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Tuesday, 28 March, 2000, 02:57 GMT
'Borderless' future for universities
Online
Online courses are set for rapid growth
Universities will have to face up to a "borderless" future in which online courses will reach beyond traditional boundaries, a higher education conference has been told.

The conference in London on Tuesday accompanies the publication of The Business of Borderless Education, a report commissioned by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals into opportunities for delivering courses through the internet.



Dot.com mania is sweeping the land, and universities are at the thick of it

Baroness Warwick, Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals
The report examines the global growth of "virtual" universities and recommends how higher education in the United Kingdom can take advantage of the "digital campus".

It considers how the emergence of large numbers of part-time students taking online degrees might change the structure of higher education.

This could mean new specialisms within higher education, such as providing easy-access, online vocational courses or providing highly-focused, high-quality courses for an international market.

Among the speakers at the conference are the Minister for Learning and Technology, Michael Wills, and the director of BBC Education, Michael Stevenson.

"This report couldn't have arrived at a more opportune moment. Dot.com mania is sweeping the land, and universities are at the thick of it. New virtual learning opportunities are arising every day," said Baroness Warwick.

The drive towards the creation of virtual universities has been encouraged by the Education Secretary David Blunkett. Last month he called on universities in the United Kingdom to compete with the growing online education sector in the United States.

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See also:

28 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Britain digitally divided say ministers
22 Sep 99 | Education
University applications move online
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