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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 September, 2002, 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK
University celebrates online success
Liverpool University computer lab
E-learning is proving popular with overseas students
The University of Liverpool is celebrating after signing up its 1,000th online post-graduate student.

The university set up an e-learning facility for MBA and MSc programmes 18 months ago and has been overwhelmed by the response.

Just over half (55%) of the students signed up are UK-based, while the rest are from 23 countries across the globe such as Australia, Zimbabwe and Singapore.

The scheme is similar to programmes run by other universities across the UK.


If they [students] can continue with their private lives, then study becomes an option

John Latham, project manager
For example, five medical schools in Scotland are pioneering research on using the latest advances in e-learning and technology to train the medics of tomorrow.

And the Open University, which was set up on the basis of long-distance learning, has even held virtual graduations for students who could not attend.

The e-learning programmes at Liverpool and other universities aim to give busy working people the chance to pursue a course of study without being forced to give up their jobs or move to Liverpool.

Fear of debt

Project manager and academic secretary at Liverpool University, John Latham, said it anticipated a greater interest in higher degrees as the numbers of students at undergraduate level grew.

Mr Latham said graduates were often put off staying on for further study for fear of incurring greater student debts.

The e-learning programme allowed them to continue their studies without the commitment of a residential course, he said.

But students still need to find $12,000 (approximately 7,800) to pay for each MBA or MSc course.

Mr Latham said 75% of the 1,000 students who had signed up had got funding from their employers.

Flexibility

The university believes the flexibility the course offers students is one of its most important features.

"For professional, logistical or family reasons, they aren't going to up sticks and move to Liverpool, but if they can continue with their private lives, then study becomes an option," said Mr Latham.

"And that's what the e-learning programme allows them to do."

Tom Puluczek, 44, has nearly finished his MBA through the e-learning programme at the university.

Mr Puluczek, who runs his owns computing company from the Isle of Man, said he could not have taken a residential course.

"Online learning is the only way I could have done it - geographical boundaries just don't exist."

Cultural diversity

He said he had particularly appreciated the chance to debate ideas with students from across the globe.

"Every virtual classroom I've been into there's been at least one person from Singapore or Holland or Israel.

"So you see a fantastic difference in the perception of a situation, for example, in a debate on the Euro, a student from Singapore had very different and interesting views."

The Liverpool programme will see its first student graduate in December.

See also:

22 Aug 02 | Scotland
19 Jun 01 | Science/Nature
04 Feb 00 | Education
10 Dec 01 | Education
10 Jan 01 | Education
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