Tony Bates is President and CEO of Tony Bates Associates Ltd, a private company specializing in consultancy and training in the planning and management of e-learning and distance education. The company was started in 2003, and since then has served over 50 clients in 30 countries.
Recent contracts include work for the U.K. Open University, the Council of Ontario Universities, and for many Canadian colleges and universities, advising on their e-learning strategies. He has been a Research Associate with Contact North since 2007.
He has been Chair of the International Experts Panel for the Open University of Portugal, advisor to the Universidad de Guadalajara’s Maestría en Tecnologías para el Aprendizaje (Mexico) and to Universidad Tecnologica Metropolitana’s Magíster en Educación a Distancia (Chile). He was also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on Technology and Education between 2008-2009.
He was part-time Chair of Research in e-Learning at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain between 2003-2006, and was on the Academic Advisory Board of the Volkswagen AutoUni, based in Germany, 2003 -2007. From May 2004 to September 2005, he was part-time Cisco Systems Chair of e-Learning at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, where he led a strategic planning process for e-learning throughout the Institute.
He was Director of Distance Education and Technology in the Continuing Studies Division of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada from 1995 to 2003 and also Research Team Leader of MAPLE, the Centre for Research into Managing and Planning Learning Environments in Education at UBC. While at UBC, he was instrumental in setting up, initially in partnership with Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, UBC’s fully online Master in Educational Technology, which has been running successfully since 2002.
From 1990 to 1995, he was Executive Director, Research, Strategic Planning, and Information Technology at the Open Learning Agency of British Columbia.
Prior to that, he was Professor of Educational Media Research at the British Open University, where he worked for 20 years as one of the founding members of staff.
He is the author of eleven books, including his latest, ‘Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning‘, co-authored with Albert Sangrà of the Open University of Catalonia, and published by Jossey-Bass/John Wiley in 2011. ‘Technology, e-Learning and Distance Education‘ was published in 2005 by Routledge. Other books include ‘Managing Technological Change: Strategies for College and Universities Leaders‘, and (with Gary Poole) ‘Effective Teaching with Technology in Higher Education‘, both published by Jossey-Bass, and ‘National Strategies for e-Learning‘ published by UNESCO. His latest book, Teaching in a Digital Age, is in production and available online as an open textbook.
His research groups at the UKOU, OLA and UBC published over 350 papers in the area of distance education and the use of technology for teaching. He has been on the editorial board of six journals specializing in distance education and educational technology.
He has worked as a consultant in over 40 countries. Clients include the World Bank, OECD, UNESCO, national ministries of education, and several U.S. state higher education commissions as well as many universities and colleges.
Until recently, he was very much in demand as a conference speaker globally, but on reaching the age of 75 in 2014, he has reduced dramatically his contract work and long distance travel.
His web site ‘E-learning and distance education resources‘ has over 2,000 posts, over 3,000 ‘followers’, and receives up to 30,000 visits a month.
He has a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of London, England. He was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the Open University of Portugal in 1995, Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa, from Laurentian University, Canada, in 2001, Doctor Honoris Causa from Athabasca University, in June 2004, Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa from the Open University of Hong Kong in December 2004, and Doctor Honoris Causa from the Open University of Catalonia, Spain, in June, 2005.
His hobbies include golf, skiing and flying a small plane. He is married, with two sons, three grandsons and a grand-daughter.
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