This book exists because of an initiative by the Commonwealth of Learning which has funded its development and provided invaluable support as it has taken shape. Without this, the series, of which this is the first volume, would not have happened. Beyond that, we are grateful for the personal interest taken in the plans for the series, including this volume, by Gajaraj Dhanarajan, President of the Commonwealth of Learning. We are also glad to acknowledge the advice on its planning provided by an international editorial advisory group, chaired by Maureen O’Neil, President of the International Development Research Centre of Canada, who are guiding the Commonwealth of Learning on the development of the series.
The book has benefited from advice and comments from many friends and colleagues notably in the Commonwealth of Learning and the International Research Foundation for Open Learning. Alan Tait of the British Open University helped us in the planning stages. Thaiquan Lieu of the International Centre for Distance Learning has provided invaluable support in tracking literature for us.
Part of chapter 3, by Robin Mason, is based on material prepared for her book Globalising education: trends and applications, published by Routledge in 1998. The figures in chapter 3 are based on work done at the Knowledge Media Institute of the Open University by Peter Scott, Tony Seminara, Mike Wright, Mike Lewis, Andy Rix and Marc Eisenstadt and we are grateful for permission to reproduce them. We acknowledge the support of the European Commission which funded work by the International Research Foundation for Open Learning reported in chapter 6. The Open University has kindly allowed us to use material by Greville Rumble in chapter 9, some of which appeared in a different format in the journal Open Learning. We are indebted to the European Commission for material on its programmes included in chapter 10.
We have a particular debt to Honor Carter, Secretary to the International Research Foundation for Open Learning, who managed the whole process of putting the book together with diligence, calm, efficiency and long hours, made worse by a last rush during the school holidays.