History and heritage in open, flexible and distance education


  • Mary Simpson University of Otago
  • Bill Anderson University of Otago




Distance education’s history is a tremendous resource for all involved in distance education. Some aspects of that history provide enduring touchstones for present distance educators, creating a heritage that should not be overlooked as distance education continues to develop and expand. In this article we draw on the concept of generational frameworks to focus on particular developments that have shaped and continue to shape distance education. From those developments we identify and discuss seven elements that serve as the core features of the heritage that underpins our distance education practice. We challenge current distance educators to identify their own heritage elements and build on them as they contribute to the future of the discipline.