Extract from the report published 4th November 2009
33 The continuing development of e-learning is a vital element in supporting improvement of teaching and the student experience and in enabling the personalisation and flexibility that students and employers expect. We will empower our universities to be world leaders in the growing market in transnational education based on e-learning.
34 Whilst the performance of our institutions in transnational education and online distance learning is already impressive, we need to build on this to ensure that we remain a global leader. Our aspiration is to ensure that UK courses are the first choice for international students who want to study but who do not want or are unable to travel. We will therefore build on the international reputation of the overall “British Brand” of higher education, and on distance learning at institution level, to ensure our strategic investment in digital higher education supports this existing area of strength.
35 HEFCE have established an impressive taskforce to help take forward the aim of helping UK higher education remain a world leader in online learning and grow its market share by 2015. The Task Force is chaired by Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, with representatives at senior level from the private and public sector, including Microsoft, Apple, the British Council, HEFCE, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and Universities UK. The BBC has agreed to advise the task force as and when appropriate. The taskforce met for the first time in September 2009.96
It will identify opportunities for investment and innovation within and between universities and colleges, and with the private sector, in the development of online learning, including the building of critical mass. Through HEFCE the Government will be prepared to provide seedcorn funding on a competitive basis for university/private sector partnerships which will strengthen our market position.
36 We believe that, in a rapidly expanding global market, institutions based here have a unique opportunity to provide education in many different forms. The UK’s advantages in research and teaching are supported by ou established strengths in both accreditation and educational publishing. The potential to develop international education through partnerships with broadcasters and internet service providers is considerable, and in our view will shape and strengthen the higher education sector over the coming decade.