Life membership cannot be purchased. It is conferred upon ODLAA members who have distinguished themselves by their service over an extensive period of time to the cause of open, distance and flexible learning in Australia.

Nominations are brought forward by three members of the ODLAA community, considered by a panel, and decided at an annual general meeting.

ODLAA currently has five life members:

  • Ian Mitchell – Mitchell Open Education Consultancies
  • Bruce Scriven – BRS Consultants [awarded 1997]
  • Kevin Smith
  • Professor James Taylor – University of Southern Queensland [awarded 2001]
  • David Roberts.

Professor Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor is currently Professor in the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland. Prior to this, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Learning Services) at the University of Southern Queensland from June 2001 to January 2009.He was awarded ODLAA Life Membership at the 15th Biennial ODLAA Forum held in Sydney on 25–27 September 2001, giving public recognition to the long-term and significant contribution made to distance education and open learning in Australia.

For further information see Jim’s homepage.



Bruce Scriven

Bruce Scriven

Bruce Scriven’s association with distance education actually commenced in 1961 when he started a Diploma of Education externally from the University of New England. However, it was not until 1974 that he became involved in distance education at a professional level when he was asked to establish distance education courses to upgrade the qualifications of teachers in Queensland.Bruce attended what he thinks is regarded as the first organised meeting of Australian distance educators held at the University of New England in 1974 under the chairmanship of Kevin Smith (the first ODLAA life member) and which saw the establishment of ASPESA—the Australian and South Pacific External Studies Association and the forerunner of ODLAA.

Bruce became an active member of ASPESA, was a member of the management committee for many years and served as Secretary/Treasurer for 4 years and President for 2 years. Bruce attended every biennial forum of ASPESA (and ODLAA) up to 1996, when he retired from his position as Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology. He also attended most workshops which were sponsored by ASPESA in the years between forums.

Bruce was active in the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) and presented papers and/or acted as session chairman at every ICDE conference until 1996. He remembers being present with a few other Australians in a hotel room at one ICDE conference when the idea of an international journal devoted to distance education was first discussed. The rest is now history! Bruce was vice-president for Oceania and Australia for 4 years and Program Chair of the 16th World Conference in Bangkok in 1992.

Bruce was a member of a number of other professional associations with special interest in teacher education and the use of technology in education. In the 1980s, he undertook pioneering work in the use of teleconferencing, satellites and electronic mail to support distance learning. (This all seems so trivial nowadays when the emphasis seems to be on elearning, but then we had just moved to electric typewriters to prepare distance education materials and the internet was not even a dream!)

Bruce has undertaken consultancies and staff training in many countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Scotland and after ‘retirement’ spent 2 years as the distance education advisor for a women’s health training project in the Philippines. He now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and when he is not travelling (he has just returned from a trip through the Baltic States, Russia and Switzerland) he is most likely to be found on the golf course where, unfortunately, his handicap continues to increase with his age.

Bruce was awarded Life Membership of ODLAA in 1997.