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OU open education pioneer receives lifelong achievement award

Andy Lane

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) has awarded Professor Andy Lane its 2021 Prize for Lifelong Contribution to the field of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning.

The global membership organisation aims to bring accessible, quality education to all through online, open and distance learning. It recognised the Environmental Systems expert for his close to 40-year contribution to institutional, national and international teaching, research and engagement projects to bring open and distance education to millions worldwide.

As well as sharing his disciplinary expertise, Lane’s methods and approach have inspired hundreds of open and distance education practitioners and researchers to think more deeply about their practices. He has also made vital contributions to international distance education activities at the OU and played a critical role in developing the OpenLearn and OpenLearn Create open education platforms.

Most recently, he led the UK Aid-funded Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education TIDE project to reform Myanmar’s national distance education system, which teaches 60% of the country’s higher education students. The project supported the professional and institutional development of more than 300 staff at 40 Myanmar universities. It also laid the foundations for a new Myanmar Open University. Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic and recent military coup curtailed the project.

However, TIDE left behind a vast collection of OER as a legacy for the future when conditions change for the better, which the recent OE awards for excellence recognised with a prize for Transformation by Innovation in Distance Education (TIDE) project.

Accepting the award in a video address, Lane thanked Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, for supporting his nomination and dedicated his prize to all those he has worked with through TIDE. He said:

“I am honoured to have been awarded this prize by the ICDE. There are many things I’ve done in my lifetime of achievement, but there are two standout projects I’d just like to mention. First of course is OpenLearn. It’s now been 15 years since it was launched. Since that time, it has grown in strength and reach, adding value to everyone around the world.

“The second project is my most recent one, and that is TIDE – Transformation and Innovation in Distance Education in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the military coup terminated the project four months early, but TIDE has left behind a vast collection of OER as a legacy for the future when conditions change for the better.

“I would like to dedicate this award to all those participants, universities, and partners we were working with within TIDE. And I hope they will be able to have a better future through distance education in the not too distance future.”

Andy Lane: I am honoured to have been awarded this prize by the ICDE. There are many things I’ve done in my lifetime of achievement, but there are two standout projects I’d just like to mention. First of course is OpenLearn. It’s now been 15 years since it was launched. Since that time, it has grown in strength and reach, adding value to everyone around the world.

The second project is my most recent one, and that is TIDE – Transformation and Innovation in Distance Education in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the military coup terminated the project four months early, but TIDE has left behind a vast collection of OER as a legacy for the future when conditions change for the better.

I would like to dedicate this award to all those participants, universities, and partners we were working with within TIDE. And I hope they will be able to have a better future through distance education in the not too distance future.

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