‘Open and distance e-learning’ (ODeL) is a term coined by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) to refer to the convergence of an open learning philosophy, distance education pedagogies, and e-learning technologies.

Open learning is a learner-centered philosophy: it recognizes the importance of learner control over the time, place and pace of study. This philosophy animates distance education, which aims to make education and lifelong learning opportunities accessible to learners everywhere, especially those whose circumstances prevent them from availing themselves of conventional education provision. e-Learning, on the other hand, refers to learning that is facilitated or supported by the new information and communications technology (ICT). Today e-learning is provided by both conventional universities, through what is called ‘blended learning’, and distance education universities that engage in online distance education or online learning, as well as by training institutes, alternative education providers, and learning organizations.

ICODeL, the biennial international conference series on ODeL, was launched on 22-24 February 2012 in Manila, Philippines. That inaugural conference, called ICODeL2012, provided a forum for distance education and e-learning scholars, practitioners and policymakers to share and reflect on experiences, and collaboratively create and explore spaces and possibilities for ODeL for development.