen a continuation of the delivery structures that had been put in place for face-to-face teaching. It is an experience that was not designed as online learning, and therefore it is unlikely to be optimal for that mode of delivery. This could lead to develop misperceptions that online learning is inferior to face-to-face learning. During this session I will explore some key principles of digital learning design and online education, and the practical steps that can be taken to improve the experience of our students.
Rising importance of remote learning in India in the wake of Covid-19: issues, challenges and way forward (Seema Joshi)
Dr. Seema Joshi, University of Delhi, India
Purpose: The present paper highlights the rising importance of remote learning amidst closure of educational institutions in India in the wake of Covid-19. This paper not only discusses critical issues and challenges that remote learning system in higher education sector in India has been encountering amidst this pandemic but also sheds light on ways to deal with them.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper makes use of secondary sources of data along with descriptive and comparative approaches to examine the issues, challenges and way forward for a transition from face-to-face teaching to remote learning in case of India.
Findings: The paper suggests that greater use of this alternative mode of learning can be made for checking ‘human capital deficit’, preventing loss of future earnings (because of loss of education) and also for preparing future ready digital workforce to surf industry 4.0 wave. Besides, this can help achieving the goal of ‘Education for all’ and SDG 4. Among others, concerted policies for bridging skill gaps, forging partnerships and following equity –oriented policies for ensuring learning outcomes seem to be the way forward for resilient education system.
Originality/value: As per our knowledge, no such study on use of remote learning covering higher education sector in India amidst COVID-19 has been done so far.
Keywords: Remote learning, Higher education sector, Open and distance learning, online learning, Skill development, Skill mismatches, and Future ready labour force
Covid-19 Impact on waste management in Emirate of Ajman, UAE (Khaled M. AlHosani and Pouria Liravi)
Khaled M. AlHosani and Dr. Pouria Liravi, University of Derby, UK
Crisis management is one of the most important management practices that need careful modelling to include planning, framework practices, training and reserved resources. Normally, there should be a complete plans to the expected crisis ready for implementation when a crisis starts aiming to reduce the crisis impacts. Moreover, those plans are to cover the periods before, during and after that crisis. Waste is a resource for many health, environmental, and social problems when not been managed at any time. Therefore, this paper aims to introduce factors needed in that combination between the waste and crisis management and exploring the main critical factors that need to be contained and carefully studied to enhance modern waste management. The presumed management model is to examine the waste management practices prior, during and post the crisis. COVID – 19 epidemic has severely affected all nations and critically disabled many services that governments are providing. Waste has been imposing a huge challenge associated with dangerous consequences. Data collected for similar periods before and after the pandemic of the waste including the amounts, practices and associated consequences. A concluded results were used to introduce a new framework model to the required initiatives of waste – crisis management. Results showed the importance of using the Waste – Business correlation for high-quality management. A great challenge during the COVID – 19 crisis is the massive quantity of regular waste which has become hazardous and required special treatment adding more cost and resulting in recyclable material reduction. Moreover, the waste management business was affected in several aspects, including the increased cost of sanitization and distancing for workers when work was performed and during transportation to accommodations, dealing with the vehicles and bins. Besides, MRF plants were getting less waste due to worries of contaminations and virus spreading. All that had a considerable effect on the Government waste associated budget.
Keywords: Waste Management, Ajman, UAE, Waste-Business, Crisis management, COVID – 19, MRF.
The Dynamics of social and technological change: Covid-19 and online learning at the University of Botswana (M. N. Marobela)
Dr. Motsomi N. Marobela, University of Botswana, Botswana

COVID-19 pandemic has had a major devastating effect on humanity and changed the norm in ways never imagined nor experienced. Even when we move forward with the hope that sooner than later a vaccine will be found to heal the world, there is still a lingering cloud of uncertainty. The new normal, however, remains overshadowed by the old normal. The impact of the global economic crisis accentuated by the pandemic is felt across the political, institutional and digital spectrum, not least in education, where its disruptive knock has paralyzed learning. This paper provides insight into embracement and implementation of online blended learning at University of Botswana in the wake of COVID-19. The current state of university readiness and adaptability is assessed, together with analysis of challenges and diagnosis of leadership response and role in managing technological change in uncertain times. Despite publicized commitments to transforming to the new normal by management, in reality the institution has not adapted concretely to provide critical resources necessary for an innovative and motivational environment to inspire staff to embrace digitalization and remote teaching. Relying on critical realist philosophy, contextual causal and managerial mechanisms are explored in relation to the sociotechnical methodology to explain the interface between structures, technology, power, culture, health, motivation and people behavior.

Challenges and opportunities for developing new methods and approaches to teaching courses that traditionally encompass in-person laboratories, research and / or field work digitally post the Covid-19 pandemic (Q Charlene Grant, Bloomington, United States)
Q Charlene Grant, Bloomington, United States
As an educator, working at a major United States Big 10 University and as an Environmental Scientist / Conservationist, I have become well aware of major challenges and issues surrounding the “push” of offering degrees in programs that require extensive laboratory work, human interactions and / or field projects that have traditionally been done face-to-face. The facets of these programs make “social-distancing” not possible or even practical and online / remote learning questionable. Particularly how now, during the post Covid-19 pandemic, are Universities going to offer applicable and pertinent science-based laboratory courses, research and field projects – through on-line learning – ensuring suitable projects, along with maintaining the integrity of these courses required for the specified degrees, certifying competency levels required when taught traditionally in the past with a hands-on qualified instructor face-to-face. In this paper, I will focus on the genres of courses, labs, research and projects required for Nursing and Science degrees – Environmental, Biology, Ecology and such. I will also question if on-line learning for Nursing and Science degrees is even realistic.
Keywords: Online learning, Nursing, Science, Ecology, University, Covid-19, Pandemic, Laboratory, Degrees.
Perspectives on Nigeria's Covid-19 Mitigation strategies as panacea for schools reporting (Nuhu Shehu Nuhu, Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria)
Nuhu Shehu Nuhu, Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria
The onslaught of COVID-19 has led to many countries closing their boarders, and enforcing a general lockdown on all sectors in the economy which includes the education sector. Schools were closed for several months that led to protest by student’s associations of tertiary institutions calling for government to reopen schools siting idleness as their main reason for the protest. This paper examines the effect of covid-19 on the Nigerian education as it affects students morale and productivity, and the mitigating measures put in place by the government in order to ensure a safe school environment as a panacea for resuming teaching activities. The paper adopts an evaluative content analysis as the methodology used in data gathering and analysis. The study finds out that it is very risky to reopen schools now due to inadequate safety measures missing in the schools as a result of unavailability of funds for sanitizing the environment, and other prevention materials like face mask, hand sanitizer etc. The study recommends partnership between the government, schools, parents and students in order to ensure adequate safety in the schools when it eventually reopens.
Challenges and stakes in remote teaching and research in light of the crisis: The Covid 19 Pandemic and Its Lessons (Abdelfattah Ezzine)
Prof. Abdelfattah Ezzine, Mohamed V University and Espace Médiation (EsMed), Morocco

In this presentation, we’ll analyse the following themes:

  • Conceptual framework and methodology: the linguistic market and the knowledge market
  • The the academic course between the management of face-to-face learning and e-learning
  • Training in research and training by research and the digitization
  • Software/Hardware issues, depth of knowledge, and the reality of the digital divide
  • Prospects and expectations
Unlocking future through using artificial intelligence in education (Rawad Hammad)

Dr. Rawad Hammad, University of East London, UK