History and heritage in distance education


  • Bill Anderson
  • Mary Simpson




distance education, history, history of distance education


Originally published in 2012, 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.

Author Biographies

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson was the Director, Distance Learning, University of Otago.

Mary Simpson

Mary Simpson was the Associate Dean (Teacher Education), College of Education, University of Otago.