John Butcher was invited to present the keynote lecture at the Catholic University of Brasilia’s symposium ‘Global Perspectives in Distance Learning Education’ celebrating 20 years of distance education.  He spoke to an audience of 300 academics (and 700 watching globally online) from the ‘Catolica Virtual’, a network of the Catholic universities across the whole of Brazil and countries with significant Brazilian populations. There was much interest in the pioneering work of the OU, and John later took part in a panel discussion sharing OU perspectives on support for disabled students and offender learners, the challenge of retention in distance education and the need for flexibility in assessment. He has been invited by colleagues from the National University in Brasilia to write a book chapter on retention in distance education.


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