Pearson increases its stakes in online

March 10, 2000

International media company Pearson has signed an agreement to provide educational material and learning tools to America Online.

The new partnership will cover professional training and higher education,as well as school-based activities. Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said: "We aim to create an online learning environment that transforms the educational opportunities open to us all at every stage of our lives, wherever we live."

Pearson also announced a strategic alliance and investment in Blackboard, the software company behind the websites of more than 1,800 universities and colleges in 70 countries.

"This will further position Pearson as the premier provider of higher education content and services for online courses," said a company spokesperson.

Two weeks ago, a Pearson subsidiary showed interest in becoming one of the core members of Britain's e-university. FT Knowledge, which was created by Pearson as FT Management last year and relaunched as FT Knowledge last week, said it was expecting approaches from institutions.

Pippa Wicks, chief executive of FT Knowledge, said: "We have 25,000 higher education students a year now who are working towards qualifications. We plan to increase that number five to tenfold in three to five years' time."

This week, FT Knowledge announced a new venture with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to offer courses in e-business that will be delivered and supported online.

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