Lecturers fear impact of e-learning project on jobs

April 12, 2001

Academics at Warwick University have warned that plans for a new e-learning system could cost millions of pounds in staff time, writes Tony Tysome.

The university is consulting staff and students on its proposed e-strategy that includes an e-learning development unit promoting new technology use in every department, unmetered connection to the internet and intranet from all campus student bedrooms, and student access to all university web resources, e-learning materials and administration.

Student protests have already forced Warwick to drop its proposal to require all first-year students to own a laptop computer.

Now academics have raised concerns over the potential cost of the proposals and the impact it might have on jobs and the quality of teaching and research.

Ken Flint, director of undergraduate studies in biological sciences, said putting enough learning material online could take a member of staff three years and cost £100,000 per department.

"I do not think we can continue to be a great research or teaching university if we are taking up all that staff time, unless we can hire more staff to do the job," he said.

Dr Flint, who is president of Warwick's Association of University Teachers, also voiced concerns about potential job losses.

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