The GOLD Project has developed out of more than 30 years’ experience of offering distance learning courses in the context of the UK church. Courses that were originally developed in India were adapted for use in the Oakhill Extension College (OHEC) where several new courses were developed over the course of several years. When Oakhill College decided to close down its extension studies department, OHEC’s students and courses were serviced by the St Albans and Oxford Ministry Course (SAOMC) which later became Interactive Christian Extension Studies (ICES). In 2009, Trinity College Bristol took over the programme and developed the course materials as its Open Learning programme for the six years until the end of 2015.
Revd Mike Butterworth has overseen the development of Open Learning courses over many years. Before becoming head of the St Albans and Oxford Ministry Course, Mike was a distance-learning course writer when on the staff of TAFTEE (The Association for Theological Education by Extension), India. Following his time in India, Mike was on the staff of Oak Hill Theological College where he developed further courses that were offered under the name OHEC (Oak Hill Extension Courses). Mike relaunched the courses under the banner of ICES (Interactive Christian Extension Studies) for the St Albans and Oxford Ministry Course. They were used for many years by the Ministry Course to train ordinands and independent students in theology and ministry. Mike now serves as a trustee of the GOLD Project.