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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 14:12 GMT
Universities 'expand e-learning'
students in computer room
Universities are said to regard e-learning as central to their work
Universities across Europe plan to increase their use of e-learning over the next two years, a survey suggests.

Three quarters of the 150 institutions asked said computer-based learning had a major role in most of their courses or would do so within three years.

The survey was carried out by an e-learning solutions provider, WebCT.

It said the findings highlighted the way universities now saw e-learning as "mission critical" and offering greater access to better quality education.

Almost two thirds of its customers (63%) planned to collaborate with other institutions - both nationally and internationally.

In part their approach was in response to a rise in the importance of distance learning as they sought to recruit more students.

Competition

WebCT chief Carol Vallone said: "Universities are becoming increasingly student-centric across Europe as they compete for student enrolment.

"They now recognise e-learning as a way to make learning more effective and therefore provide students with a richer educational experience."

The sort of thing e-learning facilitates is a biology instructor using a video microscope to capture the lifecycle of a cell, then recording an audio commentary and putting the package online using streaming media.

The survey indicates a growing demand for online courses in spite of the failure of the UK's "e-university", UKeU.

MPs recently criticised the "disgraceful waste" of public money on the collapsed venture.

But their report said the government should not be scared off from investing in innovative but potentially risky schemes but "should learn the lessons from this disaster".

Part of UKeU's problem was that students preferred to work through existing universities with established reputations, which have been developing their own e-learning materials.


SEE ALSO:
E-University 'disgraceful waste'
03 Mar 05 |  Education


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