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Centre for Online and Distance Education

Training and Consultancy

The Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE) offers consultancy, project management, staff development and evaluation.

All of our services are supported by a range of senior and experienced academics and professionals in the field of open, distance, blended and online learning.


CODE is available to provide masterclasses in a wide range of learning, teaching, assessment and technology areas relevant to colleagues preparing for the autumn term, as well as strategic planning for the challenges of flexible provision. 

Capacity building

Some examples of our training, development and consultancy work:

A  bespoke online course for 15 serving diplomats – all from Bahrain but serving all over the world, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain and The Mohamed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Academy for Diplomatic Studies. The course was designed to blend synchronous and asynchronous teaching to develop critical skills in diplomacy for active serving diplomats as well as grounding students in the core theories of international relations. The course is tied to the UOL global diplomacy program which aims to provide both wide-ranging intellectual skills, and direct practice-based experience for the analysis of solutions to many of today's global problems.

A  joint project with the East Central Southern Africa College of Paediatrics and Child Health (ECSAPACH) is supporting the development, design and delivery of blended training for doctors in child health care. The project includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and it is anticipated that other member states will join in due course. Read more about the project here:

The Centro Universitario de Tlajomulco (CUTlajomulco) of the University of Guadalajara, Mexico is in the process of transforming its face-to-face courses into a blended/hybrid delivery mode. To support them in this transformation, CODE is working with colleagues at the University of Guadalajara by providing an online professional development course designed specifically to support the re-development of courses into a blended format for delivery from January 2024. In addition, CODE is supporting Universitario de Tlajomulco with its delivery and evaluation of the blended/hybrid courses in 2024. Read more about the project:

'Open and Distance Learning in Nigeria' is an ongoing programme of workshops, symposia and conferences since 2017 for senior colleagues in Nigerian Higher Education Institution in collaboration with the Nigerian National Universities Commission, aimed at building capacity for the development, delivery and support of open and distance learning in Nigerian higher education to meet national policy objectives.

When can we have more workshops like this?
CODE/NUC workshop participant, Abuja
Nigeria Abuja workshop 2018

‘Designing for learning in online and distance education’ was a bespoke short course run by the Centre for Online and Distance Education between September 2021 and January 2022 for 250 new and experienced tutors at the Open University of China. It was delivered and supported entirely online, in partnership with local tutors in China. Some materials were specially written by CODE Fellows for the course; others were adapted from the University of London Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. CODE staff ran bi-weekly webinars for course participants, and weekly webinars for lead tutors from the Open University of China. Each OU China lead tutor worked with a group of about 20 OU China tutors.

Through this training I have learned how to design a course in its entirety and how to apply the learning theories in course design.
OU China online course participant
Screen shot of  webinar participants

'Supporting staff development in online and lended learning in Palestine' was an intensive online programme of  synchronous and asynchronous learning activities and seminars delivered to around 30 participants in Palestinian universities over 4 weeks to enhance their capacity and capability for developing, delivering and supporting effective online teaching, learning and assessment. Participants were expected to spend about seven hours a week, across the four weeks.

'Flexible learning in uncertain times' was a response to Covid-19 comprising a series of targeted interactive webinars following a training needs analysis exercise with colleagues at UoL Recognised Teaching Centres around the globe covering:

  • Approaches to Interactive and distributed online learning. (For Teaching staff, technology support staff).
  • Student Experience. (For Library, careers, well-being and student life cycle staff.)
  • Strategic planning and management. (For Institution leaders, Department heads).

Online learning course design, assessment, tutoring and management

While moving to online education can mean simply uploading notes to the VLE and delivering lectures via videoconferencing, good use of learning technologies allows so much more to be done to engage students in active learning through exploration, reflection, debate, collaboration and creation. We have been offering practical assistance to UoL programme teams and others to develop effective, engaging learning technologies-enhanced courses for almost 20 years, as well as developing and running our own highly regarded online PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

Distance learning courses that we have contributed to include Accounting (UCL), Business Administration (Royal Holloway), Citizenship and History Education (UoL), Computing (Goldsmiths), Dentistry (Kings), Diplomacy (SOAS), Education (UCL), Energy and Climate Policy (SOAS), Eye Care (LSHTM), Global Public Policy (SOAS), Global Security (SOAS), History (SAS), International Development (SOAS), Law (Queen Mary), Livestock Health and Production (RVC), Molecular Biology (Birkbeck), Public Health (RVC), Veterinary Education (RVC).

Bespoke research, evaluation and resources


Projects commissioned by other parts of the University of London on a broad range of issues including plagiarism, digital literacy, student progression and completion, student learning practices, equality and diversity, using AI in teaching, student use of online tools, assessment.

Self-help resources

Freely downloadable resources comprising guidelines, workbooks, discussion papers, technology reviews, presentations, webinar recordings and links to external resources such as MOOCs and to other organisations offering advice and resources in flexible, blended, online and distance learning.

Coping with Covid-19 

A curated set of guidelines and activities to help colleagues move teaching, learning and assessment online  in response to Covid-19, including a webinar series examining emergency responses and longer term planning issues and solutions.


The CODE Visiting Scholars scheme is open to enquiries from interested individuals who wish to engage in projects and activities concerned with high quality teaching and research in open and distance learning locally, nationally and internationally. Placements at CODE usually last for between four and six months. The nature of the placement can vary from specific research projects, to skills development.

A bespoke programme of activities is developed to support the intended outcomes for the placement. Scholars from from Gansu and Ningbo Radio and TV Universities respectively, both branches of OU China, recently spent 3 months each with CODE researching distance learning issues relevant to their home institutions, supervised by CODE Fellows. 

Our scheme may be particularly useful for those looking to develop their skills and expertise in online education in response to longer term moves to digital education triggered by the Coronavirus.


Supporting Student Success

This annual CODE event offers professional development for colleagues in the field of distance and online learning.

Research in Distance Education and e-Learning

Our annual Research in Distance Education and e-Learning conference addresses current issues, practice and research in distance education.