About

Paul Bacsich is a consultant in online learning (e-learning, including distance learning) with 30 years experience. He covers both post-secondary and schools-level sectors with a focus on virtual universities, with particular current interest in open educational resources (OER) and public-private business models for providers – and also virtual schools and virtual colleges.

Currently he has a portfolio of interests. He is co-owner/Director of Matic Media Ltd and Senior Consultant for Sero Consulting Ltd.  He also is on the organising committee for OER15 (as he was for OER14) and a researcher in specialist e-learning areas including benchmarking, quality and competence. From time to time he consults for and/or advises the European Commission, most recently on the Open Education Experts Group, but also as a bid reviewer and evaluator for the Framework Programme.

He has skills in benchmarking, quality, cost-benefit analysis, change management, market research, competitor research, procurement and due diligence. Research interests also include time issues in online learning, 21st century skills, competences and other topics relevant to the ICT-enabled broad-spectrum providers of education in the future – the “multeversities” and other compelling archetypes.

Paul Bacsich worked at the UK Open University for many years, finally as co-founder and Assistant Director of the Knowledge Media Institute. (He has continued to consult for them, having just finished his fourth contract in the last five years.) In 1996 he became a full professor at Sheffield Hallam University, at which he set up the Virtual Campus Programme, and the Telematics in Education Research Group (TERG) which won many contracts in e-learning from government agencies and commercial companies in costing, evaluation and change management.

In 2003 he became Director of Special Projects at UKeU with particular responsibility for competitor analysis, a post which he combined with a technical consultancy role for the Worldwide Universities Network. The UKeU era came to an end in early 2004, at which point Paul took over responsibility for editing and publishing material from the archives, initially under funding from HEFCE. (Key documents on the UKeU genesis and aftermath are well documented by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, OBHE.) The archives were published by the Higher Education Academy (an example chapter is here) but the chapters can now be hard to track down on the HEA site now so are brought together on a Matic Media subsite.

In 2005 Paul became a consultant to the Higher Education Academy, first through the Benchmarking e-Learning Programme, then for Pathfinder and the Gwella project in Wales He has personally benchmarked e-learning at over 20 universities in three countries (UK, Sweden, Canada) and his team have benchmarked over 40.

In August 2007 he started working at Sero Consulting Ltd, working on R&D contracts mostly for Becta (especially the HE aspects of CAPITAL) but also for JISC (Libraries 2.0, costs) and DCELLs (Wales). He created and led the EU project VISCED (Virtual Schools and Colleges) in 2011-12 and then created and led the EU project POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) which started in November 2011 and reported in October 2014. He is now working on OER studies following on from POERUP (Beyond POERUP) including SharedOER and ADOERUP (Adult Education and Open Educational Resources). He also plays a role in an ongoing 3-year Erasmus+ project on leadership in open online learning (D-TRANSFORM) led by the Foundation FMSH in France.

In his non-OER work in the last three years Paul has worked on market research and competitor analysis for various UK universities (Russell Group and post-92) and large private providers, and continues his involvement with VLE benchmarking and comparison (increasingly analysing MOOCs also).

He was recently a member of the International Review Panel for Irish universities e-learning bids under the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund and is soon to chair the e-learning review panel at a prestigious university in Sweden (in which country he has done substantial consultancy work in the last few years). He continues a long-standing interest in quality of e-learning, currently via consultancy activity for the SEQUENT project (Supporting Quality in e-learning European NeTworks) led by ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) and EADTU.

He has a PhD and many publications in mathematical logic, computer networks and e-learning. He has consultancy, inward mission, evaluation/review and advisory experience in many countries including UK, Ireland (IRCSET, Teaching and Learning Review), Sweden (e.g. KTH and Lund, Gotland), Switzerland (Swiss Virtual Campus), Canada (Telelearning, TRU-OL, Athabasca etc), Australia (from 1986, e.g. Visiting Fellow at Deakin, AJET Review), New Zealand (Visiting Fellow at University of Canterbury, evaluator of the last round of eMM benchmarking), Brazil (from 1984, many visits), Colombia (Colombia Aprende), Mexico (e.g. Aprenred), Rwanda, Kuwait (Arab Open University), Thailand (e.g. Thai-UK Education Festival 2003) and Hong Kong (e.g. ITeD Evaluation). In addition he has consulted and  written reports for UNESCO nodes (Moscow, Montevideo), European Commission (including the Joint Research Centre) and European Parliament.

Specialties: benchmarking, costing, evaluation, change management, due diligence, pre-procurement, national and international policy work (costing, funding, retention etc).

See also his LinkedIn profile, his Mendeley profile and his blog.

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