Wait-and-see UK is failing to publicise online courses

September 21, 2001

Only 20 per cent of UK universities clearly highlight their e-learning facilities on their websites, according to a review.

Mel Collier, library director of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and a research professor at the University of Northumbria, told delegates at a recent London conference that the figure was not surprising.

His review assessed the development of e-learning in UK higher education to date.

Professor Collier told the Learning and Teaching Support Network Centre for Information and Computer Sciences conference that many universities were waiting for the market to clarify before developing their e-learning strategies, although they have given the subject some attention in their teaching and learning strategies.

He found that about 10 per cent of institutions had given high priority to e-learning and emphasised it in marketing. Many of these were "prestige" universities that had entered partnerships in one or more e-learning enterprises to enhance their profile in the global distance-learning market.

An estimated 20 to 40 per cent of institutions developed e-learning to improve access to distance-education offerings course-by-course. Between 10 and 30 per cent did so to support learning for campus-based students, while some 30 to 50 per cent saw e-learning as a way to assist distance and on-campus students, Professor Collier said.

He said many universities that gave no prominence to e-learning on their websites may not believe that it was a factor in student choice. But those that did have offerings often failed to make it clear on their websites.

He added that online learning support for on-campus students would become a crucial factor in winning enrolments as more people realised how helpful it could be.

Details: www.ics.ltsn.ac.uk

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