Institut für Bildungswissenschaft und Medienforschung

Prof. em. Dr. phil. Dr. h. c. mult. Otto Peters

Prof. em. Dr. phil. Dr. h. c. mult. Otto PetersOtto Peters is Professor emeritus of the FernUniversität (Distance Teaching University) in Germany. For 10 years he had been its Founding Rector, and for 17 years he held a chair in a discipline called, “Methodology of Distance Teaching” in the same institution. In this capacity he conducted an extensive research project: University Study for Persons who have to Work for a Living” (‘Studium neben dem Beruf’). From 1969 – 1974 he was engaged in comparative distance teaching research at the German Institute for Distance Education at the University of Tübingen.

His main books include:

1965 Der Fernunterricht (“Distance Education”). Weinheim: Beltz
1973 Die didaktische Struktur des Fernunterrichts (“The Pedagogical Structure of Distance Education”). Weinheim: Beltz
1976 Die FernUniversität: Das Erste Jahr (“FernUniversität the First Year”).
Hagen: von der Linepe 1981 Die FernUniversität im Fünften Jahr
(“FernUniversität in its Fifth Year”). Köln: v.d.g.s.1994
1994 Otto Peters on Distance Education. Edited by Desmond Keegan. London: Routledge.
1998  Learning and Teaching in Distance Education. London: Kogan Page.

2002 Distance Education in Transition. Oldenburg (Germany) Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg. Fourth edition 2004. Translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

Biographical Notes

Otto Peters was born on May 6th, 1926 in Berlin, Germany. From 1932 to 1940 he attended schools in this town and from 1940 to 1944 a teacher training institution in Neustadt (West Prussia).

After the war he started teaching schools in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In 1947 he enrolled at the Humboldt-University of Berlin in order to study history, English, philosophy, psychology and pedagogy.

In 1953 he visited the United States in an exchange programme and stayed there for seven months, including one semester at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After this he continued school teaching in Berlin-Kreuzberg and studying at the Free University in Berlin, where he graduated in 1960.

In 1963 he was appointed Secretary to the Educational Centre of Berlin which was being founded at that time. Later, he became deputy director of its department for the methodology of teaching. In this capacity he wrote several books on distance education.

In 1969 he was invited to join the German Institute for Distance Study at the University of Tübingen. At this institute he was in charge of the division of Comparative Distance Education and also responsible for the training of the scientific personnel. At the same time he did post-graduate work at the University of Tübingen and earned a doctor’s degree in 1972. His thesis dealt with distance education, especially with its anthropological, sociological and historical meaning.

In 1974 he became Professor of Education in Berlin. One year later I became Professor of Education at the newly established FernUniversität in Hagen and was appointed Founding Rector of this institution. For nearly ten years he was responsible for ti development of this institution which by now is catering for 55,000 students.

While he was Rector of the FernUniversität he had the chance to travel widely in order to study systems of distance education in other countries, e.g. in Argentina, USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Holland, Austria, Japan, Thailand, India, China and South Africa.

Otto Peters received four honorary doctor’s degrees (Open University, England, Deakin University, Australia, University of New York, N.Y., and Open University of Hong Kong). For eight years he served as Vice-President of the International Council for Open and Distance Education. In 1999 he received the International Council for Open und Distance Education Prize of Excellence.

Since 1991 he is professor emeritus at the FernUniversität dealing with problems of the methodology of distance education.