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Staff and Associates > Paul Bacsich > biography


Experience of  the UK education sector

Paul’s experience of the UK university system includes: posts at the University of Oxford, the Open University (most recently in KMI) and Sheffield Hallam University; a current visiting professor post at Middlesex University, consultancy for the Universities of Leicester, Lincoln, and Manchester and for the Worldwide Universities Network; and external examiner/validation roles at Lincoln, Middlesex, Oxford, and the OU. He has also consulted on several occasions each for HEFCE, the Higher Education Academy, and DfES. Several of these studies and those for JISC involved detailed confidential analyses of HEIs, including on Costs of Networked Learning. Currently he is a member of the consultant team for the Higher Education Academy, handling benchmarking e-learning at four HEIs (Chester, Leicester, Manchester, and Staffordshire) under this joint HEA-JISC programme. This all gives him wide experience across the HE sector in e-learning. He has a strong background in IT and networking, yet much of his research is focussed in the education area, giving him good breadth suitable for this assignment.

As regards the college system, Paul directed the TLTR Sheffield project which assisted and studied the implementation of “Round Tables” (for change management in e-learning) at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and The Sheffield College. One of his later costings projects for JISC also had a college case study. For some years he was the SHU delegate on the Sheffield e-Learning Forum chaired by the Principal of The Sheffield College. Paul also directed the first two phases of the evaluation work on the NLN (National Learning Network for English FE Colleges) under the direction of LSDA, with whom he worked closely. Paul’s team also analysed for DfES the emerging Adult and Community Learning Sector, and they believe that their reports were instrumental in changing opinion of the ICT needs of this sector. (Paul had earlier served on the technology subgroup of the Fryer Group – National Advisory Group on Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning.) In terms of Ufi, Paul has been an advisor to Ufi and later worked on the benchmarking project on Ufi that DfES commissioned from Ecotec; he also was overall editor of a still-confidential report to DfES on “College Online” which proposed a consortium-based complementary provider to Ufi.

Paul also has experience of overseas universities, which allow him to gain a useful perspective on the UK university scene. He has consulted for Hong Kong Polytechnic on their evaluation work, funded by the Hong Kong government, on the use of ICT in Hong Kong schools and has been an assessor of Canadian e-learning programmes for their equivalent of EPSRC. He has been a visiting research fellow at Deakin University in Australia, and at the University of Sao Paulo School of the Future, and has advised several other universities in Australia including the University of Sydney on two occasions. He has recently been appointed External Examiner for the Arab Open University.

Many of these projects and assignments have generated authoritative reports.

Experience of UK governmental agencies active in e-learning


Paul has extensive involvement with various JISC subcommittees and task groups, specifically:

He has also carried out consultancy for JISC TechLearn (a report on broadband, later published, and one on wireless, the latter as an internal briefing document for a JISC study trip).

Higher Education Academy

Paul is undertaking or has undertaken several contracts for the Higher Education Academy – two on benchmarking, one on publishing UKeU report material and a series of four on the UKeU archives.


Paul has had considerable involvement with HEFCE, from the early “e-University” studies through the Committee on Pedagogy to the publication (after UKeU had ceased) of the e-University Compendium.


Paul has also worked on several DfES contracts, none with public outcomes.

Experience of the e-learning industry

Paul’s experience of the e-learning industry comes from four main areas: (a) as an employee; (b) as a consultant; (c) as a researcher analysing industry and (d) as a liaison person in university-industry contracts and associations.

(a) Paul was an employee of the Education and Training Division of ICL (now part of Fujitsu) for two years in the late 1970s. He was also non-executive director of an IT-based start-up in the 1980s.

(b) Paul has consulted for a number of companies active in e-learning; better-known ones include FD Learning, WebCT, Cambridge Training and Development, Sun Microsystems, and Microsoft. Activities included Due Diligence studies (strictly confidential) as well as ICT reports. He has also consulted on e-learning for Reuters and PWC.

(c) Paul has directed and carried out a number of small and large studies and procurement exercises of the e-learning and ICT industry in the past. Ignoring several before 1990 these include:

(d) Paul has extensive experience of university-industry liaison gained from a range of projects:

Out of all this work he has made many contacts in the ICT industry up to and including CEOs and chairmen. He also has many contacts who used to work for major ICT suppliers.