PENG Gang. Chair of Executive Committee of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance; Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University
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Note: The following is Prof.PENG Gang's opening and welcoming remarks for the Online Education Dialogue 2023: Navigating AI-Driven Digital Transformation in Higher Education, during Session 1 on May 17th. You are also welcome to watch the replay of the speech and the event at:

Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen:

Nice to see you all. It is a great honor for me to attend the first Online Education Dialogue on the Digital Transformation of Education in 2023 on behalf of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance and Tsinghua University. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the experts invited to this Dialogue, including Professor Gerardo Blanco from Boston College, Professor Francois Grey from the University of Geneva, Professor Wang Qiyun from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Professor Xu Luping from Tsinghua University. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to friends from all over the world who are with us online. Through this platform of Online Education Dialogue on the Digital Transformation of Education, we gather together to explore the application and development of the AI-driven digital transformation of higher education.

With the exponential leap of large-scale pre-trained language models and generative AI technology, the AI era has entered a new epoch. The tools and applications of generative AI are evolving rapidly, causing disruptive changes in many fields, and bringing constantly evolving challenges and infinite opportunities to global higher education. World-leading universities and platforms have always played an extremely important role in the digital transformation of higher education. The Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance was established in 2020 with the aim of gathering the strengths of leading universities and platforms around the world, establishing a diverse community dedicated to promoting the development of high-quality MOOCs and online education, promoting international bilateral and multilateral cooperation and exchange in education technology and innovation, encouraging all members to set examples and contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Alliance was initiated by 17 top universities and three online education platforms from 14 countries on six continents, with the Secretariat located at Tsinghua University. Its work mainly focuses on joint teaching, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and public advocacy.

The Online Education Dialogue as one of the flagship activities of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance, aims to promote the digital transformation of global higher education, share the latest developments in online education, and enhance the capacity building of people involved in higher education digitalization worldwide. Online Education Dialogue 2023 is themed “Navigating the AI-Driven Digital Transformation of Higher Education”. We are excited to engage in in-depth discussions and share academic research and good practices with guests, experts, scholars, policymakers, and teachers from around the world. We hope to widely discuss and share the latest developments in the AI-driven digital transformation of higher education, and through global dialogue and cooperation, build a global online learning community for the intelligent era, and make contributions to the advancement of the AI-driven digital transformation of higher education.

Today’s Dialogue focuses on the theme of  “Unraveling and Embracing AI in Higher Education: Practices · Opportunities · Challenges · Future”. I suggest that we discuss the following three aspects. First, in the face of the rapid development of AI technology, how can higher education adapt to the development trend and make necessary preparations? We should also consider the potential benefits and disadvantages of AI in higher education, to ensure its healthy and sustainable development in educational practice. Second, we should explore the opportunities and challenges that higher education faces in the AI era. How can AI reshape higher education, improve teaching quality, achieve efficient management and scientific governance? We should also discuss how to use AI tools to assist academic research and other related topics. Third, we should explore the future development, international cooperation models, and potential of higher education in the AI era.

At last, I sincerely wish this Online Education Dialogue on the Digital Transformation of Education a great success. I hope it will play a positive role in the development of global higher education. We sincerely hope to work with colleagues from all over the world to explore the new field of the AI-driven digital transformation of higher education through global cooperation, and to create a more fair, high-quality, and better future for higher education. Let us work together as navigators /ˈnævɪɡeɪtəs/ to lead the quality development of higher education in the era of AI.

Once again, thank you all for your participation, and I wish this event a complete success. Thank you!

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