Honorary COL Chairs

COL’s academic presence in the field of open and distance learning is enhanced through a network of Honorary Chairs. Distinguished serving academics in some Commonwealth open universities/ higher education institutions/ polytechnics are designated by COL as Honorary Chairs with a national or regional remit to co-operate with national agencies and educational institutions in conducting studies, surveys, research and training on open and distance learning (ODL) and technology-mediated education at all levels. Their focus may be on ODL in general or with a specific focus on open educational resources (OER). They represent the academic face of COL and complement the role of the Focal Points.

Chairs are honorary positions and may be implemented in collaboration with UNESCO, which also operates a Chairs Programme across a range of disciplines.  Although serving in an honorary capacity, appointed Chairs may apply to COL for occasional funding for programme and capacity-building activities in the areas of COL’s mandate. 

Terms of Reference

  • To carry out research and innovation activities on the current status and emerging trends in ODL, OER and technology-enabled learning at all levels, in cooperation with universities, other educational institutions and national agencies; 
  • To develop a database on best practices in ODL and OER for sharing with all COL stakeholders; 
  • To promote and strengthen regional cooperation by creating an environment to facilitate and sustain the sharing of intellectual and physical resources (course materials, delivery systems and networking) for promoting the use of ODL, OER and technology-enabled learning; 
  • To create, develop and strengthen mechanisms at the regional level for consultation, collaboration and joint initiatives in the use of ODL, OER and relevant technologies in cooperation with stakeholders; 
  • To carry out studies and research on the impact of ODL and the initiatives undertaken by COL, in enhancing opportunities for, and access to, education and training. 

Honorary COL Chairs

Athabasca University, Canada
Chair Holder: Dr Rory McGreal

Open University of Tanzania
Chair Holder: Professor Tolly Mbwette

Otago Polytechnic New Zealand
Chair Holder: Dr Robin Day

University of Malta
Chair Holder: Professor Colla MacDonald

University of the West Indies, Open Campus Barbados
Chair Holder: Dr. Joel Warrican

COL Advisors

In addition to the network above, COL has also established a network of advisors that can be used to invite eminent professionals across the Commonwealth to serve in an advisory and ambassadorial role for COL and to provide expertise in ODL, OER and development. COL is in the process of renewing and strengthening this network.