Tag Archives: DIVAI

Slovakia’s Digital Shoreline

As a scholar from a Midwestern university in the United States, it is easy to get caught up in local projects and forget about interesting work taking place around the globe. I experienced this recently when I took my first trip ever to Slovakia in Eastern Europe. I had the good fortune of attending DiVAI 2012, the 9th International Scientific Conference on Distance Learning in Applied Informatics. The conference took place May 2-4 at the Hotel Thermal Recreation Complex in Štúrovo, Slovakia. The map below shows Slovakia’s location west of Ukraine, sandwiched between Poland and Hungary. I have observations that I would like to share. First, the regarding people: the conference was run by academics who take their field of study very seriously. This being said, everyone’s hospitality to a visitor from the United States was first rate. My hosts were warm and friendly. The conference organizers took time to meet me and engage in interesting conversation. I learned about their universities, programs, research and distance learning practices. This was especially true during the conference receptions and a bus tour that took us to Vyšehrad, across the river in Hungary where an early Renaissance palace perches on top a spectacular hill. My wife and daughter accompanied me to the conference and were included in all the activities. Second, Slovakia itself is a beautiful country. The towns and villages are neat and quaint. The countryside is lush, green with amazing stretches of farmland. Life moves a pleasant, slower pace with time to appreciate the surroundings. The hotel complex was amazing with its natural thermal springs providing hot pools for swimming and soaking. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Slovakia is a place where academic practice and research is flourishing. I learned a great deal in the sessions and left the conference with new inspirations for my distance learning classes and great research ideas for the future. I feel that I came to Slovakia as an outsider but left as a welcomed friend. It was a great experience and I encourage everyone to take time to visit Slovakia. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.

Roger at Vyšehrad