Resource Centre

The Saide Resource Centre was established in 1994. This was in response to one of the findings of the Launching Conference of the South African Institute of Distance Education which saw one of the main roles of Saide as acting as a resource centre to provide information and data on distance education materials, programmes and courseware; to provide up-to-date information on distance education agencies and institutions and information on expertise in distance education. Over the past 15 years the Resource Centre has continually strived to meet these needs expressed at the 1992 Launch Conference and in becoming an indispensable support to Saide staff and much admired resource by all who come into contact with it. More recently, the focus of the Resource Centre has shifted more to the specialized services of sifting and disseminating digital information relevant to our projects and interested communities. Read more about this in the section on Information Services.

The Resource Centre proactively collects the following types of materials:

Distance Education Literature:

This literature consists of books and courseware to support the professional development of distance educators and covers all aspects of distance education such as the theory, policy, sociology and development of distance education; areas and levels of application of distance education; preparatory, subject and vocational aspects; student psychology, motivation and characteristics; student administration and support; course/curriculum development & management; teaching materials, resources, media and schools ( this includes information on technology-enhanced learning); and finally information on institutions, staff and management of distance education.

Distance Education Courseware:

Over the years Saide has collected examples of distance education courseware from both South Africa and internationally. The range of subjects is extremely wide covering the more traditional distance education courses to innovative materials on the training of workers in rural primary health care, to technical courses such as computer-aided engineering.

Policy Documentation and General Educational Literature:

Our educational staff are proactive in supporting the Saide Resource collection by providing up-to-date information on the latest policies and discussion documentation in order to support the work of the organization. Other more general literature is collected for specific projects that Saide is involved in, such as South African situational and developmental information and general educational literature.

South African and International Distance Education Providers:

There was a strong focus in the early days of the resource centre in collecting newsclippings, prospectuses, annual reports and useful tools from distance education providers. However, much of this is made available online which has reduced the necessity for an emphasis on these collections, but they continue to be maintained for historical purposes.


The Resource Centre receives approximately 30 journal or newsletter titles. Topics covered include distance education, educational technology and media, developmental issues, quality and teacher education. The journals are carefully scanned and analysed with information being added to the catalogue.

OER Africa and Other Repositories:

OER Africa, Saide's initiative around the collection and development of Open Education Resources (OER) contains a wealth of information. The project collects digital resources in the fields of OER theory, materials development, copyright, communities of practice, use of ICTs in education, learner support etc. There is a further collection on freely available course materials that have been developed in Africa, as well as a wealth of other information.

NADEOSA, the National Association for Distance Education and Open Learning in South Africa has made all their conference papers available on the website which provides an interesting historical collection of the development of distance education in South Africa .


Over the years the Resource Centre staff has built up networks with local and international libraries and resource centres both in South Africa and elsewhere. Through activities with the NADEOSA), DEASA, the Distance Education Association of Southern Africa, and a close working relationship with the Commonwealth of Learning the Saide Resource Centre’s network is further enhanced.

Resource Centre Usage Policy:

The Saide Resource Centre is a reference library only for people doing research on distance education and related fields. Visitors are most welcome to come and make use of the Resource Centre during office hours, but appointments are preferable to ensure that there is someone on duty. Initial email requests for information are recommended as we can search the catalogue and provide search results electronically via email. For more information contact