2008 was a momentous year for CDE. An HEFCE e-Benchmarking project contributed to by CDE became a cornerstone of a ten-year eStrategy for universities in England and Wales. CDE supported a successful bid by the Vice-Chancellor to host the fifth pan-commonwealth forum on open learning in London, attracting over 700 delegates from 70 countries for the five-day event in July 2008, with an associated meeting of Vice-Chancellors organised in collaboration with UNESCO immediately before the Forum. The success of these bids was widely considered a significant achievement, and an important step not only in raising the profile of the CDE, but also that of the External System, internationally.
But by 2008 the nature of distance education had changed enormously, with the rapid growth of virtual learning environments, increasing focus on user generation of Web content and person-to-person interaction via web applications, and increasing interest in blended and flexible approaches to learning, resulting in a blurring of the traditional demarcations between distance and campus-based learning.
These dramatic changes made it much harder to draw a clear line around the Centre’s constituency in the Colleges and to maintain the original role of CDE of providing specialist advice and development support to course teams in the Colleges preparing distance learning programmes within the External System. As member institutions developed their own in-house capability, the focus for CDE began to shift more towards new programme planning, through discussions with academic managers in Colleges, establishing protocols and guidelines for programme developments, and contributing to programme development more broadly through initiatives such as the eBenchmarking project.
In 2010, the first Visiting Fellows were appointed to CDE and in 2015 a new CDE Strategy was approved by the Learning,Teaching and Assessment Sub-Committee (LTAS).
University of London International Programmes Centre for Distance Education - Strategy 2015 to 2019
The Centre for Distance Education (CDE) is an academic research, development and dissemination unit within the University of London International Programmes. The CDE comprises Fellows from the University of London, Visiting Fellows from other UK institutions, independent consultants and Visiting International Fellows from associated institutions external to the UK.
The CDE will be recognised as an outstanding source of expertise and guidance in distance education and e-learning throughout the University of London, its constituent colleges, partner organisations, teaching institutes of the International Programmes and beyond. It will be acknowledged as a major contributor to the University's standing as a world-leading university for open, distance and flexible education.
To augment the University's reputation as a world-leading education provider through research, development and dissemination on distance and e-learning and to maximize learning for all our distance learners.