The European quality benchmark for online, open and flexible education

Team of reviewers 

Jo Boon (Open Universiteit Nederland)

Jo Boon is a educational technologist, since 1983 working at the Open University of the Netherlands. Currently at CELSTEC: Centre  for Learning Sciences and Technologies. She has skills in educational technology and expertise in quality systems, evaluation and  auditing. Jo Boon is a member of the steering committee on Quality of the OUNL. 

Working for the E-xcellence project since the start of the project . Team member in the pilot studies in Estonia (Tallin, 2006) and Italy (Nettuno, Rome 2006). Member of the review team of the Local seminars in Belgium (Leuven, 2009), Switzerland (Bern, 2009), and  Russia (Moscow, 2009).

Karen KearKaren Kear (Open University United Kingdom)

Karen Kear is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications, Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology at The Open University (UK). She develops and presents courses in IT and Computing, specialising in the social aspects of these subjects, and carries out research in online learning.
Karen studied physics at Clare College, Cambridge. After graduating in 1980, she worked as a theoretical physicist for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. She then moved from physics into software, developing graphics packages for BP Exploration. She joined the Open University in 1994, as a software designer in the Educational Software Group. She moved to the Open University's (then) Faculty of Technology in 1996 as a Lecturer in Telematics. 

Pekka Kess (Oulu University)

Pekka Kess is professor of Industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Oulu, Finland since 1994. he has been working with ICT systems in connection to manufacturing, logistics, education and many other aspects of organizations since 1976.  His research interests include strategic management, quality management and knowledge management. He has published over 100 scientific articles in these areas and he has been invited several times to give key-note presentations in international conferences about e-Learning and Virtual Universities. 

He has been working for the E-xcellence project from the very beginning in 2005.  He has been a member of the core team with responsibility of some work packages of the project. 

Miguel Santamaria UNED

Miguel Santamaría Lancho (UNED)

Miguel Santamaría is a Professor of Economic History at Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). Since 1997 he has held several management positions closely linked to the use of technology for learning enhancement and quality assurance. From 2005 to 2013, he served as a Vice Chancellor for Quality and Teaching Innovation and implemented several quality programs such as AUDIT (internal quality assurance system), DOCENTIA (teaching evaluation system), VERIFICA (quality program for degree and master proposals), and MONITOR (quality program for follow-up degree and master programs).

During this time he became involved in the E-xcellence project and participated in the Local seminar of UNED as coordinator of the internal team.

In addition to his management positions at UNED, he has offered e-learning consulting services at several Latin American universities and international organizations such as OAS and IDB.

Harvey Mellar

Harvey Mellar (UCL Institute of Education, University College London)

Harvey Mellar is Emeritus Reader in Technology Enhanced Learning at the UCL Institute of Education. He worked at the Institute of Education from 1986 to 2010, the last ten years as Head of the Learning Technologies Unit in which role he coordinated the implementation of e-learning across the Institute, and worked closely with the University of London International Programmes. He has carried out research and development activities in a number of aspects of Technology Enhanced Learning including computer based modelling, the use of e-learning with adult Skills for Life learners, pedagogic design patterns, formative e-assessment, and quality assurance of e-learning. He directed a project for the UK Higher Education Academy on Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement in e-learning which led to the formation of the QA-QE in e-learning SIG. Since retiring from full time work at the Institute of Education he has worked on a range of EU funded projects, and has acted as a consultant for a several Higher Education Institutions on the quality assurance of e-learning and distance education courses.

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl2

Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl (DCU)

Dr. Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl is a Lecturer and Digital Researcher in Dublin City University, Ireland. Over the last decade Mairéad has played key leadership roles in national and European Research Projects centering on the use of ICT for learning and within the university as an Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning. Mairéad is currently a Fulbright TechImpact Scholar and she is currently researching the area of Massive Open Online Courses for Languages at the Center for the Study for Languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame. Mairéad is a member of the National Institute for Digital Learning, DCU and she is a former member of the Ireland’s National Council’s for Curriculum and Assessment ICT committee.

Ebba Ossiannilsson

Ebba Ossianilsson (QOOL)

Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson, The Swedish Association for Distance Education, and Ossiannilsson Quality in Open Online Learning (QOOL) Consultancy.
Ossiannilsson, is an e-learning, OER and MOOC expert, working on quality assurance and quality enhancement at policy and strategic level on open online learning, which is her research areas. She has a long career at Lund University, Sweden but also at national level. Ossiannilssons dissertation in 2012 at Oulu University in Finland was on Benchmarking e-learning in higher education: Lessons learned through international projects. The research was on quality models in Europe and benchmarking as a model for quality enhancement, E-xcellence was used as one example in the research.
Ossiannilsson coordinated the E-xcellence project in 2008-2009 at Lund University. She was responsible from Lund University for the ESMU/EADTU e-learning benchmarking exercise involving nine universites in 2009, and even the First Dual Mode project on quality in online learning. Ossiannilsson has worked with several national universities on e-xcellence.
Ossiannilsson was research leader for the Global overview of quality in online and open education. State of the art and recommendations by ICDE. She was the Evaluator for the SEQUENT project. Both co-ordinated by EADTU. She work with the EC WG on Digital Online Learning, and with IPTS and OpenEDU. Ossiannilsson has a comprehensive publication list, and is frequently invited to give key-note presentations at international. Currently she is among the ones responsible for the updating of the E-xcellence Manual.

Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua (UNED)


Ángeles Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua (UNED) is Ph.D in Psychology and lecturer in the Faculty of Psychology since 1993, at undergraduate and graduate level. She was Deputy Director of the Institute of Distance Education (IUED) 2001-2004 and IUED Director 2004-2013. As IUED Director, she has been actively involved with the methodological implementation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), designing quality assessment procedures for didactic materials, training programs for academic staff, the Online Induction Program for new students, and developing several research nets on distance education innovation, among other institutional activities. Also, she has been director of the last nine editions of the Distance Education Ibero-American Course.
In 2008 she was awarded by the OCW MEC-Universia initiative and in 2012 she coordinated the MOOC Ibervirtual COMA: Basic Digital Skills, (first Latin-American MOOC), She has participated at the Horizon report “Technology Outlook for Latin American Higher Education 2013 to 2018”, and was member of the UNED team involved in the local seminar for the E-xcellence label, being chair of the Student Support field (EMPOWER project) at present.

Covadonga Rodrigo (UNED)

Covadonga Rodrigo obtained her Ph. D. In Telecommunications Engineering degree in 1999 from the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid (UPM). Since 1998 she has held different teaching and management positions at the university level, currently being Assistant Vice Chancellor for Applied Technologies to Associated Centres and Associate Professor at the Languages and Information Systems Department at UNED.

She has researched on various topics related to the assessment and development of high quality product and systems for distance learning. For the past few years her research interests have centered on achieving accessibility and usability aspects in the whole life cycle of the eLearning delivery.

Jon RosewellJon Rosewell (Open University United Kingdom) 

Jon Rosewell is an expert in QA in e-learning and main contributor to the OpenupEd QA in MOOC label. He holds an MA from Cambridge, PGCE from Oxford, PhD from Leeds and a BSc from the Open University. He has worked recently in quality assurance of e-learning with the E-xcellence project and recently adapted this work for quality assurance of OpenupEd MOOCs. His research interests include e-learning and assessment, informal learning and citizen science.  

Foto George

George Ubachs (EADTU)

George Ubachs is Managing Director at the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU). He is coordinator of the E-xcellence project and the E-xcellence Associates in Quality initiative.  George Ubachs was involved from the start as coordinator of the project E-xcellence (2005-2006) and the project E-xcellence+ (2008-2009).

George Ubachs was involved as a reviewer in the Local seminars of UNED (Madrid), OUNL (Heerlen), Uninettuno (Rome) and KU-Leuven.  He also organised the European seminar on QA in e-learning in Madrid (June 2008) for universities and QA-agencies and gave several (keynote) presentations on E-xcellence and its results at conferences all over Europe and beyond.

André Vyt (University of Gent)

Dr. Andre Vyt is associate professor at the Artevelde University College and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Ghent (Belgium). He is an expert in quality management, innovation, and research in teaching & learning. He has delivered services for organizations like EURASHE, EADTU, AEQES, and ENQA. He is founding partner and creator of the PROSE Online System (, certified EFQM assessor and C2E validator, and independent expert via AQARTO Agency for Quality Management Assistance, Auditing & Assessment ( He has held positions as vice-chairman of the working group on quality management of the Flemish Higher Education Institutions Council, Head of QA, Head of T&L Support, and Head of R&D. Andre Vyt has managed several innovation projects in teaching, learning & assessment, and has participated as an expert for more than 25 national and international auditing visits in higher education programmes ( programmes.

Keith Williams (Open University United Kingdom)

Keith Williams has had a long career at the Open University, he served as Dean of its Technology Faculty (6 yrs) and in roles in Open University Worldwide, and Centre for Professional Learning and Development. He worked for the British Council as Director of Distance Learning during a 3 year sabbatical. He has longstanding interests in e-learning (since the early 80s), quality assurance and lifelong learning policy. He is currently working on projects to provide flexible learning to professionals employed in techically based industries.

Working for the E-xcellence project since its inception.  He was a member of the review team for the Local seminars in Czech Republic (Hradec Kralove 2008); UK (London 2009) and Finland (Oulu 2009), he participated in trialling the full assessment methodology in Sweden ( Lund 2009) and Netherlands (OUNL 2009).  He was lead consultant in the ESMU/EADTU e-learning benchmarking exercise involving 9 univerisites ( Denmark 2009).