Dr Paul Bacsich is a consultant in online learning (e-learning, including distance learning and open learning) with over 30 years’ experience. Since 1996 he has been a Professor, Director and Consultant.  He has an MA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Mathematical Logic from the University of Bristol; with periods of doctoral and post-doctoral research at UCLA and the University of Oxford.

He has considerable experience in market research, competitor research, due diligence and acquisition prospecting with a focus on the online learning ecosystem, working with large universities, national/international agencies, commercial organizations and venture funds.

He is currently Managing Director of Matic Media Ltd and a Senior Associate with Sero Consulting Ltd. He is also a Fellow of EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network) and an appointed Ambassador for the Global Advocacy of OER on behalf of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).

He worked at the Open University in the UK for many years in a variety of roles ending as Assistant Director (and a co-founder) of the Knowledge Media institute. After that he was Professor of Telematics at Sheffield Hallam University where he set up and led both the Virtual Campus Programme and the Telematics in Education Research Group. After a period as Director of Special Projects at the UK e-University he became a full-time consultant.

During the period 2005-11 he was mainly involved with the Higher Education Academy in the Benchmarking E-Learning Programme and its successor programmes Pathfinder (in England) and Gwella (in Wales). He also was Visiting Professor to the Global Campus at Middlesex University and took part in EU studies on virtual universities and virtual schools (a project which he led).

He spent much of the period 2011-2017 researching open educational resources, open education and MOOCs in a series of EU-funded projects and studies, leading to a number of theories and studies, for EU, UNESCO and venture funds on lower-cost innovative higher education online provision.

In the last three years he has focused on reviews of universities’ library services and e-learning activities (Open University and Uppsala University) and a number of other contracts including one to recommend the online systems to support the Atlantic Fellows Program of The Atlantic Philanthropies and two reviews of aspects of online learning support at the University of Oxford. He is also working with a number of alternative providers, mainly on market research and pricing issues.

Currently he is leading a 12-month project to develop an accredited vocational short online course to teach teachers to teach online in university, college and school settings.

Your thoughts about online learning

I have been developing online learning and the systems to support it since the early 1990s. At last the technology is mature and social conditions are changing so that online learning for university students is coming of age. I believe that there is great potential for innovative universities to develop online learning solutions at scale for global use and that the challenges of access, cost and quality are steadily being overcome by those providers who understand the issues.


Professional Memberships

Fellow of EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network)

Ambassador for the Global Advocacy of OER on behalf of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE)


MA Mathematics, University of Cambridge

PhD Mathematical Logic, University of Bristol


These cover the most relevant ones in the last ten years.

Inamorato dos Santos, A., Nascimbeni, F., Bacsich, P., Atenas, J., Aceto, S. Burgos, D. & Punie, Y. (2017) Policy Approaches to Open Education – Case Studies from 28 EU Member States (OpenEdu Policies). EUR 28776 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2017, ISBN 978-92-79-73495-3, doi:10.2760/283135, JRC107713.

Bacsich, P. (2015) Adult Education and Open Educational Resources. Technical Report to European Parliament, October 2015, doi:10.2861/807464.

Bacsich, P. (2015) Quality Agencies in Europe and their approach to e-learning and open learning. SEQUENT Deliverable 2.2. March 2015.

Pepler, G., Bristow, S., Bacsich, P., Jeans, N. & Vuorikari, R. (2015) SharedOER: Cross-border Content: Investigation into Sharing Curricula across Borders and its Opportunities for Open Education Resource. Report  JRC94956 to Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre, EU, 2015. EUR 27245 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-48249-6 (PDF), ISSN 1831-9424 (online), doi:10.2791/450706

Bacsich, P. & Pepler, G. (2014) Open Educational Resources: Understanding Barriers to Adoption and Use. In Teaching and Learning Online: New Models of Learning for a Connected World, Volume 2, Oxford: Routledge, 2014.

Bacsich, P. (2014) POERUP: Policies for OER Uptake – Final Report (public part). End of project report to European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme, October 2014.

Bacsich, P. (2014) POERUP: Policy Advice for Universities. Deliverable D4.2U for POERUP, June 2014.

Bacsich, P. (2014) Transversal and categorised inventory of OER Programmes and Initiatives – on maps. POERUP Deliverable D2.1 Edition 2, June 2014.

Bacsich, P. (2013) VISCED: Virtual School and College Education for Teenagers and Young Adults – Final Report (public part). End of project report to European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme, February 2013.

Bacsich, P. (2012) Alternative Models of Education Delivery, Policy Brief for UNESCO IITE, 2012.

Bacsich, P. (2012) Impact of e-learning in the 21st century university. In International Perspectives on Higher Education: Challenging Values and Practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012.

Pepler, G. & Andries, P. (editors), Bacsich, P., Pepler, G., Phillips, B., Öström, M., & Reynolds., S. (2012) Virtual Schools and Colleges – Providing Alternatives for Successful Learning, Volume 1. Roosbeek: ATiT, 2012. ISBN: 9789491652004.

Pepler, G. & Andries, P. (editors), Bacsich, P., Bristow, S., Camilleri, A., Op de Beeck, I., Pepler, G. & Phillips, B.(2012) Virtual Schools and Colleges – Providing Alternatives for Successful Learning, Volume 2. Roosbeek: ATiT, 2012. ISBN: 9789491652011.

Bacsich, P., Phillips, B. & Bristow, S. (2011) Learner Use of Online Educational Resources. Sheffield Hallam University: Report to JISC.

Bacsich, P. (2009) Benchmarking e-Learning in UK universities: the methodologies. Chapter 7 of Transforming Higher Education through Technology-Enhanced Learning, York: Higher Education Academy, 2009.

Mayadas, A., Bourne, J. & Bacsich, P. (2009) Online Education Today. Science 323(5910):85-9, February 2009 doi:10.1126/science.1168874

Schreurs, B. (editor), Bacsich, P., Bastiaens, T., Bristow, S., Op de Beeck, I., Reynolds, S. & Schreurs, B. (2009) Reviewing the Virtual Campus phenomenon: The Rise of Large-scale e-Learning Initiatives Worldwide. Heverlee: EuroPACE, December 2009. ISBN: 9789081148030.


Benchmarking e-learning

Benchmarked over 30 universities. Written several articles, book chapters and conference papers on the topic and many confidential reports.

Quality in e-learning

Long-standing interest since work on the Committee for Academic Quality in 2003. Worked on the EU SEQUENT project.

Market research and competitor research in e-learning

Many studies since the 1990s for universities, private providers, national/international agencies  and venture funds,  mostly confidential reports.

Alternative models of educational provision

Several EU projects and in particular a study for UNESCO

Staff development in e-learning

A long-standing and a current interest.