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Distance learning data collection and enrollment patterns in Australia, UK, and USA – and Canada?

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There is a very interesting article from OBHE, the Observatory for Borderless Higher Education, on distance learning enrollments in Australia, UK, and USA – featured on their front page. This looks at enrollments and the split between domestic and international students in a way maybe familiar to those used to HESA statistical tables.

The full article is available only to OBHE subscribers, but their public summary observes:

One sign that an “innovative” feature of higher education has truly mainstreamed is when governments start to publish statistics about it. What about one prominent innovation – online learning? The first online degrees appeared over twenty years ago, and played a big part in the dotcom boom of 1997-2000. Since then, despite bouts of skepticism and disillusionment, online features, courses and programs have proliferated in many higher education systems around the world. Most recently, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) sparked another surge of interest.

Online learning has never been short of hyperbole, but what about hard data on student numbers? Are governments collecting the same kinds of data, or are there inconsistencies? What does the data suggest about the health of online learning markets in higher education?

This Observatory analysis looks at the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Over the years, all have produced grand online higher education schemes of one kind or another- but does online now show up in official statistics?

Note that quite a lot of UK universities are OBHE subscribers.

It would be really useful to have details on other countries of interest especially in the Commonwealth of Nations.

There is a little bit of information I know about on Canada, but it is a few years out of date. In the article Online University Education in Canada: Challenges and Opportunities (updated January 2012) it states that “Between 2005 and 2010, CVU [Canadian Virtual University] universities reported that about one to three percent of their online students were international”. The rest of the article is very interesting and deserves more detailed analysis.

A key aspect is that the article goes on to suggest (on page 11) that low uptake is likely due to

student loan regulations, accreditation, language, quality assurance, professional sector differentiation, legal and financial systems, preference for local services and entities, and some countries’ policies regarding recognition of non‐domestic online credentials (particularly if taken at home).

However, given the borderless nature of online education, globalization, and the increasing need for universities to attract more international students, it is only a matter of time before competition for international online students becomes just as heated as competition for on‐campus international students.

Canada, therefore, needs to be prepared to compete in the global online education market.

Not only Canada, I feel.


Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says #cloudmena

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Always interesting to me to hear more about what open universities are doing around the world

Cloud World Series

Cloud to help Arab Open University provide more support to students and staff, CIO says | Business Cloud News

Written by Business Cloud News

Abid-Butt-jpegArab Open University (AOU), a non-profit, private regional university spanning seven countries is looking to take more of its applications to the cloud in a bid to improve how the organisation supports staff and students in the region, according to the university’s chief information officer Abid Butt.

The AOU, which is affiliated with the Open University in the UK, was set up in 2003 with funding from the Arab Gulf Fund to provide education to working professional in the Gulf region. It’s headquartered in Kuwait with campuses in Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, but the organisation hopes to eventually cover 22 countries in the region, from Oman to Morocco.

Similarly to the UK Open University, the AOU is not a traditional brick…

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Open Educational Resources in Adult Education/Adult Learning in the European Union – information wanted

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I have been commissioned at Sero to do a report for the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament on OER in Adult Education in the EU, to report by mid-March 2015. In this I will be assisted by Sero colleagues.

Obviously we shall leverage on POERUP and on three very relevant studies done for IPTS including OER4Adults but I want to make sure we are up to date with the last 6 months of information on important projects developing OER for use specifically in Adult Learning (rather than just “spilling over” into Adult Learning) – across all educational sectors: key skills (numeracy, literacy, IT skills, etc), school-level qualifications for adults, Vocational Education and Training, and University Education in a Lifelong Learning context.

We are particularly interested in the following Member States: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Latvia, but relevant projects from any EU Member State are of interest.

Of course we shall be asking POERUP project staff as well as our network of consultants and advisors but we want a broader range of input.

While many of the countries were studied in 2012/13 in POERUP and most updated in spring 2014, Latvia was not one of these countries and Sweden was not updated in 2014. So these are of particular priority.

For policy aspects I shall be talking in depth to authors of EU-level and Member State OER-related policy documents, to perform a realignment of POERUP-style recommendations to the Adult Learning domain.

For more details see the page ADOERUP on the POERUP wiki.

Please contact me if you are a local expert with relevant information not previously involved in POERUP. For those who were, myself or Giles or Nick will shall be contacting them directly.

The 33 countries we specifically looked at in POERUP are linked from


Continuation of earlier blog

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This blog continues my earlier blogging activities (after a long interval of more attention to twitter and wikis) that you can find at elearning compendia


A competences scheme for European universities

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A competences scheme for European universities

Many papers on “universities of the future” do not ground their visions in a wider vision of society. If they assume anything by default, it is a version of the socio-economic situation of the last decade (the last one where money was plentiful) but with “more and cheaper tech”. In contrast, this paper starts with a prediction of the socio-technical civilisation of 2030, with a focus on Europe (which you may love, hate or just ignore), and within that formulates a vision for the models of universities that best fit that civilisation.  The vision paper is grounded on a growing body of research on “time” aspects of learning – see in particular