Online and Distance Education for a Connected World

Edited by Linda Amrane-Cooper, David Baume, Stephen Brown, Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Philip Powell, Sarah Sherman, and Alan Tait


ISBN: 9781800084803

Publication: March 27, 2023

Learning at a distance and learning online are growing in scale and importance in higher education, presenting opportunities for large scale, inclusive, flexible and engaging learning. These modes of learning swept the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The many challenges of providing effective education online and remotely have been acknowledged, particularly by those who rapidly jumped into online and distance education during the crisis.

This volume, edited by the University of London’s Centre for Online and Distance Education, addresses the practice and theory of online and distance education, building on knowledge and expertise developed in the University over some 150 years. The University is currently providing distance transnational education to around 50,000 students in more than 180 countries around the world. Throughout the book, contributors explore important principles and highlight successful practices in areas including course design and pedagogy, online assessment, open education, inclusive practice, and enabling student voice. Case studies illustrate prominent issues and approaches. Together, the chapters offer current and future leaders and practitioners a practical, productive, practice- and theory-informed account of the present and likely future state of online and distance higher education worldwide.

Linda Amrane-Cooper is head of the Centre for Online and Distance Education at the University of London, and Director of Academic Practice in Distance Education.

David Baume is an independent researcher, evaluator, consultant, developer and writer in the field of international educational development.

Stephen Brown is Emeritus Professor of Learning Technologies and former Head of the School of Media and Communication at De Montfort University.

Stylianos Hatzipanagos is Fellow and Executive Lead for Research and Scholarship at the University of London's Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE).

Philip Powell is Director, Business School for the Creative Industries, University for the Creative Arts, where he is Professor of Creative Business.

Sarah Sherman is the Director of the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange, a cross-institutional centre for sharing effective practice in digital education.

Alan Tait is Emeritus Professor of Distance Education and Development at the Open University, UK.

List of figures
List of tables
Notes on editors and contributors

Preface: Learning from over 150 years of distance education Mary Stiasny and Michael Davis

Centre for Online and Distance Education
Linda Amrane-Cooper

1 Online, distance, blended. It’s all just education
Stephen Brown

Section 1: Planning distance education

Introduction to Section 1
Stephen Brown

2 The student voice
Pete Cannell and Julie Voce

3 Exploring digital learning
J. Simon Rofe

4 Marketing digital education for an inclusive learning society
Endrit Kromidha and Benedetta Cappellini

5 Supporting employability
David Winter

6 Strategic models for distance education
Philip Powell, Mary Stiasny and Michael Davis

7 Open and distance learning in Nigeria: a case study
Stephen Brown and David Baume

Section 2: Doing distance education

Introduction to Section 2
Stephen Brown

8 Course design, pedagogy and staff development
David Baume and Matthew Phillpott

9 Interactive social learning and fostering learning communities
Ayona Silva-Fletcher and Christine Thuranira-McKeever

10 The Icarus simulation tool: a case study
Lynsie Chew and Alan Parkinson

11 Digitally supported assessment
Leo Havemann, Simon Katan, Edward Anstead, Marco Gillies, Joanna Stroud and Sarah Sherman

12 Taking assessment online – systems, issues and practices: a case study
Linda Amrane-Cooper, David Baume, Stylianos Hatzipanagos, Gwyneth Hughes and Alan Tait

13 Inclusive practice
Shoshi Ish-Horowicz, Diana Maniati, Nic Charlton, Danielle Johnson, Beatrice Hyams, Sarah Sherman and Sarah Gonnet

14 Retention and success: approaches and tools for making a difference
Gwyneth Hughes and Jo Harris

15 MOOCs for public health: a case study
Sally Parsley and Daksha Patel

16 Practising open education
Daksha Patel, Sally Parsley, Pete Cannell and Leo Havemann

17 Building the online library
Matthew Phillpott, Sandra Tury and Shoshi Ish-Horowicz

Section 3: Researching and evaluating distance education

Introduction to Section 3
Stephen Brown

18 Academic development, research and practice in distance education
David Baume

19 Monitoring and evaluating distance education
David Baume

20 Designing the future
Stephen Brown


'This is an excellent and timely book. While the COVID pandemic compelled almost all institutions to engage in some of online and distance education through necessity, work to push the boundaries of excellence in the field has been on-going and is captured here. Taking readers through the stages of planning, delivery, and evaluation, the book presents multiple perspectives on how technology and pedagogy can be effectively combined to deliver high quality learning and student outcomes. Chapters exploring topics including student voice, employability, inclusive practice, and academic development, make an important contribution applicable to learning in any setting.'
Professor John Craig PhD, NTF, PFHEA, FRSA, PVC Education, Kingston University, London


'The book is an open treasure chest of contributions from a wide range of higher education practitioners in diverse roles, disciplines and professional areas and brings together their  experiences, expertise and critical inquiries in the field of formal and informal distance and online education. Contributors generously share related historical and pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic insights, practices and tips through critically reviewing the landscape, acute challenges and fruit-bearing opportunities within it. The important role inventive and participatory design, critical and relational pedagogy, inclusive and personalised support, meaningful and authentic assessment and feedback, focused and immersive staff development play to create flexible and connected learning and teaching experiences beyond borders and boundaries at a distance and online are celebrated. This is a valuable resource for higher education practitioners and students studying on education programmes, leaders, policy makers and others interested in distance and online education.'
Dr Chrissi Nerantzi, PFHEA, NTF, CATE, Associate Professor in Education, School of Education, University of Leeds


'This edited collection of chapters explores the relationship between digital and distance education, with attention to the opportunities and implications for learning design. The pivot to online learning during the pandemic has made online teaching the business of everyone, with digital learning embedded in some way in most forms of course delivery. Consequently, this book will be relevant to both distance education and campus-based practitioners, offering valuable insights into the theory, design and practice of digital learning, addressing key stakeholder interests from instructors and educational design responsibilities to the student voice. The lessons learned are transferable to other institutional teaching contexts, particularly the evidence-based strategies for interactive social learning and assessment for learning designs.'
Richard Walker Assistant Director, Programme Design, University of York


'This great book recontextualises the ‘Great Leap Online’ of 2020-21 within a 150 year history of distance and online education. In doing so, it shows how a thoughtful and strategic approach to online and distance education can inform post-pandemic practice. The book steers a steady course between assumptions that all education is ‘just the same’ or that there is something uniquely different about online and distance, showing instead the ways that good general pedagogical practice must inform digital offers whilst highlighting the ways that online and digital pedagogies may differ from ‘in-person’ approaches, or inform and energise them. The book will be useful alike to policy-makers and university leaders thinking about how to implement strategic change to incorporate more or better digital and online provision, to tutors, librarians, careers advisors and administrators seeking practical ideas and cases studies to inspire their practice, and to educational researchers looking to produce knowledge about online education. It is brimming with ideas and examples from all sorts of practitioners and will be a great source of information and inspiration. Whatever your role in online and distance education, this exhaustive book has you covered.'
Dr Cathy Elliott SFHEA, Vice Dean Education, Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, UCL


'Online and Distance Education for a Connected World comes at a significant moment as higher education institutions attempt to redefine what education means in a post-pandemic world. Despite the ubiquitous use of online education to ensure continuation of educational provision during global lockdowns, many providers have flipped back to primarily on campus modes of delivery with online and distance offerings often receiving little attention as the focus is on building connection through in person means. What is needed are more models and examples of what distance and online education can be to capitalise on learnings from the pandemic and increase our understanding of how to deliver education more flexibly. Produced by the Centre for Online and Distance Education at the University of London, Online and Distance Education for a Connected World, meets this need by drawing on a wealth of expertise and experience from its contributors to present a comprehensive consideration of different aspects of online and distance education to enable institutions, academics and researchers to design and develop alternative modes of delivery that meet the changing needs of students. The book is divided into three sections which consider planning, delivery and research of online and distance education. This affords a comprehensive consideration of the different aspects of establishing and delivering online and distance programmes. The evidenced based chapters enable a range of issues to be addressed. The book provides much needed inspiration and support for those who wish to develop more flexible modes of delivery that capitalise on technological developments and increased demands for new ways of working and learning.'
Professor Susannah Quinsee, VP Digital and Student Experience, City University of London


'Because of the pandemic, the world learned that online learning was possible and often highly effective. We also learned that well-designed, supported, and practised online learning is distinctive, powerful, and requires expertise. It isn’t easy. This book is timely in the contribution it will make because it assembles an expert group whose discussion starts with student voice, covers fundamental issues of design, assessment and professional development, and also focuses on key topics for the present moment such as student success and inclusive practice. All told, the book draws from a deep well of experience and extends that into thoughtful guidance for the future of digital learning.'
Professor Jeff Grabill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, University of Leeds


'In an era when interest and participation in digital education continues to grow, Online and Distance Education is affording each university a competitive edge. This may seem surprising because Online and Distance Education normally is associated with Open Universities or Continuing Education Programmes, where online, distance teaching methods have been pioneered. This situation changed during the years of the Covid pandemic, when students and teachers from all kinds of universities experienced the benefits and limitations of online teaching and learning. Now every kind of university has to consider strategically ways of capitalising on the benefits of Online and Distance Education.

This timely book examines the student benefits of Online and Distance Education and how these can be fostered for students at all types of universities, questioning whether and how benefits can be planned, sustained and researched. The arguments move beyond conventional debates around the flexibility online education offers students in terms of place, space and time to study to consider and question novel ways of interacting afforded by the digital, new ways of knowing, as well as future forms of assessment. Although these focal areas do not always fit neatly together, the topics are organised in three broad sections exploring planning, doing and researching and evaluating distance learning where authors raise questions of equity, access and stability against a backdrop of continual socio-economic and geo-political uncertainty. 

Chapter authors are experts in Digital Education who associate with the University of London Centre for Online and Distance Education. This Centre has become a hub for experts who value the role education plays in contemporary society and who want to make a tangible difference for students. The book is a must-read for policy-makers, university leaders and practitioners is all kinds of universities, even those who are not considering distance learning, because it points towards new possibilities for higher education providers who wish to engender a compassionate, competitive edge.'
 Professor Allison Littlejohn, Director of the UCL Knowledge Lab, IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

482 Pages

B&W line drawings, charts, and diagrams

ISBN: 9781800084803

Publication: March 27, 2023

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