The University of Edinburgh launched the Distance Education Initiative (DEI) in November 2010. This Initiative aims to substantially increase Online Distance Learning at the University. 

The Colleges and Schools of the University will be assisted to develop new online programmes or to expand existing Online Distance Learning provision. The DEI was led by Professor Jeff Haywood, Vice Principal of Knowledge Management (2010-2015) and by Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning (2016).

The DEI has been allocated funding of £4.5 million to develop programmes and support services over a five year period. The vast majority of this funding will be awarded to Schools to enable the development of new postgraduate online distance learning programmes (CPD > MSc). A further £500,000 has been allocated to support development of 3-4 final projects in 2016, which now marks the official end of the DEI and IS involvement.

The DEI had two strategic aims: to achieve 10,000 fully online students by 2020, and to achieve one fully online programme in every School across the University.


Melissa Highton

Amy Woodgate

Jeff Haywood

Libby McCue

Nuria Fraile

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