The Shanghai Television University – one of the largest distance teaching institutions in China – has selected eight classic distance edcuation texts for translation and publication in Chinese. The translations have been done by leading Chinese distance educators. The eight selected books are:

Keegan, D. (1996) Foundations of Distance Education London/New York: Routledge, translated by Ding Xin

Bates, A. (2005) Technology, e-Learning and Distance Education London/New York: Routledge, translated by Zhu Zhiting

Moore, M. and Kearsley, G. (2005). Distance Education: A Systems View Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Daniel, J. (1996) Mega-universities and Knowledge Media London/New York: Routledge, translated by Ding Xingfu

Peters, O. (2004) Distance education in transition Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg, translated by Ding Xingfu

Anderson, T. and Garrison, R. (2002) E-Learning in the 21st Century -A Framework for Research and Practice London/New York: Routledge, translated by Ding Xing

UNESCO (2002) Open and Distance Learning: Trends, Policy and Strategy Paris: UNESCO, translated by Wang Yibing

Panda, S. (2003) Planning and Management in Distance Education London/New York: Routledge, translated by Du Yachen

Although I would not challenge Shanhai TV University’s impeccable taste, at least with regard to one of the chosen books, you may have a different view on what are the best books on distance education. If so, please send me your suggestions for inclusion in the distance education ‘classic’ books list.


  1. This is great, but I’d love for the stream to go the other way once in a while… China has an incredibly rich heritage of distance education itself, as I am finding when I am travelling around meeting a number of top national research institutes that specialize in distance education – the same is the case in the study of teaching and learning at university level, which is much stronger in China than in the US…

    Where is the US institution that is going to step forward and translate and publish the 8 classic works of distance education from Chinese? Where is the university – which is so happy about having it’s open courseware translated into Portuguese, French and Chinese – that will step forward and translate some of the high quality Chinese OpenCourseWare available – chosen by national contest as the best courses available, in all subjects?

    Communication is a two-way affair…:)


  2. Great comment, Stian.

    In response, here’s a Chinese book on distance education translated into English, which I will be reviewing shortly:

    Wei Rungfan (2008) China’s Radio and TV Universities and the British Open University Nanjing: Yilin Press

    I hope other people can recommend other Chinese publications on distance education or e-learning

    Tony Bates


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