Last month I was contacted by Ulrich Bernath, Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Research in Open and Distance Learning. He told me, that Martine Vidal had approached him because she wanted to publish a best of edition in her Journal, called “Distance and Mediation of Knowledge”. I must say that I felt truly honored to be asked to be part of the selection. So – than you for this honor to both colleagues! Below you find his „commendation“.
Here is the link to the journal publication: https://journals.openedition.org/dms/2699
On May 18th in 2004 the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning (EURODL) published: „Quality in e-Learning from a Learner’s Perspective“ by Ulf-D. Ehlers (2004).
Out of 250 peer-reviewed articles published in EURODL since 2004 I picked this one as it excellently represents the scope and quality of EURODL’s published articles and stands for a kind of articles, which can be still read or better should be read 14 years after publication. This outstanding article attracts interest for its lasting relevance in the field of open, distance and e-learning.
Ulf-Daniel Ehlers presented „Quality in e-Learning from a Learner’s Perspective“ first at the Third EDEN Research Workshop in Oldenburg/Germany in March 2004. Back then Ulf-Daniel appeared as a young researcher for his first time at an EDEN conference, and when surrounded by an extraordinary gathering of senior researchers and practitioners in the field of open, distance and e-learning from all around the world to his great surprise his conference paper was honoured with the Best Paper Award, the only award granted at this EDEN Research Workshop in 2004. A few weeks later an extended version of the conference paper was published in EURODL, and now reprinted in DMS.
Although a young and new face at the EDEN Research Workshop in 2004, Ulf-D. Ehlers was already an experienced researcher particularly on quality issues in e-learning, however one of the very few at that time who saw an urgent need to discuss quality issues in e-learning as pedagogically rather than technologically directed standards with an emphasis on the student’s perspective and distinctive features that characterize distance, online and e-learning (ODL) qualities.
In his article from 2004 and now reprinted in this issue of DMS Ehlers refers to multifaceted empirical data on learners’ preferences in e-learning, which clearly show that learners are active producers of their learning experiences. Thus, Ehlers took the learner’s perspective, seeking to empower and enable the learner. He broadened and inspired the discussion on e-learning quality.
He consequently continued to spearheading the discussion, while jointly editing the „Handbook for Quality and Standardisation in E-Learning“ (Ehlers & Pawlowski 2006), and in 2008, when he presented at the EDEN Annual Conference in Lisbon his paper on “Higher Education as an Organizational Culture” he revealed a significantly expanded view on organizational culture “based on shared values, necessary competences and new professionalism” (Ehlers 2009).
Consistently Ehlers proved how much the quality issue in open, distance and e-learning caught his interest and became critical in his scholarly development over many years.(Ehlers 2010, 2012, 2013).
When Colin Latchem (2014) gave thought on an online distance education research agenda with his article on “Quality Assurance in Online Distance Education” he acknowledges Ulf-Daniel Ehlers’ work from 2004 and his subsequent publications as seminal.