Staff profile

Professor Paul Bacsich

Visiting Professor at the University of Derby Online Learning


University of Derby Online Learning


I am a consultant in online learning (e-learning, including distance learning and open learning) with over 30 years’ experience. Since 1996 I have been a Professor, Director and Consultant.  I have 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.

I have 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.

I am currently Managing Director of Matic Media Ltd and a Senior Associate with Sero Consulting Ltd. I am 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).

I have 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 I was Professor of Telematics at Sheffield Hallam University where I 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 I became a full-time consultant.

During the period 2005-11 I 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). I was also Visiting Professor to the Global Campus at Middlesex University and took part in EU studies on virtual universities and virtual schools (a project which I led).

I 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 I have 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. I am also working with a number of alternative providers, mainly on market research and pricing issues.

Currently I am 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.

Professional interests

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.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent publications