Master of Distance Education (MDE)

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (mult.) Otto Peters

Otto Peters is Professor Emeritus at the FernUniversitaet in Hagen, Germany. He was born in 1926 in Berlin. He studied Education, Psychology and Philosophy at the Humboldt Universität and the Freie Universität  (Free University) in Berlin and earned his doctorate at the University of Tübingen. He has been active in describing and interpreting distance education since 1965 for purely academic reasons, first at the Educational Centre in Berlin, then at the German Institute for Distance Education Research at the University of Tübingen and as Professor of Education in Berlin. 1975 he became the Founding Rector of the FernUniversität in Hagen and served in this function for nearly ten years. After this he devoted his time exclusively to distance education research. He visited many distance teaching institutions on all continents and wrote a number of books, the latest ones are Learning and Teaching in Distance Education (Kogan Page, 1998) and Distance Education in Transition (BIS-Verlag der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, 2004, fifth edition in 2009).

A recent collection of articles deals with the following subjects: "Learning with new media in distance education", "Transformation through open universities", "The contribution of open and distance learning to lifelong learning", "A plea for the oral dialogue in online learning", "How the computer of the future could change teaching and learning", "The most industrialized form of education - revisited" and "The transition of the university into an institution of self-learning". These contributions have been published in international handbooks of distance education and continuing education.

Otto Peters has served for eight years as Vice-President of the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE). He has received four honorary doctor's degrees (Open University, UK; Deakin University, Australia; Empire State College, New York;  Open Universities Hong Kong). In 1999 he was awarded the ICDE-Prize of Excellence to recognize the impact of his international contributions. In 2008 he was elected as a member of the Hall of Fame for Adult Education. He received the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany for his international activities.

Since 1991 he is professor emeritus at the FernUniversität and is continuing his work by dealing mainly with pedagogical problems of distance education.


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (mult.) Otto Peters

Professor Emeritus
FernUniversität Hagen
E-mail: otto.peters(at)