Skip To Content

Athabasca University

News and Announcements

Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes nominated for SSHRC Insight Award for Research on Open and Distributed Learning |
June 14, 2017

The Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University is proud to recognize our Chair and professor, Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes, as a nominee for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Award. The SSHRC Insight Award acknowledges outstanding researchers and their significant contributions to knowledge mobilization and understanding in the social sciences and humanities.

Dr. Cleveland-Innes is a renowned international scholar in open and distance/distributed learning whose work led to the creation of diverse Communities of Inquiry (CoI) and massive open online courses (MOOCs) for online teachers and learners across the globe. Her research and profound insights into the transitional roles of teachers and learners during institutional/systemic/technological changes has instigated further exploration and a deeper understanding of how higher education is conceived and integrated in open, online learning environments. Furthermore, Dr. Cleveland-Innes’ research delves into the complex relationships and experiences between teachers and learners within online communities— in particular, the impact of cognitive, social, emotional and teaching presence in distributed online environments.

Previously, Dr. Cleveland-Innes has been awarded several SSHRC grants including the SSHRC Insight Grants for Higher Order Learning in Online Communities of Inquiry: Identifying Required Student Adjustment to Cognitive, Social and Teaching Presence (2004-2007), and Faculty Perspectives on Teaching with New Technology (2011-2015). Her ongoing work has significant impact on research involving open/distance learning and education innovation.

Warmest congratulations and best of luck to Marti!

Education Innovation and Research Symposium |
May 22, 2017

To further recognize the achievements of our graduates, we are holding an Education Innovation and Research Symposium one day prior to convocation.  This symposium will include a keynote from Mohamed Ally and Michael Moore, and will showcase the research and reflection pieces of MEd and EdD students. More information is available on the EIRS website.

Attendance to EIRS can be either as a presenter of your eportfolio reflection pieces/thesis research, or you can attend to enjoy collaborating with the faculty and students from the CDE.  There will be a meet and greet on Tuesday night and a catered lunch and dinner on Wednesday so there will be many opportunities to network with your peers!

The deadline to submit your abstract has been extended to May 26th.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Revised Book: An Introduction to Distance Education |
February 8, 2017

CDE faculty Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes and Dr. D. Randy Garrison will be releasing the second edition of the book, An introduction to distance education: Understanding teaching and learning in a new era.

The impetus for revising the content for this book on Teaching and Learning in a New Era is that distance education is now a major player in the revision of education broadly. Higher education is facing multiple demands for change where distance education, as an alternative pedagogical and delivery approach, can be considered in the response to some of these demands. For example, distance education, appropriately designed and delivered, is the closest we can come to completing the iron triangle of education where all three elements of access, affordability, and quality can operate in tandem. For more information, click here.

Our Centre

The Centre's core faculty consists of nine academics and researchers, including a UNESCO/COL Research Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER) and a number of other internationally recognized scholars in the field of distance education. The Centre is also home to the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research (CIDER), which publishes , The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) an online journal.

All Centre for Distance Education programs offer:

  • Personal, individualized support
  • Leading-edge technology
  • Constructivist learning approaches
  • Excellence in distance education methods
  • Opportunities for collaborative research, and
  • Opportunities for community-building and networking

The Centre is proud to take education to the people, serving thousands of students in countries world-wide.


AU is a publicly funded institution in the Province of Alberta and reports to the government through the Minister of Advanced Education. Under the authority of the Post-secondary Learning Act, the Athabasca University Governing Council can grant degrees and govern our own affairs. Members of Governing Council are appointed under Orders in Council of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

Athabasca University is the first Canadian university to be awarded accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). More details about accreditation in the U.S.A. are available.

More information about Accreditation may be found on the main AU website.

CDE Events

Canada School of Public Service Jobs [MEd Distance Education Graduates]

The Canada School of Public Service is looking for new talent to join the Learning Programs team. If you are a recent graduate of the MEd in Distance Education or EdD program, consider applying for the following positions: Learning Designer or Senior Learning Designer. Job Posting closing date is July 4, 2017.


CIDER Sessions Archived

Canadian Initiative for Distance Education Research (CIDER) has made available a recorded presentation by Md Aktaruzzaman entitled “A Socio-technological Approach of Addressing Distance Education Issues in Developing and Developed Countries.” Session available here.


Featured Courses

Learning to Learn Online MOOC Course

Course runs March 6 to April 9

Get learning online in no time!

Learn how online education differs from traditional classrooms while you explore and develop your own personal strategies for online learning success. You will be guided through an interactive investigation and self-reflection process to help you determine your learning preferences and create your own personal strategy for successful online learning. We will address common misconceptions, frustrations and fears about online learning and introduce techniques to help overcome such obstacles. Various models of online courses will be explored as well as the concept of a "personal learning space."

For more information about the AU-MOOC initiative, visit

To register in this free MOOC, visit

See more AU Massive Open Online
Courses (MOOCs) here.

Teacher Professional Learning

Blended and Online Learning and Teaching BOLT

Athabasca University, Canada’s leader in online post-secondary education, through the Centre for Distance Education (CDE) and the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC), the premier distance learning partner for primary and secondary education in Alberta, are excited to present an innovative module offering for the professional development of practicing teachers.

Nine - four week modules are the equivalent to the study of three graduate courses, and each of the nine modules is tailored to allow completion within a four week period. BOLT participants gain professional knowledge, building on and extending the art and craft of teaching in the digital world.

BOLT Module Descriptions
BOLT Calendar of Module Offerings



AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.