Thursday, December 20, 2007

The further transformation of Higher Education?

US newspaper The New York Times has announced plans to provide distance education and higher education course content. In the case of its distance education initiative, The Times will be providing technology and marketing for a range of high quality non-credit courses taught by college and university professors. Whilst tuition rates will be set by the colleges and universities, in some cases with in-state and out-of-state rates, funds from tuition revenue will be split (with the precise formula varying) between the institutions and The Times. A number of higher education institutions, including New York, Northern Kentucky and Stanford Universities are already committed to using the new technologies, and several others are in negotiations to start doing so. Given that some of the online courses will make use of The Times’ content, the newspaper’s enterprises could help some colleges to establish or expand distance education provision whilst reducing academic reliance on printed texts. Academics at institutions that subscribe to The Times’ service will be able to use such packages alongside their own content to develop customised course Web pages.

I wonder what the quality of the learning environment will be?