Earlier appointments were at the Télé-université (Directeur des Études, 1973-77), Athabasca University (Vice-President for Learning Services, 1978-80), Concordia University (Vice-Rector, Academic, 1980-84), Laurentian University (President, 1984-90), the UK Open University (Vice-Chancellor, 1990-2001) and UNESCO (Assistant Director-General for Education, 2001-04).
His non-executive appointments have included the presidencies of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, the Canadian Association for Distance Education and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. He also served as Vice-President of the International Baccalaureate Organisation.
The best known of his publications is his book Mega-Universities and Knowledge Media: Technology Strategies for Higher Education (Kogan Page, 1996).
He obtained his full-time university education in Metallurgy at Oxford and Paris and later demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning by taking 25 years to complete a part-time Master's degree in Educational Technology at Concordia University. However, the internship for that programme, which took him to the UK Open University in 1972, was a life-changing experience. He saw the future of higher education and wanted to be part of it