Distance Education at Conventional Universities in Germany

  • Hans-Henning Kappel
  • Burkhard Lehmann
  • Joachim Loeper
Keywords: distance education, Germany,


Germany’s educational system has undergone a series of transformations during the last 40 years. In recent years, marked increases in enrolment have occurred. In response, admission requirements have been relaxed and new universities have been established. Academic distance education in the former Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was ushered in by the educational radio broadcasts around the end of the 1960s. Aside from the formation of the FernUniversität (Open University) in West Germany in 1975, there were significant developments in distance education occurring at the major universities in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). After German reunification in 1990, the new unitary state launched programs to advance the development of distance education programs at conventional universities. Germany’s campus-based universities (Präsenzuniversitäten) created various entities, including central units and consortia of universities to design and market distance education programs. Hybridisation provides the necessary prerequisites for dual mode delivery, such as basic and continuing education programs, as well as for the combination of distance and campus-based education (Präsenzstudium). Hybridisation also has also opened the door for the creation of new programs. Following an initial phase in which distance education research is expected to centralize a trend towards decentralisation is likely to follow. The German Association for Distance Education (AG-F) offers a viable research network in distance education. Two dual mode case studies are also be surveyed: The Master of Arts degree, offered by the University of Koblenz-Landau, with Library Science as the second major, and the University of Kaiserslautern, where basic education will continue to be captured within the domain of the Präsenzstudium or campus-based education. The area in which distance education is flourishing most is within the field of academic continuing education, where external experts and authors are broadening the horizon of the campus. Multimedia networks will comprise the third generation of distance education.

Author Biographies

Hans-Henning Kappel
Dr. Hans-Henning Kappel is currently Director of Didaktic Center, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Germany. With an academic background in German and English literature and language, education, philosophy and history, his doctorial thesis was on the art of novel writing of Ricarda Huch. Since 1974, Prof. Kappel has been working for university further education, and since 1975, he has been building and managing the Frankfurt Distance Study Centre at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. From 1995 to 1999, he was the speaker of the German Association for Distance Education at Universities. Prof. Kappel is the author of the book "Qualification and Success" (Qualifikation und Erfolg), that examines German and international education in the context of open and distance learning. Prof. Kappel's email address is: kappel@em.uni-frankfurt.de, and his Web page address is: http://rz.uni-frankfurt.de/fernstudium-weiterbildung.
Burkhard Lehmann
Dr. Burkhard Lehmann is the Managing Director of the Center for Distance Studies and Continuing Education at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. Prof. Lehmann also lectures at several other German universities, including the University of Heidelberg, University of Bochum, and the University of Bremen. He is the author of several articles.
Joachim Loeper
Dr. Joachim Loeper teaches geographic and environmental sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany. Since 1991, he has been the Director of the Centre for Distance and Continuing Education at the University of Koblenz-Landau. He also developed the first the continuing distance education diploma course for the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, titled "Environmental Sciences." Prof. Loeper is currently a Board Member with the German Association for University Adult Education and is the Chair of the German Association for Distance Education. In these functions, Prof. Loeper works closely with other European continuing education networks, and is responsible for the German segment of comparative analysis of European University Continuing Education in the European SOCRATES Programme (THENUCE). Together with Professor Leal Filho from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, Prof. Loeper and his team worked on the European Union's Leonardo project "Careers in Engineering," a project that documents the experiences useful to those involved with curriculum development, curriculum planning, and other aspects related to environmental education.
How to Cite
Kappel, H.-H., Lehmann, B., & Loeper, J. (2002). Distance Education at Conventional Universities in Germany. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v2i2.62
Research Articles