Principles, Theory and Practice of Online Teaching and Learning

Evolution and current practice of distance education

This course will study the history and evolution of distance education and technology enhanced learning (TEL). A selected range of social and political/economic factors, theories, learning and teaching models, technology and media innovations, institutions and systems, as well as major writers that have shaped the development of the field will be critically examined. A variety of technologies will be used to support the development of foundational skills and a personal learning environment that are integral to current practice. Students will also be asked to periodically reflect upon opportunities and barriers that are characteristic of higher education within their local institutional and national context.

The course is part of our Online Teaching and Learning Programme.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:


Identify the unique characteristics of distance education and TEL.

Describe the major influences in the evolution of distance education – social, economic, cultural and political – from its early beginnings to current IT-based practices.

Identify the key authors and theorists in distance education and TEL and analyse their contributions to the field; including applications and adoption within the student’s educational context.

Describe how distance education methodologies have changed over time, in particular how the roles of teacher and learner have evolved concurrently with new innovations.

Analyse the impact of technological changes on the nature of teaching and learning in distance education and TEL.

Navigate and use an online learning environment, shared virtual spaces, and social media for the purpose of learning, documenting learning, and creating content.

Master and apply research and writing skills for the purpose of critically analysing issues and topics discussed in relevant literature, synthesising findings, and communicating ideas and arguments with supporting evidence.

Learn collaboratively by using shared virtual spaces and networks to create content and successfully complete assigned team projects.

Reflect on learning and articulate changes in thinking, feeling and behaviour.

At a glance: Online Teaching and Learning Certificate

University certificate, CAS if two courses are completed

Start of course: April 8th 2024
End of course: August 4th 2024

Internet-based, group activities, webinars, self-study

6 Credit Points | summer semester

Integrated in the course

180 hours


900 Euro per course module


Prof. Dr. Paul Prinsloo

Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL)
University of South Africa


Advice and Contact

Silke Welter

Programme Management

T +49 (0)441 / 798 32 44

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(Stand: 21.02.2024)  | 
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